Staying True to the Game: Best Practices for Translating In-Game Text and Dialogue  

Your game’s translation into several languages will enable you to introduce your game and business to users in many countries. As a result, your business will expand, and your sales will soar. The dialogue and in-game text must be expertly translated and localized to appeal to the global audience. This approach consists of maintaining the game’s integrity and core while making it accessible and engaging for players everywhere. It involves more than just linguistic conversion. 

We strongly advise any game developers starting their game translation projects to work with a seasoned game localization agency with a track record of regularly delivering outstanding outcomes for both game developers and users.

Localization Differs from Translation

There are three different translations to take into account while translating a game:

Translation. Here, a sentence is translated word for word. It works best for manuals of instructions or in the medical industry when nothing must change.

Localization. This is where you interpret the piece’s spirit. While your allusions and idioms will change to reflect what people would say, most of your sentences will still make sense.

Transcreation. Here, the translator essentially rewrites the entire document. They write their version alongside the original as you collaborate with them from the very beginning.

Best Practices for Game Translation

The character and quality of a game must be faithfully reproduced in all localized versions to succeed in the present global gaming market. Therefore, language experts or game localization services specializing in translation must ensure that translators accurately depict regional dialects, employ cultural allusions, use slang, and apply effects and other nuances. Meeting the sector’s high standards necessitates a rigorous approach that addresses many factors. After that, we examine today’s best practices for game localization in the game translation industry.

  1. Recognize the local culture of the market you’ve chosen

In the market where you wish to launch your game, research the gaming industry and culture. Learn about the genres of games that are most popular there, as well as any titles that have failed there and why. Test the content of your game to see how cultural elements and other elements will be accepted in the area. Focus on and be aware of the following four areas of great cultural sensitivity:

  • History – False depictions of events that are deeply ingrained in popular culture can result in a surprisingly potent response

  • Religion — Culturally insensitive references to or use of religious symbols and ideas can upset people and perhaps have major repercussions for local game developers and staff.

  • Ethnicity — Ethnic stereotyping or a failure to handle diversity in-game effectively might result in the target market rejecting the game product outright.

  • Geopolitics — Some nations forbid media goods from depicting borders that disagree with the assertions made by the government that foreign land areas are a part of its sovereign territory.

  1. Promote accurate translation

Hire game localization companies that specialize in video game translations first. They are most likely to be the most knowledgeable about the niche gaming market and able to speak in a language and in ways the gaming community will more readily grasp. 

Once your team is in place, focus on the following fundamental translation checklist items:

  • Tools – Provide your translators with what they need to accomplish an excellent job. 

  • Fonts — Translated phrases frequently differ in length from the original text. So be careful while localizing text to make sure the finished product looks professional. 

  • Text in graphics – Try to stay away from using text in graphics. Instead, think about using universally recognizable symbols in place of the text. 

  • Background — Give background to translators so they may better appreciate the depth of the game’s story and characters for their selected international target audience. To encourage players to interact with your material fully, first assist them.

  • Feedback – Before launching your game in a brand-new foreign market, get as much feedback as possible on bugs and other faults. Like translators, game testers should have a strong command of the target language and have years of gaming expertise.

  1. Encourage collaboration and open communication

To make the translation process run smoothly, maintain transparency, and encourage a collaborative team relationship between game developers and translation specialists. This will make it simpler to maximize the quality of results and make the entire experience more rewarding for everyone involved.

The ability of all parties to maximize the process is increased by effective communication between the development and translation teams, which benefits players and the game’s commercial success. 

  1. Finish all pre-production tasks

Decide if your game is prepared for translation before moving forward. To finish pre-production chores such as selecting languages for localization, completing legal paperwork, developing a budget, setting up a translation workflow, testing in target markets, and other pre-production work, create and use a checklist. 

  1. Test and gather comments

Obtain feedback from the multilingual player base of your game. Gather user reviews of games that are similar to yours. Create efficient systems for providing and receiving feedback. Clients of game companies are urged to test the translation following completion by accepted industry standards. 

  1. Time management

Rushing through translation processes leads to mistakes and results that are of lower quality for game players and other stakeholders in the gaming industry. Appropriate planning and preparation for a translation project enables methodically carried out procedures and the capacity to optimize the attention paid to quality rather than wasting time dealing with inefficiently set up and underpowered operational systems. A large part of what distinguishes games with mediocre performances from those that go on to become global hits is a skill in time management.

In conclusion, translating in-game text and dialogue while preserving the game’s identity is a challenging but essential process for reaching a global audience. Effective translation and localization require a deep understanding of the game’s background, sensitivity to cultural differences, and a commitment to retaining consistency and character integrity.

With a common vocabulary and comprehension of the particular abilities and satisfaction inherent in the perfect experience of a fantastic game, video gamers are distinguished from other digital media consumers. That establishes a high standard for game translators, who are tasked with delivering the same experience that the game creator intended for players and marketplaces worldwide. Strict technical precision is insufficient when interacting with players through a game. To relate to gamers and understand the gaming experience, translators need to be proficient linguists and gamers.