It takes a lot of work to create a video game with an intriguing plot, well-developed characters, and a unique universe. The work doesn’t stop there if you want to localize your video game in order to break into new markets. A key step to ensuring that your localized video game is just as dynamic as the original is to undergo localization testing. Let’s take a closer look at what the video game localization testing process looks like and why it’s so important.
What the Video Game Localization Testing Process Involves
So, what exactly does video game testing involve? Generally, the testing isn’t done by the translator. Instead, the testing is completed by a testing company or a hired tester who plays the game and identifies bugs.
The main goal of the testing phase is to make the product look and feel natural for the gamer as well as making sure the gameplay works fine. Testers not only check for linguistic or cultural issues, but also other visual or gameplay issues.
Some of the things testers will check are the proper date, time, and currency formats corresponding to the regions and locales used. Color schemes are an important element to review too, as color can have different meanings in various cultures.
Most importantly, the testers check the UI and appearance. They check that all the images containing text are localized, line breaks on the screens are in proper places, dialogs, pop-ups, and notifications or updates appear correctly, and that the text fits into all the fields without overflowing.
Why the Video Game Localization Testing Process Matters
The reason localization testing is such an important step is because it helps video game creators confirm that the localized and translated version of their video game is consistent, clear, and as high quality as the original version. A high quality localization process ensures that a game maintains the original tone and feel of the game in whatever language it is translated into. The video game localization testing process is a key step because it helps check for this level of quality. You want your players to be able to play and understand your video game exactly as you intended it upon your original creation, even if it’s in a different language.
The video game localization testing process isn’t necessary because translators and localization experts aren’t good at their jobs. It’s necessary as a second line of defense in a very complex process. Video game localization requires that a lot of different strings be translated and it’s commonplace to translate these strings out of order or context, which can lead to things literally getting lost in translation. Localization testing is a necessary step to review a translation as a whole and to make sure that all text is correct, coherent, and consistent.
Don’t Forget to Laugh At Mistakes
As frustrating as finding a mistake is during the testing process, mistakes can happen and they aren’t always a bad thing.
In the video game “Hitman: Blood Money”, there’s a mistake that’s become a fan favorite. In the mission titled “A Dance with the Devil”, there’s a lobster crate located in the kitchen area. If you pick it up and inspect it, you will see a development note addressed to Allan that read “Allan please add details here”. This mistake led to future appearances of the same note across a variety of Hitman games in the form of Easter eggs. For a good laugh, you can check out that famous mistake here.