29/11/2022

How to Become Your Localization Team’s Hero

A strong localization kit is made up of multiple elements that vary in accordance with the complexity of a particular project. In general, localization kits contain a translation memory, glossary, termbase, style guide, and reference materials. Having a well-built out localization kit is a great way to get a project headed in the right direction. That being said, there is much more you can do to help your localization team do their best work and to ensure they have a great experience working with you. 

Let’s look at a few ways you can become your localization team’s hero!

Provide editable files 

Your localization team will save a lot of time if you provide them with an editable file as a source file to kick off their translation. Having an editable file helps avoid file conversions, which can look rather unpolished. If you do have to pursue a file conversion because the editable file is unavailable, the localization team will need to create a polished final document and DTP will be necessary, which can extend the project timeline

Determine the file extension you want to receive

If your localization team is aware of the type of file extension you want to receive, they’ll be able to choose the best translation tools for the specific project. Using the correct tool will help them prevent unnecessary exports and imports into different tools. If the content consists of loose strings of text, which is usually the case with software, then it’s important to organize it in a logical way that everyone on the team can understand. 

Add comments to the files

Adding comments to the file can help translators make sense of content. For example, if a translator is working on translating a video game, they may need context surrounding a character’s gender. Leaving a comment indicating what the gender of each character is, is super important as in some languages, adjective choices are affected by gender. Leaving comments throughout the file that provide additional context can help your localization team make the best word choices. 

Share a demo or beta version

When it comes to apps, video games, and software, sharing a demo or beta version can really help a translation team get a feel of the product. If you aren’t able to share an advanced copy of the product, perhaps you can share watermarked screenshots instead, so the team isn’t working blindly. 

Stay on top of formatting

If you want the formatting of the target document to mirror the formatting in the original document, you need to share that desire with your localization team in advance so that they can allocate the correct amount of time and resources to formatting the target document properly.

Determine timeline expectations and be flexible

While your localization team will always do their best to meet your desired deadline, be open to being flexible on your deadline if it helps the team avoid rushing and allow them to assess the project and confirm if the amount of time needed in order to provide a high-quality deliverable is in line with your expectations.

Be available and ready to answer questions

Your team will need to be able to come to you with questions in order to create the best possible final product. You don’t need to be available to answer questions 24/7, but you should make it clear how and when they can get in touch with you if they have questions. To help answer any major questions they may have, you can establish a query sheet as a way to streamline communication.

All of that being said, you’ll still need to be available to answer questions from time to time, so they can move forward with confidence.

VR & localization the key to an immersive experience for users worldwide
23/11/2022

VR & Localization: The Key to an Immersive Experience for Users Worldwide

Virtual reality (VR) refers to a simulated experience that can either be totally different or very similar to the real world. It is achieved by creating a sensory environment using primarily sight and sound to create an interactive and immersive experience. VR is rising in popularity day by day and by 2025, the VR industry is expected to be worth more than $22 billion. One reason for this industry’s continued growth in popularity is due to VR’s endless potential to create experiences and immersive environments, as these headsets can make it easier to integrate games into education, entertainment, and many other endeavors.

Standard VR systems tend to rely on VR headsets in order to generate the realistic sensations that create the immersive environment that VR is known for. VR headsets generally include what is known as a head-mounted display (HMD). This HMD is a wraparound headset that blocks light and real-world images so the user can focus on the virtual world they are entering. During 2022, it’s anticipated that consumer AR/VR headset shipments will reach 13.24 million units.

It’s also expected that over time as improvements to VR hardware are made (such as designing smaller and more stylish headsets) and as they become more affordable, that interest in this industry will continue to grow. For example, a less cumbersome device may increase popularity in healthcare training such as training simulations for surgeons.

Let’s take a closer look at the applications and industries that VR can apply to, as well as why localization for VR is becoming a growing need.

Applications and Industries

These are some of the industries that are embracing VR:

  • Entertainment. VR is especially common in the gaming sector as VR can create an exceptional game experience for players who want to immerse themselves in the world the game takes place in.
  • Training. The learning and development possibilities of VR are nearly endless—especially for providing a more hands-on corporate training experience.
  • Tourism. Imagine being able to make someone feel like they are visiting your city and encourage them to visit by introducing them to your most exciting sites virtually.
  • Well-being. A more immersive wellness experience can be found when you combine VR with apps that help guide meditation, workouts, mindfulness, and relaxation.
  • E-learning. Many students engage with their learning materials and retain them better when using VR during the e-learning experience.

VR Localization

The fact that more industries are adopting VR and with headsets becoming more affordable, it is natural for this technology to reach new markets and people that speak different languages. This is where localization comes in.

When someone is engaging with an immersive experience, you don’t want them to become confused by language or prompts they don’t understand. Localization makes it possible to translate elements like prompts, buttons, in-app menus and messages, narration or voice-over cues in the app the consumer uses. Anything that requires interaction on the part of the user needs to be easily understood by them or else you risk your message not coming across clearly, or the user not being able to properly navigate the experience—all of which can lead to the user leaving a bad review of the app. Content in the app store also needs to be localized, as the app store description helps them select and decide to purchase the app. Making sure this text is in a language the user understands can make a difference in the total number of downloads.

As VR adoption continues to expand and more industries realize the potential it has, it’s only a matter of time before the localization needs in the industry also increase. This is key to ensure access to this technology and its applications are not restricted to English speakers only, making these virtual worlds into more inclusive and diverse spaces.

15/11/2022

Brazil & Mobile Apps: A Growing Market

If you’re an app developer or company that benefits by having customers download your mobile app, then you will want to pay more attention to the Brazilian market. The extensive use of mobile phones, and consequently apps, in Brazil makes this one of the hottest mobile app markets in the world. Localizing your apps into Brazilian Portuguese in order to capture this huge market that loves apps so much is a gold mine of opportunity. 

Let’s examine exactly why Brazil has so much mobile potential. 

High Amount of Time Spent Using Apps

According to recent research, Brazil spends more time on mobile apps than any other country. When it comes to time spent on mobile apps, Brazilians spend an average of 5.4 hours each day connected to apps. This leaves app developers with a very captive audience if they take the right approach to localizing their apps for the Brazilian market. 

Access to smartphones in Brazil has been growing over the years, which is contributing to this high usage of mobile apps. In 2019 alone, Brazil’s smartphone growth exploded by 11%. With expected continued growth in regard to smartphone access, the potential to thrive in this market is seemingly endless. By 2023, cell phone sales in Brazil are expected to expand massively, with four million Brazilians owning a smartphone.

An Affinity for Mobile Shopping

One way Brazilians utilize their mobile devices is by shopping from them. In 2019, mobile sales surpassed $7.6 billion in revenue and accounted for 32% of all ecommerce payments in Brazil. With the majority of Brazilians preferring to make purchases over an app (78%), because of how efficient and straightforward the process is, it’s safe to assume that this trend of shopping from smartphones will continue to make an impact. 

All of that being said, you need to get the mobile shopping experience right if you want loyalty from Brazilian customers. More than half (53%) of Brazilians are willing to pay more for a product or service if the user experience is better, this is 12% higher than the global average. If you can properly localize your apps in a way that makes the mobile shopping experience easier and less stressful for Brazilians, you’re off to a really strong start. 

A Deep Love of Mobile Games

While mobile app usage varies, Brazilians are particularly enamored with mobile games. Brazil is the world’s largest Portuguese-speaking country and only one in 20 Brazilians speaks English. Because the majority of the Brazilian population does not speak English and really values localized content, it’s important for mobile game developers to have a localization and culturalization strategy in place. In order to make a mobile game appeal to Brazilian gamers, and to ensure they have a high quality experience, you must localize your mobile game specifically into Brazilian Portuguese (as opposed to European Portuguese). This is especially important if you hope to attract younger audiences.

08/11/2022

Common Transcreation Challenges to Look Out For

Transcreation takes the act of translation a step further. Instead of creating a direct translation, trancreators take elements like culture and humor into account to create custom copy that is tailored to a specific audience. It’s very common to utilize transcreation services when it comes to slogans, video games, ad campaigns, and social media content.

Transcreation projects may be very short in the sense that the final copy may only be a few words long (like with a slogan), but since the work required is purely creative, the transcreator faces many challenges before coming up with the perfect target text.

Here are a few transcreation challenges transcreators tend to run into.

Specific knowledge of the industry, target audience, client, and product

Before tackling a transcreation project, the transcreator should make sure they know the industry or product their content is about inside and out. If they aren’t familiar with it, the transcreator should research the industry and related terminology in depth in order to know in which ways they can use its jargon in a creative or persuasive way. A transcreation brief can also aid in providing the transcreator with all the information necessary to complete the project. Familiarity with the target audience is of utmost importance and not knowing exactly who the text is targeting can present a real challenge. Not only in terms of language variant, for example, but also where they live and what generation they belong to.

Lack of context

It’s not unusual for the transcreator to only receive an email with the sentence that needs to be transcreated. However, this isn’t enough information for them to go off of, as blindly translating copy is an impossible task. Knowing how and where the content will be displayed is extremely helpful to the tanscreator. If this is not taken into account, the client runs the risk of having a target text that is not effective.

Images tied to the source text

Frequently the content that needs to be transcreated has an image attached to it which can present a challenge for the trancreator. When a piece of copy needs to relate to a select image, the transcreator’s creativity becomes restricted as they must come up with a solution that also goes well with that image. Consider the example shown in this video with the phrase “why the long face?”.

Character limits

Space is valuable real estate when it comes to ads and other marketing mediums, so character limit restrictions are often the number one enemy of the transcreator. Words in some languages are longer than in English, so the target text regularly expands as soon as it is translated.

Character limits can force the transcreator to look for ways to convey the same intention of the original copy with other words or creative devices that use less space. Even if there’s not an actual character limit, the transcreator should strive to make the transcreation no more than 10% longer than the source. Otherwise, the copy becomes wordy and loses impact. In our fast-paced world, people want clear and concise messages—they don’t want to read long-winded text.

Cultural references

Incorporating cultural elements into marketing content can help the customer relate better. Nevertheless, when taking products to new markets, these cultural elements should be reassessed and adapted by the transcreator to fit the target culture. This can be a challenging part of the transcreation process.

Idioms, puns, wordplays and rhymes

These creative devices spice up the language and make messages funny, witty, and more engaging. Ultimately, these devices can make copy memorable, but when it comes time to take it to the target language they are almost impossible to replicate (especially considering the challenges discussed above).

To overcome this, the transcreator strives to look for other devices, from the target language, that can help evoke the same emotional response or create the same impact. On occasions, the transcreator has to choose between content or form. This is of course an impossible choice, but at times it is not necessary to keep the rhyme if the text maintains the rhythm.

The Takeaway

Transcreation is not a process that should be rushed. Taking the time needed to overcome these challenges can lead to a much higher quality final product. It also helps immensely to have someone working on the project who is very experienced in transcreation work as they will be best equipped at dealing with these challenges.

04/10/2022

CAT tools: Desktop vs. Browser-based 

Computer assisted translation (CAT) tools can integrate multiple and complex solutions, modules, menus, and features, but they also can adapt to be as simple as to fit in a browser’s tab. Basically, within the range of software solutions that assist translation and localization workflows, we can distinguish two types. The first includes software applications users need to install and run locally on their computers. The second group is online browser-based editors that project managers and linguists can access via an internet browser. Each type of CAT tool has its pros and cons, and we’ll sum up the most important below. 

Ease of Use and Accessibility: in the Cloud 

The main advantage of browser-based CAT tools, like XTM, Memsource, SmartCat, or Wordbee, among many others, is their accessibility. Since users don’t need to install any application, they can work on different computers by following a shared link. This makes projects more easily allocable, given that there are fewer hardware and operating system constraints (no need to install, more flexible requirements, user can borrow equipment, etc.). Furthermore, web-based solutions imply lower costs for clients and for linguists in terms of licensing and hardware. 

However, browser-based CAT tools depend strongly on the quality of Internet connectivity. This is one of their major cons, because bad connectivity really affects the performance of the platform and of the resources involved. Work is slower, online resources can’t be accessed, such as Translation Memories (TMs) or Term Bases (TBs), and there may be difficulties saving progress. 

Integral Solutions: Desktop Based CAT Tools 

Desktop applications for localization, like memoQ, Trados Studio, or Wordfast, offer comprehensive and complex solutions, and cover almost every need supporting different formats and documents. They allow linguists and localization managers to manage in detail TBs, TMs, and quality assurance (QA) features, in contrast with online editors, that sometimes support simpler configurations. Their comprehensiveness and customization make desktop tools ideal for complex and high-volume projects, where clients and managers need to leverage as many IT resources as possible. 

Desktop apps support offline work, so they are good allies for users with connectivity issues. Yet, they are more expensive and, as they need installation and specific requirements, they are not as versatile as web-based editors. However, most of these CAT tools provide browser-based online solutions, like memoQ WebTrans or Wordfast Anywhere, for instance. Likewise, some browser tools offer desktop applications, like Memsource Editor. 

Quality Assurance Insight 

Both types of CAT tools open up the possibility of exporting and importing finished documents or XLIFF files, which allows users to work in another environment or run QA checks with specialized software, whenever possible. However, this prospect tends to be more limited in browser-based editors. Some tools offer limited exporting options, while in some occasions, the possibility may be deprecated by project managers or clients, as well as other functions. Nevertheless, most browser-based tools integrate some kind of quality check. Choosing between one type of tool or the other must be really an informed choice, since both can add different kinds and degrees of value. 

27/09/2022

Why Transcreation Briefs are Necessary Before Starting a Transcreation Project

When working with a transcreation specialist, it is extremely helpful to have a high quality transcreation brief on hand. Having a thorough transcreation brief at the ready can improve both the speed of the transcreation process and the final quality of the content delivered.

Transcreation is a time-consuming process that requires ample research. You can speed up the process, and limit confusion, by creating a brief that tells the transcreator the key information they need to know to get started. Outlining things like idioms, culture-specific terms, double meanings, and imagery that is specific to your brand in the transcreation brief can provide some much-needed clarity from the get go.

Let’s take a closer look at the questions a transcreation brief should answer.

Questions a Transcreation Brief Should Answer

Not sure where to start when creating a transcreation brief? Consider adding the answers to the following questions to your brief.

Questions About the Brand

Unless the transcreator is already familiar with your brand, make sure to introduce them to who you are, what you do, and what your brand values are. This will help the transcreator deliver the message in a way that aligns with your usual branding efforts.

  • What is the brand?
  • What is the product or service?
  • Why is this product or service different from the competition?
  • What is the brand essence (personality and voice)?
  • What does the brand stand for (mission and values)?

Questions About the Campaign

When you identify answers to important questions about the campaign the transcreator will work on, take care to clearly define your audience. Doing so will allow the linguist to work with specific references that may or may not be perceived by all age or social groups in your target audience.

  • What is the purpose of the campaign?
  • What message should the campaign convey?
  • Who is the target audience of this campaign?
  • What response are you looking for?
  • What should the customers’ next steps be after consuming your brand’s content?

Questions About Style Preferences

When it comes to style preferences, you’ll want to pay big attention to what you do and don’t want the transcreator to say. For example, a brand may want the transcreator to stay away from certain words or concepts that are against its values or their messaging. On the other hand, the brand may be used to referring to certain ideas or using select words to convey their personality and may want to make sure that style carries through to this project.

The source copy is likely already a very creative copy that may include wordplays or other creative devices. While the meaning may be evident, it’s helpful to explain why it was chosen and what it accomplishes in the copy. Is the aim to make the reader laugh? Is the aim to use an analogy? This helps the transcreator create the same effect using different creative devices in the target language.

It can also be helpful to share your plans for the campaign, such as where the copy they’re working on will appear (such as a social media ad, billboard ad, or TV commercial). This information will help the transcreator put themselves in the target audience’s shoes and guess how this message will come across in a certain medium.

  • Are there any things or concepts you want to avoid?
  • What things or concepts should be included?
  • Where is the copy going to appear?
  • Are there reference materials or other relevant websites?
  • Are there space limitations such as character limitations or a max word count?
  • In which format should the job be delivered?
  • Are there any special clarifications regarding wordplays or jargon?
  • Will there any other visual assets accompany the copy?

Visuals are an important part of a marketing text or campaign. Send your transcreator all the visuals you can possibly provide: mood boards, brochures, websites, outdoor posters, etc. Anything that might be useful should be included. Remember those previously mentioned wordplays? Well, they often relate to the visuals of a campaign. If your linguist is missing them, they may miss the campaign’s whole point.

The Takeaway

Answering all of these questions in written form may take a lot of time, so if you’re in a time crunch, you can walk your transcreator through these questions verbally on the phone. The essential thing is that all of these aspects are talked about so that the target copy can reflect not only what the source says, but also what the brand/client had in mind when they created it.

20/09/2022

What is a Translation Term Base and Do You Need One?

If you’re looking for ways to improve your translation team’s workflow, to have more consistent results, and to boost the overall quality of a translation project, you may find that a translation term base is a valuable tool to add to your toolkit.

Keep reading to learn about what a term base is and what the benefits of using one are. 

What is a translation term base?

A translation term base is a tool used to house industry, company, and product related terms that a translation team needs to be aware of. A term base acts as a central hub for this detailed information and it can evolve over time as you add new terms. You may choose to start with a monolingual term base and evolve it to a multilingual term base over time. 

A translation term base may include:

  • Source terms or phrases
  • Approved translations
  • Contextual information
  • Definitions of terms
  • Usage notes
  • Parts of speech
  • Grammar
  • Terms that should remain in the source language (such as a brand name)

The key benefits of a translation term base

There are many benefits associated with having a well maintained translation term base, such as:

  • Saving time and confusion. Because a translation term base serves as a terminology guide for a translation team, when there is ambiguity surrounding what term to use, they can quickly reference the term base to save time and to make sure they use the correct term. This is especially helpful when working across multiple departments or with freelance translators. A solid term base helps cut down on research time, which improves workflow. 
  • Improving accuracy, quality, and consistency. Language can be subjective. The use of a term base can nail down the correct words or phrases to use so that the current spelling and terminology is used across all translated materials, which improves the quality of the text.

How it differs from a translation glossary

It’s easy to confuse a translation term base with a translation glossary, but these are two different resources. A translation term base integrates with CAT tools, whereas a translation glossary is usually just a spreadsheet. A translation glossary is a great place to start, but a translation term base is a much more effective tool to use during translation projects. 

Managing and maintaining a translation term base

A translation term base is only a helpful tool if it’s maintained properly. Working with an outdated translation term base can cause easily avoidable mistakes. Term base management involves combining terminology work and database administrative tasks to support the collection, description, processing, presentation, and distribution of information about the terms and any linguistic units used in an organization. 

To properly manage and maintain a good translation term base, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid repetition. You will only want each term to appear in the termbase once, unless a term has more than one meaning. In which case the secondary meaning and approved translation appears in the same entry. You want your term base to be easy to navigate and to cut down on confusion.
  • Keep it tight. You should only include terms in your term base that require definition, you don’t want to include unnecessary terms that aren’t used or that don’t require explanation. Large term bases can be difficult to use and maintain.
  • Review the terms. It’s important to confirm that changes or additions to a termbase are checked and reviewed by a native-speaking subject-matter expert.
  • Update it regularly. Your translation term base should grow and change over time as the company releases products, new technologies emerge, and languages change. You’ll want to add new terms to the translation term base and remove any unnecessary ones from time to time. 
13/09/2022

How to Get the Buy-In for Localization from Stakeholders

While it seemed like we were living in a digital world pre-pandemic, the onset of COVID-19 made our society more reliant on technology than ever before. The amount of global internet users is on the rise and they are spending more and more time online between working, socializing, and relaxing. International businesses that are ready to adapt both digitally and globally will have a competitive advantage. Localization is an important step business can take to launch products and services in new markets successfully. That being said, localization is a big undertaking and there may be times when decision-makers need convincing to invest in the process. Let’s take a look at how to get the go-ahead for localization from stakeholders. 

Set Clear Localization Goals

First things first, you have to set clear localization goals that will guide the requests you’re making and that can outline what you hope to achieve by investing in localization. Whether you’re looking to increase revenue, attract new customers, or improve global brand recognition, you’ll want to outline your end goals. If you can clearly share what you believe introducing localization to your translation projects will achieve, it will be easier for stakeholders to understand the value of taking this extra step. If you can show what types of problems localization can solve, you’re presenting solutions to problems, not just making a request.  

Know Your Market Backwards and Forwards

Again, before you make any formal requests surrounding localization, it’s important to get organized. Once you’ve set your localization goals, study your target market’s buyer behavior, the applicability of your products or services, what your competitors in the space are doing, and any other key market elements. 

To demonstrate the importance of localization, you need to show you understand not only your company’s current landscape but what your market looks like as a whole. Give your audience the attention they deserve to create products and services they will find valuable. Are there cultural preferences you should keep in mind before launching in a new market? What local pain points can your product solve? Have similar brands thrived or failed after launching in the area? Localization is a valuable process that can make it easier to connect with new audiences, so it’s important to carefully examine your market and where localization can step in to make an impact. 

Present Your Case the Right Way

After doing market research and identifying localization goals, you should have the insight you need to make it clear that localization is an investment worth making and not just an extra expense. Localization can be a major needle mover when it comes to growing in a new market and generating revenue. To best explain how this investment can pay off, it can be helpful to allow localization experts to join the conversation. They’ll know firsthand the potential consequences of embarking on international business without taking a thoughtful approach to localization. 

When arguing your case, it can be helpful to present evidence of the potential localization brought to the table. For example, CSA found that companies that increased their translation budget were 1.5 times more likely to report an increase in total revenue. Adding localization costs into your translation budget can lead to positive results and ignoring the potential of localization can be damaging. You should make it clear to all stakeholders what the risks are of passing over localization. The last thing you want is for your brand to experience negative effects that can be challenging to recover from in new markets. 

Comparison of the best CAT Tools such as memoQ, Trados Studio and Wordfast Pro
24/08/2022

CAT Tools Comparison: memoQ, Trados Studio and Wordfast Pro

A wide variety of technology solutions supports the many and different needs of localization projects. There are tools that focus on large-scale translation management, while others offer more specific services, like terminology or quality assurance (QA) management. However, among this diversity of software solutions, four applications are ubiquitous in the industry, and their names ring a bell with anybody involved in localization workflows. Trados Studio, memoQ, Memsource, and Wordfast are four of the most popular Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools in the business, preferred by Language Service Providers (LSPs) to manage their projects and by linguists to carry out their daily work.

These tools offer the core functions, such as translation memories (TMs), compatibility with usual formats, term bases (TB), and web-based editors. Yet, they do have their differences. Here we’ll break down some strengths and weaknesses of these four translation allies.

SDL Trados Studio 

There is a general consensus that Trados Studio is the most comprehensive CAT tool in the industry, supporting a wide range of formats and workflows. SDL offers a series of products and solutions for different needs with the additional option for users to buy and download plugins or add-ons. However, its comprehensiveness comes with a complex user interface (UI) that’s not as intuitive as others, sometimes resulting in a rough user experience.

Furthermore, another strength is its relative universality in the industry, and its versatility to integrate all kinds of formats (e. g., subtitles, HTML, InDesign, etc.). As a downside, in order to manage terminology, users need another application not included in the main product, called Trados Multiterm.

memoQ

This application also presents a comprehensive desktop version and a limited web-based editor. It allows LSPs and freelancers to manage documents, TBs, TMs, alignment pairs, and references, among many other features. memoQ also incorporates a QA solution in the same product, without the need of purchasing add-ons or extensions. Its UI is more friendly and intuitive for linguists and project managers, and it’s a ready-to-go solution for various needs. As a con, workflows, features, and layout are not as customizable as in other tools, but overall it’s a flexible and complete product for starters and veterans.

Wordfast Pro

Lighter and more affordable than the other two tools, Wordfast has the advantage of being compatible (and having official support) not only with Windows, but with Mac and Linux, so users can dispense with virtual machines or emulators. Its UI looks simpler and cleaner, but Wordfast Pro isn’t compatible with as many formats as the other tools. On another note, Wordfast Pro can integrate with Wordfast Server, an application for secure online translation memories and glossaries that allow real-time collaborative work among linguists. Despite being practical and useful, this feature can hinder integration between other CAT or QA tools, since users can’t have access to the TMs and TBs as editable files.

Memsource

While the three tools above are more focused on desktop-based solutions, Memsource is one of the most popular translation management systems based on the cloud. It has a lightweight editor and portal, offering TMs, TBs, quality management, and a preview mode. It has mobile integration through mobile apps for PMs and linguists, and a user-friendly interface that makes the software intuitive for both vendors and managers. One of its cons is that Memsource exports MXLIFF files, their native file, which is not easily supported by all the other localization tools.

***

Deciding which tool best suits your needs can be a tough call sometimes, since the choice depends on the client’s needs, usual workflows, resources used, etc. It’s always better to ask for advice from your localization partner before starting working on a certain tool. This way, everybody prevents potential setbacks and comes up collectively with the best solution.

Discover how Game Developers Can Make The Localization Process Easier
16/08/2022

How Game Developers Can Make The Localization Process Easier

When preparing to launch a game in a new locale, going a step past translation into localization is necessary to help a game connect with a new audience on a deeper level. The localization process not only translates the source material into a new language, but makes important adjustments to the content to take historial, religious, and cultural elements of the game into account. To make the localization process simpler from the get go, here are some steps game developers can take when handling the source language and development. 

1. Keep Future Localization Needs in Mind From Day One

If game developers can attempt to foresee any potential locales a game will be launching down the road, they can make the future localization process much simpler. It’s important to know what game elements are cultural and try to predict any “cultural clashes” with other markets that may occur. If you already know which elements could be problematic, you can later focus on adapting those to the new market or just avoid that market altogether and focus on launching in markets that are more similar to yours.

To predict promising locales before launching, it’s important to analyze the target market in terms of game genre preferences, growth in the last few years, potential revenue, and other key elements. What works for other developers will not necessarily work for you. You have to keep the unique characteristics of the game and the target market in mind. It’s a question of finding the ideal match for your game. This research can help you get an idea of what your future localization needs might look like. 

2. Keep Small Details in Mind

While it’s understandable why elements that could cause offense, such as religious or cultural references, may be your priority when creating a game that is primed for localization, you don’t want to forget the small details. You may need to adapt dates, time, numbers, and units of measurements during the game localization process. The formats for dates and units of measurement tend to differ across most languages, so as small as these details are, it’s important you keep them top of mind. 

3. Watch Out for Text in Images

If there is any text used in images, it’s likely you’ll need to localize that text as well. If you’re planning to launch in many different locales, it may save your localization team a lot of time and effort if you can avoid enriching images with text. Your graphics team will also be impacted, as they will have to redesign any images with text from scratch. In some cases this effort may be worth it, but you’ll want to think carefully before adding text to too many images. 

4. Build a Glossary Early On

Whether or not you’re planning on localizing your game content, creating a glossary early on in the game development process is key for maintaining consistency throughout the game. Having one will also make the localization process go much smoother. A glossary contains in-game terms and concepts such as character names, items, statuses, and artifacts that need to be preserved consistently. Being able to reference this glossary throughout the game development and localization process will keep everyone on track.

Internationalization, which is the design and development of a product or type of content keeps localization in mind from the get go. Setting up an internationalization process right away can help prepare your game for the localization process. For example, from day one you can avoid the use of concatenations in English that are extremely challenging for localization as they don’t transfer to most languages.

5. Communicate clearly

To help the localization team succeed, game developers need to be willing to communicate. It can be helpful to assign a point of contact that the localization team can turn to with any questions about the game. That way, the entire development team doesn’t have to worry about fielding questions and the localization team knows exactly who will be able to assist them. Another option you have available to you is implementing query sheets, which can facilitate organized and effective communication between everyone involved in a project. A query sheet is usually an online form or spreadsheet that tracks important details, status updates, and questions and answers about a project. This is a great option if you’re localizing the same game into multiple languages at the same time.

On any type of localization project, it is helpful to make any assets such as images, videos, walkthroughs, screenshots, and term bases with descriptions available to the localization team. That way, they have every resource they need to do the best job possible. Style guides can also be a valuable resource for the localization team.