Karin holds a MBA and game design diploma. Karin freelances at LAI Global Game Services and spends most of her days developing games at her indie studio. You can follow her @KarinESkoog and learn more about LAI's localization and publishing activities @LAIGlobalGame.
Congratulations! – You made a game (or are nearly done making your game)!
At this stage in development, many developers wonder if they should localize their game at all, and if so, which languages they should consider for localization.
If you fall into this category, you may have done some preliminary research and found out that there are these things called FIGS (French, Italian, German, and Spanish) and CJK (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean), both of which are popular language groupings within the game industry…
We frequently see articles about Chinese regulations on Gamasutra and across industry sites, with talk of consoles being banned and then reintroduced. The Chinese games
market is a complicated space, particularly if you don’t have local ties to China.
If you’re a mobile games developer, you may have noticed that the market became even more complicated this past year.
Yet another regulation introduced will prohibit your mobile game from being released in China unless you navigate very carefully.
Market Opportunity in China
China represents a huge market potential, but it is likely most mobile game developers who try to enter the Chinese market in the near future will fail.
China is currently the “most valuable [mobile games market] in the world” according to GamesIndustry.biz.
A recent report from Niko Partners estimates 465 million mobile players in China by the end of 2016, generating $1.3 billion from mobile game exports, nearly doubling to $2.1 billion by 2020.
Just yesterday, TechCrunch posted an article stating China has surpassed the US in iOS App Store revenue, with Chinese mobile games consumption far exceeding the US (driving 75% of App Store revenue!).
One of the first things I do when I start playing a game is to check the language options. I am genuinely curious how many languages developers/publishers chose to localize to, as well as which languages. (I also love testing my language skills by playing games in other languages, usually French, Spanish, or Swedish when available.)
It is usually difficult to find ample language options in games, particularly for voiceover.
Acquiring New Language Skills
Even though I haven’t studied Portuguese, I played WoW on a Portuguese server for a while and ended up picking up a fair number of words by questing with others. I typed to them in Spanish (using my rather limited Spanish language knowledge at the time), and they typed back in Portuguese. Although some words are similar, Spanish and Portuguese are very much two separate languages.
It actually didn’t take long before I was able to use some Portuguese words while playing WoW. It was a whole different way of experiencing the game, and a whole lot of fun! Continue reading →
Video game localization is one part of game development that often remains enshrouded in mystery. Why was place name X changed in the German version of a game? Why did that character’s name become something entirely different? It isn’t always immediately clear to gamers why localization teams make the decisions they do…
Sometimes it has to do with a direct word translation sounding too much like a pre-existing product in another region of the world. Sometimes one possible version of translated text makes no sense in Spanish or Japanese and needs to be adapted to fit within cultural context.
It is even possible a part of a storyline may bear too much resemblance to an actual historical event within, say Asia, and large sections of the text need to be entirely rewritten so the game isn’t banned within the region.
Localized Pokémon Names
Since Pokémon GO has been making such a big splash worldwide, we wanted to take the opportunity to discuss game localization using real world examples. While Pokémon names may not contain particularly historical or culturally-heavy implications, that doesn’t mean their localization is straightforward.
Pokémon characters are a good example of how localization can be accomplished in many different ways. Some Pokémon names are alliterations, whereas others resonate more with the character’s appearance. This means that Pokémon names are a good example of how video game localization teams sometimes use creativity to develop unique names in other languages.
To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine. Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes, And dupp’d the chamber-door; Let in the maid, that out a maid Never departed more.
Valentine’s Day is already here! To some people, it means doing something romantic for a loved one. And to some game developers, it means adding holiday-themed content to their games. This may mean adding hearts, Cupid arrows, and pink items, such as in Angry Birds Seasons, or it may mean letter and gift deliveries depending on relationships with in-game characters, such as in Animal Crossing.
The holiday, as we know it today, is said to have its roots in 14th century England. According to scholars, February 14th first became associated with love and romance thanks to Geoffrey Chaucer, the “Father of English literature” and notable poet of the Middle Ages. Chaucer’s writing supposedly incorporates the first written record of Valentine’s Day: Continue reading →
LocaLAIse This! (pronounced “Localize This”) features an interview with Kate Edwards, Executive Director of the IGDA. Kate has worked extensively as a geopolitical strategist and localization expert at leading companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. She has worked on numerous AAA titles, including the Dragon Age series, Modern Warfare 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Mass Effect 3, and Halo 4.
In this episode, Kate discusses emerging markets, proper culturalization of games, and her work consulting on AAA titles. You can check it out at this link, or download it for free from the iTunes Store.
It’s a job and a half finding all of the industry conferences and events happening around the world, so we made life easier for you by providing a comprehensive list of relevant translation conferences and locations/dates. Also check out our earlier post with video game conferences and which ones we will be attending.
If there are any conferences we missed, please let us know @LanguageAutoInc. We greatly appreciate and encourage feedback!
It’s a job and a half finding all of the industry conferences and events happening around the world, so we made life easier for you by providing a comprehensive list of video game conferences and locations/dates. We even included relevant Twitter pages so you can stay up to date on the latest conference news and updates. You can find the conferences LAI will be attending by looking for the events highlighted in purple.
This list may not be complete and may not reflect the most recent information available. Please check the relevant webpages to learn more about these conferences.
If there are any conferences we missed, please let us know @LanguageAutoInc. We greatly appreciate and encourage feedback! We also have a Twitter list of 70+ video game conferences. Subscribe now to easily stay on top of conference updates.
The International CES is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, serving as the event for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years. Registration opens October 1st. On-site registration fee beginsJanuary 2nd at $200. Continue reading →