*Japanese Audio with English and Chinese Subtitles
A lot of people may have never heard of LQA, or are unsure of what it is. Even within the industry, it’s a phrase that can catch people off-guard.
First of all, LQA stands for Linguistic Quality Assurance. To put it simply, it’s a type of quality management concerned with language related issues and bugs within translated games. Native language testers play through a game with translated UI, text, or voice over to check for issues such as text display problems, line break issues, and whether the translation is appropriate within the context.
Normally when a game is translated, the text is received from a client in Word or Excel format, and after the text is translated, the text is returned to the client in the same format. Afterwards, the client implements the translated text into the game. At this point comes the LQA; a native tester plays the game to ensure that any remaining issues are fixed.
Often when translating, there is a lack of information. Some examples are not knowing where a text will be used, who is speaking, or what kind of scene the text is from. Depending on schedule and budget, LQA is not always requested, but to provide the highest quality translation possible, it is a very important part of the process.
As an example, take the following names for a type of move in a game, “Phoenix Dance,” “New Phoenix Dance,” and “Extreme Phoenix Dance.” As you can see, in the English translation the names have ended up much longer than their original Japanese counterparts.
Many games utilize text boxes to display certain text, and there are often limits of how much text can fit in a single box. While if notified in advance, a translation can be adjusted to fit, but there are often problems that are unknown until actually seen in the game. This is why LQA is so important.
There is an unfortunate example of something that happened to an actual game (not localized by AGM). The phrase “LOG-IN BONUS” was translated to French as “BONUS DE CONNEXION.” However, once implemented in the game, the text got cut off and became “BONUS DE CON” upon release. Unfortunately, this forms an offensive swear word in French, and the meaning was completely changed. It’s not hard to imagine how the users reacted!
And so, to avoid problems such as this, as well as checking that the language fits the characters and the scene, checking for line break issues, and many other reasons, we highly recommend LQA on any translation.
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