Familiarize and LQA: Vital for Localization!

In our gaming media website AUTOMATON we published an article about the shark open world game “Maneater,” talking about the Japanese localization.

The AUTOMATON article (Japanese): https://automaton-media.com/articles/special-column/20201217-146504/

This title was released in May first on the PC/Xbox one, and then began selling internationally, but people said the quality of the localization was bad. So in December, they updated the localization with their December PS5/PS4 release to more natural Japanese.

The expressions were changed completely, and sentences that were impossible to decipher before were made easily understandable (check the article for details).

In that article, the publisher Deep Silver said they felt localization went so poorly because the team that did the localization did not understand the context or fully grasp what the game was about. In addition, they also believe the LQA (Linguistic QA),where things like that should have been found and corrected, was not done efficiently.

We often hear about development taking too long and not leaving enough time for proper localization, but in order to have a high quality product, you must make the time. When our company is working with customers on localization projects, we often tell them that “familiarizing” is indispensable.

What we’re referring to is the step of thoroughly understanding the game before actually doing the localization. Reading through the documents given to us by the customers, playing the game, understanding the world and the characteristics of each character is important.

And there’s one more thing that’s necessary for a high quality translation: LQA,  language quality assurance. When our company does translation, there are many times where all we have to go off of is text. Which means that no matter how well you try to understand the game, there are times that the nuances don’t quite match up properly when it comes to different scenes and characters. LQA finds those finer details and corrects them. A native language speaker looks for bugs while actually playing the game. They find issues, fix them, then repeat the process. The quality rises with every iteration of this cycle. As such, making time for LQA is absolutely necessary.

We’re well aware that it takes time to develop a game. There’s never enough time before the release day, there needs to be promotions done in tandem with the release, and there’s so much to do it feels like there’s no time to finish. However, as we believe companies who participate in localization want to offer a high quality product in order to get favorable reviews we greatly appreciate when there’s time set aside for translation and LQA in order to achieve that goal.

Game development companies who are considering localization, please keep us in mind for the future.

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