Game Localization Worldwide

At our company, while we work with Japanese game companies, many of our jobs comes from companies outside of Japan. Recently, our customer base in Europe, the Americas, and Asia, South America and the Middle East has been increasing. There are minor differences when working with game companies around the world, but no major differences in the process between countries.

Nonetheless, we give advice to our clientele from a Japanese perspective, as we’re located in Japan. So, what sort of information do we base our advice on for companies overseas? In today’s article I’ll write about localization in Europe and America.

1. The Power of English in the World and Languages to Localize Into

Games are made worldwide, but as you’d expect, most games are made in English. On top of being the world’s most-used language, there are countries where English is not the native language with a high proficiency in English, such as the following.

This link has a ranking of English proficiency by country broken up into 5 levels (very high, high, normal, low, very low). Of that, the countries ranked “very high” are listed below.

1.Netherlands

2.Denmark

3.Finland

4.Sweden

5.Norway

6.Austria

7.Portugal

8.Germany

9.Belgium

10.Singapore

11.Luxembourg

12.South Africa

*Japan was categorized as #55 and “low.”

Source: EF English Proficiency Index

2. The World’s Game Market

Just because a game is localized or translated doesn’t guarantee sales. It also depends on the size of the target country’s market. Here’s a chart showing the top ten game markets with their native language and English proficiency rank.

Source: Newzoo, 2020. All reports: https://newzoo.com/insights/rankings/

Speaking with our clients outside of Japan, there are many who think of Japan, China, and Korea as one Asian market, but looking at the chart, it’s clear that’s not the case. If you want the sales, instead of localizing into Japanese alone, it might be better to localize into Chinese and Korean as well and release them into those three markets.

3. Expenses

I’m sure you’re wondering the cost of localizing from English into other languages, and whether our company is more or less expensive compared to localization companies outside of Japan. To make a long story short, they’re likely about the same price or slightly more expensive than AGM. 

The cost of translation changes based on the target language, but generally the market price is about from 0.12 to 0.15 EUR, or 0.14 to 0.18 USD per word or character.

Food for thought, right? We hope you’ll find this information useful for expanding your business overseas

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