[Localization & Translation] Things You Should Know Before Deploying Overseas

Currently our company, Active Gaming Media, employs staff from over 20 countries and has more than 3,000 registered translators. Moreover, every day we get inquiries from translators all over the world, who wish to work with us.

Within these inquiries we often get aspiring professional translators asking,

“How can I become a game translator?”

To these people, we give the following answer:

“Of course brushing up on your 2nd language is a given, but it is also very important to command a high level of skill with your native language. Apart from games, it also helps to have a good feel for many types of entertainment, such as manga, books, and movies.”

This article is not aimed at people wishing to become pro translators, but rather, people who are thinking of or aiming to translate and localize their game for deployment overseas. And so, I wish to provide some useful information on game localization.

Translation and localization is no simple matter.

There is a common misunderstanding that if a person can speak a foreign language, then that person can immediately perform translation and localization. For people who do not work in the industry, this is an understandable conclusion to come to.

However, if I had to say, while a person like this might manage a translation by itself, unfortunately the act of localization is not so easy.

In game localization, when dealing with even the shortest string of words, the worldview and atmosphere of the work needs to be taken into account to properly convey the correct nuance intended by the game’s makers. It is a time-consuming, painstaking process.

What makes a good translation and localization?

Here is where people’s opinions get divided. Some people think that a translation that is faithful to the original is a good translation. Others think that a translation that makes its content accessible for the target audience is a good translation.

While the answer to the question largely depends on the individual tastes of the reader, our company tends to go with the idea that a good translation should be accessible to the audience.

Whether it’s playing a game, reading a manga, or watching anime, a good localization should make the audience feel like it was originally created in the target language.

The president of our company, for example, is from Spain. When he was younger, the anime “Captain Tsubasa” was frequently aired on TV in Europe.

The names of the characters were changed so that Tsubasa became Oliver and Wakabayashi became Benji, and the localization was so good that for the longest time, he thought that the anime had originated in his own country.

And so, a good localization should feel completely natural to the audience, allowing them to become absorbed in the fiction of the work, rather than thinking about the language or the translation.

Therefore a localizer needs to not only know the language to translate, but also the culture, politics, religion, and lifestyle of both the source region and target region.

As well as this, LQA (the checking of a translation after it is implemented into a work) is a very important part of localization.

And so it is our wish that anyone thinking of deploying their product overseas, will consider these points and be willing to spend the time necessary on the most important parts of translation and localization. It is our promise that by spending our time on our work, that we will be able to provide a high quality product.

Translation/Localization Portfolio: https://activegamingmedia.com/en/portfolio/service

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