[Q&A] I’m interested in requesting a localization! From Estimate to Workflow

Active Gaming Media Inc. is involved mainly in the translation and localization of video games, having worked on many titles from AAA to indie games.

We receive many inquiries related to the localization/translation of games from around the world, most of which are for cost estimates or regarding what languages we provide.

Here we have collected some frequently asked questions and answers regarding our company’s services, including cost estimates.

We hope that this will be helpful for anyone interested in requesting translation or localization services.

1. What exactly is localization?

Put simply, “localization” means translating a work into the context of the local culture.

This involves not just literally translating the words, but also utilizing equivalent local cultural aspects and traditions, editing out anything that would be considered taboo, and/or referencing current trends and pop culture that would be more familiar to the “local” culture of the target language.

In essence, localization is akin to relocating a work to a more familiar setting.

However, localization is not a term that is widely understood.

When we say localization, generally what we mean is that we translate not just the words, but also the content in a way that the players will be able to better immerse themselves in the game as if it were made in their home country.



2. How much do you charge for translation services?

It varies depending on the languages involved, but as an example, our rate for a Japanese to English translation is 16 yen per Japanese character. The fee covers the initial translation plus the language check and rewrites, as well as a service fee.

The basic formula is the set rate for the language pair x number of characters (or words).

All of our translations and checks are done by native speakers.

This is all included in the estimate, with no additional costs.

The translation rate may differ depending on the content of the translation, and we also offer bulk volume discounts. Please feel free to contact us for more information.



3. What do you require to make an estimate?

We ask that you please provide the file(s) you wish to have translated.

Once we have received the file(s), we are able to provide an estimate. If you do not have the files, we can calculate a rough estimate based on the language pairs and the estimated number of characters/words.

 

4. We only need to provide the text for translation?

If the text involves an already established franchise, it’s easier to make sure everything is consistent if we can also receive a glossary from previously released titles. It’s also helpful if we can be provided with planning materials, as well as any supplementary materials that provide insight into the setting and the characters. It can also be extremely helpful if a build can be provided to allow us to play the game and better grasp the specifications.

 

5. How long does it take to complete a localization/translation?

On average, a translator can translate roughly 3,000 characters, or 1,500 words per day.

If there is need to have the project done faster, it’s possible to divide the work between multiple translators, however this runs the risk of losing coherency and there may be some inconsistencies in the translation. We recommend splitting the translation between no more than three translators.

In the event several translators are used, we use specialized translation software to assist in keeping the translation as consistent as possible. It also becomes even more important to ensure that a checker is employed to confirm the translation.

 

6. What is LQA?

LQA is short for Linguistic Quality Assurance, which refers to language-specific debugging. A game build with the localized text, audio, and UI is played by native speakers of that language and checked for any garbled text or unnatural line-breaks, and to ensure that the translated text matches the context in which it appears in the game.

 

7. Is LQA necessary?

Translation work is primarily done with just the data, such as on excel files. In some cases, the translations are done blind, with no information on where the text will be displayed, or who is speaking in what context. For this reason, it’s necessary to see the translated text together with the associated audio files in the game itself.

 

8. Can I request translations other than for games?

Of course. We provide a wide variety of translation services, from manga to technical manuals and contracts.

 

9. How many languages do you provide?

In addition to Japanese and English, we are also able to provide translations for 35 different languages including Chinese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, as well as several European and Asian languages.

 

10. What kind of localization experience do you have?

We’ve participated in the localization of over 500 titles.

For more information please see our portfolio.

Please direct any inquiries about game translation, localization, or overseas expansion to: [email protected]

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