Game localisation is the process of translating and adapting a video game to reach new markets. In a multilingual world where almost everyone knows a little bit of English and Google Translate is omnipresent, is video game localisation still necessary? In a word, yes. And here are five reasons why.
Video game localisation provides a better user experience
Many of today’s video games are immersive experiences. They’re interactive movies, and the player is the star. While some gamers have used video games as a language learning tool, most people want the option to play in their native language.
And of course, changing the language is only the first step. Video games often contain cultural references or humour that doesn’t translate directly. A skilled localisation team can find equivalents in the target language and culture so that players aren’t confused or offended.
And of course, any localisation team worth its salt will help you avoid translation bloopers like these: 8 Famously Bad Video Game Translations
If you don’t localise, someone else might.
Video game fans want to play the games they covet in their own languages. In fact, if there’s not an official localised version available, fans may well devote their own time and resources to create one.
Most fan translation communities are careful not to promote piracy. Translations are generally released as software patches. So, they aren’t functional on their own, and you still have to purchase the original game to play. However, some Chinese volunteer translators were recently arrested for translating Japanese anime and video games into Chinese. And according to Slator.com, “a 2013 inquiry by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs found that Japanese manga, anime, and games illegally distributed to online Chinese sites amount to losses of JPY 3.8t (USD 34.8b).”
The online world is becoming more multilingual, not less
In the beginning, most of the content on the Internet was in English. But now, the linguistic landscape of the Internet is diversifying. More and more, people are becoming used to having content available in their native tongue. They expect it. And those expectations carry over to gaming, software, smartphones . . . and gaming. Read more