Localization, as we all know, can be a really tough thing do to. Most of people who doesn’t know this well enough, believes that localization is just to translate the game – as I said in another posts.
After reading a lot about it, I would like to right a few tips that I made myself and, as I understand, how localization works.
1 – Objective: To localize is to put the game into a specifically country. People expect you to sell the game to game players as they start buying it. The game industry is growing every day and all the time there’s a new game coming right up to your console or PC. And, believe me, you would love and enjoy the game much more if you have its own your language. I say that because I am playing Skyrim and, as much as I am enjoying playing it and know how to speak English, it is pretty tiring reading and understanding everything.
2 – Smoothness: It is not (only) important that the game is translated. It helps, but what really make the difference is how the gamer will be inside the game and how his/her attention will be hold BECAUSE of the translation. The player cannot “realized” that the game was translated. Every version of the game has to give the impression that has been done at that own language. It is quite frustrating when you are so immerse into a game and, because of a word, you just realized that it is a game and give the face “WTF?”. Not just talking about the writing, but the audio must be also as good as the original.
3 – Testing: It was a huge game, you spent hours/days/weeks/months translating and, when you think it’s ready, it is not. Sorry, but as far as I understand, you can’t do a one-time perfect job. Even if you are writing a text on your own language. How many mistakes you make? Don’t you ever ask someone to check it? The same happen with the game translation/localization. Talking about me, When I translated Alien Shooter, I called a few friends to play on my computer and asked them what they thing about it, what could I do better and if the texts were ok. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to translate the audio. And that is another important thing. If you don’t have that possibility – as me – make sure that what is being said is the same that was translated. Some people who does understand English will get confuse when listening that important Mission report and reading the text and, because of some weird thing translated, he will lost the entire context. And to make things better, he was talking with a kamizake guy who was about then explode. In other words, that was a one time listening. Frustrating….
4 – Like the game: After studying about it, localizing, translating and testing may not be as good as it seems – as one side of the story. As said before, imaging working on a game that you hate? As me, I am less like to play racing games or sport games. Imagine if I have to localize one of those games? All the players’ status and story (sport games) or info about car parts, engines and how things work. I know that would be a perfect world to work on Fallout 3 and later on Skyrim and later on World of Warcraft and then Dishonored. Even translating SUPER MARIO would be wonderful!!!! But for sure, if you are starting on this area, you may have to create a portfolio or build your name into the market (me right now…) and you may have to work on things that it is not even the game area (me again right now…. 🙂
5 – MOST IMPORTANT: LIKE IT AT ALL: Not much to say. Localizing, testing, translating are jobs like any other. Like your work and you will never have to work one day.
Hope that helps! I know I still have A LOT of things to learn, but I do have to start from somewhere.