Important Points about Localization…

Hi!

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.

Originally posted in 23/02/2014.

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Translation and Localization in Brazil

Hi!

Talking about Localization, we saw that this is the process of  the language adaptation, appearance, and functionality of a product to the public in a specific country. There are many things to take care of and this professional has to be aware of the culture and more.

Deeper into this subject, we have the Brazilian Portuguese Localization. No different from what I said before, but aiming the Brazilian public. Our biggest problem here, and the complains of many people that I talk to, are the movies. Dubbed movies are, most of the time, horrible to watch and make a lot of ears bleed if you know how to speak English. Of course not all the Brazilians can learn English – or another language – and watch the movie with the original sound, but, if they only knew what happens, they may agree with me.

Well, one example is the translation of movie titles. Let work with a really nice movie that I liked a lot because of the sound tracks – Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. In Portuguese, the translation of that is “Tenacious D – Uma Dupla Infernal” (In Portugal is it call – Rock dos Infernos – En: Rock from Hell). So, let supposed that the movie was released in Brazil and we had to translate to English. The name would be “Tenacious D – An Infernal Double” or “An Infernal Couple”, something like that. Wouldn’t that sound pretty weird?

Now, assuming that the movie is about 2 guys that are looking for a magic guitar pic, why wouldn’t translate the title to “Tenacious D – A palheta do Destino” (Original English name: Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny).

Well, that’s because that wouldn’t be so good as “Uma dupla Infernal”. If you research and check the movies here in Brazil, most of it has really different names and that is because of Localization.

I started to understand why they give such names to the movies that would sound so good also in Portuguese. Brazilian people are not used to these kinds of names and, to reach most of the population, they have to call that. According to the online newspaper ultimosegundo.ig.com.br, only 2% of the Brazilian population knows how to speak fluent English. Then imagine you releasing a movie here In Brazil with the original title. And more, most of the Brazilian people are not used to the kind of music that is played on the movie. Hard/Heavy music are some styles really hard to get into the Brazilian culture. So, that’s why – and for other reasons – that they had to change the name.

I have to say that really makes me feel bad, because, when talking about music, it is a pretty good movie, but I have to agree that it wouldn’t reach so many people with the original title translated.

There is where we come with the localization. Not only on the movies, but in games. If you do not do a really good job, not only translating but localizing, something in the game will be out of tune for the Brazilian public and it make take you game – which can be amazing – to a disaster just because you didn’t do a good job.

Another think about it is how you translate and how you localize a specific game to a specific public. But I will try to talk about that in another post.

Video Game Localization – Part II

Miss part one? Read it here!

IMPORTANT: DUE TO A FEW COMMENTS LATELY, I WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT ALL THE TEXT RIGHTS ARE EXCLUSIVE TO THAIS CASTANHEIRA AND THE TEXT IS NOT MINE.

For more information about her, please note her website – http://www.thaiscastanheira.com/en.html


TEXT SOURCE: http://blog.gengo.com/video-game-localization/

A Successfully Localized Game

With the huge amount of games being released daily and the fierce competition for the next big hit increasing rapidly, the localization process is in many cases, unfortunately, becoming more about speed and output and less about quality and consistency. In many instances, translators simply don’t have enough time to study the game, play the game and perform Quality Assurance on the game once it goes live. In fact, in my opinion, it’s becoming very rare to see a producer that actually takes all of this into consideration when planning the localization project schedule.

Conversely, there are still some very successful cases of localization out there as well. So, how about we focus on the successful cases and use them as our benchmark? And if you’re a game producer considering going global with your game, here’s a few tips I can share with you:

1. Hire a Localization Project Manager

Not too long ago, I was lucky enough to be part of the localization team for a Facebook game called Wild West Town. The game was created by a company by the name of Clipwire, and they did a fantastic job too. Why? Well, partly because they hired an in-house Project Manager (PM) to simultaneously manage all aspects of the localization process.

In a simple example, one scenario where the PM will jump in to help localizers remain efficient might be when a word that has many different meanings needs quick clarification. For instance, take the word “home” and on its own without any context it can mean one’s residence, the first page of a website or the start of a game. Because localizers can’t take any chances with words like this, they depend on the PM to guide them through their translations.

Also, by being there during the localization process, the PM can ensure that translations are correct the first time so that the entire team isn’t wasting time fixing minor errors after the localization is complete. Good characteristics of a PM include someone who can:

  • Manage deadlines to keep the translation and localization of a project on schedule
  • Ensure that mistakes are fixed in a timely manner
  • Prepare the files for translators
  • Answer questions that localizers have about specific content
  • Act as liaison between localizers and others in the game development (i.e. engineers, designers and content team)

2. Make Translators Play the Game

 Like I mentioned above, it’s always best that game localizers actually play the game. Still using Clipwire as a good example, this company provided all its translators everything they needed to play the game thus making it easier and faster for them to complete missions and clear levels. Trust me, there’s nothing like having an unlimited supply of game money, supplies, XP points and energy when playing a game. 😉 (Blog’s Author: That is soooo truth. haha. I had to do it with my translation of the game Alien Shooter – Vengeance from Sigma’s Team.)

The more time a game localizer has to spend with the game, the better suited they are when it comes time to using their creative insights for completing the localization process. It is this personal experience with the game, as opposed to knowledge or techniques (although these are also important), that really makes a huge difference in the end. Translators who play the games before localizing them have a chance to:

  • Experience the feel of the game
  • See the characters
  • Learn how the game really works
  • Conceptualize the story
  • And much more!

3. Bribe Designers Any Way Possible (Within Reason)

 (Blog’s Author: This is also important. Some words in a specific language fit better than others. Try to translate something into Japanese, for example, and the same word into Russian or German. It will fit different at the screen and the designer probably will have to go over many times through this as the text examples…)

If you don’t already know how much designers like to change their work once it’s finished, the answer is not at all! In the world of game localization, however,  the words “not at all” just don’t exist. The reason is simple. Every new language a game is localized into means the game must be tweaked and adjusted so that it meets the standards required by its new audience. This is why you want to treat designers nicely—give them lots of caffeine, candy and everything else they need to keep happy.

Here is a quick example for you. When the original version of a game (let’s say it’s a US English version) is created, the writers, developers, artists and everyone else on the team has a responsibility to create an environment that works for a US-based English speaking gamer—and that’s only one language. A designer could very well have to change the same image ten times for a game that’s localized into ten languages. For example, take a look at the photo to the right to see how the words “limited time offer” have been localized into several different languages. This is exactly what I’m talking about. Now here are some examples of what designers have to keep an eye out for:

  • A localizer might mistranslate a term due to an inaccuracy in context
  • The limitations of the new language effects the appearance of characters or game layout
  • The localizer later came up with a more precise translation for a sentence
  • Sentence lengths are either too short or too long when translated (Portuguese can be 30% longer than English!)

In short, a lot can change quickly in the midst of the localization process. And this is why it’s important to build in some flexibility so that changes to design and language can be made as needed. Above all else, keeping peace within the team is key. Of course, finding the perfect blend of patience and creativity is sometimes easier said than done.

4. Don’t Ignore the Quality Assurance Phase

 Quality Assurance is a very important step if you’re a game developer trying to create a successful game. This is particularly crucial if your game is one that’s played online through social media platforms like Facebook. The reason is because there are tons of social games out there to be played, which means the odds of someone choosing to play a poorly translated game when they can play one that’s been localized well isn’t likely. Not to mention, because social games are usually geared towards the more casual player (as opposed to the serious gamer), they have to be localized well to keep players engaged and coming back for more. Although there is a long laundry list of different areas that need to be checked and re-checked by the localization team, some of the important ones not to be left off the list include:

  • Checking for consistency with the images
  • Making sure character dialogues are clear and accurate
  • Verifying that all the content of the game is in the target language
  • Checking abbreviations—all it takes is one slip like “abb evry sgl wd of stce” to ruin that special moment for a gamer

(Blog’s Author: This is something that many people that want to work with translation/localization does not know. To have a good quality in what you are doing, you will probably have to go over the same place at the game thousands of times. Of course you may have a lot of people to help you if you are working for a big company, but on my case translating by myself, I had to go over the game over and over and over and over again….. okay, not that I didn’t like that, but some people may find it tedious. Not me! :))

So, that’s it! If you want to get into this industry, make sure to keep in mind that, as any other job you will have good things and bad things. The different is how you treat them and deal with all the situations. Something that is a problem for you, may be a solution for me….

Take care!

Video Game Localization – Part I

Hello folks,

As looking over the Internet, I found this text from Thaís Castanheira, a Translator/Localization gamer in Brazil. Please, take sometime to read it, because this is pretty amazing and has some really good information.

IMPORTANT: DUE TO A FEW COMMENTS LATELY, I WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT ALL THE TEXT RIGHTS ARE EXCLUSIVE TO THAIS CASTANHEIRA AND THE TEXT IS NOT MINE.

For more information about her, please note her website – http://www.thaiscastanheira.com/en.html

TEXT SOURCE: http://blog.gengo.com/video-game-localization/

What Makes a Great Game Localizer?

 Does it take a true game enthusiast to make a great game localizer? Well, in my opinion, the answer is a resounding “yes!” In fact, once in a while, fellow translators ask me how to break into game translation and the first thing I always tell them is “you must like video games.” The way I see it, translators who don’t play video games don’t have the necessary background and understanding required for translating the specific and niche-terms gamers expect in the gaming world. Not to mention, game reviewers can generally tell if the localizer is, in fact, a true gamer. That’s all there is to it.

Not everyone agrees with me on this. Some believe it doesn’t matter who the translator is as long as they’re a professional. But let me give you one example of why I am skeptical of this. (Blog’s Author: I do have to agree with her. You can’t have a good translation if you don’t love what you are doing. Otherwise, will be only another job…)

Once I was asked to translate the back cover of Assassin’s Creed – Revelations from English into Brazilian Portuguese. At the time, while I was aware of the game, I hadn’t actually played it. And even though I wasn’t a fan, I didn’t have to be one to know how important it was for those who were—especially since it was the third game in the series.

If you aren’t a gamer, think about it this way. For a moment, imagine if you had played this game from the very beginning. Not only would you have seen exactly how the story first evolved, but you would have also saved the game countless times as you slowly worked your way through each level of the game defeating bosses, rescuing entire villages and discovering new secrets taking you to new and exciting places. Next, imagine that you cleared the first game, then the second and now you’re ready to play what could be the third and final chapter of this thrilling story.

Clearly, as a gamer, you’d want everything to be perfect, right? And this is the exact reason I knew that I had my work cut out for me. The content I was given to translate included:

  • A portion of a speech given by Ezio Auditore, the main character in the story
  • Copy about the weapons, enemies and an entire universe I wasn’t familiar with at all
  • General marketing and PR materials about the game

 Translation vs. Localization

 (Blog’s Author: This is also important. Translate is what really the word means: To translate. You simply work with one language and translate to another taking care of grammar, puntuation, understanding, local vocabulary, etc. But to localize is something totally different from that. You have to deal with the region you are working with, way of speaking, people, culture and more. You do Translate the text, but taking care with another things that a Translator wouldn’t normally care.)

I had a choice. I could either translate, or I could localize. And when I say “localize,” I’m not talking about just localizing it into Portuguese, but into Portuguese as it would be used in the world of Assassin’s Creed. This means translating words with the same vocabulary that appeared in previous games and marketing materials. And because fans of the game would expect it to be done this way, that’s what I did. Now let me tell you how.

  1. Become Familiar with the Language

(Blog’s Author: I always tell people that asks me how I work when translating a speech of some character. It is not just translating it. I have to see the character, understand how he/she thinks, her feelings, thoughts, where he lives, why he lives, etc. I try to understand the character because the way it speaks would affect the whole game. Can you picture Kratos talking smart words and like a nerd, just because the translator thought that would be better to use difficult words because of the developer or to impress with the work? Or even, that some bad vocabulary is not appropriated for the game and change it…..)

Gamers are your most valuable source of information when it comes to learning more about a game. And that’s why I always like to start a project by browsing the internet to read forums, pages about the game and comments in the target language. Having this background knowledge can be very helpful.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about. The main character in Assassin’s Creed (Ezio) uses a weapon called a hookblade. The Portuguese translation of this word is lâmina-gancho, but research showed me that most Brazilian players actually refer to it by its English name instead.

The reason is because the previous games of this series didn’t have subtitles in Portuguese, so the gamers learned the name of the weapons in English. Without research, I would have never known this important detail and I could have mistakenly translated the word into something that was “correct,” even though it wasn’t the word adopted by the gaming community.

Now how about this next example? The localized title of Assassin’s Creed is Ordem dos Assassinos (Assassin’s Order) instead of Credo dos Assassinos as many might think it would be. Again, the bottom line is that translating critical words (i.e. the title of the game) without careful research can be a move that’s detrimental—take my gamer’s word for it.

  1. Learn the Ins and Outs of the Characters

Who is this guy Ezio and why is he an Assassin? What is the Assassin’s Creed anyways? How was this game translated into my language in the first place?

Essentially, these were the types of questions I was pondering at the start of this project. Finding the answers definitely required some investigation. So I dove into Ezio’s life, learned his story and guess what happened? I loved it so much that I became a fan! In fact, I even bought the book and it still sits on my shelf today.

If possible, I also like to play previous versions of the localized game, but this isn’t always an option. Otherwise, I do whatever it takes to go deep into the story and use the (sometimes little) time available to try and understand what it is that makes so many people crazy about it—even if I don’t always agree.

In the case of Assassin’s Creed, I was hooked from the start, but this isn’t always how it works out. That’s why, regardless of whether I share the same sentiment about any of the games I translate, I always make sure I respect the feelings of the gamers who play them.

For more information about her, please note her website – http://www.thaiscastanheira.com/en.html

Text source: http://blog.gengo.com/video-game-localization/

10 Tips for a Localization Work

Good night!

Here we are with another post about Localization.

However, before we go to the text, it is important to underline something that I guess I forgot to mention. If you are willing to work over the Localization Industry, another important skill that you should have is Literature. I mean, read a lot. You have to be able to communicate yourself with other (as a QA tester) and be able to understand about different worlds, ways of speaking, environments and more.

Supposed you are going to work in a game which goes in the Middle Age. You can just go through translating everything, expecting that everything is ok. NO. You have to understand what happened in Middle Age. What was like to be a knight or a peasant, how they used to speak with each other, how they treat each other and more.

Your job as a Translator/Localization is to help the people over the worked language to have the same immersion as they would have at the original idiom. You have to pass the feeling, the anger, the happiness, the sadness of the character. Otherwise, the player would feel left out and would keep thinking that you should have done this and that, instead of playing the game and have fun.

Another thing is that you can just translate everything literally because the text won’t fit at the box because of the size of the words. That is where comes in handy the reading from the world you are working with and an understanding of the language you are dealing with.

As I was translating Alien Shooter 2: Vengeance by myself, I had to work a lot over the same dialog to make it feel natural and not translated, check the words all the time and make sure that, even changing the dialog, the meaning of the text had to be the same. I played the game about fifty times or more to make sure that everything was according; and still, some parts of it I am not entirely satisfy.

It takes time, it is hard, it may be boring but it is wonderful to work with it if you like it.

Well, too much of speaking, let go to the tips!

Enjoy!

Thanks for the source of the text www.gamasutra.com

The days of “all your base are belong to us” style translations might be thing of the past, but localization is still one of game development’s Cinderella specialisms.

“A lot of people in the industry still don’t understand localization very well,” says Kate Edwards, chair of the IGDA’s Game Localization Special Interest Group. “Many still think of it as something done at the end, but it is as much a part of the development cycle as coding or writing or designing.”

But as the pressure for games to connect with a global audience grows, localization is starting to shed its afterthought status. When Sandra Pourmarin, localization manager at Ubisoft Montreal, joined the studio eight years ago, localization was closer in status to the testing department than the development team.

“All the localization resources were on a separate floor and worked as a service to the development team,” she says. “Now the localization project manager is under the direct responsibility of the producers and we’re on the same floor as the team. It’s a huge improvement.”

Localization is also starting to show that it’s about more than translation as developers and publishers start to think more about how their games will go down in different parts of the world.

“Everyone perceives localization as language and for the most part it is but that is not all localization is,” says Edwards. “Culturalization — thinking about the use of symbols, environments, costumes, everything that isn’t language — is also part of the big umbrella of localization.”

So how can developers and publishers make sure their international appeal is up to scratch? To find out we asked the localization pros who have worked on games such as Diablo III, Assassin’s Creed and Fallout 3 for their helpful hints.

  1. Make the context clear

Games often get translated before they are finished, so any text or speech handed over to the localization studios needs to be accompanied with detailed information about the context, says Irene Panzeri, content lead at localization studio Synthesis which has worked on titles such as Diablo III and Red Dead Redemption.

“Languages don’t share the same grammar rules. In English ‘you’ is both plural and singular, but in French the singular is ‘tu’ and the plural ‘vous’ with the verb changing accordingly. Knowing how many people a character is talking to is a common dilemma for translators.” Clarifying words with dual meanings is also important, she adds: “Does ‘aim at the tank’ mean aim at a fuel container or an armored vehicle?”

  1. Let localization in early

Getting the localization team involved as early as possible can reduce crunch time headaches says Pourmarin. “With Assassin’s Creed: Revelations the localization team worked with the development team on localization earlier and it really smoothed the process,” she says.

“If we are aware of specific content that might be a challenge we can prepare for that and come up with options for how to address it rather than trying to do it in the rush time at the end of the project.

“For example on Assassin’s Creed, we had cameras that needed to move to avoid showing some nudity that would be a problem in some countries. Being able to identify that early in the process is very precious. If you arrive late on a project with those issues there might not be time to tackle them properly and that will result in additional cost and harm the quality of the game.”

  1. Current events matter

Cultural attitudes aren’t fixed and current events can change how a game will be received. “When I was localizing My Weight Loss Coach for the DS, a product manager in Belgium raised a flag about the use of the word ‘pedometer’ because there had just been a lot of pedophilia cases in Belgium, and it was felt the word was too close, so we replaced it with another word,” says Pourmarin, who says Ubisoft uses its network of national offices and external localization partners to help spot these kinds of topical concerns.

Kate Edwards, founder of game culturalization consultancy Englobe, agrees that current affairs can affect how games are received: “Back in 1999, Age of Empires had a Japanese samurai on the box and Korean retailers didn’t want to put it on the shelves, because at that time Japan and Korea were at the height of one of their rows about the Takeshima/Dokdo islands in the Sea of Japan. But I think if you released that today there wouldn’t be the same problem.”

  1. Impose a text freeze

To keep translation costs under control and development on schedule, Paradox Interactive, the Swedish publisher-developer behind the Divine Wind and Europa Universalis games, sets and enforces a cut-off date for changes to in-game text. “At a certain point we have a text freeze, which is when our text files get sent to the translators,” says Linda Kiby, associate producer at Paradox.

“Because we want our games to be moddable, we put all our text in CSV files, as that is the easiest way of allowing people to do that, and it also means we can just paste the finished translation into the text files. But it also means that if anyone changes anything or removes a line after the text is sent for translation that can create chaos, which is why the text freeze is so important.”

  1. Translators should be asking questions

Since external translation agencies don’t get to see the text within the context of the game itself, alarm bells should start ringing if they aren’t coming back with questions says Omar Salleh, game director at Tragnarion Studios, the Spanish developer of the XBLA, PSN and Mac third-person shooter Scourge: Outbreak.

“I’ve worked with some who took the text said everything was fine and we didn’t hear back until they were done,” he says. “We didn’t think too much about it at the time, but when playtesting the game with the localized text we realized that while the text was grammatically correct, it didn’t really fit the style of the game.”

  1. Be aware of cultural issues from day one

Developers need to think about culturalization early on because some issues just can’t be fixed at the end of development, says Edwards. “I was asked to review Fallout 3 to see if it would be compatible with the Indian market, and because of the two-headed mutant Brahmin bulls, it was not going to be viable because India has laws that protect cows from harm.

“Those laws pertain to real ones, of course, but if it’s sensitive enough that there is a law against real cows being harmed then it is going to be sensitive to see a virtual one that is mutated and can be eaten and all that,” says Edwards.

“We did discuss whether this could be changed, but the game was done at that point, so it was a question of whether it was worth spending all that money to release the game in India. The only other thing you can do at that late a stage is to go ahead with release, and plan for the reaction it might get.”

  1. Provide biographies for characters

Biographical information about in-game characters is extremely helpful for localization studios if they are casting actors to perform in-game speech in a foreign language, says Ambra Ravaglia, lead audio director at Synthesis.

“It’s important to know the characters you are going to cast, their ages, their looks, their moods and so on, since that means I can choose an actor who can manage those emotions and correctly reflect the character,” she says.

This is all the more important because localizing speech is often more complex than text translations. For instance, what would be the German equivalent of a Scottish accent compared to an American accent? In such cases having an understanding of who the character is helps localization teams figure out what accent would be most appropriate for a foreign language audience.

The differences between the actors in different countries also matters, says Ravaglia. “A 25-year-old U.S. marine in a game usually has a deep voice, but deep Italian voices are rare, so we have to keep back deeper-voiced actors for the older characters — so our 25-year-old marine would have a younger, higher voice.”

  1. Work with your fans

Paradox Interactive draws on the enthusiasm of its fans to polish its translations. “Our beta testers are happy to help on the translations and often they are better than the professional translators, because they know the games and the situations in which the text is going to be used,” says Kiby.

“Because they are fans, and other fans will agree if they think something could be improved, we trust their judgement. We don’t use them for whole masses of text, though; it’s more for shorter sections of text and checking the flavor of the translation. After all, you can’t send volunteers 8,000 lines of text to go over in three weeks, and we want them to have fun.”

  1. Beware of string concatenations

“While making Scourge: Outbreak, we initially made the mistake of cutting phrases into chunks, and storing text separately, so the code could string them together in the multiplayer mode to create phrases like ‘<Player 1> captured <Team 2’s> flag!’,” says Salleh. “But that meant these words were being translated out of context, and the game engine was stringing them together in a way that might make sense in English, but not in Spanish or any other language. So we had to go back through every message of this type, so that we didn’t end up with Yod- speak like ‘Captured

  1. Appoint a cultural watchdog

“There’s a stage in game development where you’ve got the basic world and characters in place, and you then start backfilling it with additional content to make the world more real and complete,” says Edwards. “It’s during this stage where a lot of culturalization problems get added, because the creative folk are up against a tight deadline and just use what comes to mind so they might, without intending to, insert stereotypes or culturally sensitive content.”

One way to deal with this is to make one individual on the team responsible for watching out for content that might cause trouble. “Create a bug type in the bug tracking system so they can flag up these things and track what’s happened to them in development,” she says. “Whoever is responsible needs to ask questions like ‘Where did that symbol come from’ and ‘What was the inspiration for it’ or ‘What do the foreign language words in the soundtrack actually say?'”

So, does this tips helped you anyhow? Do you have any other tip that you may want to share? Do it! Let’s share and make it happen!

See you, guys!

Translation and Localisation Work – Alien Shooter Vengeance

Good Evening, everyone!

UPDATE: Pretty amazing what you can do after play the game one more time missing the old days. I found out a few more mistakes and correct them at the game – not in the pictures. So you may not look for Portuguese mistakes in it… please… 🙂

I should have posted this a long time ago. For those who search over the internet, you may find the translated patches for this game, but I wanted to do the work myself and make sure that everything is on it place, audio and texts, credits, weapons, character, etc. etc. etc.

For the ones who doesn’t know, Alien Shooter: Vengeance – also known as Alien Shooter 2 – is a game developed by Sigma Team (which I have e-mail it to tell them about my work and translation, but had no replies….). It is a surviving terror/action game that mix aliens, weapons, shooting, arcade game and a lot of blood and things blowing.

You are a mercenary that M.A.G.M.A. Energy Corp. sends to a top secret object. A lot of weird and dangerous experiences were held where you are and now, after all that, everything is out of control. You must find you way in, complete a series of tasks and destroy anything and anyone in your path. Pretty nice if you want a game where you can shoot more and think less. More about the game, you can google it. I am here to talk about my work. J

It took my about 2 weeks, as far as I can remember, to complete the game between editing all the menus, texts, files, saves, objects, levels, etc. and for testing all the translations, box sizes, audio and writing. I worked in it every day after work – about 1 hours – and every day after my university, 1 to 2 hours to finish it. Most of the problems that I had was checking the audio and make sure that everything was correct – as the English speech was ok with the Portuguese text. I couldn’t translate the audio due to the lack of “technology”. (I did it at home, come on…)

Below you can check a few pictures of it.

I did most of the game translation. However it is kind of hard to translate things that are “normal” to brazilians and others that we are used to in English.

Even in English, most of the speeches were different from the wroten text. On the translation I did care about that because if you speak a good English, you may get confuse about what is being said and what you are reading.

Another thing that you may have to care is about the slangs and jokes. Those may have a lot of sense in English, but when translating you have to check which is your aim public and culture. Not all the translation has to be “perfect and asymmetric”.

Messange log and all the other texts were translated understading the way of thinking of each character. An alien, for example, may not speak as the same fluent way as a human…. in some cases….

Because of the space, you sometimes have to change one word to another completaly different, keeping the same meaning to fit it into the designed space.
Another thing is that a lot of English works don’t have thinks like Ç or ^ or ~. So you may have to check with the programmers how you are going to solve that out…
And most important, we have to credit it for our work. 🙂

Thank you for reading my post!
IMPORTANT: I would like to underline that I am NOT taking any profit with this translation and I did NOT send to anyone. This is just to show my work as a translator/localisator and this version of the game is not available for downloading. You may buy the original one and download a patch from the internet to translate it, which is not hard to find.
All the game, info, programming, design, characters, and more (except the translation) are property of SIGMA TEAM and I did not create the game or anything else.
Drive safe!

Important Points about Localisation…

Hi!

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.

10 Tips for a Localization Work


Good night!
Here we are with another post about Localization.
However, before we go to the text, it is important to underline something that I guess I forgot to mention. If you are willing to work over the Localization Industry, another important skill that you should have is Literature. I mean, read a lot. You have to be able to communicate yourself with other (as a QA tester) and be able to understand about different worlds, ways of speaking, environments and more.
Supposed you are going to work in a game which goes in the Middle Age. You can just go through translating everything, expecting that everything is ok. NO. You have to understand what happened in Middle Age. What was like to be a knight or a peasant, how they used to speak with each other, how they treat each other and more.
Your job as a Translator/Localization is to help the people over the worked language to have the same immersion as they would have at the original idiom. You have to pass the feeling, the anger, the happiness, the sadness of the character. Otherwise, the player would feel left out and would keep thinking that you should have done this and that, instead of playing the game and have fun.
Another thing is that you can just translate everything literally because the text won’t fit at the box because of the size of the words. That is where comes in handy the reading from the world you are working with and an understanding of the language you are dealing with. 
As I was translating Alien Shooter 2: Vengeance by myself, I had to work a lot over the same dialog to make it feel natural and not translated, check the words all the time and make sure that, even changing the dialog, the meaning of the text had to be the same. I played the game about fifty times or more to make sure that everything was according; and still, some parts of it I am not entirely satisfy.
It takes time, it is hard, it may be boring but it is wonderful to work with it if you like it.
Well, too much of speaking, let go to the tips!
Enjoy!
Thanks for the source of the text www.gamasutra.com
The days of “all your base are belong to us” style translations might be thing of the past, but localization is still one of game development’s Cinderella specialisms.
“A lot of people in the industry still don’t understand localization very well,” says Kate Edwards, chair of the IGDA’s Game Localization Special Interest Group. “Many still think of it as something done at the end, but it is as much a part of the development cycle as coding or writing or designing.”
But as the pressure for games to connect with a global audience grows, localization is starting to shed its afterthought status. When Sandra Pourmarin, localization manager at Ubisoft Montreal, joined the studio eight years ago, localization was closer in status to the testing department than the development team.
“All the localization resources were on a separate floor and worked as a service to the development team,” she says. “Now the localization project manager is under the direct responsibility of the producers and we’re on the same floor as the team. It’s a huge improvement.”
Localization is also starting to show that it’s about more than translation as developers and publishers start to think more about how their games will go down in different parts of the world.
“Everyone perceives localization as language and for the most part it is but that is not all localization is,” says Edwards. “Culturalization — thinking about the use of symbols, environments, costumes, everything that isn’t language — is also part of the big umbrella of localization.”
So how can developers and publishers make sure their international appeal is up to scratch? To find out we asked the localization pros who have worked on games such as Diablo III, Assassin’s Creed and Fallout 3 for their helpful hints. 
1. Make the context clear
Games often get translated before they are finished, so any text or speech handed over to the localization studios needs to be accompanied with detailed information about the context, says Irene Panzeri, content lead at localization studio Synthesis which has worked on titles such as Diablo III and Red Dead Redemption.
“Languages don’t share the same grammar rules. In English ‘you’ is both plural and singular, but in French the singular is ‘tu’ and the plural ‘vous’ with the verb changing accordingly. Knowing how many people a character is talking to is a common dilemma for translators.” Clarifying words with dual meanings is also important, she adds: “Does ‘aim at the tank’ mean aim at a fuel container or an armored vehicle?”
2. Let localization in early
Getting the localization team involved as early as possible can reduce crunch time headaches says Pourmarin. “With Assassin’s Creed: Revelations the localization team worked with the development team on localization earlier and it really smoothed the process,” she says.
“If we are aware of specific content that might be a challenge we can prepare for that and come up with options for how to address it rather than trying to do it in the rush time at the end of the project.
“For example on Assassin’s Creed, we had cameras that needed to move to avoid showing some nudity that would be a problem in some countries. Being able to identify that early in the process is very precious. If you arrive late on a project with those issues there might not be time to tackle them properly and that will result in additional cost and harm the quality of the game.”
3. Current events matter
Cultural attitudes aren’t fixed and current events can change how a game will be received. “When I was localizing My Weight Loss Coach for the DS, a product manager in Belgium raised a flag about the use of the word ‘pedometer’ because there had just been a lot of pedophilia cases in Belgium, and it was felt the word was too close, so we replaced it with another word,” says Pourmarin, who says Ubisoft uses its network of national offices and external localization partners to help spot these kinds of topical concerns.
Kate Edwards, founder of game culturalization consultancy Englobe, agrees that current affairs can affect how games are received: “Back in 1999, Age of Empires had a Japanese samurai on the box and Korean retailers didn’t want to put it on the shelves, because at that time Japan and Korea were at the height of one of their rows about the Takeshima/Dokdo islands in the Sea of Japan. But I think if you released that today there wouldn’t be the same problem.”
4. Impose a text freeze
To keep translation costs under control and development on schedule, Paradox Interactive, the Swedish publisher-developer behind the Divine Windand Europa Universalis games, sets and enforces a cut-off date for changes to in-game text. “At a certain point we have a text freeze, which is when our text files get sent to the translators,” says Linda Kiby, associate producer at Paradox.
“Because we want our games to be moddable, we put all our text in CSV files, as that is the easiest way of allowing people to do that, and it also means we can just paste the finished translation into the text files. But it also means that if anyone changes anything or removes a line after the text is sent for translation that can create chaos, which is why the text freeze is so important.”
5. Translators should be asking questions
Since external translation agencies don’t get to see the text within the context of the game itself, alarm bells should start ringing if they aren’t coming back with questions says Omar Salleh, game director at Tragnarion Studios, the Spanish developer of the XBLA, PSN and Mac third-person shooter Scourge: Outbreak.
“I’ve worked with some who took the text said everything was fine and we didn’t hear back until they were done,” he says. “We didn’t think too much about it at the time, but when playtesting the game with the localized text we realized that while the text was grammatically correct, it didn’t really fit the style of the game.”
6. Be aware of cultural issues from day one
Developers need to think about culturalization early on because some issues just can’t be fixed at the end of development, says Edwards. “I was asked to review Fallout 3 to see if it would be compatible with the Indian market, and because of the two-headed mutant Brahmin bulls, it was not going to be viable because India has laws that protect cows from harm.
“Those laws pertain to real ones, of course, but if it’s sensitive enough that there is a law against real cows being harmed then it is going to be sensitive to see a virtual one that is mutated and can be eaten and all that,” says Edwards.
“We did discuss whether this could be changed, but the game was done at that point, so it was a question of whether it was worth spending all that money to release the game in India. The only other thing you can do at that late a stage is to go ahead with release, and plan for the reaction it might get.”
7. Provide biographies for characters
Biographical information about in-game characters is extremely helpful for localization studios if they are casting actors to perform in-game speech in a foreign language, says Ambra Ravaglia, lead audio director at Synthesis.
“It’s important to know the characters you are going to cast, their ages, their looks, their moods and so on, since that means I can choose an actor who can manage those emotions and correctly reflect the character,” she says.
This is all the more important because localizing speech is often more complex than text translations. For instance, what would be the German equivalent of a Scottish accent compared to an American accent? In such cases having an understanding of who the character is helps localization teams figure out what accent would be most appropriate for a foreign language audience.
The differences between the actors in different countries also matters, says Ravaglia. “A 25-year-old U.S. marine in a game usually has a deep voice, but deep Italian voices are rare, so we have to keep back deeper-voiced actors for the older characters — so our 25-year-old marine would have a younger, higher voice.”
8. Work with your fans
Paradox Interactive draws on the enthusiasm of its fans to polish its translations. “Our beta testers are happy to help on the translations and often they are better than the professional translators, because they know the games and the situations in which the text is going to be used,” says Kiby.
“Because they are fans, and other fans will agree if they think something could be improved, we trust their judgement. We don’t use them for whole masses of text, though; it’s more for shorter sections of text and checking the flavor of the translation. After all, you can’t send volunteers 8,000 lines of text to go over in three weeks, and we want them to have fun.”
9. Beware of string concatenations
“While making Scourge: Outbreak, we initially made the mistake of cutting phrases into chunks, and storing text separately, so the code could string them together in the multiplayer mode to create phrases like ‘ captured flag!’,” says Salleh. “But that meant these words were being translated out of context, and the game engine was stringing them together in a way that might make sense in English, but not in Spanish or any other language. So we had to go back through every message of this type, so that we didn’t end up with Yod- speak like ‘Captured Flag! The’ in other languages.”
10. Appoint a cultural watchdog
“There’s a stage in game development where you’ve got the basic world and characters in place, and you then start backfilling it with additional content to make the world more real and complete,” says Edwards. “It’s during this stage where a lot of culturalization problems get added, because the creative folk are up against a tight deadline and just use what comes to mind so they might, without intending to, insert stereotypes or culturally sensitive content.”
One way to deal with this is to make one individual on the team responsible for watching out for content that might cause trouble. “Create a bug type in the bug tracking system so they can flag up these things and track what’s happened to them in development,” she says. “Whoever is responsible needs to ask questions like ‘Where did that symbol come from’ and ‘What was the inspiration for it’ or ‘What do the foreign language words in the soundtrack actually say?'”
So, does this tips helped you anyhow? Do you have any other tip that you may want to share? Do it! Let’s share and make it happen!

See you, guys!

Translation and Localization in Brazil


Hi!
Talking about Localization, we saw that this is the process of adapting the language, appearance, and functionality of a product to the public in a specific country. There are many things to take care of and this professional has to be aware of the culture and more.

Deeper into this subject, we have the Brazilian Portuguese Localization. No different from what I said before, but aiming the Brazilian public. Our biggest problem here, and the complains of many people that I talk to, are the movies. Dubbed movies are, most of the time, horrible to watch and make a lot of ears bleed if you know how to speak English. Of course not all the Brazilians can learn English – or another language – and watch the movie with the original sound, but, if they only knew what happens, they may agree with me.
Well, one example is the translation of movie titles. Let work with a really nice movie that I liked a lot because of the sound tracks – Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. In Portuguese, the translation of that is “Tenacious D – Uma Dupla Infernal” (In Portugal is it call – Rock dos Infernos – En: Rock from Hell). So, let supposed that the movie was released in Brazil and we had to translate to English. The name would be “Tenacious D – An Infernal Double” or “An Infernal Couple”, something like that. Wouldn’t that sound pretty weird?

Now, assuming that the movie is about 2 guys that are looking for a magic guitar pic, why wouldn’t translate the title to “Tenacious D – A palheta do Destino” (Original English name: Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny).
Well, that’s because that wouldn’t be so good as “Uma dupla Infernal”. If you research and check the movies here in Brazil, most of it has really different names and that is because of Localization.
I started to understand why they give such names to the movies that would sound so good also in Portuguese. Brazilian people are not used to these kinds of names and, to reach most of the population, they have to call that. According to the online newspaper ultimosegundo.ig.com.br, only 2% of the Brazilian population knows how to speak fluent English. Then imagine you releasing a movie here In Brazil with the original title. And more, most of the Brazilian people are not used to the kind of music that is played on the movie. Hard/Heavy music are some styles really hard to get into the Brazilian culture. So, that’s why – and for other reasons – that they had to change the name.
I have to say that really makes me feel bad, because, when talking about music, it is a pretty good movie, but I have to agree that it wouldn’t reach so many people with the original title translated.
There is where we come with the localization. Not only on the movies, but in games. If you do not do a really good job, not only translating but localizing, something in the game will be out of tune for the Brazilian public and it make take you game – which can be amazing – to a disaster just because you didn`t do a good job.
Another think about it is how you translate and how you localize a specific game to a specific public. But I will try to talk about that in another post.

Video Game Localization – Part II

Miss part one? Read it here!


IMPORTANT: DUE TO A FEW COMMENTS LATELY, I WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT ALL THE TEXT RIGHTS ARE EXCLUSIVE TO THAIS CASTANHEIRA AND THE TEXT IS NOT MINE.

For more information about her, please note her website – http://www.thaiscastanheira.com/en.html

TEXT SOURCE: http://blog.gengo.com/video-game-localization/


A Successfully Localized Game

 

With the huge amount of games being released daily and the fierce competition for the next big hit increasing rapidly, the localization process is in many cases, unfortunately, becoming more about speed and output and less about quality and consistency. In many instances, translators simply don’t have enough time to study the game, play the game and perform Quality Assurance on the game once it goes live. In fact, in my opinion, it’s becoming very rare to see a producer that actually takes all of this into consideration when planning the localization project schedule.
Conversely, there are still some very successful cases of localization out there as well. So, how about we focus on the successful cases and use them as our benchmark? And if you’re a game producer considering going global with your game, here’s a few tips I can share with you:

1. Hire a Localization Project Manager

Not too long ago, I was lucky enough to be part of the localization team for a Facebook game called Wild West Town. The game was created by a company by the name of Clipwire, and they did a fantastic job too. Why? Well, partly because they hired an in-house Project Manager (PM) to simultaneously manage all aspects of the localization process.
In a simple example, one scenario where the PM will jump in to help localizers remain efficient might be when a word that has many different meanings needs quick clarification. For instance, take the word “home” and on its own without any context it can mean one’s residence, the first page of a website or the start of a game. Because localizers can’t take any chances with words like this, they depend on the PM to guide them through their translations.
Also, by being there during the localization process, the PM can ensure that translations are correct the first time so that the entire team isn’t wasting time fixing minor errors after the localization is complete. Good characteristics of a PM include someone who can:
  • Manage deadlines to keep the translation and localization of a project on schedule
  • Ensure that mistakes are fixed in a timely manner
  • Prepare the files for translators
  • Answer questions that localizers have about specific content
  • Act as liaison between localizers and others in the game development (i.e. engineers, designers and content team)

2. Make Translators Play the Game

 

Like I mentioned above, it’s always best that game localizers actually play the game. Still using Clipwire as a good example, this company provided all its translators everything they needed to play the game thus making it easier and faster for them to complete missions and clear levels. Trust me, there’s nothing like having an unlimited supply of game money, supplies, XP points and energy when playing a game. 😉 (Blog’s Author: That is soooo truth. haha. I had to do it with my translation of the game Alien Shooter – Vengeance from Sigma’s Team.)
The more time a game localizer has to spend with the game, the better suited they are when it comes time to using their creative insights for completing the localization process. It is this personal experience with the game, as opposed to knowledge or techniques (although these are also important), that really makes a huge difference in the end. Translators who play the games before localizing them have a chance to:
  • Experience the feel of the game
  • See the characters
  • Learn how the game really works
  • Conceptualize the story
  • And much more!

3. Bribe Designers Any Way Possible (Within Reason)

 

(Blog’s Author: This is also important. Some words in a specific language fit better than others. Try to translate something into Japanese, for example, and the same word into Russian or German. It will fit different at the screen and the designer probably will have to go over many times through this as the text examples…)

If you don’t already know how much designers like to change their work once it’s finished, the answer is not at all! In the world of game localization, however,  the words “not at all” just don’t exist. The reason is simple. Every new language a game is localized into means the game must be tweaked and adjusted so that it meets the standards required by its new audience. This is why you want to treat designers nicely—give them lots of caffeine, candy and everything else they need to keep happy.
Here is a quick example for you. When the original version of a game (let’s say it’s a US English version) is created, the writers, developers, artists and everyone else on the team has a responsibility to create an environment that works for a US-based English speaking gamer—and that’s only one language. A designer could very well have to change the same image ten times for a game that’s localized into ten languages. For example, take a look at the photo to the right to see how the words “limited time offer” have been localized into several different languages. This is exactly what I’m talking about. Now here are some examples of what designers have to keep an eye out for:
  • A localizer might mistranslate a term due to an inaccuracy in context
  • The limitations of the new language effects the appearance of characters or game layout
  • The localizer later came up with a more precise translation for a sentence
  • Sentence lengths are either too short or too long when translated (Portuguese can be 30% longer than English!)
In short, a lot can change quickly in the midst of the localization process. And this is why it’s important to build in some flexibility so that changes to design and language can be made as needed. Above all else, keeping peace within the team is key. Of course, finding the perfect blend of patience and creativity is sometimes easier said than done.

4. Don’t Ignore the Quality Assurance Phase

 

Quality Assurance is a very important step if you’re a game developer trying to create a successful game. This is particularly crucial if your game is one that’s played online through social media platforms like Facebook. The reason is because there are tons of social games out there to be played, which means the odds of someone choosing to play a poorly translated game when they can play one that’s been localized well isn’t likely. Not to mention, because social games are usually geared towards the more casual player (as opposed to the serious gamer), they have to be localized well to keep players engaged and coming back for more. Although there is a long laundry list of different areas that need to be checked and re-checked by the localization team, some of the important ones not to be left off the list include:
  • Checking for consistency with the images
  • Making sure character dialogues are clear and accurate
  • Verifying that all the content of the game is in the target language
  • Checking abbreviations—all it takes is one slip like “abb evry sgl wd of stce” to ruin that special moment for a gamer
(Blog’s Author: This is something that many people that want to work with translation/localization does not know. To have a good quality in what you are doing, you will probably have to go over the same place at the game thousands of times. Of course you may have a lot of people to help you if you are working for a big company, but on my case translating by myself, I had to go over the game over and over and over and over again….. ok, not that I didn`t like that, but some people may find it tedious. Not me! 🙂)

So, that’s it! If you want to get into this industry, make sure to keep in mind that, as any other job you will have good things and bad things. The different is how you treat them and deal with all the situations. Something that is a problem for you, may be a solution for me….
Take care!