Translation and Interpretation In Gaming Industry: A wholesome Guide

Translation and Interpretation In Gaming Industry: A wholesome Guide

Video games have taken the world by storm and going global has ensured a game’s success. Therefore it is of paramount importance that the video game has a high-quality translation. This can influence the game’s reputation and sales worldwide.

Technologies that improve translation accuracy are available. They assist in speeding up translation and testing processes, project management tasks, and crucial translation systems. This article will reveal the wholesome guide to gaming translation and interpreting.

Review Previous Translations on Games

Reviewing games produced by other companies for your native language and dialect is the basis for starting. This will set the standard for your translation outcomes. Collaborating with your translation team brings out greater quality and accuracy.

Effective Communication

Clear communication is vital in ensuring the success of the translation project. Translators must understand the expectations for dialogues, text in graphics, and characters so that they produce accurate work. Everyone working on the project should communicate freely and that includes game designers, translators, translation project managers, production team, and reviewers. Giving reasonable team timeframes allows the production of high-quality translation and interpretation content. A detailed project checklist must be created to ensure that every task is done at the right time. 

Translation And Interpretation Fundamentals

The art of translation is not complete without localizing text and dialogue. Word for word translation is inadequate when conveying the author’s context. A games translation company must deliver a natural and satisfying experience for gamers. Localization of games during the translation phase ensures a game that is familiar to a gamer’s national, regional and local cultures. A funny thing in one culture is not funny in another. Therefore, idioms and context expressions must be converted to a target language in a way that will have a similar impact on players.

Conditions ideal for game translations must be created. Translators must be able to differentiate and interpret the gaming industry’s diverse accents. They must be allowed to give full attention to tackling translation challenges. By doing so, the highest quality outcome is achieved.

Hire Translators Who Play Video Games

Native language speakers who are familiar with games being developed may be the ideal candidates for video games translation. However, translators that enjoy playing video games are perfect for the job. They have an easy understanding of the requirements for translating and interpreting genre-specific slang. These are usually terms commonly used in the culture of gaming. Gamers are very particular when it comes to the quality of content. They require high-quality content, nothing less. Therefore, when translating an internationally distributed game, the same quality standard must be maintained.

Appropriate Time and Tools For Translators

State-of-the-art equipment must be supplied to translators to assist them in producing high-quality work. Providing the translator with a Translation Memory database helps to save time and expenses while improving quality. Real-time suggestions for already translated phrases are provided. This ensures that time won’t be wasted duplicating translation work. Another tool such as the supplementary Machine Translation provides referencing that saves time for human translators. Furthermore, sophisticated automation software enables developers to directly bring translators to their digital platform to work. This helps to enhance collaboration and improve quality.

Provide Translators With Contextual Information

According to Best Practices for Game Localization, an initial draft by Richard Honeywood, certain expressions lose their sense when translated word for word into all target languages. However, game developers can avoid this problem by providing translators with the context for game dialogue and texts. This ensures that desired translations for different languages are provided. The main purpose for this is for gamers to have the ability to engage fully with the game, instead of just understanding the game’s storyline.

 Game Translation Process

To achieve high standards and quality, the process of translating video games must be well structured. As a translator, you must pay special attention to detail. The basic process involves converting in-game audio, texts, and text in graphics into the market’s target language. Four main steps must be included in the process and these are:

  • Translation: At this stage, you must study the glossaries and style guides. Play the game and familiarise yourself with the context. Besides translating audio and text files, editing, proofreading, and quality testing must be done on the translated content.
  • Quality Assurance: This must be done to rectify any errors in text elements such as spelling and grammar. Audio files are scrutinized to identify distorted orumbked words. Also, audio quality is put under the microscope.
  • File Conversions: When satisfied that the quality is good, the translated files are converted to the original game file formats. Text files that are translated are copied into the game coding. The audio files are then converted to MP4, WMA, or other file formats used by the game developer.
  • Follow-Up QA Testing: This is done to prove beyond doubt that the code is integrated properly with the translated material. This is done by a third-party quality testing provider.

Game Assets For Translation

Several assets in a game development project are converted to a version for gamers in international markets. The following components are subject to translations:

  1. Text files
  2. In-game and web graphics
  3. User manuals
  4. Instruction guides
  5. Policy statements
  6. Marketing materials
  7. Physical packaging
  8. Digital packaging
  9. Website
  10. Voice-over
  11. Sales brochures
  12. Display ads
  13. Product descriptions
  14. Social media ads
  15. Social media pages
  16. Web banner ads
  17. In-game advertising
  18. Continuing translation services such as game updates, software patches, user tech, and other support services.


1. Expect Differing Text Dimensions Between Languages

Differences arise in phrase and sentence length after translating. One language might have a shorter sentence length, but when translated into another language the sentence becomes very long. Therefore, the translated text may overlap on-screen images. If shifting dimensions are not considered, the text may not appear on the screen. So during project planning, font sizes must be chosen with utmost care.

2. Avoid Translating Text In Graphics

Translating text that appears in the graphics of a game is an uphill task. It requires the recreation of affected graphic images for every language that the game will be translated into. This is the reason why it is not recommended to completely use text in graphics. However, there are instances whereby the game already contains graphics in the text. Therefore, replace the text using symbols that gamers will understand in any language.

Have A Well-Informed Rationale For Tackling Every Translation Project

Avoid translating games into many languages as it will compromise quality. Therefore, translating to a small number of commonly spoken languages enhances high quality. Also, your interests are best served by a few well-translated games. The risk of translating games into many language versions is that poor quality may overshadow the character of the game and weaken its appeal.

Gamers’ Expectations

Since gamers are technologically advanced, they expect well-translated games that are technologically advanced. Therefore, a passion for gaming and linguistic proficiency are qualities required in all video game translators. In satisfying the demand of this growing and dynamic market, game translators must be up to date with the latest trends. These include gaming vocabulary, slang, pop culture, and other global gaming culture aspects.


In light of the above discussion, it is clear that quality video games are created with care and professionalism. These games usually capture the imagination of the global gaming community. If a good game is poorly translated and localized, it won’t appeal to the target markets. A good game is characterized by its relevance in all markets. It gives gamers an engaging and exciting experience adapted specifically for international markets. This is made possible by a world-class translation team that follows all the guidelines for video game translation.

Video game translation opens up international markets to game makers. Determining your markets carefully is the first step in up scaling sales of a particular game. Extensive research on the suitability of your game for the international market before the translation process is a basic element for success. By following the translation industry’s guidelines in translation, culturalizing, and internationalizing your game, increases your chances of success.

Effective culturalization involves respecting and caring about the beliefs and values of other people. By doing so you prevent your game from being censored or banned if it is considered to be culturally controversial for target international markets. If developers recklessly release culturally sensitive games, they put themselves at risk of thwarted revenue and failure to penetrate key markets. Implementing culturalization at an early stage guarantees sustained global success.

AfroLingo is a key player in assisting you to localize your video games. We offer expert advice on pre-production steps, translation processes, industry best practices, game translation, key technologies, and international gaming markets. With more than 10 years of experience in localizing games, AfroLingo is at your service to answer your questions. We help you to achieve your gaming vision by providing you with the best professional service. We have a team eager to assist you to create world-class video games.

John Norwood
John Norwood is best known as a technology journalist, currently at Ziddu where he focuses on tech startups, companies, and products.