Localization Tools For Game Developers
Ever feel like your inventory could use a couple of extra localization tools? We asked the studios we work with, skimmed forums and analyzed product reviews to gather some of the most popular pieces of software, Unity assets and resources in the game development community.
This localization toolbox is expected to grow and become a handy guide to the best game localization tools available for developers, so feel free to suggest new additions!
TextMesh - A must-have text rendering solution
The reviews from the Asset Store say it all: TextMesh is a must-have if you're developing your game with Unity. Advanced text rendering, great flexibility and FREE. What are you waiting for?
Lean Localization - Simple but powerful
Another great free asset, probably more suitable for smaller projects that don’t have a lot of UI text. Lean Localization has a practical feature which allows you to change language while your game is running.
I2 Localization - All inclusive
Despite being paid, I2 Localization is a favorite in the gamedev community, which really says something. The fact that localizable strings are stored in a Google Spreadsheet that can be reloaded while your game is running is probable no stranger to that. Oh, and it’s also compatible with TextMesh Pro!
Bad Word Filter - Keep it friendly, keep it safe!
This asset’s name is self-explanatory. Keep your game suitable for younger audiences, or filter haters’ bad language in 24 languages. You can even let your creativity flow and add words to the list! How ******* great is that?
SmartLocalization - Fallen, but not forgotten
Even though development was discontinued earlier this year, SmartLocalization remains a pretty practical and popular asset.
It allows you to create your folder structure for different languages, as well as import and export your files.
The machine translation feature powered by Bing Translator can also serve as a way to test your UI and spot problems with the length of text (say “Hi” to your German-speaking friends).
Font Creator - Pimp my font
Recommended by many developers, including our friends at Jumb-O-Fun.
Afraid to take the leap with custom fonts? Fear not and follow the guide:
“We create our custom fonts with High Logic's Font Creator in combination with Photoshop. Our first step is to use a basic font like Arial and type out all the characters we need into a big Photoshop doc. Then, using a Cintiq tablet, we draw over the Arial font using solid black until we're happy with the look of all the characters. From there we copy each pixel based character from Photoshop into Font Creator. When that's done we may add some kerning pairs if necessary and then export as a TTF. That TTF is then used in Unity.” - G. Pothoven, Jumbo-O-Fun
Google Noto Fonts - Google is your friend for fonts too
Google has been developing a font family called Noto, which aims to support all languages with a harmonious look and feel. Noto has multiple styles and weights, and is FREE.
FontForge - Free font editor
Recommended by fellow game developer Ryan Rockers.
FontForge is a free and open source font editor that comes with detailed documentation.
Polyglot - Free localized strings
There are several free game localization projects out there, but very few can actually be trusted. Although it doesn’t match professional localization quality, Polyglot is definitely your best option for free localized strings, as our professional game translators attested to.
A good way to save a couple of bucks if your game has a lot of generic strings or minimal content!
SmartCAT - A solid & free translation tool for your localization team
SmartCAT is probably the best free CAT tool at the moment if you manage localization yourself for confidentiality reasons, or you have your own localization team.
It has all the main features you would expect from a translation tool (translation memory, glossary, workflow, ability to restrict access to source files) without all the cumbersome settings and functions nobody really uses for game localization.
It’s cloud-based, which means your team can access your localization project from anywhere. All you need to do is assign everyone a role (translator, proofreader, project manager), invite them and they’re good to go.
Crowdin - Easily crowdsource your game’s localization
It’s easy to understand why Crowdin is so popular with studios that decide to crowdsource their game’s localization.
With this platform, you can easily set up and automate the whole process.To crowdsource translations upload your files, invite fans to translate and allow them to vote for the best translations.
You can order professional translations from the vendors cooperating with Crowdin, assign tasks to your in-house translators or your localization service provider.
Set up integration with GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, Android Studio, Google Play, and more to automate the synchronization of source and localized files.
Last but not least, easily ensure quality and consistency of translations with features like glossaries, translation memory, screenshots, quality assurance checks, and other features Crowdin has to offer.
These could also come in handy...
TinyTake - for contextualization
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a 60 fps video is priceless for your translators! They can finally make sense of that super weird creature’s attack no one can really describe then translate it accordingly.
Just upload your videos to the cloud directly from TinyTake and share the link with your localization team! They’ll love you for that *hearts*.
Free up to 2GB, which is more than enough for a localization project.
Fastlane - for ASO
Automate taking localized screenshots of your iOS app on every device.
ChatMapper - for branching dialogues
ChatMapper makes it easy to test conversations, control their flow and visualize nonlinear branching dialogues – it can even generate scripts for your voice actors.
All this in one tool, yep!
Professional game translators - for context-rich and error-proof translations
Well, no matter how good all these tools are, there will always be translators at the end of the line and the quality of their work does make a difference. Those guys better be good too if you don’t want to see all your efforts ruined by either hilarious or offensive translations.
So if you truly want to take over the world and make the most of your hard work developing your game, drop us a line and get kickass localization by our seasoned game translators ;)