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News, development & translation tips, video game localization insights, translation fails.

Level Up Translation's blog


Welcome to our blog dedicated to game localization

best practices, interviews, video game market insights and other useful tips to make the localization of your games easier.

Game localisation services
  • Damien Yoccoz

How You Put Off Gamers With Careless Localization

The first goal of localizing a game is to make it accessible to a broader audience. More players mean more gold and adapting your video games for different languages and cultures can add thousands of players in each given market. The thing with localization though is, when you don’t make the effort; be it because of a lack of experience or budget, it really shows – and that’s when gamers get upset. Here are a couple of points often overlooked and why should you should care.

Localize that app store description. Properly.

As we saw it in our previous post, localizing game descriptions is vital for maximizing downloads but the problem is that they are often overlooked. Case studies have shown the top 100 games in Apple’s App Store are dominated by titles with localized descriptions. Why is that? Well, you simply don't buy what you can't understand. Along with the screenshots taken from your title, the game description is all potential gamers have to go on when they browse casually for new titles. This is why the localization of your game's storefront description – be it for Steam, Google Play or Apple's App Store – should not be taken lightly. How do you think gamers feel after reading a nonsensical Google Translate description? As funny as it may be, chances are they will think that you either did not localize your game at all, or that it will be the same gibberish all the way. Not really engaging, right? You only get one chance to make a good first impression and your game description is the first (and maybe only) thing that will help gamers decide whether your game is worth downloading or not. So don't miss that opportunity! Make sure you write a kickass game description and localize it properly. It’s not only downloads you’re after, though. You want regular players who keep coming back to your games, talk about then online and recommend them to everyone they know. A properly localized game will turn your aficionados into free marketing machines for you – which again, means more players and more revenue. On the other hand, deliver a title with poor game localization and it won't take long before disappointed gamers make bad press of your title.

Don't mislead your foreign audience

Localized game descriptions and screenshot captions are important, but don’t use them to deceive potential downloaders. When you post descriptions in a certain language, users tend to think that your game is localized for that language too. So don’t let gamers find out it isn’t after they’ve downloaded! Make sure your game is available in the same language as the description. And in case it isn't yet, let players clearly know about your plans for localization, or you and everyone else will hear about it in your reviews.

Know your market's language variations

When you launch your video game or your app in a foreign market, it’s vital to break down every barrier that could prevent people from playing it. We’ve already said how important localized game descriptions are for maximizing downloads but you also need to offer language selection from within your game. Using location detection to preset the languages is a good place to start but not everyone in the US, for example, speaks English as their first language. The list of language variations is almost endless. Your job is to decide which languages your individual markets need catering for and allow people to choose for themselves. And NEVER use flags to symbolize languages – print the translated name for each language and dialect you offer (eg: Español, not Spanish). This is as much a political issue as it is linguistic. You don’t want to tell people from Hong Kong they’re Chinese or force Brazilians to select a Portuguese flag to understand your game.

This is how much some users of the language learning application Babbel can get offended by the wrong use of flags to represent languages.

In a global video games market, localizing your game and the content related to it isn’t the luxury service it used to be – it’s an absolute necessity. Your game descriptions alone can add thousands of players in any given market, but there’s far more to localization than content translation. By understanding each market you venture into, you can avoid expensive mistakes and focus on showing people the best of your game. More importantly, you get to reach the widest audience possible and deliver a gaming experience that attracts new gamers and keeps them coming back for more.

Don't fail that quest! Make sure you get great game translation services and work with a team of experienced video game translators!


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