The Indie Dev's Guide To Polish Localization
If you’re developing an indie game and wondering whether or not you should localize for Polish, here’s what you need to know about Polish game localization - and how to make it work for you.
What does the Polish video game industry look like?
In 2018, the Polish gaming industry was worth €137 million. Not too shabby!
The biggest slice of this pie came from smartphone games, at a total of €56.4 million. Here’s how it breaks down for the other gaming platforms:
Console: €34.6 million
Browser PC: €4.3 million
Regular PC: €28.6 million
Tablet games: €13.9 million
So yes, smartphones do hold the biggest share of the market…
However, it’s not by an overwhelming number. Console and regular PC games continue to be hugely popular.
Most of the profits from this industry - 93% of them - come from companies based in Warsaw.
Additionally, 34% of Polish people buy PC or console games, and those who buy once a month per age group can be categorized as follows:
8.1% for ages 18-34
5.6% for ages 35-54
1.1% for ages 55+
This means younger players purchase more games, which you should take into account when deciding whether or not it’s worth it for you to localize your game to Polish.
Which big players aim for the Polish market?
Currently, the biggest game developer in Poland is without a doubt CD Projekt Red, thanks in large part to the amazing sales of The Witcher franchise. But that’s not the only successful game studio to emerge from Poland.
For instance, 11 Bit Studios is well known for its highly popular game, This War of Mine, which has sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide. They also developed Frostpunk in 2018 and subsequently sold 1.4 million copies!
A third big player is PlayWay, and if you’re considering bringing your game to Poland, you should definitely know about them! This is because they publish low- and medium-budget games, especially in the simulator, adventure, and survival genre. Some of their published games include Farm Manager 2018, Thief Simulator, House Flipper, and Agony.
If you take a look at what these studios are producing, you’ll notice they mainly focus on adventure, RPG, and survival genres.
Of course, you should also consider mobile game developers, such as Cherrypick Games and Enclave Games, since smartphones are the biggest standalone platform for gaming in Poland.
The best strategies to employ when localizing your game into Polish
So what have we learned from taking a look at the Polish gaming industry?
Although mobile games are a big part of the industry, the bigger players in Poland are mostly publishing freemium games for PC and consoles. Combined, PC and console games actually comprise a bigger share than smartphone games alone.
And since PC and console games often come together - at least, if you intend on developing for both platforms at once - it sometimes makes sense to consider the two of them together.
Right now in Poland, adventure and RPG games, as well as survival games, are the biggest sellers.
So if you’re currently developing a game in this genre for PC or consoles, localizing this game into Polish is a no-brainer!
But you should be aware of several factors when translating to Polish if you want a polished game your players will enjoy.
Be aware of the specifics of the language
Many key elements of the Polish language work differently than English.
For instance, capitalization rules differ between Polish and English. So if you copy capitalization from your English strings to your Polish strings exactly as they are, it won’t break your game … but, it will look odd for your Polish players and appear, excuse the pun, unpolished.
Here’s an example of how capitalization differs:
Polish doesn’t capitalize the names of months or days of the week, but it does capitalize the first letter of titles and names without capitalizing the rest of the words in a proper noun!
In general, be aware that Polish words are, on average, longer than English words, just like German. This means your Polish strings will need more space on the screen, so you will need to make the right tweaks to make it work for your UI.
Additionally, Polish doesn’t use as many possessive adjectives and pronouns. This means that if you overuse them, your strings will look and sound unnatural to native Polish speakers.
As a pointer, skip possessives if they aren’t absolutely necessary for your sentence to make sense.
Here’s another important difference: quotation marks don’t work quite the same way in Polish. Instead of using two upper quotation marks, the first is lower and the second is upper, like this: „Witaj.”
Imagine how weird it would be for English players to come across quotation marks like this. Well, it would be just as weird for Polish players to come across the quotation marks English players are used to, so don’t skip these either!
Provide your localization team with detailed context
Lack of context and preparation is one of the biggest game translation mistakes you can make!
This applies in particular to Polish translations. Why?
An English word with a single meaning for you could have several meanings in Polish, so your localization team needs to know which version of the word to use.
The word ‘you’ will also vary depending on the gender and form of address. This means your team needs to know as much as possible about who is talking, what the context of the string is, and anything else that could specify the exact definition of the strings you have written.
Word-for-word translations just won’t work well from English to Polish. For this reason, you’ll also need experienced Polish translators who are able to take a look at your documentation and context with a view to rewriting your strings so that they make sense.
Make sure to add reference materials not purely for the meaning of the string but also for the context and mood you’re going for. For example, what’s the personality and life background of a given character?
It’s important you put in the effort early on so that fewer corrections are needed later on.
In other words, the earlier you can get professional Polish translators on board to help you, the better!
Choose your fonts wisely
While the Polish language, at first glance, seems to use the Latin alphabet rather than another type of alphabet like Russian or Bulgarian, there are some key differences!
Yes, Polish is based on the Latin alphabet we’re used to for English text. However, it does include some letters with diacritics, so make sure you select a Latin font that also supports the Polish language.
Without performing this check, you may not find out your font is incompatible with the Polish language until you’re already in the QA phase - or worse, your game has already been published and is in players’ hands!
To avoid this issue and choose a compatible font, Fontsquirrel has several Latin fonts that support the Polish language.
If you’re making a console or PC game, it may be worth your while localizing for Poland in addition to the usual FIGS languages. Following our advice, a high-quality Polish localization is definitely within your reach!
Need help achieving a professional Polish localization for your indie game? We can help!