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In the next part of our localization series, we will discuss various aspects of video game translation and what makes it challenging for translators. Go through the sections below and rate your suitability in localizing the text and sound of a video game.
Video game translation almost means localization
The task of converting a video game from one language to another is not a simple translation process. The game has to be localized to make something acceptable, especially for gamers who know some English. The concern is not simply about grammatical errors as in the sentence “All your base are belong to us” in the translation of the Japanese game Zero Wing. Video game makers don't want to disappoint fans with poorly translated game texts and sounds, they should use for full localization.
Idioms and words used in some games can be converted into local equivalents. Another important challenge is translating jokes. Many modern games are filled with jokes, jokes or other humorous scenes that will delight game players. Not translating them correctly would be a huge prank for the gaming community. Maybe “prank” is an overstatement to describe it, but serious gamers can easily get frustrated when their favorite games are skewed by inaccurate translations.
Some video game projects
A video game project involves a team that usually includes a project manager, translator, and people with speaking talent. Don't expect it to be completed by one, two or three people. A group of five is not even enough. It depends on how big the video game is. If the translation project is just for a small mobile game, several people can handle different tasks. However, for large PC games and video game-optimized computers (PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo), the job will require some special people to do the dubbing.
Note: Technical Translations
To summarize, the following are the basic tasks that need to be competently completed in order to provide quality video game translations:
- Project management. Project managers plan and oversee everything that needs to be done, including the translation team and voiceovers. Project managers need to be proficient in the source and target languages as they will perform the control. quality control or compare source and destination text, unless they see a separate person hired to do so. The project manager coordinates with the client to list all the information that needs to be translated.
- Video games are a special type of media. They may use jargon or special language that only professional gamers or gaming fans can understand. That's why most translation companies depend on freelancers when they have video game localization projects. Translators need to be knowledgeable about gaming and familiar with gamers' idiosyncrasies. But it's not really enough for them to translate the thoughts correctly; they have to put them in words that the gamer is already familiar with. Professional translations may not be relevant or may bring out the player's strong point of view.
- Localization doesn't stop with text translations. Video games with dialogue, taunts, cheers, and other sound effects also need to be localized. To make the translations of these words, the project will have to hire qualified speakers or voice actors. It is important to choose the right voice actor for the project for the best consistency and pronunciation. Also, as much as possible, the voiceover should be similar to the original voiceover.
If you want to be part of a translation team but the only skill you have confidence in is the ability to speak and read or write in the source and target languages, you can aim for a voiceover role. It requires the lowest skill level, but you should have the voice to deliver the right localized version of the voice in a video game. You can voice 3 to 5 characters depending on your ability to change your voice. The project manager or client will have to decide if your voice manipulations are reliable enough to perform multi-character voices.
Long and meticulous process và
A localization team interested in output quality must go through a rigorous process, something similar to what is described below.
- It begins with content analysis, where the document to be translated is thoroughly examined to find the details to be translated. This step is done in relation to the goals set by the client. There are cases when the translation includes not only texts and sounds, but also graphic texts or graphic objects used as references in conversations. These can be modified. Note: Further discussions of these changes are presented in the next section.
- The next step is content management. Here, all content intended for translation is copied, organized, and delivered to the translator. When translating video games, the content includes audio files and game code, in which the text that appears in the video game is attached.
- The actual translation process often includes translation, editing, and proofreading phases. For speech translations, instead of proofreading, the audio files are scrutinized to check for errors or problems such as garbled speech and inconsistent volume.
- Once the translation process is completed, a quality analysis will be performed to determine that the translations are correct and that the errors (spelling errors, incorrect details) have been corrected.
- After checking the output quality, the reverse conversion is performed. This means that the files are converted to their original format. For example, text translations are copied into video game code while speech translations are converted to mp4, WAV, WMA or in the format used by the client. Some translation providers may perform another cycle of quality analysis for the video game code to ensure that it works perfectly with the transferred documents.
- Once everything has been checked correctly and complies with the client's requirements, the output is completed for submission. The translations are scrutinized in their final format. In the context of video game translation, this can mean doing an exhaustive check to see if everything is in the correct file. However, some customers simply request translations and they attach them to the game themselves.
Some changes may be necessary to remove offensive content or parts that may be subject to censorship
Sometimes video games contain dialogue, text, or graphics that may offend certain people, cause confusion, or make the game vulnerable to censorship. They may contain curse words that are considered excessively obscene or suggestive. There may be images used as references by in-game characters that may adversely affect commercial viability. The game may contain racist or culturally and politically sensitive comments. The game may contain racist or culturally and politically sensitive comments. Dialogues can incite controversies that will create negative publicity for the game. Furthermore, the game may appear like some other previously released games.
For example, a game in which the protagonist leads communism or promotes Falun Gong, it will not do well in the Chinese market. The accidental mention of the swastika (along with its image) would be considered very offensive. Likewise, a game that mocks Muslim figures or downplays terror-related terms can lead to dire consequences.
A good localization team should not only provide each translation for a video game, but should also advise the client on potential problems in the game content. Qualified and experienced localization service providers will be aware of and up to date with the commercial, political and social issues that may affect the consumption of a video game. They are expected to propose changes such as converting the swastika to a cross (and changing the name in the dialogues) and giving it a different name for communism or Falun Gong.
Again, passion for video games and having basic skills in source and target languages are not enough to become a video game translator. But you can accept a speaking position if you really want to get in with usable skills. If you want to be given an important assignment, you need to master how the video game industry works. You need to update the game slang and culture. In addition, you must be prepared for the rigorous processes and meticulousness required to perfectly localize a game.
To avoid the embarrassing mistake of mistranslating your video games, let Idichthuat do the work for you. We've worked hard to support individuals, organizations and businesses to produce the best localized versions of their products including video games, movies and multimedia content. Furthermore, we provide impeccable language service with a global network of translators and their expertise. Contact us today for the Quality video game translation – fast – most accurate!