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4 Language Issues in the Gaming Sector

Gaming is bigger now than it’s ever been. With gamers taking to the internet, slapping on a headset and integrating with adversaries and challenging opponents on the opposite side of the globe, the need for better quality language translation and cultural understanding is of the utmost importance and can make or break a game.

1. Cultural Differences

Cultural difference is one of the main reasons why certain games are being modified to become more relevant to particular audiences in different areas of the world. For example, a character that’s popular in the US may not be so popular in Japan. Gamers around the world respond differently to triggers such as character outfits and accessories, which ultimately can have a knock-on effect on how successful a game is in different parts of the world.

2. There’s more to it than just words

There’s so much to translating a video game than simply switching copy and in-game content from one language to another. Firstly, engineers need to build translation into each game, then the design team needs to transform the visual content to suit. This in itself can present unique challenges at any and every stage.

3. No two languages are the same

Whilst the process of language translation when it comes to gaming is pretty much the same, translating certain languages from one to another brings unseen challenges, which can change the context in which what’s said is perceived in some cases or even render what’s said completely irrelevant for different audiences. This further highlights the need for expert linguistic knowledge and translators to spot these issues before they become major problems later down the line.

4. Let’s get technical

Translating any type of language get’s technical, especially when it comes to gaming. Initially, the development team has to code games that allow languages to be added and edited easily, which requires setting up individual language files and then prompting them through specific variable functions.

Another thing that requires thought from game designers and developers is how translated text is displayed in the game as it changes as some sentences will be longer/shorter depending on the language. The end result in some instances can be that text may no longer fit properly on the screen or inside containers/elements the way it’s intended to. Lengthier texts also take longer to read, in addition to longer voice-overs taking longer to record, which means some subtitles may be missed when translated and dialogue can fall out of tune with what’s going on in gameplay.

The benefits of a better translation

Having a better translation from the beginning will reduce cost and save time both in the short and long term. It enables game developers to make more rational decisions and improves the creative brainstorming process too. In addition to this, having a quality translator like Global Translations on hand will give you a much better understanding of foreign culture and the global market every step of the way.

Have you ever wondered why certain games are best sellers in certain countries yet struggle to get off the ground in others? The answer could be the poor understanding and interpretation of both language and cultural differences. When it comes to gaming, Global Translations is perfectly positioned to help you better understand what works and what doesn’t depending on where your audience is, anywhere in the world.

How has your business benefited from more effective and accurate communication this year?


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