Follow these steps for Game Localization and become a pro

Follow these steps for Game Localization and become a pro

The international gaming industry is massive, and continues to experience staggering growth. In fact, the industry is expected to surpass $545 billion by 2028, which is not surprising, considering how many new games are regularly introduced to the market. As such, gaming companies that decide to localize their products can expect to experience a tremendous surge in revenue.

With an increase in profits, gaming companies that localize can also anticipate:

  • Getting a higher ranking in app stores, leading to an increase in sales.
  • Increasing the number of downloads, which in turn, will enhance the game’s popularity.
  • Achieving a competitive advantage over other gaming businesses.

Once a company decides to localize, there are many steps to ensure that the project is a success. Take a look at how to achieve the best game localization possible.

Understand the target market

The first step to game localization is to research and fully understand the target market, including focusing on the dominant language of the region. In addition, become familiar with customers’ buying patterns and learn what will attract them to the game. Knowing what will resonate with users, ahead of time, will help ensure that the localization is worthwhile.

Develop a project plan

From the beginning of the project, it is essential to know every element that needs to be translated, along with what resources are necessary for the work. Taking this step will save time and money as the project work is being conducted. The plan should include an inventory of each aspect of the game that will be adapted for the target region, from simple text strings to whether new voiceovers will need to be recorded.

Select the right translator

One of the most vital decisions to make for game localization is selecting the best-suited translator for the project. When considering a language services provider (LSP), think about these points:

  • How much experience does the LSP have with game localization? Ask to view a portfolio of the company’s work.
  • Which clients have partnered with the game localization company in the past?
  • Does the LSP employ experienced translators who are native speakers of the target language?
  • Will the LSP use a translation management system during the localization?

Remember that game localization content is unique, and a high level of expertise is necessary for an accurate translation. Additionally, game content includes various kinds of texts; the user interface text is more technical, while the script is creative. As such, the translation team needs to be able to manage a variety of content styles.

Provide context for the translator

Offering context to translators can enhance their understanding of the content. With game localization, it is helpful for the translation team to have a clear picture of how the characters move and act, as well as the appearance of the scenes in the game.

One of the best ways to give the translators this context is for them to test the game to see how it works. In addition, providing the team with a written summary about the game’s story, players’ goals, how the game is won, and other vital details is important.

Adjust the game’s Interface

When localizing the game’s interface, it is important to plan for a minimum of 30% additional space, depending on the target language. Doing this is particularly necessary for short strings of text, such as menu items. For example, Spanish and German will require 30% more space than English, but other languages need less space.

Additionally, abbreviations are often used throughout the user interface. Due to the fact that these abbreviations are typically shortened versions of English names, they will need to be modified to suit the target language. One solution to this issue is to eliminate abbreviations and use the full name of a company or product instead.

Localize coding

A key aspect to ensuring successful localization is correctly localizing the coding. Because coding can be complex, consider writing it in such a way that it accommodates for future development in various regions, not just the current target market. This means designing the code so that all content and text strings can be easily exported into a format that is compatible with the tools to be used by the LSP.

Furthermore, ensure that no game elements are hard-coded. If this step is eliminated, then untranslated sentences and strings will end up in the localized game. As a result, the project will end up with delays, to get the issues corrected.

In addition, each platform that will be used in game development will have its own considerations for code localization. For instance, iOS will have its own standards to follow for localization, as will android-based platforms.

Translate the written content

During the localization process, all text will need to be translated. This includes the game’s script, user interface text, user manuals, and any other written content. Game localization is an intricate process that requires every step to be carefully addressed. This is especially critical when it comes to translation; since even the simplest translation error will lessen the credibility of the game localization.

Localize the details in the story

All elements in the game’s story need to be localized, because they are the details that give the game its regional flair. These elements, such as locations, weapons, and character names, help the game feel more comfortable and realistic to the players.

Additionally, localize all numerical aspects of the game, such as measurement units, date formats, and address formats since these elements differ across most languages.

Along with content, remember that images and other graphical elements have to be localized as well. To make the process of localizing images run smoothly, make certain not to embed text into the pictures.

Focus on Culture

Making certain that the game is culturally appropriate is vital to increase its appeal to users. Be sure to replace any references that have the potential to be offensive or simply will not resonate with the target audience.

Users’ traditions, belief systems, and religions will influence how they will interpret the cultural references. Therefore, game elements, such as color choices, city names, salutations, character names, and word choices, should all be carefully considered during the localization process. It would only take one inadvertently offensive aspect to greatly impact the reputation of the game and the company that owns it.

Maintain quality assurance

Throughout the entire localization process, quality assurance is essential. From matching the right translator to the project to testing the game at the end, each decision by the LSP needs to be made with quality management in mind.

A strong quality management system consists of:

  • A bilingual subject matter expert (SME) conducting the content translation.
  • A second bilingual SME translator cross checking it against the original translated work.
  • An editor reviewing the content translation to make revisions.
  • A project manager overseeing the localization from its beginning through its launch.
  • The project team testing and retesting the game to make sure that everything works correctly and that the localized game feels like it is the original version to users.

Integrate the content

Once the text is translated, edited, and checked, the next stage is to integrate the content into the localized game. During this step, the text will be combined with the other elements that were modified during the localization process, such as new graphics or scenes. At this point, sometimes the user interface or the gaming code needs to be adjusted.

Maintain a glossary

Translating and localizing a game is a continuous process, even after the modified game is launched. Consider how many times updated versions of a game are available in an app store. By developing a glossary and style guide for translators, minor revisions can be efficiently made without adversely affecting the translation.

A style guide will help maintain the language and tone used in the translation, and a glossary will include approved terminology that should be consistently used throughout the game’s content.

Localize marketing

Think about this scenario: After spending the time, resources, and money to localize the game, it is ready to launch, but one critical aspect is missing; there has been no marketing to announce the game to its new market. To avoid this problem, marketing should be built into the project plan from the start.

While the game is being localized, other team members should be focused on localizing marketing and advertising. This means concentrating on several marketing channels, including a website, social media platforms, posters, blogs, and other advertising material. Similar to the steps that were taken to localize the game, it is necessary to make sure that the marketing campaign uses the correct images, colors, date formats, and icons to adhere to the region’s standards.

As the gaming industry continues to flourish across the globe, localization could be the fastest way for companies to increase their revenues. Reach out to a qualified game localization services company to map out a plan for expansion and attract countless customers in a new market.


The benefits of game localization are clear – a surge in revenues, new customers, and a higher ranking in app stores. Yet, what steps should be taken to achieve successful localization? Take a look at our game localization guide to learn the best approach when introducing games to new markets.

Share your thoughts