The Role of Crowdsourcing and Analysis in Game Localization

Gaming Localization

User generated content and feedback is increasingly becoming an ever-greater component of the web. At the same time, crowdsourcing initiatives are rapidly becoming integrated into corporate practices, in an effort to assist in solving effort-intensive localization problems. Video games, as many other software products, have been sold in international markets and have required localization practices for different locales. However, given the complexity of video games, crowdsourcing and user feedback have become particularly useful tools to be employed in game localization as new and innovative ways of tackling localization problems.

The Crowdsourcing Solution

The translation and localization of video games poses a set of obstacles for experts, including fragmented texts that are sometimes presented without context, and information presented in a variety of different formats (i.e. interface to subtitles, voiceover etc.). Despite all the localization tools and numerous screenshots provided to the translator to introduce him or her to all the components of a videogame, translators and localization professionals could use the help of the crowdsourcing community of video game users who tend to be eager to weigh in.

Crowdsourcing in the game localization realm usually refers to gamers with an interest in a subject area and who are motivated to perform crowdsourcing tasks without receiving a monetary incentive. Their motivation is usually that, in contributing to it, they will obtain a higher quality localized version of their favorite games. The advantage of crowdsourcing game localization is that the users themselves can prove to be more knowledgeable of the game than the professional translators who might be given outsourced localization work, thus possibly resulting in a better final product.

The Example of World of Warcraft

Take the example of the video game World of Warcraft, a popular game with heroic fantasy characters and magical mysticism. The game has an estimated 100 million devoted players, with an in-game text of approximately six million words. An analysis of the WoW Spanish forum was conducted in November 2010 until June 17 2015, in an effort to guide localization efforts towards the best possible results. All the posts reporting errors were analyzed and a content analysis approach was adopted.

Although the majority of errors reported were minor, approximately 3% of them were considered serious. After a thorough inspection of the game by a native Spanish speaker it was found that 86% of the errors reported by users in the forum were valid.  Moreover, this was reinforced by the developers’ rate of response: 83.8% of the errors raised on the forum were responded to by developers and the errors were then fixed. Overall, the localization feedback proved to be extremely useful and was promptly responded to by the development team.


Users can play a determinant role in the localization of games, and provide high quantity insights and feedback. Though the feedback can have its limitations, the findings highlighted above suggest that companies can make use of crowdsourcing as an important quality review component in their localization process.

This article is written by a professional writer, Ilaria Ghelardoni, associated with Ulatus.

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