VIDEO GAMES LOCALIZATION
How it works?
It has not been —nor is— an easy task to transcend the best ever developed games to the Spanish public. Some years ago, they were either not translated, or subject to unprofessional translations. However, over time this point has become very important. Localizing a game is more than simply a matter of translating it into the required language: many factors must be taken into consideration
What is the aim? For the user to play with an entirely adapted version, both linguistically and culturally. The video game translator has to handle all of the content: text boxes, interface, user manuals and so on. Bear in mind all the nuances can make the difference between a great and mediocre job— even if unfortunately, the former doesn’t get commensurate recognition. In addition, if the game has to be dubbed, more challenges emerge.
The process is lengthy, tough and involves a team of people next to the translator to achieve a successful outcome. Furthermore, you must be ready to deal with the complications that may arise: very specific terminology, working without context, abiding to a series of codes, etcetera.
Video game translator profile
Some of the best professional translators in this industry agree that, as a general rule, it is necessary to have some basic skills to work in this field:
-English must be mastered perfectly and be the first working language. Yes, perhaps the original game is not in English. Commonly, it is first translated into American English and then into other languages. Although it is also possible to translate from Asian languages, working from English is simpler, cheaper and could expedite the localization.
-One advantage of this translation industry is that it’s possible to learn a lot… by playing! You don’t have to be a gamer, but it is recommended to have some sort of experience playing. Be that as it may, a middle ground is ideal. Some games may have references to others or, if they have the same theme, may contain similar features. It is always good to specialize in different fields, but we can learn to identify different languages and situations between games of the same genre by playing.
To be considered
-The translator must have knowledge of localization in this case because, as previously mentioned, it is not sufficient to simply translate the video game. Linking the content of the game to the users will allow them to identify with the expressions used, in contrast to a literal translation. For this reason, it is necessary to control technical aspects that allow the adaptation of the target culture while maintaining the possible variables, limitations and different codes in each case.
-Last but not least, being creative is essential. When translating any type of game, using all our imagination will add value to its content and make it more prominent to the public.
Some of the most popular games such as Pokémon, League of Legends, the Persona saga, Final Fantasy, and countless others, are the result of a localization work that lasted months until their eventual publication in our languages.
An opportunity to combine passion and profession
The number of new video games and users is increasing day by day. Although there are more and more professionals in the industry, the demand continues to grow. A young translator may not have considered working in this industry, but if you enjoy seeing the adaptations that have been made of puns or jokes in iconic games such as Super Mario or the Rachet and Clank saga, and you would fancy giving it a try, this is the place!
At Game Localizations we want to cast light on this type of translation because the need for it is growing all the time. If you feel like videogame translation can give you on a new purpose in life, if you want to make a difference in a field where dreams are made of, if anyone is pondering to enter this world… let the games begin!
Translated and written by:
Ana Fariñas Ramos
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