What Languages to Translate Your Games Into in 2020?
By: Antonia Ava
Are you a game developer looking for ways to make it big in the world of games, but confused about where to start? Do your games have all the “right ingredients” that would make them an instant hit with the masses? If not, you need to know the markets out there, the languages they speak, and the most lucrative languages to translate your games into.
In short, you need a plan for your games.
As a game developer, it might be difficult for you to decide which of the languages are the most popular ones and which languages are better left alone. In the process of game localization, however, selecting the right language is just the start of the journey that will take your games to the next level. Nevertheless, you must have ample knowledge about the languages that are likely to be the most popular in the future. Only then you could proceed forward to translate your games into those languages. Of course, all that would not be possible without the support of a reliable game localization services agency that knows the ins-and-outs of game localization and translation.
Read on to find which of the languages are best suited for your games in 2020 and beyond.
So What Exactly is Game Localization?
We have all played (or at least watched others playing) games but did you know that it takes a ton of effort to make these games accessible on your devices? The process that makes global games come to you in your language is known as, simply, game localization.
Game localization is the adaptation of a game to fit the needs and demands of a target market. A game that is doing well in Brazil may not be “suitable” for the Chinese market. This is the part where the people and agencies tasked with the responsibility of localizing games come in. The game localization experts and developers tailor the game experience to match the target audience’s choices. This localization involves everything from the obvious—such as translating games into new languages—to the less obvious aspects, like removing those elements from the games which are culturally inappropriate for the target market. Furthermore, a game translation process entails the translation of game descriptions, updates, and keywords, along with the marketing and promotion material.
Simply put, the game localization process can be identified in three ways. First is basic localization, which involves the translation of descriptions and screenshots. Second is the partial localization, such as translation of in-game captions and texts. Lastly, full localization involves the translation of everything related to the game, including audio files.
How to Localize Your Game?
After the term game localization is clear, the next question that game marketers have in mind is “how to go about localizing the games for the target market?”
The answer is a bit long but is simpler than you think.
In most parts of the world, game players do not mind playing those games that are not in their native language, as long as the text is minimal and the game concept is easy to understand. However, game developers across the world still undertake the game translation process in order to capture the attention of the target game users.
These game developers need to ask themselves a few questions before embarking on the game localization journey:
A game developer needs to go through all these points to be able to make his game a success in the target market. Of course, he will need the help of professional game localization services to assist him as well. Other than that, he also needs to scan the target market thoroughly to understand the other game developers present and to see the preferences of the game players in that market. Some key metrics that all game developers go by when evaluating their games are the number of game downloads and the revenue generated from these downloads.
What Languages to Choose for Game Translation?
Although the source language of a majority of games in English, not all popular games are present in English. If that’s the case, you need to localize your game into English first as that would open doors for highly potential markets of Europe, British, and some parts of Asia as well.
According to the orders received by game translators, the most popular languages to translate your games into fall under the category popularly termed as “FIGS”—French, Italian, German, Spanish. Then comes Simplified Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese, and Russian.
Translating your games into French opens up opportunities to Belgium, Monaco, Switzerland, and few African countries. The Metropolitan French is spoken in Canada as well which is why a large number of game developers aim to translate their games in French.
The Italian language is basically spoken in Italy, San Marino, and Switzerland. The Italian market has witnessed quite a lot of localizations owing to the fewer number of people understanding English. In fact, Italy is the 10th largest game market in the world.
A game developing company translating its games in the German language will be able to reach not only the German market but also the markets of Austria, Switzerland. Luxembourg, and Lichtenstein.
Although the Spanish game market is quite small with only 25 million game players, the population of Spanish-speaking internet users is gigantic—340 million. Other than that, the US market ranks high in the game translation ranks and approximately 18% of the US population is Hispanic—all the more reason to translate your game into Spanish.
The Chinese market may be a highly receptive one when it comes to game localization, but it has its own requirements. Localizing into the Chinese market requires game adaptation as Google Play Store is banned in China and instead, local Android stores are all the rage in the Chinese market. Nevertheless, translating your games into Chinese is a sure way of making high revenues from your games.
The Brazilian market is a huge hotbed for game developers as the language is spoken by a huge population. Translation of games into Brazilian Portuguese will allow developers to reach about half of the Latin American continent—with translation into just one language, that is, Brazilian Portuguese.
The Russian market is a huge one too with lucrative growth opportunities for game developers. The Russian game players, too, are selective about their games, which is why they may leave negative comments if the game is not localized into Russian.
A Look at the Future of Game Translation
The languages that are discussed above may be the most lucrative ones but the outlook for 2020 and beyond suggests that game developers need to focus on translating their games in more than these languages. The data gathered from the game players demonstrated that the fastest growing languages for game translation are Thai, Polish, Korean, Japanese, Turkish, and Vietnamese. Hindi and Simplified Chinese have also joined the race to be the top language to translate your games into. Other than Simplified Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages have emerging markets that are likely to witness growth in the coming years as well.
Game localization is more than just the adaptation of a game to suit the preferences of the target market. A game developing company needs to do its proper research before embarking on the tough journey of game localization. Nevertheless, an agency delivering expert game localization services can make the whole deal a lot easier for the game developers—and for the players as well. All that is needed is a proper and accurate translation of all game elements. Only then will a game be able to join the ranks of “favorites” amongst the game players.