Localization projects are bigger than ever before, users are becoming increasingly demanding, and new technology is leading to ever new terminology challenges. We spent the day on location in Cologne at the opening of Gamescom 2016, and picked the brains of a number of industry insiders specializing in localization.
According to Stefan Dinger, head of localization at Ubisoft, upcoming challenges to be expected in the coming months will include the new terminology necessary for VR gaming devices, specifically in terms of the new buttons and functions that will be required. In two months time, Sony is set to release the Playstation VR, which will be the first mainstream VR headset to hit the market. The release of this product will give easy access to VR gaming technology to millions of gamers for the first time, and as with any new piece of hardware, tech experts are expecting the unexpected.
Sarah Beuter, head of localization for Gameforge Productions told us of the challenges her team faces localizing various games into 40+ languages. Despite all the technological advances and increased connectivity of the last decade, finding skilled and reliable translators is still one of the most difficult tasks of a localization specialist. Eastern European languages are among the most difficult to localize into, along with certain Asian languages such as Korean. Hand in hand with this goes the fact that users are more vocally critical of localization mistakes than ever before, and to address this issue they now offer the option for players to suggest corrections through various forums.
For anyone looking to get into game localization, Sarah has some advice: ‘Become a gamer yourself. Many people who want to work in game localization say they like games, but not so many of them play regularly. If you really want to do this job, you have to think, write and speak like a gamer. There is almost a whole language you need to learn.’
Gamescom 2016 opens to the public tomorrow morning; and we will be there!
by James Austin
James Austin is a Prague-based copywriter for Memsource, musician and fitness enthusiast.