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5 Video Game Localization Problems And How to Fix Them



5 Video Game Localization Problems And How to Fix Them

Localization of video games is a time-consuming and challenging process, even if every crucial bit has been prepared in advance and presented in a translation-ready format. The tricky part here is to combine the work of the coders, designers, language specialists, and the team of beta testers who will be able to evaluate things before the official release date.

There should be no hurry, yet it’s important to avoid procrastination and do your best to calculate approximate dates for the testing and translation stages. Even though you may still run into problems during localization work, there are workarounds and fixes that you should consider! 


5 Video Game Localization Problems and How to Fix Them 


A Different Length of Words. 

The most common localization problem relates to the different lengths of words for the same term and the necessity to allocate more space for the floating windows or the descriptive elements. The German language is one of the famous examples of lengthy words in video games! A possible solution would be to include an online manual that comes along or provide an alternate design (more expensive). As another reliable solution, you can turn to websites that write papers for you. You can ask their experts to provide you with a more concise text that can be further translated.


– Source Code Challenges. 

The compatibility and code-sharing issues are always there, so the coders must seek the best ways to provide translators and localization specialists with the source information and templates where they can do their work. It can be done either in the presence of the coders or by sending files remotely for debugging and testing purposes. An open-source could is always a better solution, yet the privacy and shared access concerns must be discussed before translation work starts. 


Small Graphic Design Elements. 

It is one of the most common issues that translators face as they have to fit large chunks of text or apply odd fonts within the small graphic elements. While things can be adjusted in the menus in an easier way, some graphic elements require a total rebranding of the design. A great solution would be to approach an online translation agency and ask the specialists to find alternative terms or come up with ideas to make the small elements work with the different words. Sometimes you can use the English language or international terms that you may have just forgotten! 


Voice-Overs and Dubbing Timing Issues

This part can be quite challenging if you want to use audio portions and use voice actors to add life to your game. Depending on the code of the original content, a voice-over will have to fit the right timing and the nature of the game. A solution here would be to let the person actually play the game and understand the specifics so the tone and the peculiarities of the game are handled correctly. 


Sociocultural Points. 

Another problem many game developers face during localization is the necessity to consider the country’s specifics or cultural points. When dealing with the Middle East, we should show genuine respect and avoid certain elements. Likewise, sending a war strategy game to Germany would require certain adjustments as well. One may consider video game translations that use a human approach to discuss your approaches and come up with a suitable solution. Paying attention to this factor will help you to save time and nerves in the end!


Knowing the Foreign Gaming Slang 

When you are preparing your video game content for another country’s target audience, you should approach not simply native speakers but trained gamers who know the nature of the game well and can assist you with the translation and the use of the correct terms. In the majority of cases, an average translator will not be able to provide you with 100% accuracy, which is why turning to the gaming community and fellow developers for consulting purposes can be of help. Make sure to test and discuss things in advance to guarantee that you are on the same brainwave and have every foreign gaming term done correctly! 



Elaine Bailey never misses an opportunity to play her favorite video games. As an explorer, linguist, and educator, she loves to write about her technical and gaming experiences as she studies the cultures of the world. Follow Elaine to make your gaming experience even more meaningful and take your studies to another level. 

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