Professional Video Game Localization by Tomedes

A recent client sought to capitalise on the COVID-19-related increase in gaming. We were happy to help them!


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Chinese to English Video Game Localization

May 26, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge in the number of people playing video games. In fact, the US gaming industry reported its busiest ever April in 2020, with revenue $0.3 billion higher than the previous record April, at $1.5 billion in 2020, compared to $1.2 billion back in 2008.  

It’s no wonder, then, that video game developers around the world are seeking to capitalize on this trend. Most recently, a client came to Tomedes with a Chinese to English video game translation and localization job. We were happy to help by providing our localization expertise! 

Professional Localization Services

What is localization? Localization in this context means taking a translation to the next level and specifically shaping it to suit the needs of a particular local audience. Translation converts language. Localization also converts one language to another, but it does so with one eye fixed on the cultural context. 

Successful localization services are also about far more than words alone. Localization delves into imagery, the user experience, practical details such as date and measurement formats and much, much more. 

Specialist Video Game Localization 

Video game localization, such as our recent client needed, is a complex task. Everything from the names of characters to the video game script needs to be viewed through the eyes of the intended audience. The game translator needs to get under the skin of the game and understand that the work is about more than just the translation of a video game script – it’s about delivering an entire gaming experience that flows smoothly and feels natural to the intended audience. 

To do this, a localization company needs to use native speakers of the target language, who also offer a solid cultural awareness of the region in question. This is the only way to ensure that game localization delivers the results that it needs to in order to maximise the game’s chances of success. 

The impact that game localization can have is huge. Great game localization can make players feel as though the game was written in their language originally, allowing them to truly immerse themselves in the player experience. Poor video game localization, meanwhile, can leave players feeling anything from bemused to irritated with their purchase – hardly the reactions that lead to brand loyalty and further purchases! 

Our recent video game translation and localization client understood this perfectly. He knew that creating an English version of his game meant understanding the expectations of English games in terms of so much more than just language. Hence him approaching Tomedes for our video game localization expertise! 

Video Game Translation 

We’ve made it clear how important the localization process is when it comes to connecting with a foreign audience. However, it’s important to remember that all outstanding localization work begins with excellent translation. 

In order to translate a video game successfully, the translator needs to be familiar with the gaming industry. That’s why we use only experienced gaming translators here at Tomedes. You can read a further example of our video game translation work by clicking the link at the end of this section. 

Translating a video game script is usually not a quick job. Certainly not with some of the industry’s larger and more popular offerings! It requires the translator to remain true to the game and consistent throughout, just as our Chinese translator did on this particular script. 

The translator must provide a strong understanding of video games terminology as, like every sector, the gaming industry has plenty of terms that are either unique to it or, if not unique, then used in certain ways that they aren’t in other contexts. A high-quality game translation professional must take all of these in their stride. 

Read more: Japanese to English video game translation

Chinese to English Game Translator 

Our leading Chinese video game translator has plenty of experience of working through the guidelines for game localization in order to suit different clients’ needs, as well as the particular quirks of the process. He was available to start work on the job immediately, so lost no time in getting stuck in. 

Tomedes has been providing Chinese to English translation services for well over a decade. During that time we’ve established a network of professional, highly efficient Chinese translators, covering Mandarin (Putonghua), Cantonese (Yue), Shanghainese (Wu) and more. In this instance, it was a Mandarin to English translator that was required, so that was precisely what we provided. 

We have worked on all manner of Chinese translations over the years, supporting a wide range of corporate clients to progress their operations and growth through our professional business translation services. In this instance, that meant providing video game translation services, but we’ve covered everything from marketing translation to legal translation over the past ten years and more. 

Final Thoughts

The video game industry was already experiencing rapid and sustained growth, even before the novel coronavirus outbreak at the start of 2020. In fact, the industry is growing so quickly that Forbes reports that it could reach a value in excess of $300 billion by 2025. To put that in context, the global box office industry was valued at $41.7 billion in 2018, while the music industry was worth $19.1 billion. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has kicked that up a notch, with many of the world’s 2.5 billion gamers suddenly finding themselves locked down at home with more time on their hands than usual. What perfect conditions for a huge spike in the number of people playing video games! 

As such, savvy developers are doing all they can to take advantage of the current market conditions and bring their products to market as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean cutting corners, as to do so could negatively impact the gaming experience and thus reduce profits. What is does mean is producing a high quality, well translated and expertly localized video game in as short a timeframe as possible. 

Sounds like a challenge? Don’t worry, Tomedes’ expert translation and localization professionals are standing by, ready to help! 

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