In recent years, video game localization has grown into one of the largest gaming-related industries. Video game developers are recognizing that to maximize their profits, their games need to be localized into many different languages and cultures. In addition to the standard localization services that video game localization companies provide, software localization is becoming more integral to the localization process as a whole.
What Is Software Localization?
Software localization is the process of adapting a game’s software and code so that it properly reflects the cultural and linguistic characteristics of the area the game is being sold in. Traditionally, the game localization process involves the translation of text as well as audio translation services. As a part of that process, certain details might be altered to better fit different cultural and traditional values, depending on where in the world the game is being marketed. As games are becoming more complex, both on a technical level and on a creative level, simple video game translation is not enough. The actual code behind the game needs to be localized as well.
What Goes Into Software Localization?
The root of software localization services is making the game feel more relatable to the players. That means small details that don’t seem important need to be changed. Details like how a date is displayed, or how decimal points are rendered, and other language/culture specific details all require code to be adapted and/or altered. For example, in most of the world outside of the US, dates are displayed in the month-day-year format, while in the US dates are displayed in the day-month-year format. Another example is time: most of the world outside of the US operates on the 24 hour clock, while the US uses the AM-PM system. These seemingly minor details add up to creating a gaming experience that the player can feel comfortable with; all these changes need to be made by accessing the game’s code and adapting it.
Software Localization And Localization QA
Finally, software localization plays an important role in the localization QA process. Localization QA is a vital part of the video game localization process. Without proper QA, bad video game translations could make their way into the final product. Games that do not undergo the proper QA process will often suffer, as players will be upset with the poor quality of the localization. When performing QA, it will sometimes be necessary to change a game’s software to help with bugs and other technical issues. In addition, changes that were made to the code during the localization process need to be tested to make sure the stability of the game does not suffer.