Localization and translation of games
We work with game publishers and developers. We localize mobile, desktop, console, browser, and board games into more than 70 languages.
All translations are done by professional translators who are native speakers and have experience working on games.
In addition to translation of string resources, we also translate descriptions for the App Store and Google Play, gaming site content, reviews, news releases, and other materials. For this, an ideal solution is Nitro — your source for professional human translation online.
We provide language testing, voiceover, localization quality assessment, and proofreading services.
Localization of computer games: process
The following is the optimal games localization process:
- You create a game localization project on a cloud platform (Crowdin, Transifex, SmartCAT, Oneskyapp) and then upload the string resource files for your game (iOS .strings, Android .xml, .po, .resx, etc. — the platforms support all commonly used formats, including Excel spreadsheets). If you do not want to work with an online platform yourself, just attach files to the order form. We will use our own Alconost LMS platform or other professional tools for localization.
- Then write to us at email@example.com or submit a preliminary order. Provide a link to your cloud platform project and a link to your game on Google Play or the App Store so that our translators will be able to install and play it so that they can familiarize themselves with it. If you have not yet officially released your game, you can grant others access to your development version for the App Store using Testflight, and you can send the current build for your Google Play app by submitting the .apk file.
- Alconost will assign a personal localization project manager to your project. He will ask questions, request that you fill out an questionnaire form, help you make a glossary (if you don't yet have one), calculate the cost, monitor deadlines, and help you throughout the project.
- The manager will pick a team consisting of the most suitable translators and invite them to work on your project. Every translator installs the game, becomes familiar with the gameplay, gets a feel for the game's atmosphere, and gains an understanding of what needs to be translated.
- String resources are translated in the cloud platform. This tool allows the translator to ask a question about any string if, for example, he doesn't understand the context. The platform is also equipped with a translation memory and a glossary, which ensures that repeated terms and phrases are all translated the same way.
- A second translator will proofread the translation for any possible errors and typos and will check the accuracy of the translation.
- When the translation is ready, you can download the localized string resources from the platform and compile a build with the localized language versions. By using the CLI (command line interface) on the localization platform, you can automate the compilation of localized versions.
- Translators or testers play the localized version of the game, and they check to ensure that the localized strings are displayed correctly. Errors are either corrected immediately, or they are reported directly to developers in the bug tracker.
- To ensure rapid communication, we use dedicated channels in Slack or work directly in the developer's project management system.
By using online platforms, you can adopt a localization process whereby your app will be fully localized at the time of release, and all future updates will also be localized when they go live. This works in approximately the following way:
- The programmer or game designer adds a new string to the game's resources file.
- The updated resources file is sent to the localization platform automatically (using the API or command line utility). The translator will immediately see the new text.
- The translator translates the new string.
- Before the next build is compiled, the updated translations are automatically taken from the platform.
- Thus, each time the game is compiled the localizations are 100% ready, and the update process is not held up because you are waiting to receive translated resources.
Alternative game localization scenarios
In reality, the process of localizing computer games may differ from the ideal scenario.
Often the developer may want to use Excel or Google Sheets for handling string resources. A second translator/editor may be unnecessary for projects with a tight budget. Sometimes you may not want to order testing (for example, if the game has not yet been released).
At Alconost we can work with any type of order, format or process. For example, you can simply send us the string resource files (Localizable.strings, Strings.xml, .po, etc.) by e-mail, and we ourselves will upload them to the platform, translate them, and return the localized resources to you by email.
Write to us, describe your situation, and we will help you localize your game.
Localization of small games and translation of updates
If your game contains only a little text, or if you are planning to localize it on your own, have a look at Nitro — an online translation service. You can place an order with Nitro in just a few clicks, whenever it’s convenient for you, without the need for a manager.
Nitro was designed as a quick translation service for translating texts into several foreign languages simultaneously. It’s particularly convenient when requesting translations of sales descriptions for online stores and “What’s new” texts, or for translating amended lines of text into 10 languages at once.
To ensure the consistency of all the texts translated, use a glossary. With Nitro you can create a new glossary or upload an existing one — particularly helpful if you are requesting a translation of updates for a localized project. To upload your glossary to Nitro, contact us via online chat.
How much does game translation cost
The cost of translation is determined by:
- The amount of text to be translated (number of characters with spaces). Only the text to be translated is used in the calculation. Markup language tags, keys, etc., are disregarded when calculating the cost.
- The number of hours spent on testing the localized version.
The translation rate varies by target language. This is due to the different standards of living in the countries where our native-speaker translators live. You can estimate the budget for localizing apps or games using our tables of rates.
However, it is easier to submit a price quote request with your attached files, and we will calculate the cost ourselves.
We conduct localization testing as follows.
When a localized build is compiled, the localizing translator or the native language tester plays the game for the required amount of time and takes screenshots of problem areas (that have not been translated or where translated strings are too long, where there are incorrect encodings, where the text flows in the wrong direction, contextual interpretation errors, etc.).
The tester creates records for all detected errors in the developer project management system (Jira, Trello, Asana) and makes the necessary changes to the string resources either independently or in cooperation with the developer.
The cost of localization testing is calculated on the basis of the tester's hourly rate and the time needed for testing.
We are able to test games on the following platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS, Xbox, PlayStation (Ps3, Ps4), and Nintendo (3DS).
The translation memory is a database that stores the source language text of each segment together with its translation. The translation memory allows you to automate the translation of repeated words, phrases, and sentences.
Translation memory allows you to:
- Increase the performance of the translation team
- Ensure the use of consistent terminology throughout the entire text
- Improve the quality of translation
- Replace translators partway through the project
- Save time translating repetitions
Thus, if your game is released at the same time, for example, on iOS and Android, and string resources that are 90% matches are available for the new strings, then the matching strings will be inserted automatically and you will not have to pay for them.
A glossary is a special dictionary with definitions, translations and usage examples for terms used in a text. This dictionary can be imported into an automatic translation tool to expedite the translation process and ensure consistency of terminology across one or more texts.
A glossary makes it possible to assign several translators to a project and change translators around during the process if necessary.
If your game does not yet have a glossary, we will help you compile one.
Localization of games, audio and video content, and graphics
At Alconost, we not only create promos and video trailers for games, but we also localize video and audio content. If your project needs voiceovers in a new language, or you need to rerecord the character voices, or you need to localize a video or redraw the graphics — we know exactly how to get it done.
Tools that we use for game translation and localization
CAT Tools — programs that help automate the translation process
- SDL Trados
- SDL Passolo
Cloud platforms for localization:
- Crowdin (recommended)
With Alconost, your localization project will be run by a dedicated project manager, who:
- Studies your material and the specific features of the text in depth
- Agrees on the price, taking repetitions into consideration
- Chooses a team of translators and editors with the necessary specialisms;
- Controls deadlines;
- Takes care of quality, formatting and consistency of the completed translations
- Maintains the glossary and translation memory
- Organizes linguistic testing
- Prepares all the accompanying documents (agreement, invoice, PO) if necessary
- Is available practically 24/7 to answer any of your questions
Your Project Manager is your “single point of contact” with whom you can resolve all your questions regarding the project. If your project manager becomes unavailable for some reason, another manager will replace them straight away at the same address.
We have approximately 300 professional native-speaker translators in our team, with a broad range of specialisms.
We always try to assign one dedicated translator to your project and work specifically with this translator on a continuous basis. This is useful if you have a large project that is periodically updated, you need to use consistent terminology, or you simply like a particular translator's style. If the translator changes for some reason, they will hand over the glossary and translation memory to the new translator to ensure consistency of terminology and style in future updates.
Crowdin is our recommended translation management platform
Cloud-based translation platform Crowdin allows localization projects to be managed in real time. You can:
- Upload string resources in any format (.resx, .po, .strings, etc.) either manually or through the API
- Appoint translators and editors
- You can monitor the translation or editing of your project in real time
- Exchange comments with the translator or editor on any open issues
- Create glossaries
- Manage what is added to the translation memory and how it is used
- Export string resources once the translation is complete
Find out more details about Alconost's experience working with Crowdin.
Which languages you should localize your game into first
We have analyzed the number of native speakers who are Internet users, the general volume of online sales, and Google Play revenue in particular by region. As a result, we have obtained the following top 5 languages for localization:
- English – United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia
- Chinese — China (Simplified Chinese) and Taiwan (Traditional Chinese)
- Japanese — Japan
- French — France, Canada, and Belgium
- German — Germany and Belgium
We offer the following services in addition to the localization of mobile apps:
- A judgment on whether the name of your game is appropriate in the target language (as determined by a native speaker)
- Creating trailers for app pages on the App Store or Google Play
- Preparing a series of short videos in different languages to post on advertising networks
- Hiring professional voice actors who are native speakers to provide voiceovers for your game characters