The video game market is one of the fastest expanding in the world right now. With the new normality of 2020, this niche saw an upward trend, and it ended the year 2020 with a total of US$ 159.3 billion in revenue. With this much expansion, it has become necessary to localize games and offer them in languages other than English and Spanish. To better understand how game localization works on Steam and how you can translate your games, read on.
Localization vs Translation
Translation of a text means staying as faithful as possible to the source text while conveying the meaning using words of another language, the target language. There are many high-quality translator jobs out there, and this is exactly what they do. However, in some cases, you want to make the target text or the target game more understandable and more relatable to the gaming community in a certain region. This is when localization kicks in. What is localization?
It is a long process of culturally appropriate translation, which includes the translation of names, place names, historical events, and the entire storyline, which is translated or remade in such a way as to match a specific event or a person from the target region. So, Mark may become Mario, and Detroit may become Napoli if the localization was done for the Italian audience.
Steam Volunteer Project
Steam has launched a volunteer project that enables anyone to translate video games on Steam. If they deem that your game and your language skills are good enough for the process of localization, you may be given the right to do so. Your video game translation abilities will be tested, and you will be assessed before you can join the project. Check out the 10 Best Video Games to Play to get a better idea of this.
In video game localization, you may want to let the best online translation services do a part of the work for you. After all, localization is a big field and demands a lot of revision. The obvious starting point is doing the translation first and then dealing with the material obtained to see which segments may or may not be changed for elements of your own culture.
Translation APPlication, Screen Transaltiona, and Universal Game Translator are software solutions that may help translate the script or the gameplay dialogues. Make sure to fully utilize these software solutions before moving onto more culturally relevant gameplay segments since they will be the most demanding. What you may want to do as well is to find a native speaker living in the area that you are interested in and have them help you out on the localization journey.
After the translation and localization have been done, you should also hire a good proofreader to provide you with honest feedback on how smooth the translation is and how well the target gaming community would accept the localization. This is not an easy task, and some companies may even hire entire teams for game localization.
In video game localization, especially on Steam, you should remember that localization may not be needed in all languages. The desired languages differ from one platform to the next, but Steam demands localization from English to Russian, Chinese, German, Brazilian Portuguese, French, and Spanish. You can check their website to see if more languages are needed, but these six are where most of the international gamers on Steam come from.
Whether you are a pro-gamer or an enthusiast translator looking to expand their niche, you always want first to consult the market’s needs. Nobody would expect that, in the post-COVID era, the digital services market would prosper this much. It has become obvious that new job opportunities are opening every day and that there are new markets to be conquered using localization. Follow the outlined steps and pave your way into this niche as well.
Christian Duke is an avid reader. He hopes to start a writing consultation service online one day. In the meantime, he enjoys his free time playing Steam’s classics, such as Half-Life 2 and Portal.