An essential part of a video game localization project is planning. The first step in the planning process is to perform a pre-localization analysis to determine the budget and the depth of localization. For example, will the localization consist of translating only the marketing material and player’s manual or will it be a complete localization that will also translate the gaming text and modify the video in the game. Once the pre-localization has been completed, it is time to develop a video game localization kit.
Localization Kit consists of the list of game components to be localized and the toolkit necessary to integrate the translations into the game. A localization kit is essential to organize the project, inform everyone what the steps in the process will be, and to provide everyone with the same reference materials to maintain consistency throughout the translation and localization process.
1- Prepare a comprehensive localization manual
The toolkit should contain a localization manual that includes relevant data such as the project’s word count broken down into: gaming text word count, non-gaming text word count, and dubbing word count. The manual should include detailed instructions for the localization team such as the number of characters and actors, the number of graphic components for localization, instructions for working with specific formats, font use manuals, additional tools user manual, and instructions for producing local game collections. Another important section in the manual are term glossaries for everyone’s reference to maintain consistency in translation throughout the project.
2. Prepare the translatable strings
The next step in preparing the localization kit is to collect all the data to be included in the localization process. Extract all of the text that need to be translated in one translatable package; it is better to be in a format suitable for Translation Environment Tools (TEnTs) and Localization software. Include all gaming text, non-gaming text (user manual, marketing material, etc.), and a complete glossary. If applicable, make a list of the characters and their dubbing actors, also collect all dubbing text and audio file samples. Continue by gathering the graphics including interfaces, textures, and fonts.
3. Prepare a pseudo-localized build
It is recommended that a mock, pseudo-localized build be created and tested to insure that no text has been omitted, and no localiziblity issues are there. An important issue to consider when planning a localization project is that the length of translated phrases may be longer in the target language, so the team working with fonts and graphics needs to be able to plan for the necessary changes.
Continue the process with internationalization. All the compiled text and information should be extractable into resource files for translation; make sure there is no hard-coded text. Internationalization is to be completed by your software development team to make the game usable in any region.
Now that your localization kit is complete, you have completed your planning process and it is time to begin execution of your game localization project. The pre-localization planning and efforts to assemble the kit will pay off in an organized effort by your team to translate and modify the game for its scheduled release date in the target regions.