So much of a video game’s success in the global market hinges on creating engaging, immersive experiences that make gamers want to return to that world time and time again. So when expanding to international markets, leveraging high-quality video game localization services is key.
While you can take a few different translation approaches, one thing is clear: a literal or machine translation of your game’s script won’t cut it. Each component — from the UI text and dialogue to the graphics and possibly even the narrative — must be adapted for your new market. Since gaming is highly interactive, the goal is to not just appeal to your audience but to create a fantastic user experience that captivates their imaginations.
As you can imagine, the game localization process has many moving parts and requires a specialized skill set — even within the already specialized field of localization. To help start your video game localization project off on the right foot, here’s a list of some of the best game localization companies out there.
1. Level Up Translation
Based in France and founded in 2011, Level Up Translation focuses solely on game localization projects — mainly AAA and indie games, although it also handles board game localization. The company offers its services in several languages, and many of its team members are experienced gamers. The team is on the smaller side, with one project manager, one graphic designer, and a modest pool of translators. And while that comes with a number of positives, it also could prove to be limiting, particularly with larger projects or tight turnarounds.
2. Localsoft Games
This localization company, located in Spain, has also decided to concentrate only on game localization services and offers translation and subtitling services as well as dubbing and QA testing, among others. Localsoft Games says it has the capacity for mid- to large-sized projects, works on the major gaming platforms, and has localized many classic and popular games. Nevertheless, when considering Localsoft Games for game localization expertise, companies will also want to keep in mind that this level of specialization may require going elsewhere for other translation needs, such as website localization.
GameScribes has been in the games localization business since 2009. Services include translation, testing, voice-over and dubbing, graphic design, and game writing. GameScribes also mentions on its website that it uses proprietary software to facilitate the localization process, including a project management portal and a CAT (computer-assisted translation) tool for its translators. These tools may indeed help GameScribes deliver higher-quality translations. But since localization software capabilities vary widely, prospective customers will want to carefully compare and contrast GameScribes’ tools with other localization software solutions before deciding to proceed.
4. Terra Localizations
Established in 2008, this Argentina-based localization services company is passionate about video games and localization. Terra Localizations offers video game translation services, localization testing and linguistic quality assurance services (LQA), and more. Video game developers and publishers may also find the company's videocasts on video game localization both interesting and informative.
5. Glyph Language Services
Glyph Language Services is headquartered in Spokane Valley, Washington, and offers various services for customers looking to localize their games for different markets. These include video game translation and testing, transcription, subtitling, voice-over, and dubbing. The company can work with various translation project management and the CAT tools such as Smartling.
Based in Sweden and Vietnam, LocalizeDirect has been in the games localization business for ten years and offers translation, LQA, voice-over, and desktop publishing services. The company also has a spreadsheet-style translation management system (TMS) to facilitate project management and collaboration among key stakeholders and linguists.
The TMS has features that game developers may find helpful, such as translation memory and glossary support, version control, and a handful of extensions and integrations (including integrations with separate CAT tools). However, companies with large-scale translation projects and those looking to scale quickly will likely find that a full-featured, all-in-one TMS and CAT tool like Smartling better suits their needs.
With offices in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, Alconost has nearly 20 years of experience translating into several target languages. They offer content localization services for apps and games, which include translation but also encompass video production and voice-over services. The company has also developed a platform geared toward developers. If you work with Github, you can use GitLocalize to facilitate the localization of projects on Github. Nevertheless, other stakeholders, or those unfamiliar with Github, may face a learning curve.
8. Day Translations
Day Translations was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in New York. The company is a language service provider (LSP) that offers translation and multimedia localization services, such as voice-over, dubbing, and others, for several industries, including the video game industry. Video game testers and professional translators are also available to perform LQA checks.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our own localization services!
Smartling offers a robust, feature-rich TMS with helpful project management and translation tools. It can be used separately or in conjunction with our expert language services to streamline the translation workflow and supply your translators with a full-featured CAT tool. It’s the easiest and the most efficient way to produce high-quality translation.
Smartling’s translation management software is available to any agency our customers work with.
Project managers and linguists alike have ready access to the most up-to-date linguistic assets (e.g., glossaries, style guides, translation memories, and in-game information), and real-time collaboration is made simple. Translators also can see the strings of text they’re translating in context while they translate.
In addition, Smartling’s team of experienced localization project managers provides white-glove support and handpicks seasoned translators with extensive industry knowledge for our clients’ localization projects — from their websites to their marketing materials to their mobile apps or video games. We offer translation, subtitling, and QA testing, and if our clients need additional services, we have a network of partners we can connect them with directly.
Game localization may be a niche subset of localization. But to maximize your translation ROI, certain best practices remain universal and just as vital.
Whenever you consider working with an LSP, you will want to keep in mind some key questions to ask to help ensure you are working with localization experts who can produce games in your target languages that your customers will be able to fully immerse themselves in.
With so much focus on the game itself, it’s easy to forget that there’s more content to localize! For example, your website, promotional content, manuals and support content, gameplay add-ons, etc., must all be translated. Using one powerful TMS to support all your content needs helps keep everything consistent, operating smoothly, and on schedule.
Smartling’s cloud-based TMS shines not only in game localization but also in many other use cases such as marketing, software & apps, and customer support. Our translation software has a range of features that make both the project management and the translation side of the localization process seamless.
Check out our two-part blog series for everything you need to know about game localization: what is game localization, why you need to localize your game, how to begin your localization process, and more >> Read Now