[MUSAI] ‘GAME LOCALIZATION GUIDE with MUSAI’ Ep1. Localization tips for each game genre

2020-10-16

 

Similar to other entertainment industries like movie and music, genre in games is very various. According to the genre, games have different story narratives that affects gameplay, so it attracts different types of players.

 

Since every game genre has different components and target players, localization for each game genre has to be different likewise. Musai Studio, therefore, would like to discuss about the characteristics and knowhow of localization based on the game genre as the first episode of ‘Game Localization Guide with Musai’.

 

It’s not easy to classify the genre clearly because of the development of a range of new genres that spans from immersive, hardcore titles like MOBA to relaxed, casual games. Besides, every game is designed by its own style and intention, it can’t help but there are wide variations in the volume of localization work even though the games belong to the same genre. For your information, this article covers the average figures of general cases and the projects Musai have worked on. Let’s start with this chart below.

 

[Chart 1] Localization specification of each game genre (Source: Musai Studio)

 

You will notice that the conditions of localization project are significantly different depends on the game genre including the main contents and volumes to be translated through this chart. Furthermore, the number of localization team members and the schedule are set accordingly.

 

Each genre requires different strategies for localization

RPG & MMORPG

As for the localization agency, the word volume means revenue. Therefore, if the year starts with several contracts of RPG and MMORPG titles which have the huge volume of localization, it guarantees the year of a good harvest in terms of sales revenue. On the other hand, the games of this genre give a quite painful process for the developers and publishers to adjust the budget because it will require huge money for localization especially for MMORPG.

The localization project of RPG and MMORPG needs more time and efforts than any other genre from the beginning. For example, it takes more time to get familiarized with the game based on playthrough and analysis and to set up a new team with a large number of localization resources.

In the past, most of RPGs have similar concepts of the game world with ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ but a diversity of games with more unique components have increasingly appeared. Therefore, it’s recommended to fully understand the background and style for each game before starting the localization process.

[Photo 1] The RPG & MMORPG localized by Musai Studio (Source: Musai Studio)

 

Action & Adventure

As the combination of two different genres in the game industry, the localization volume of Action & Adventure games has been increased like RPG. In terms of localization, the exact delivery of the story for players is one of the important part in RPG games. On the other hand, brining life to main characters (both on-screen text and voiceover) is key in the Action & Adventure games for the immersive play.

[Photo 2] The Action & Adventure games localized by Musai Studio (Source: Musai Studio)

 

Simulation & Strategy

The intuitive UI and understandable tutorials are the most important in this genre, so it can make the translation sound formal and dry. It’s suggested to find and highlight the fun elements while translating the tutorials to avoid the boredom. 

[Photo 3] The Simulation & Strategy games localized by Musai Studio (Source: Musai Studio)

 

Sports

In the sports game localization, the most important point is how to describe and present the atmosphere of the stadium vividly. The main contents of sports games will be the commentary of sportscasters and the narrative style should be a real-time and running commentary on the game. It is possible to apply the actual comments used in the sports broadcasts.

In terms of voiceover, casting famous sports announcers instead of voice talents has been increased recently. In this case, they already have a reputation with their own style among sports fans, so it’s recommended to maintain it in the games during the recording session. 

There is one more thing to be considered in the sports game localization – naming. It may happen that the real names of sports teams and players such as ‘Manchester United FC’ and ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’ are not allowed for use in the games depends on the developer’s authority over the licenses. Therefore, the naming should be discussed carefully even though the characters in games are modeled on the existing teams and people, and in the case without the license, the names should be newly created in Korean.   

In the case with the license, you may have to decide “which name” you will apply to the games. Occasionally, the sports players from non-English speaking countries are called with various names in Korea. For example, ‘Morgan Schneiderlin’, a French soccer player at Manchester United, should be ended with ‘Lang’ sound according to the Korean orthography of loanwords but called with ‘Lin’ sound among Korean soccer fans for the convenience. Therefore, the names in games should be made in a way to minimize the confusion among users from sufficient discussion.

[Photo 4] The Spots game localized by Musai Studio (Source: Musai Studio)

 

Casual & Puzzle

You may think ‘This genre could be easy’ since the localization volume is smaller than other genres, but we are sorry to say ‘No’. Casual games mostly have unique names of characters, stages, and items reflected the preference of the target market and the original naming was created with lots of consideration from the beginning of development. That’s why when it comes to localization for global launching, the names should be created based on the preference of each target country instead of direct translation. As you can expect, it will take a lot of time and culturalization is essential.

[Photo 5] The Casual game localized by Musai Studio (Source: Musai Studio)

 

Be smart with the localization schedule for each genre

The chart below shows the average localization volume of each genre and the required period of time accordingly. It is not simple to reserve a chunk of time only for localization amid the tough development schedule by the release day. However, it is recommended to secure this period of time for each genre at least in order to make sure the final quality.

[Chart 2] Localization volume and period of each game genre (Source: Musai Studio)

 

More people to shorten the schedule, is it work?

Lastly, the required number of localization resources is different for each game genre as you may already notice. It’s possible to think “If we assign a lot of people for the project, maybe it can be finished early.” but we don’t recommend more than 5 translators and 3 reviewers for one project even though it’s MMORPG, the game genre with the biggest localization volume.

The reason is that ‘more people’ means the possibility to have more diversities in terms of the quality level and requires more time to adjust the consistency in the review phase. The review phase, according to the purpose, is a process to enhance the final quality but in this case, it can’t help but focusing on the consistency. That’s why not only the time but also the quality can be affected severely. Most of CAT tools support the cloud working environment which enables real-time translation progress, and itis helpful to work with various translators simultaneously, but it still needs the effort to keep consistency.

 

We have discussed the localization tips for each genre in a span from the realistic conditions to the translation knowhow. Hope this article guide you where to start when preparing localization project for your game.

 

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