Current status of Localization Agencies in Korea for Game contents.

For many game publishers or developers planning to launch the Korean market, it may be hard to evaluate and choose a localization vendor for the Korean language. I would like to share some information related to the local localization companies in Korea.

How many translation agencies currently in Korea?

Around 2,000 translation companies are known to be active in Korea within the localization industry. For more accurate data, here are the data statistics from the government.

According to the 2016 statistics, a total of 561 companies are registered as translations and interpretations, and among the 75% are concentrated in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province. However, this data comes from 2016 statistics, and due to the nature of the translation industry, some companies provide translation services without registration as a sub service, as well as small teams who are not registered as companies. It is safe to assume that there are more than 1,000 companies in Korea.

Classification of translation agencies in Korea.

We could separate two kinds of agencies into Branch office of Intl. L10n companies and Local agencies.

Branch office of Intl. L10n companies (Sales or Production office of International L10n companies)

  • Branch office of major L10n companies: LB, SDL, Transperfect.
  • Branch office of Middle sized global L10n companies: Around 5 to 10 companies. It may be more.
  • Branch office of Japan or China L10n agencies: According to the geographic status, there are branch offices of L10n companies whose HQ are located in Japan, China or Taiwan.

Local translation agencies

  • Large sized translation agencies (Over 50 employees): Assume 5~10% among total SLVs
  • Middle sized (Around 20~50 employees): Assume 20~30% among total SLVs
  • Small sized (Around 10 employees): Assume 60~75% among total SLVs
  • Agencies who specialized in each industry specific (like medical, legal, marketing etc.): No statistical data.

Specific notes regarding local translation agencies.

  • Revenue came from major conglomerate (like Samsung, LG, Hyundai…): Lots of local translation companies (regardless size of companies) are working for conglomerates.
  • Most of the local translation agencies cover all industries. That means it is not easy to find agencies who specialized in specific industry.

Then how many translation agencies specialize in game contents?

Unfortunately, there is no statistical data for this. Also, this may be a sensitive issue if other translation companies read this.

In my opinion, it will be around 5 to 10 companies who really specialize in gaming contents within Korea. I think some vendor managers of MLVs knows these companies. But please understand that I could not reveal the name of these companies on this page as a translation agency.

As mentioned, most local translation agencies (even MLVs) promote that they have gaming specific translators and game experiences. Thus, it is not easy to find right fitted translation agency for gaming. Like the same way to validate translation agencies, check service area on the website and blog, cross checking their actual gaming experiences because some of vendors promote their experiences even involve small portion of the project as a sub-vendor. Of course, trial translation should be done if you have some candidate agencies. Reference check also helpful if you know anybody who localization manager from client side.

Major language of game specific translation agencies.

This can be divided into 2 parts.

  1. Target for domestic gaming companies: The languages will be Korean to English, Japanese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese. There are really a limited number of companies who could cover these languages for gaming. Also, there are fewer external resources comparing English to Korean.
  2. Target for global gaming companies: As you are aware, English to Korean. You could find this easily, but it would need strict evaluation.

How to choose the best agency for your game.

It may vary on which parts have priority, and the specifics you want to focus on.

  • Quality only: You can find famous local boutique vendors who specialized in game contents. But you must spend time and effort for evaluation.
  • Focus on Production effectiveness, Centralized process & available strict QA guideline: Famous MLVs who have branch offices in Korea may be the right answer
  • Cost & schedule only: Finding middle sized or small sized local vendors. But also require basic evaluation processes to avoid rework.

Hope this helps shed some visibility into understanding the localization industry in Korea.

If you have any questions or require additional information, please send your queries to info@musaikorea.com .

2 years ago

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