The process of localizing a video game can be a lot of work, but it’s also an essential part of ensuring that your product will appeal to its intended audience.
It might seem daunting if you’ve never done game localization testing before, especially if you’re working on an existing title with hundreds or thousands of lines of text.
But don’t worry! In this article, we’ll walk through some basic ways that you can get started improving your game’s localization quality. Better yet – these tips can help make sure that your localized players understand everything about what they’re playing!
- Plan ahead
The best way to ensure that your game localization testing is as accurate as possible is to plan ahead. The more time you spend planning and preparing, the more likely you will be able to identify problems before they become serious.
The first step in planning your localization testing is to create a plan of action. This will help you ensure that you are covering all of the aspects of your game that need to be tested, and it will also ensure that you have time set aside for each type of test.
For example, suppose your game contains text or audio files that need to be localized into other languages. In that case, these items need to be tested before they are released into production.
It’s also important to note that the plan of action should include an estimate of how long each type of test will take. This will allow you to ensure that there are enough resources available for testing during each phase and help ensure that the localization process runs smoothly.
- Run automated and human tests
It’s best to run both automated and manual tests before submitting the game to localization partners. If you have time, you can test your game on multiple platforms to make sure it runs smoothly on different devices.
Automated testing is the best way to ensure that your game is ready for translation. You can use automated tools like Unity Test Tools or Microsoft Visual Studio to check for bugs and gameplay issues.
Manual testing allows you to make sure the translations are correct, but it’s time-consuming and difficult. The best way to do manual testing is to get a group of native speakers to test your game. You should have someone who speaks the language that you’re localizing in. If you have time, it’s helpful to hire translators or proofreaders for this step.
- Define the scope of your localization testing
The business requirements define the scope of linguistic game testing. It should be clearly stated what you are looking for and how it will help you achieve your goals. The more detailed the requirement, the clearer it becomes to what needs to be tested and how much time it will take.
It is essential to define your scope because it will help you plan the testing activities. You may end up testing more than necessary if there are no precise business requirements. This would not only waste your time but also make it difficult for developers to implement changes in their code.
- Create a culture of transparency and communication
You must create an environment where communication is essential. This environment will allow your team to work together effectively. Creating a culture of transparency and communication within your team will make your localization efforts more successful.
There are several ways to create a culture of transparency and communication. You can regularly meet with your team members, hold regular meetings to discuss the project’s progress, ensure everyone is on the same page, and provide feedback when necessary. You should also inform them about any changes or updates that might affect their work so they can adjust accordingly.
- Involve your target audience in the localization
Whether you’re translating a video game or a website, including your target audience in the localization process can make the process more effective.
Including your target audience in the localization process will reduce the chance of delivering a messy product. By addressing their needs, you can make the process as painless as possible while saving yourself countless work hours.
By incorporating your target audience in the localization process, you can ensure that your game is optimized for the specific region it’s being sold in. You can better test your game for errors and make sure your game will appeal to your audience. If you’re localizing a game for a global audience, including your target audience can help make the process less stressful and ensure optimal user experiences in each region.
- Adapt to cultural symbols and subtle details – in graphics and sound.
At the end of the day, players are people. They value stories and narratives in games just as much as in books and movies. This means that game localization testing is all about getting down to the nitty-gritty details of your characters’ lives: their jobs, relationships with each other, and how they fit into society.
Some cultural symbols may be prominent, like a crucifix for Christians or a yin-yang symbol for Taoists, but there are also a lot of subtle things that need to be considered when localizing your game content. For example:
- How does your character react to breakfast? Do they put salt on eggs? Do they eat bacon? Or do they take their morning tea without any food at all? These little details can help bring life to your characters by showing how much time you’ve spent thinking about them as individuals rather than just “game pieces.”
- Check for repetition of words
A common mistake is to use the same word over and over again, especially if it’s not necessary. This can be easily fixed by re-reading your work from another perspective – especially if you wrote something that sounds odd when read out loud!
Now move on to paragraph breaks: pay attention not just to which words are being used but also how they are being used concerning one another across paragraphs if applicable; make sure there aren’t any inconsistencies between them either (e.g., using “the” as opposed to “this”).
- Review the onscreen text consistency
There are several types of onscreen text that you should check for consistency in your localization test.
- Capital letters – Check that the capitalization of each word is consistent throughout the game. For example, if a name is usually written with uppercase letters, it should remain so throughout all instances.
- Punctuation – If there are multiple ways to use punctuation in your source language (say, periods vs. commas), make sure those different styles are preserved in your localized version wherever possible. For example, if an abbreviation is used with periods in English but not in Japanese and Chinese versions of your game, then don’t suddenly start adding periods to your Japanese or Chinese texts just because they don’t have them now!
- Numerals – Numbers can be tricky because there may be different numbering systems between languages; this means numbers might not match up one-to-one across cultures! Make sure any numerical values being referenced within the text do not differ from their counterparts anywhere else on the screen (e.g., “3” vs. “3”).
We hope this article has provided you with some valuable tips for your game localization testing. Remember that no matter how good your game is, if it’s not appropriately localized, it won’t sell. And if it doesn’t sell, all the hard work to create it will have been for nothing! So take these points on board and use them wisely as part of an iterative process that will ultimately improve the overall quality of your game experience.