High-quality localization of the mobile application. 5 simple tips and 12 links

Yesterday KamaGames Studio in its blog on http://habrahabr.ru I published some interesting material about localization. With the kind consent of its authors, we publish the text on the pages App2Top.ru .

Do you want to involve the user? Communicate with him in his language!
The Network has repeatedly written about the localization of games and the difficulties that developers may face in the process of integrating locales into the application.

Although the issues of “docking” the text with the code are undoubtedly important, one point is very delicate! – it often goes unnoticed, and this is the quality of the translation. Why? There are objective reasons for this.

Firstly, localization of mobile applications has its own peculiarities. The publisher usually translates large hardcore projects, for example, from English/Korean into Russian. The “phone games” have a different fate. They need to attract the attention of as many users around the world as possible, so it is advantageous to localize them from basic Russian or English, on the contrary, to the maximum number of languages.

And here developers face the expected obstacle – few people can freely read and edit texts in ten to twelve languages. And if he can, this person rightfully values his qualifications for their weight in gold. You can search for such a specialist for a long time, and this hunt will be bloody.

The second reason is the priority of the code over the text. It is logical that usability, monetization and graphics are put at the forefront. After all, the user doesn’t come into the game to read! Yes, no one will pay attention to these letters! (Take a candy bar, if you are a developer, and such thoughts have never occurred to you – then you are actually an exception to the rule).

Many people fall into this trap – the tasks of preparing localization and testing it are often postponed until the very last moment.

As a result, it is not uncommon for users to encounter errors, inaccuracies and blunders. They meet you by your clothes, see you off by your mind. Localization and graphics are the same clothes. The user may simply not appreciate the great game mechanics if, when entering the application, he sees a cheerful “Hello, gozt!”.

If by an unlucky chance he is a Gramar Nazi, then he will simply turn around and leave. If not, it will switch to the basic English locale and join the ranks of those who spit poison in the direction of translators with hands growing from the wrong places.

How to ensure that localization does not just fit on the application, but also sits on it as if poured in?

5 tips

The tips may seem simple – they are.

1. First there was the word. Unification of all game terminology. The same terms should be used everywhere in the text to describe the same processes, characters, and features. If there is a store called “Shop” in the application, then it should appear everywhere under this designation. Glossaries will help out here. It is better to prepare them together with developers who will help the translator with comments and explanations.

2. Native speakers! Let him do the translation – or at least proofread it! — native speaker. Of course, this point is not absolute. The choice between a certified translator from Russian to Italian and an Italian who happens to meet on the Internet is obvious. But it is worth recognizing that a lively, good and delicious translation into a certain language in most cases will be better for the native speaker.

3. Proofreading. Twice. Or better – three. No, seriously. In this case, quantity affects quality. It is a well–known fact that even the most competent author “with a fresh head” will be able to find places in his text that are worth correcting and editing. The situation is the same with translators. Do not grab the translated text immediately, find an opportunity to send it for re-checking. The ideal option is when a native speaker translates and proofreads the locale.

4. Let me play. And really – let the translators play. And if they suddenly don’t have the right device, send them screenshots of all game interfaces. It often happens that the translator has done his job perfectly, and users, at the sight of some game phrase, fold their eyebrows and twist their finger at the temple. Do not rush to scold the performer, remember that one word can have several meanings. If the translator was working without knowing the context, an error is very likely. Be safe – let him look at the text already integrated into the application.

5. Test, test, test. Moreover, localization, and not “guys, well, look at the functionality, and then if you suddenly find something in the locales …” Let the testers check, sit and read. Is the text picked up correctly? Are there phrases that don’t fit into the interface framework? Do all variables look human, and not in the style of “1 chip to receive”? This is your cake – it’s a shame to spend a day making it, and then ruin everything by decorating the treat with rotten cherries.

These five simple rules will not work miracles. They will simply make sure that the user “does not stumble” over the text and fully manages to enjoy “great graphics, intuitive interface and exciting gameplay.”

P.S. The reader will make a remark that an indie developer can not always afford such a set of services – and he will be right. Outside of the list is a simple tip: work with your audience, guided by the ideas of customer development. After all, there may well be a linguist with experience among your fans.

Bother your user! If it is “yours” — it will certainly help!

Useful links:

Also within its framework, the company will speak at a round table dedicated to gambling.

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