Early gaming instructions were rarely if ever translated into the languages that were needed for the games to be fully understood and enjoyed. By “games” here we are talking about computer or electronic games, like Nintendo. Of course, Nintendo itself has since grown and become an international icon, but there are countless other games that are available for amusement all around the world. The world has indeed shrunk in the last twenty or thirty years and we expect to be able to download gaming apps or play internet based games that have clear instructions in our own languages these days.
It’s a huge job for German translators and localization teams, for instance, to ensure that games that have their origin in Japan, China or Korea are fully understood by their enthusiastic users in the German language. The following tips for gaming translation apply not just to German translation, but any translation from the original language of the app or product to the language of the target market wherever it is in the world.
Tip No. 1: Make Sure you Actually Play the Game Yourself!
This may seem like a waste of time for the German NAATI translator but it’s not just a matter of having an excellent command of the target language. There is nothing quite like learning how to play an electronic or computer game itself to provide a unique insight into the context of the task needed to fully localise the product.
Tip No. 2: Test the Translated Text in Each Platform
The app or programme should be tested for translation quality and accuracy in each of the main platforms i.e. Android / IOS/ Windows and any other mobile platform.
Tip No. 3: Ensure the Display Length is Adapted to the Required Application
This is a requirement that sometimes gets overlooked, resulting in instructions being truncated It is a fact that not every language has the same length of text when translated, even when this is done as literally as possible. With the need to effectively localise the text for gaming instructions, allowance has to made for language differences such as the direction of the text (right to left or left to right? vertical?), whether the language uses non Latin script like the group of languages that use the Cyrillic script, Arabic and many Asian languages.
Tip No. 4: Take Care with Social Media Feeds
Social media feeds tend to impose a limit on the number of characters allowed. Many languages as noted above tend to end up with a different length when translated from English. German NAATI translators are well aware that English German translation can result in an extended or expanded text length after translation. The best way to deal with this is to keep the English text deliberately short to circumvent any truncation and result in a distorted message.