Translation is one of the many parts of the videogame localization process which involves, in addition to the translation of the text: cultural adaptation, editing and reviewing the texts, then setting them up for use in the game, the design and layout of manuals and boxes, recording or dubbing of the audio content, and finally, testing of the final product. I bet many people don’t realise how much work goes into bringing them their favourite games!
A couple of decades ago nobody really thought about translating videogames. Although in most cases, it hardly mattered that they had not been translated because they were so basic. Think about the videogame Tennis (Nintendo, 1984). It seems to have almost nothing to do with the sophisticated and high-tech videogames we can play nowadays, right? Today’s videogame industry develops more and more products in order to meet increasing demands for entertainment software, from all countries around the world. This worldwide demand means that content must be localized or adapted to the target language, culture and country. In this way, localization becomes an integral part of the game’s development.
Around a decade ago, game developers didn’t think about creating localized versions until one to three months after the main original version of the game was published. Fortunately, things are changing and today developers usually publish games in multiple languages simultaneously.
The level of difficulty associated with translating games obviously depends on the type of videogame we are dealing with. For example, sports or racing games usually have less than five thousand words between the interface text, screen text, manual and box. An action-adventure game including dialogue and different missions may contain between ten thousand and fifty thousand words to be translated. Also, [...]