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27 Aug 2014

A Recipe For Stellar Localization

Localization can be huge for your indie studio. Because other markets around the world (especially in mobile markets) are booming, if you are not doing everything possible to break into other markets, you’re only earning a fraction of your possible earnings. That’s why planning to localize your indie game is absolutely important. While a pain, in the end it more than pays for itself.

Below is the recipe for localizing your indie game the right way. Follow the advice below, and localize your indie game’s content properly.

Develop every game as if it’s going to be localized

Even if you are developing a football game for American audiences, it doesn’t matter. You must develop every game as if it is going to be localized for other markets. The possibility that it could be localized is always there.

I suggest ‘auditing’ your content regularly to see if any of the content could be taken out of context in other markets. Consult outsourced workers (ensure they actually enjoy playing games and are native to your target market) and have them play your indie game regularly to see if there are any themes, concepts, etc. that are not understood. Besides, it’s a great way to see how well your indie game is turning out. If anything related to the gameplay needs to be tweaked or there are instances in which the game is confusing to the player, they can tell you about it. It’s killing two birds with one stone, essentially.

This will allow you to gauge exactly what translates well in your indie game in other markets and what does not.

Hire gamers that are native speakers of the language

But not only that. Hire gamers that are:

  • Familiar with your game’s genre.
  • Familiar with your target market’s culture.
  • Of course, people that play games regularly.

These people will be able to fulfill the need above: auditing your indie game and spotting what works for one culture and what does not. From there, you can use these same people to help you fix the localization problems with your indie game, allowing you to translate and localize an indie game that is ready for each target market.

Provide context about everything from the start

Context is key. Ensure that you are providing great context from the moment you hire gamers to help you with localizing your content, and everything will fall into place naturally. It will also save a ton of time for both of you. Offer explanations of the platform the game will be on, the target market (e.g. children? Adults? Teens?), and any issues you think the outsourced worker will need. Of course, ask them if there are any resources they would like to see before they begin so you can give them the necessary info as soon as possible.

Proper localization is vital to the success of your indie game in other markets, and these beginning steps are the best places to start. Have any other questions? Perhaps some tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below!

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