• Stefanos Karampalis

What is indie game localization?

Game localization is the technique by which you prepare your game for release in different regions other than the one for which it was originally created, e.g. game localization into Greek will prepare your game for realease into the Greek market. In fact, it is the art of translating the text, cultural differences, and pretty much everything about a video game from one language to another language (e.g. English to Greek translation). A localized version of the game which is written in a native language and has culturally-adjusted details will excite and attract gamers even more. They will feel that the game is specially made for them.


About indie game localization


An independent video game or indie game is a video game typically developed by individuals or smaller development teams without the financial and technical assistance of a large game publisher, in contrast to most "AAA" games. However, the "indie" term may apply to other situations where the creation of the game has some degree of independence from a publisher even if a publisher asks fund and release a game, such as creative freedom.


Therefore indie game localization is the act of preparing individual or small development games for their respective releases in different regions of the world. Indie game localization covers everything from the obvious, like translating the game into new languages, to the less apparent aspects, like removing the content that other cultures might not like in their entertainment content.


Tips for indie game localization

You should take into account the fact that if you want to get maximum downloads and profit with each release, game localization always comes with a hefty price. However, most indie game developers cannot afford a professional translation and localization. Now I am going to show you some tips for your game localization.


Follow the top markets

You should know that all markets are not equal. You should follow the top market for your indie game localization. For example, you can take indie racing games. Racing games are famous in the Middle East and Mexico, but action games are more popular in Italy, while crosswords and soccer games are famous in Greece. So, you should translate your indie game into Greek, Italian and/or Spanish for more downloads.


Localization before designing your indie game

Once you've chosen your target markets, you should make sure that your game can be localized for those markets. You need to make sure the overall indie game concept, character design, story, and other assets can be changed if necessary, so they won't mix with cultural norms, regulatory constraints, or other expectations of the target markets.


Work with an expert

You should work with a consultant who understands the nuances and cultural preferences of your target markets which are often quite different, especially in emerging indie game markets.


The need for great localization

You should ensure that your translations are checked by native speakers who have also experienced gamers. Your friend who speaks Greek may be able to translate for free. However, someone who isn’t a gamer won’t know how to translate common phrases such as HP and MP.


Also, you should try back-translating your translation in Google and see what happens. In many languages, the same word in English can have multiple meanings each with a different nuance, and choosing the right one depends on the context and target audience.


All in all, make sure your indie game localization is made by a professional localizer that knows the localization terminology and cultural differences between the two languages. Feel free to reach out to me if you need an English to Greek localizer for your indie game.

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©2020 by Stefanos Karampalis