What Part Does Localization Play in Video Games?

What makes a video game local?

What’s the game in which the main character must eat all the dots inside an enclosed maze while avoiding four colored ghosts?

I’m sure you have answered correctly. This arcade game along with many other classics had been present in the lives of many millennials and generation X. Pac-Man is one of the first popular video games in spite of not being translated into several languages. This is due to the fact that it was primarily intended for few markets and its user interface was simple. Thus, non-English speaking users could manage to play it without having much knowledge of the foreign language.

Up to the present, video games have evolved incredibly, and there are plentiful of types to choose from, ranging from multiplayer role-playing games to construction games. They have been embellished with multiform universe, diverse characters, and more complex mechanisms than the classic arcade games. To provide a fully immersive experience to gamers from different countries, it is essential for video games to convey the necessary local flavor: they need to be localized. In the field of home entertainment, the gaming industry generates billions in revenue—imagine during a worldwide quarantine when people spend more time at home. A clear example of this profit is Minecraft. This 3D sandbox game had reached over 200 million copies sold with more than 126 million players in May 2020. Minecraft has been translated into 91 languages, including fictional ones such as Klingon from Star Trek.

Having a video game available in players’ native language allows them to have the full gaming experience, resulting in customer satisfaction. Most video game developers know that localization is key to reach foreign markets and build brand loyalty.

At first glance, video game localization may sound fun and entertaining; however, there are many aspects that make it a considerable challenge and call for great creativity and meticulousness.

Dealing with Programming code is one of the translators’ struggle. Those who are not familiar with this coding may think that it is a bunch of intertwined letters and numbers. However, experienced video game translators can be able to untangle them. It is key to understand what should be translated and what should be kept exactly as the gaming designer wrote; otherwise there would be chaos at the time of compiling the game. Expert video game translators are able to pinpoint the translatable text (strings) and non-translatable text; plus, they can use the latter as context—a hint about where and how the translation is going to be shown.

Another key defiance in video localization is the variables. Programmers usually write only 1 phrase or sentence which will be used later in different instances. Variables will replace different numbers, names, characters, gender, or objects. Thus, translators should be an adept juggler to achieve a translation neutral and meaningful enough to be used in different contexts. This is especially challenging for translations into Spanish as this language is characterized by its many gender and number inflections.

Video games also carry a great number of sociolinguistic elements, such as idioms, jokes, and sound effects. These elements not only have to be localized according to the specific target culture, but they also require a character limit. Therefore, localizing video games involves acute culture-awareness and resourcefulness in order to produce translations that sound natural for the gamer and that are short enough for the programmer to compile in its space constraints.

The above mentioned are only some of the complex aspects that entail translating video games. It is a demanding but stimulating undertaking that tests translator’s abilities and resources. Baquero Translation has expertise and proficiency in videogame localization. Playing with words is our passion. With Baquero Translation, you win!

By: Andrea Chetti

Adaptation, the Goose of Golden Eggs

Miami has become one of the greatest financial hubs in the US, second to only New York banking center. Florida’s banking has flourished in the last years, but what is their goose of golden eggs? How have the financial services of the sunshine state thrived?

In a word, the answer is adaptation. This does not refer to natural selection, but to opening to new markets –the Hispanic.

According to the data from the US Census, about 18% of the U.S. population, which is approximately 58.9 million, corresponds to Hispanics. Miami’s financial institutions have seen the opportunity and adapted their services and products to reach Latin American consumers. The purchasing power of this growing population plays a key role in Miami’s economy; actually, Florida’s Latin households generate $6.7 billion in buying power.

As a response to the Latin population growth both at the Southern borders and in the whole country, most banking and financial institutions have adjusted their offer to the needs of Hispanic clients. The first step they took was to bring Spanish directly into their institutions by staffing with Spanish speaking employees, internationalizing and localizing their product offerings, and culturally adjusting them to these new communities.

When Spanish-speakers come into institutions like Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo or any other important financial institution in Florida, an assistant will greet them and ask them the reason of their visit. If the assistant knows they speak Spanish, he/she will immediately switch the language, which can evoke different emotions in clients, such as the following:

  • Feeling the institution cares about them.
  • Feeling safe in an environment that can be quite hostile.
  • Feeling assured that they will more easily understand the financial jargon.
  • Feeling confident enough to make questions.
  • Feeling at home.

Having a clear communication strategy is a key factor to succeed in business. Opening your market to new languages does not necessarily entail exporting products or services but adjusting to the new local market. It is of paramount importance that financial institutions generate trust and security to all their clients, including the Spanish speakers. A wise investment in translation is essential to achieve it. Baquero Translation is eager to help you reach Hispanic consumers by providing its top-notch translation services.

 

By: Andrea Chetti

Baquero Translations Ranked as a Top-Ten Language Service Provider in Latin America

CSA Research, a well-known consulting company in the language industry -which every year carries out research about language companies and their performance announced last week the top-ten ranked companies in each region. And, Baquero Translations made the Top 10 and is ranked amongst the largest Language Service Providers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

At Baquero Translations, translation is our passion and we always go the extra mile to make intercultural communication effective and accurate. Think of all the things you wouldn’t have access to if they had not been translated into your language. Think of all the things you would have access to if they were in your language. Surely, you must have missed thousands! Consider the websites, software or games you don’t pay attention to because they are not in your language.

CSA Research found that the market for language services and supporting technologies will grow 6.62% from 2018 to 2019, however, the 100 largest LSPs grew at 20.08%. Our aim for this year is 25%.

At BT, we would really like to thank and make this distinction extensive to our team of Managers, Project Managers, QA Managers, Linguists, DTPers, IT specialists, Sales Reps, and consultants for leaving their heart and soul in every project!

Juan Andrés Baquero

Director.

Keeping Steady in Turbulent Waters – Our 2018 Navigation Chart

When Argentineans thought that we were sailing in calm waters, our ship was struck once again in May by another financial crisis. But the truth is that we are used to sailing in turbulent waters and I have the feeling we actually enjoy the adrenaline and enjoy the challenge of keeping our ship sailing in the right direction.

Baquero Translations has been able to steadily grow its revenue by 25% yearly since 2015 thanks to its crew of experts. In 2018 we set sails to continue to invest in our company and expand our business, from technological advances and staffing to marketing activities.

More growth means more work and, in order to bear with it, we needed to acquire new technology and onboard new members to our crew to facilitate and streamline certain processes.  We consolidated the use of our PMS, Gespoint, that helps us easily and timely track projects, invoice and issue payments, as well as generating company performance reports. We incorporated Machine Translation and Post-Editing into our production process in order to meet the demands of our clients and the needs of the market. We hired a dedicated QA Manager, Diego Mengo, to make sure our products meet our client’s expectations. In addition, we hired a new Project Manager, Andrea Chetti, to help us handle the increase in volume. Our Project Management Outsourcing Service team almost doubled this year, adding 4 new members and expecting to hire other 3 members in the next few months.

Away from cutting costs, our marketing and sales activities in 2018 continued to rise. In March, we attended and sponsored the GALA Conference in Boston, one of the most important translation-industry conferences, we attended the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where we expanded our horizon into the game-localization industry, and in May we attended ELIA ND Focus networking days for executives in Catania, Sicily. Baquero Translations has also hired Larry Salas and Doris Johnson as part of its international sales efforts.

While we sail in these stormy waters of the second semester, we will continue to have our sails high in our masts with more trainings, strengthening our relationships with our clients and colleagues, adding more services to our portfolio, partnerships and academic research.

Juan A. Baquero
General Director