4 difficulties in localizing mobile games using Fishing Clash as an example - translation

    Habr, hello! Translated an article by Kevin Dabrowski, Creative Director of Ten Square Games. Using the example of their game Fishing Clash, he talked about what kind of fakapa they had and what to do to prevent this from happening again.


    The concepts should be immediately separated: localization and translation are not the same thing. When you translate, you need to convey the original meaning of the text as accurately as possible, and during localization this is not always required. Localization is a kind of adaptation. For example, one of the dumbest ideas that may come to mind is to translate a Thanksgiving event as a Thanksgiving event for Chinese gamers. Because ... "What is Thanksgiving?" The Chinese will say.

    Continued under the cut.

    You always need to follow the dynamics of the development of the mobile game development industry, so we offer you to get acquainted with 4 obstacles that you may encounter during localization.


    So many lines, so little time.

    For a mobile game to be interesting, it is constantly necessary to pour new content into it. Lots of content! Fishing Clash on average launches 8 events weekly! - and, yes, - all of them need to be localized. Effective organization of the translation process involves the tactics of:

    a) planning ahead;
    b) reduction of unforeseen actions.

    Adhering to this tactic is quite easy when translating into standard languages ​​- German, Spanish, Italian, French - you can get a day-to-day translation. But as for Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, Korean, Arabic, etc., etc. ... Especially when you need to localize the names of fish, for which in these languages ​​even the names do not exist ... Well, of course, it depends from the regions. If you are developing a game in China, you will run into a localization problem in German. In general, it works both ways.

    An example of localization of promotional screenshots with the name of the fish from Google Play

    But the main hitch is still time - sometimes (okay, as a rule) it is simply impossible to get a translation into 20 languages ​​on the same day (well, if you need to translate one sentence and you have your own translation agency, then yes). In the case of Fishing Clash, we plan everything at least a week before the release.

    2. QUALITY

    What is good and what is bad?

    To order localization in an exotic language is a rather funny thing: you pay money, but you cannot check the quality of the service received. At least on my own. Then Prufried enters the scene.

    Prufried is best done for marketing materials too, so that spaces are not lost, for example,

    Oh, for beginners this can be a real shock! "What? We have just given a lot of South African money for Arab localization, I will not give a cent more, I'm sure everything is in order! ”- but prudfried is a vital stage of localization. If the localization is bad, then there will be no sense in the game; and perhaps it will play a bad joke on keeping players in the game.

    It’s better not to localize the game at all than to localize it badly. Poor localization annoys gamers. Once we got into trouble: we added the Swedish language, and the players were ready to eat us alive - because before in the game there was no option to change the language (and of course, the translation turned out to be so-so). But here is the good news - it’s not always necessary to spend millions of money on Prufrid. If your game has a stable community, you can request a feedback from them. If they say that everything is fine - approx. If not, hire a professional editor. Well, here's a couple of bad translation examples in Fishing Clash:

    • in German, the CAST button, which meant "forging a rod", turned into a Besetzung. This is really the same as CAST, but only the CAST, which in the meaning of the movie caste (note INLINGO: cast)
    • in Spanish MISS - an indicator of your debacle, has turned into ... Senorita. Oh la la!
    • there was a typo in English - CARP was written as CRAP ... the mistake is funny, and the situation is terrible (note: CARP - fish, CRAP - swearing).

    Right here is the same CAST button.

    As you may have noticed, the errors above are examples from European languages. Gods, we are afraid to imagine what is hidden in those languages ​​that we do not understand. Fortunately, these errors did not go into the game, since we order proofreading. We urge you to do the same!

    3. BAGS

    Predict the unpredictable

    Mobile application is a complex and dynamic adventure: the game can fall, gobble up all game currency of players, destroy game progress. And when you failed to issue a bug for a feature, you need to solve the problem. And as fast as possible!

    But, as we said earlier, the concept of “fast” for localization does not exist. There is no possible way to translate 20+ languages ​​in 15 minutes. Therefore, you should have standard text strings in which only one word or number changes.

    A standard message in Fishing Clash, for example, is a notification of technical work. We are well done. Recently, our game has never fallen!


    Fish for Christmas dinner (Who eats fish for Christmas? And ... Poles)

    And here is another problem. What is well known in one culture is completely uncharacteristic of another. Believe me, in Fishing Clash this problem occurs regularly.

    This is how the events in the game look like - a promotional screenshot from Google Play

    Carp, for example, is something like a national fish in Poland; this is the main dish for Christmas and, in principle, carp = Christmas symbol for the Poles. But imagine that such a person is a non-Pole. Shock content! This is a 100 percent local tradition. It makes no sense to translate CARP as CARP into every language - because no one will understand where it came from. “Then just replace the carp with another fish!” You say. HA! Who eats fish at Christmas? In England - turkey, USA - fried potatoes, Germany - the very insanely tasty Weihnachtsbraten. There is no place for carps. There is no place for fish. Ideally, this should be considered before starting localization - at the stage of creating content. There are things that cannot be localized.

    Translated to Inlingo :)

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