Game localization testing is essential when translating games for multilingual audiences. It ensures that each version of your game delivers the quality required to maximize ROI in all your target markets – and avoids the problems that poor translation may cause.
However, when it comes to translation testing, many game creators struggle with a lack of resources. This article will examine several guidelines and tactics for carrying out localization testing for video games with constrained time, money, and resources.
What Exactly is Game Localization?
Modern video games engage players in a virtual environment through multimedia encounters. The games of today are a complex, ever-evolving collection of digital data. Hollywood blockbusters, on-the-spot interaction, and competitive sports are all combined.
High-level programming is used in the background to make the game’s mechanics and visuals. Cinematic gameplay, detailed end-of-level cutscenes, character conversation, and in-game notifications combine to entice players into a non-linear narrative that could take their character anywhere.
To provide gamers around the globe the same experience, video games are localized. This is distinct from localizing the primary game into many languages. No matter where the player is in the world, the goal is to create game versions that seem authentic to them.
Game Localization Testing
Testing and analyzing the quality of a game’s localization is known as game localization testing or localization quality assurance (LQA). It performs some tests to evaluate the language and translation quality and other gaming elements influenced by translation and the multilingual experience. Everything from UI and UX design to in-game plot or character features that affect the gaming experience for each language audience is covered.
The final stage of the localization process is LQA, which should include tests with real users from each target language audience. Such an approach will allow you to get qualitative feedback from the individuals playing your game and gain insights that internal tests would need help to deliver.
Assume you convert the same game into other tongues like Traditional Mandarin and Simplified Mandarin, European Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, and European Portuguese. With a strong game localization testing system, you can get native speakers of each target language to evaluate the accuracy of your translations as well as the game’s more objective features in each language, such as the depth of the gameplay, the readability of the in-game dialogue, and the relatability of the game characters.
The Components of the LQA Process
A comprehensive game localization testing technique consists of three key components:
- Linguistic Game Testing: Assesses the quality of game translation and linguistic features such as scripts, voiceovers, subtitles, and user interface text.
- Visual Quality Assurance (QA): Examines game localization’s visual and design aspects.
- Functional QA: Examines the functional aspects of translation and localization, such as UI performance, language selection menus, and translation synchronization with gameplay.
Tips and Strategies for Successful Game Localization Testing
Now that we’ve covered the essentials of game localization testing let’s talk about the most crucial criteria in doing LQA correctly the first time.
Invest in High-quality Game Localization:
The greatest technique for ensuring quality localization is to invest in quality localization from the start. This will result in fewer issues and dramatically lower your LQA workload, allowing for a faster and cleaner testing session. A good LQA system will iron out the last few flaws with game localization, but it is not a panacea for poor localization.
Invest in localization testing tools and automation scripts to help speed the testing process. These tools can assist in uncovering common localization difficulties, including text overflow, character encoding errors, and missing translations faster than human testing.
Consider crowdsourcing translation and testing efforts for non-essential content or languages with lower user bases. Engaging with the gaming community or dedicated localization platforms might provide useful feedback without breaking the bank. Players are frequently thoroughly aware of their language and culture, and they can assist in identifying problems and suggesting improvements even before formal testing begins.
Recruit Native-speaking Game Testers:
You may evaluate your game’s localization by showing it to actual players in each language market, but you can’t only rely on players. With the help of qualified game testers, specific testing objectives may be defined. Testers for video games will be well aware of what to look for and how to remark.
Early and Frequent Testing:
This is a standard approach in software testing, and it also applies to game localization testing. The earlier you begin testing, the sooner you will detect and correct flaws before they become widespread difficulties. Similarly, testing will consistently catch more errors earlier in the development cycle, even if you only perform internal tests until the last stage of LQA.
Everything you Can’t Do In-house, Outsource:
Quality LQA testing necessitates a lot of skill and resources, many of which you may be unable to manage in-house. The greatest game developers outsource anything they can’t handle themselves and collaborate with expert localization testing services specializing in game localization testing, making a huge impact.
The localization industry is extensive, with numerous companies specializing in one or more products. While many firms claim to be capable of game localization, you should be sure they have the experience and track record of success to back up their claims.
Simulate Language Diversity:
To play the game as a player from a different location, use simulation tools. This can help identify possible problems and give understanding into how players from different language backgrounds interact with the game.
Game localization testing with minimal resources is complex but not insurmountable. Game makers may effectively adapt their games for worldwide audiences while managing time, budget, and manpower constraints by carefully prioritizing, automating, and utilizing crowdsourcing and a localization testing company. Always remember that constant progress is essential; player input is a great resource for continuous localization improvements.