The concept of internationalisation is described in economics as a process of adaptation of a product, brand or company to other international markets. Internationalisation is also important within the video game industry, since this process is the basis of localization. In fact, internationalisation constitutes the foundation from which localization – the adaptation of a game for different cultures – originates.
Let’s find out about the main aspects of internationalisation in video game localization!
When adapting a video game written in Latin alphabet make sure that the software is able to support encoding schemes for different characters. This is applicable to languages such as Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and so on.
The software should also support different text direction formats, meaning from left to right (ex. English), right to left (ex. Arabic), and in some cases even from top to bottom (ex. Japanese).
Number, date, time, currency format
Number, date, time and currency formats can change from one country to another, as well. For number formats pay attention to decimal and thousands separators, for instance. Meanwhile, with the date sometimes the order of the day, month and year will be switched. Time can follow the 24h format or not. Currencies can also vary between countries, so carefully consider which symbol, formatting and position to use from case to case.
Internationalisation concerns the adaptation of various cultural norms and expectations, too: the same symbols, icons and colors can take on very different meanings, maybe even offensive ones, when used within another culture.
User interface layout
Finally, it may be necessary to change the user interface layout in order to accomodate strings in different languages and length within the intended spaces.
In conclusion, internationalisation lays the foundation for an effective localization by making the product, meaning the video game, suitable to reach different audiences in every corner of the world. The team in charge re-elaborates the software’s core structure in order to support new languages and regions. Without solid internationalisation, localization would be more complex and error-prone.