Even if it does not seem to involve localization, game errors usually involve text lines. Often bugs are due to an improper implementation of texts, putting the blame on programmers. But the attention on text quality must be consistent and, usually, bugs are more evident only after the texts in a video game are fully implemented. The activity of linguistic bug correction is called localization testing, which also comprehends more revision stages. Which are the most frequent bugs in video game localization?
Bugs Related to Variables
In localization processes, sentences are often divided in segments in order to insert some fragments, usually tied to that video game design, in other lines. Sometimes these fragments are correctly translated, but they appear meaningless in the complete sentence.
There are plenty of examples in role-play games, where there are several fragments related to damage (cut damage, for example) or the various types of state effects (poison or paralysis).
Lack of Context
Often, Translators do not have a clear context around what they are translating. This can cause some types of errors.
For example, one problem is related to characters gender. One female character could refer to herself with male pronouns even if that choice is not tied to that character design. There are character names that can be used for males and females, others are completely neutral and, on top of that, the fantasy names. Clients should send images of each character to avoid this type of confusion.
Another problem is tied to the tone of voice. A translator can not understand from text alone if they are working on a newspaper article or on a conversation. The translation could be correct but not optimized to the context.
Bugs Tied to Text Length
Word length can vary in different languages, both for the character amount or the horizontal space they take up. For example, the word “desktop” becomes “デスクトップ” in Japanese. Even though it has one less character, it takes up way more space.
This can cause some problems if the text is inserted in narrow spaces like menu buttons.
How Can Bugs Be Avoided?
There are some strategies that can be applied in order to avoid these bugs:
- Clients should give to translators as much as possibile informations on the context, like character and object pictures and even a small summary of the plot;
- The localization should be organised from the very first moments of development;
- The text should be corrected directly in game.
In every case, localization testing is essential to offer a product with a high-quality translation to the users.