When expanding on new markets, translation, localization, editing, and proofreading are parts of the process of adapting your game for a completely new target audience. But if you think that the process of customizing your game, website, or app stops here, you are completely wrong. To be absolutely sure that all pieces fit together, you also have to include the localization quality assurance (or simply, LQA) in your testing and verification process.
However, you should consider that you can perform various quality tests at any time during the process of translating and localizing your product, not just at the end. After the translators or LSPs (language service providers) deliver the localized app or game, complete with the translated and reintegrated files and strings, game developers or publishers receiving the finalized version should always consider performing post-localization tests. This will help you to identify and correct the issues, as well as maximize the overall quality of your product.
What is Localization Quality Assurance (LQA)?
As explained in one of our blog posts, localization is the process of translating and adapting a game to a specific market and audience. It means not just replacing the words from one language into the other, but also using the cultural references, local idioms, right currency, date and time formatting, and adapt the graphic design for users located in a specific area to better connect and engage with them.
When localizing a game, LQA is the last step and involves testing by a third party who ensures that the final version of the translated product is properly tailored to the audience and that everything works perfectly together. And from here result in two advantages:
- you have a product that suits the needs and preferences of your new potential players,
- end-users truly believe that the game was created especially for them and is not just a translated version of a game originally created for someone else.
What do linguistic testers do?
Instead of directly adapting the translated texts from the source language, testers reveal errors, inconsistencies, and redundancies and help to bring the desired look and feel to the game. This way it seems to be created specifically for the target market. This is crucial in ensuring a great player experience and keeping users engaged and loyal to the game.
A complete and correct process consists of both localization and Localization Quality Assurance phases: simply translating alone doesn’t guarantee a top-notch localization result, no matter how skilled and professional the translators are. While these two steps certainly complement each other, they should always be considered as distinct and yet fundamental pieces of the whole puzzle.
Why is LQA so important for your game?
Well, let’s consider these stats:
- Between 2018-2018 the global gaming industry was valued at $137.9 billion and it’s expected to hit $175.8 billion by the end of 2021 and $200 billion by the end of 2023
- The mobile games industry could be worth $169.7 billion by the end of 2025 (Statista)
- If there were just 1.82 billion video gamers worldwide, by 2018, that number had risen to 2.2 billion and it’s forecasted to reach 3.0 billion by the end of 2021 (Statista, NewZoo)
- With $88.2 billion, Asia-Pacific is by far the biggest region by games revenue (with China being easily the main driver here, with $45.6 billion. It’s followed by North America with $42.6 billion (mainly from the US), Europe ($31.5 Bn), Latin America ($7.2 Bn), and Middle East & Africa ($6.3 Bn). (NewZoo).
Al these data show the gaming market is huge. And the video game industry‘s revenue surpasses every other entertainment industry. Let’s not forget that due to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, a large part of the world has faced multiple lockdowns and social distancing in 2020 and 2021. Unprecedented free time gave players the opportunity to develop new skills and techniques and the interest in this multibillion-dollar industry has continued to increase.
In this context, people who were never interested in playing started to consider it as a hobby and a great way of entertainment, better as books and movies. At the same time, video games are interactive by default and give players the power to control the protagonists, dictate the story and shape their own sequence of events.
In certain ways, this is unique to video games. It’s a huge part of the reason why ensuring the quality and accuracy of all in-game text is so crucial to the ultimate success of any title and its user experience. And you can’t get this outcome without a proper LQA.
Which are the benefits of Localization Quality Assurance?
First, a deep and well-organized LQA enhances the quality of your game. But finding grammar mistakes in the translated text is not the ultimate goal here and is also not a reflection on the quality of the translators’ job.
While simple text issues such as typos or grammar mistakes can be fixed during reviews, certain aspects can only be observed by Linguistic QA testers.
What are the benefits of LQA?
1. Localization Quality Assurance Ensures Translation Quality
This is probably the main goal of having a localization quality assurance stage, as it involves more than just reviewing the textual translation. It also considers the context to ensure the highest quality and it usually means having the QA tester(s) use your app, software, or play your game to find out any errors or the improvements to be made.
The tester will be looking for in-game text mistakes such as:
- Grammar & Spelling
Even in the same language, some words are spelled differently depending on the country. In English, for example, “color” is the spelling used in the United States, while in all other English-speaking countries “colour” is the correct spelling.
A good LQA tester will find and solve any grammatical and spelling mistakes that become very evident when putting in the context and that can affect your game. Therefore, it’s important to have native language speakers to review the localization and make sure that it sounds natural to your target audience.
- Tone of Voice and Formality
When it comes to pronouns based on a situation’s level of formality, some languages make a clear distinction between formal and informal situations. Germans and French, for example, use a specific pronoun when addressing a person they do not know and another one, less formal, is reserved for friends and family.
- Cultural References
Making sure that the cultural references are relevant is especially important. This aspect also includes reviewing any references to religious customs, jokes and jargon, historical context, and sensitivities (as some countries are sensitive to war or violence allusions, you need to alter or replace them completely).
- Numeric Formats and Dates
Mistakes like writing a date in the wrong order for the target country or using the wrong measurement unit (pounds instead of kilos, kilometers instead of miles) is a clear sign that the translated version of your game is just exactly what it sounds to be: a “translated version of an original game created for someone else”. And not providing a great gaming experience is a surefire way to push your players away.
2. LQA Ensures Visual Quality
In addition to ensuring the quality of all in-game texts, Localization Quality Assurance also includes verifying all visual elements to make sure they are properly adapted to the translated version of the game.
Usually, this process includes:
- assuring the number of characters fits properly into a text box or a button. Your LQA tester will confirm that text alignment is correct, which is especially important if your app or game includes dialogues. However, if there are some errors, he should also work with your game developers and designers to make sure the layout of the game accommodates longer text or if rewording in fewer words is required.
- reviewing fonts and styles used
- making sure that the images, icons, and other symbols used in the game are culturally appropriate
At the end of the day, the translated version of your game should give players the same experience that the original game does.
3. Testing Functionality
A proper localization quality assurance process would not be complete without testing the functionality of the translated version of your game. This involves using the translated product as a regular user would, clicking links and buttons, and ensuring they all work just as well together and separately.
It also means making sure that all the incompatibilities between the game and the local systems and browsers were solved and your game can be used in the country or region for which it was translated and localized.
However, testing the functionality of the translated version of your game is the last step of the quality localization assurance stage and it should also be the last one in the product development process.
The language quality has a big influence on the end-user. That’s why it’s important to make sure you achieve outstanding results in terms of localization quality and deliver the best immersive experience possible for your fans. If you succeed, you reach a larger audience, increase your sales, and build your brand reputation as a key global player in the gaming industry. And, in the long run, all of these translate into a better return on investment.
Interested in knowing more about our localization quality assurance services? Contact us! We are glad to help you!