Translation and Localisation - why you need it

Translating and localizing your game is crucial for reaching a wider audience and ensuring player engagement across different regions and cultures. By translating the game's text, dialogues, and instructions into multiple languages, you make it accessible to players who speak different languages, thus expanding your potential player base. Moreover, localization goes beyond translation by adapting the game to suit cultural preferences, sensitivities, and norms, enhancing the overall player experience. It helps create a sense of immersion and connection with players by ensuring that the content feels familiar and relatable, ultimately leading to greater success and market penetration for your game.
Published March 21, 2022
Author R A Pitman
Read: 8 minutes

Localization and New Markets: Taking Your Game Global!

So, you have successfully launched your game or application and it’s doing well, but what are the next steps to truly making your product a global hit?

The Significance of Translation and Localization

In this article, we will explain the differences, terminology, and why you may need both to stay ahead of the game! Investing in new markets and languages is a great way to take your IP to new customers and grow your user base, but first things first you need to get it translated and localized!


Translation is a task handled by translators who are fluent in the written form of both your original language and the one which you are targeting for translation i.e. Original English as source text to Translation Language Japanese. In this case, we can send the strings of our game to the translator using a spreadsheet or other online tools as well as UI elements (sometimes in the form of screen grabs if the translator is not able to get a working build of the game in its native language) and the translator will send back the document with the translated text side by side the original language strings, that can then be implemented back into your game.


When it comes to mobile games, localization is the key to success in global markets. Simply translating your game into different languages is not enough, you need to tailor the game experience to each local market. This process is known as localization, and it’s essential if you want your game to succeed in different countries. The text has been translated and a new build has been made in the destination language LQA or Localization Quality Assurance is needed. These testers will ensure that the translated text has been correctly interpreted by the translator, who often has no context outside of the original string with which to go by and that it now makes sense contextually as well as adhering to local language and cultural norms for its destination language.

The Localization tester with the given context can now unearth and offer alternative translations for the following types of issues and offer alternatives where needed.

Ensuring that the game or application is free of errors/truncations, punctuation, and otherwise mistranslated words.


Many companies offer translation and Localization services and the most common among them are EFIGS which stands simply for, English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. Converting your text strings and UI (User Interface) elements into these languages will ensure that you have a large part of the European and North-American markets covered and is generally seen in the video game and application markets as a good basis for gaining market share. However, as we dig deeper into EFIGS you may want to reserve or be selective of your choices due to the factors we will list below.

English serves as the primary language for a large part of game development, however, if your game or application is not native to English it should be one, or if not the first choice for translation and Localization, as this choice provides access not only to the USA, the world’s largest gaming market but also covers the rest of the English-speaking countries who make up a significant portion of the Western world. While players may favor localized versions, a well-made game can still attract players who are comfortable playing in English.

French localization expands your potential audience beyond France to include Belgium, Switzerland, French-speaking Canada as well as smaller countries such as Algeria, Cameroon, and Haiti to name a few. France and indeed French speaking Quebec which is a small but growing community of gamers has a distinct preference for playing games in their native language so this could influence your decision to translate and localize for this language.

Italian Although Italian has long been a part of the main EFIGS acronym, it has seen a decline in recent years as a destination or “First translation” consideration. This is due in part to the downturn in its economy, coupled with the fact that Italian is a centralized language spoken in only Italy, San Marino, some parts of Switzerland, and Croatia.

German still ranks highly in the gaming market and with a population of 84.7 million people it is still a dependable and worthwhile language to localize your game or application into. However, German players also tend to have better English proficiency, so if you are trying to save money or are forced to be selective in what languages you are choosing, then an English version of your game or app can be launched into this market.

Spanish, among the FIGS languages, now extends beyond Spain to encompass the burgeoning Latin American market with its vast population. However, it must be noted that Latin America does have a lower market value compared to Europe, but its rapid growth underscores the importance of considering Spanish localization for broader global reach.

Brazilian Portuguese Another popular consideration is now being given to Brazilian Portuguese as an addition to the standard EGIFS rollout, according to a survey among internet users in Brazil, as of the third quarter of 2023, around 88.9 percent of the internet users in the country

Ok so now we have most of the Western world covered, we need to look further East!


The vast Asia Pacific region – commonly referred to as APAC – is a part of the world defined by its proximity to the Western Pacific Ocean, typically including much of East Asia, South Asia, and Oceania. This uniquely diverse region encompasses: South-East Asia. Korea. The targeted languages for this part of the world are listed below and given consideration.

Mandarin Chinese/Simplified Chinese, written in Simplified script and spoken by the largest number of people globally, positions China as a dominant force in the gaming industry. With China set to surpass the USA as the largest gaming market and experiencing rapid growth, opportunities abound.

Traditional Chinese, in Hong Kong, Cantonese is the predominant dialect while people write in Traditional Chinese (TC). The exception is Taiwan where people speak Mandarin and write in Traditional Chinese. For the purposes of translation work, we are mostly concerned with written Chinese (Simplified and Traditional). This is because translation is mostly concerned with written texts. Deciding whether to translate into Simplified or Traditional Chinese depends on which country you are targeting. In general, if you are targeting China, you would translate into Simplified Chinese. If you are targeting Taiwan or Hong Kong, you would translate into Traditional Chinese.

In short, and with the Chinese US market changing over the past few years with an influx of new migrants from Hong Kong and Mainland China there is a greater benefit to translating and Localizing In both Simplified and Traditional Chinese to ensure you are reaching your maximum audience, however if costs and or resources are a concern, then Simplified Chinese is the best place to start.

Japanese is a very good consideration for translation and Localization as this country is steeped in video game history, with the like of Sony, Sega, and Nintendo originating here. Japan is also the world’s biggest market for consumer spending on location-based titles like Pokémon Go and Dragon Quest Walk, having generated over $620 million in 2023. But it should be noted that although there is a good exchange between the west and Japan when it comes to gaming, it can be hard to break into the Japanese market from a western country. A number of major video game publishers await the game to be a hit elsewhere before translating into this language,

Korean, the third of the major Asian languages for localization, may have a smaller population of under 50 million, but South Korea holds a strong position, today, the industry is highly competitive, and successful adaptation of Western titles requires careful planning and ideally, collaboration with local partners. South Korea is also renowned as a major eSports hub, which continues to grow year over year, so translating and localizing your game to this language is worth considering


Outside of the languages we have covered it is also worth mentioning Russian, Vietnamese, Thai and Malaysian, supplemented with Hindi, Tagalog and Arabic, especially if you already have your EFIGS and APAC countries covered and are looking for new territories to expand into. Whichever languages you choose to translate and localize your game into, at XQA we have the experience and expertise to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that your game or application is received well in any language! Contact us today to find out more!

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