The video game landscape has changed immensely over the last few decades. As technological advancements occur and the demand for more immersive and interactive game features surfaces, game players across the world are seeking localized games. With greater competition on the cards, localizing video games accurately has become a challenge for game developers.
The video games of today have come a long way over the years. The immersive experience of video games today and the cinematic scenes, coupled with character dialogues and voice-overs truly accentuate the game play by many notches. Perhaps this is why game developers are convinced that the voice-over localization market is highly lucrative for them.
But voice-over localization is a trickier, yet rewarding, endeavor. Read on to learn some tips that can help your video game business sound local while playing global.
Some Practical Tips to Localize Voice-over for Video Game
Localize your Script
If you are a game development company seeking an expert enterprise translation solution for your games, localization should be at the top of your to-do list. The localization of games is much more than a literal word-for-word translation of the dialogues. Rather, the process of voice-over localization involves the finalization of a script for the target language. The script contains wordplay, jokes, drama, and everything else that makes the video game fun. It is imperative to localize the script, as every bit of text that the player sees must be adapted to suit his preferences. These can include names, dates, abbreviations, or maps. In addition, the script must be properly localized in order to avoid offending the target culture and religious sentiments.
Hire an expert localization partner
An important ingredient of localization and a company’s ultimate success in the global market is the choice of a localization partner. A professional and certified localization agency delivers accurate translation, thanks to its translation workflow management system. Although language companies offer translation solutions and recording studios deliver voice-over services, looking for a translation partner that combines both may be tough. This is the reason why game developers often hire voice actors to assist the translation teams with the voice-over localization. Moreover, it is preferable to have open communication between a game developer, voice actors, and localization experts on how to proceed with voice-over localization.
Deliver context and hire voice actors
Voice-over localization may be tough, but it can become easier if more information and access are available for video game localization. Be sure to convey context to your chosen localization partner, as more information means better voice-over localization. Decide whether you can provide gameplay and graphical assets as references to the localization experts.
Additionally, you can even opt to hire voice actors for your video games. These voice actors are responsible for dubbing the game dialogues, and native voice actors will do the job accurately. To shortlist the voice actors, test them on the criteria of their project portfolios. Be sure to inspect their language proficiency, tone of dialogue delivery, and spirit of performance.
Monitor the recordings
Once you have chosen the voice actors for your video game localization, it is time to proceed with the recordings. The audio recording process should, ideally, be simple and fast. The voice actors will record the parts, and these recordings will be inspected by native linguists. After that, these are cleared of any ‘external’ sounds (such as tapping and rustling of paper). Here, it is important to remember not to include several voice actors in a single audio file. The reason is that the more voice recordings, the greater the number of audio files. The combining and final assembling of audio files can become difficult, increasing the chances of something going wrong. Moreover, it pays off to ensure these files are present in multiple locations, preferably with a localization partner with a cloud-based localization management system. This reduces the chances of audio files getting misplaced or lost.
Provide all the necessary information
The localization of video games is incomplete if not all the information is delivered to the voice actors and localization experts. Make sure you have the source video, as you can slow or speed up the scenes during localization in order to match the rate of speech with animation. Submit the video source files and the full script of the audio to the voice actors, leaving no word or expression out. In addition, if you are planning to localize the on-screen captions, be sure to provide the full video files to the localization company so that these captions can be localized accurately.
Choose native proofreaders
Once the voice-over localization is complete, be sure to have native proofreaders available to test the audio. A native voice-over professional understands the language nuances and expressions of the target language perfectly. Consequently, this implies that he will inspect the localized voice-over videos accurately. Native proofreaders can even read the scripts to ensure there are no grammatical or expression mistakes. This will ensure that the voice-over actors do not stumble on any difficult words and are able to capture the intended expression flawlessly. Moreover, it is preferable to hire your own editor, to proofread the text. Remember, if the quality of translation is poor, it may lead to inappropriate voice-over of video games. It may even ruin the gameplay and the whole game itself.
Voice-over localization is an important aspect of the video game localization process. With the support of expert localization agencies as well as native voice-over actors, this arduous and seemingly tough process of voice-over localization can become easier and manageable.