Making games in multiple languages

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RavenBelmont
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Making games in multiple languages

#1 Post by RavenBelmont » Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:38 pm

Hi guys, thanks for stopping by.

I wonder how many of you think that it's important for a commercial project to have it's content in more than one language. Since I'm a translator myself, I'm trying to find jobs where I can translate English games to Spanish (my first language), but I can't seem to find any sort of requests related to this subject. You know, there's always someone asking for a writer, scripter, voice actor, bg artist... but no one seems to need a translator. Is it not an interesting service?

The way I see it, having a video game in multiple languages (specially when talking about text based games) provides the developers with a much more extensive market to sell their products, so I wonder why there isn't much interest in this service.

I would love to know your thoughts about this.

Thanks!

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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#2 Post by Sharm » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:01 pm

I think it's more that translation just isn't something people think about unless they're specifically trying to create in a language other than their own unless someone asks for a translation. Making it well known that you're available for that kind of work would be a lot more effective than trying to find people who ask for it.
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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#3 Post by RavenBelmont » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:09 pm

Sharm wrote:I think it's more that translation just isn't something people think about unless they're specifically trying to create in a language other than their own unless someone asks for a translation. Making it well known that you're available for that kind of work would be a lot more effective than trying to find people who ask for it.
I agree. Offering my services is way easier than waiting for others to ask for this themselves. Still, I noticed that it's not something very popular and almost everyone seems to settle with just one language (that being English in 99% of the cases, of course).

If I had a commercial project, I would want to have it done in as many languages as possible. So that's why I was wondering if it was just me or practically no one seemed to care about this. :P

By the way, Sharm, nice to see you here! :)

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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#4 Post by Katta » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:41 pm

It's not enough to translate the game to sell it in some market, you need to tell people about it, to advertize your project - and also in their own language - do you offer that too?

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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#5 Post by Darkmoonfire » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:32 pm

I imagine there's some practical difficulties working with translations. Is this translation actually a good translation of my game? I don't know, I don't speak Spanish. So now that I have a Spanish translation of my game, how do I advertise so I can reach a Spanish speaking market and make translating my games finically feasible? I don't know, I don't speak Spanish.

This could be because I'm an instinctive worrier that has no experience marketing games to even a market that speaks the same language as me, but I'd be hesitant to translate a commercial visual novel even if it does sound really cool.

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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#6 Post by Hazel-Bun » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:33 pm

What Katta said plus, it can get pretty expensive to translate an entire VN. Most indie developers barely get noticed by people that speak they're language, let alone some potential market they can't even directly communicate with.

I think if you paired translating services with say, an effective marketing deal, maybe more people would bite? I don't know really... but, everything else you mentioned are pretty standard to a VN hence why people ask for it more. It's like people wanting to offer a novel in 30 plus languages, before they've assembled, written, edited, etc. a book haha

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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#7 Post by Sharm » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:59 pm

That's a good point, and another reason why people wouldn't think to do it unless they were asked. People who can read English are a much larger group than those who would prefer a Spanish version. It makes sense to have things in the language of the biggest market.

RavenBelmont, I'm sorry, I don't recognize your name or avatar from anywhere else. You have me at a disadvantage. ;)
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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#8 Post by Tyrantauranox » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:11 pm

From a business perspective, you must ask if the investment will be worthwhile. Before investing in localization for a particular language, I need data on people who buy the kind of game I'm making, that know said language, but not the main language the game will release with. With what I know right now, I would release a VN in English and Japanese- but that's not set in stone. New data could change my mind.

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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#9 Post by DaFool » Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:13 am

RavenBelmont wrote:Hi guys, thanks for stopping by.

I wonder how many of you think that it's important for a commercial project to have it's content in more than one language. Since I'm a translator myself, I'm trying to find jobs where I can translate English games to Spanish (my first language), but I can't seem to find any sort of requests related to this subject. You know, there's always someone asking for a writer, scripter, voice actor, bg artist... but no one seems to need a translator. Is it not an interesting service?

The way I see it, having a video game in multiple languages (specially when talking about text based games) provides the developers with a much more extensive market to sell their products, so I wonder why there isn't much interest in this service.

I would love to know your thoughts about this.

Thanks!
Coincidentally, there was this release called Sakura Spirit which gained a better following in Japan (it trended on Twitter) and had plenty of Japanese demanding a translation even though the original text was some weeaboo mashup of cliches.

So in my case having an alternate language (and translator/person to talk to) from the get-go may also serve as a cultural cross-check just in case I may make the sort of mistake as portraying all Americans wearing cowboy hats and that sort of thing.

I'm currently working on a freeware game, but if it takes off it could be the start of a commercial series. I may need a Spanish translation since its set during the height of the Spanish empire in Asia and the research material I have are in both English and Spanish (although I'm only fluent in English.) Majority of the characters are Mexicans with Basque or Creole ancestry. I've barely started writing, though if we assume an indie-friendly rate, I'd probably have to cap the wordcount at 15,000 since I wouldn't be able to afford any more. Note that majority of commercial VNs are expected to be at minimum 50K, which would make paid translation as expensive as hiring a main artist. But I probably won't have something extensive to show for at least a month or two regardless.

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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#10 Post by RavenBelmont » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:02 am

It's definitely helpful to know how you all think about this subject. I thank you guys for sharing your opinons, it really helps me out a lot. :)

@DaFool: You have nice project there! The artwork is fantastic and the whole concept seems very interesting!
I understand that for indie projects gathering money is quite a pain, so I keep that in mind when offering my services. I would be willing to give you a hand translating anything you want from English to Spanish and you can tell me how much you can offer in return, if you're interested, of course. I'm not thinking about charging high rates, not at all. As a matter of fact, I'd be willing to take a 50k word translation project for a 15k word translation price. Why would a do such a thing? Well, because it's something I love doing and making some coin while having fun translating seems like a perfect deal to me.

Once again, thank you all for stopping by to share your thoughts. Have a nice day!!

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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#11 Post by melelisun » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:02 pm

Tyrantauranox wrote:From a business perspective, you must ask if the investment will be worthwhile. Before investing in localization for a particular language, I need data on people who buy the kind of game I'm making, that know said language, but not the main language the game will release with. With what I know right now, I would release a VN in English and Japanese- but that's not set in stone. New data could change my mind.
As much as I think a VN in tons of languages would be awesome, I agree with this. If you don't build up an audience then it may not be worth it :/
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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#12 Post by truefaiterman » Fri Oct 03, 2014 5:55 am

Oh, another Spanish partner here, ¡así da gusto!

As far as I've seen, the English market is relatively niche by itself, so the Spanish one... well... no. If you're releasing a commercial game the translation isn't really worth the money you're expending. And if it's a free game... it's a huge effort, too (translating, adapting AND coding the new lines, along with having to edit the fonts or certain pictures).

I'd honestly love to see more vns in Spanish, but sadly... I don't think it's worth the time and money.
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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#13 Post by Morhighan » Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:48 pm

Hm, now I wonder about "partial script" translations?
See, I "speak" only one language outside of English semi-fluently. And it's Latin, which you don't generally see spoken. That is, unless someone's game has magic elements in it or history or archaeology or something.
No one's probably going to want to read an ENTIRE script in Latin, but I'm betting some authors would like authenticity in their works rather than the normal mumbo jumbo. (Which drives me nuts to read!)

I'm sure you could offer partial and full script translations. I'm pretty sure I played a game recently with a character who would sometimes slip into Spanish. (Was it Jisei? I can't recall.)

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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#14 Post by Laniessa » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:57 pm

Morhighan wrote:Hm, now I wonder about "partial script" translations?
See, I "speak" only one language outside of English semi-fluently. And it's Latin, which you don't generally see spoken. That is, unless someone's game has magic elements in it or history or archaeology or something.
No one's probably going to want to read an ENTIRE script in Latin, but I'm betting some authors would like authenticity in their works rather than the normal mumbo jumbo. (Which drives me nuts to read!)

I'm sure you could offer partial and full script translations. I'm pretty sure I played a game recently with a character who would sometimes slip into Spanish. (Was it Jisei? I can't recall.)
Something like a Latin/Spanish-checker, I think, would actually be really good! Like fact-checking for medical stuff.

On another note, I'm planning on translating one of my games to Korean, and another to Chinese, but that's mostly because the people I'm making them with are either Korean or Chinese, haha.

For other teams, Träumendes Mädchen translates all their games to English from French.

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Re: Making games in multiple languages

#15 Post by Morhighan » Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:04 pm

Laniessa wrote: Something like a Latin/Spanish-checker, I think, would actually be really good! Like fact-checking for medical stuff.

On another note, I'm planning on translating one of my games to Korean, and another to Chinese, but that's mostly because the people I'm making them with are either Korean or Chinese, haha.

For other teams, Träumendes Mädchen translates all their games to English from French.
Good to know! I agree, double checking is always good.

That's really cool! Maybe I'll see if I can do French or something because I have so many French helpers on my game. Besides, I talk to Träumendes Mädchen. XD
I do know on twitter there are a few translators lurking around. German and Polish are ones I've seen so far. I suppose I'll go make a thread. Maybe there could be a dedicated group on the boards someday for translations?

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