Translating Games – Is It a Worthwhile Investment?

Translating Games Is It a Worthwhile Investment

In the last couple of decades, the world of digital technology has seen massive improvements and because of these, the video gaming industry has grown by leaps and bounds as well. Today, statistics show that more people spend their evenings playing video games rather than watching TV, which used to be the top pastime in the western world.

Along with the continued growth of the global gaming community, developers are now looking for ways to cater to the needs of their expanding market. One of the popular strategies today is the use of professional translation services to make their games available in multiple languages.


Translation in the traditional sense refers to the conversion from one language to another.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Gaming Translation

For game developers, the decision of whether to translate their games into multiple languages or not is something that warrants careful thought. Both options come with their own set of advantages but both also have drawbacks. There is no simple answer and the right decision will depend on the particular goals and strategies of the developer. In other words, you need to weigh the pros and cons of gaming translation so that you can figure out if it is the right move for you or not.

What Are the Pros?

  • Wider Market Reach

By having your games translated to other languages, you can attract the interest of other global players aside from those who speak only the original language of the game. Steam data, for instance, shows that there is currently a market of around 42 million players for English games. However, there are 17.5 million players in Russia who prefer games in the Russian language, and another 8.4 million German users who prefer to play in their native tongue. You can easily entice these players to purchase your game through translation.

  • Higher Sales Potential

Once you make your games more accessible to a bigger market by translating them, it only follows that your business will have much higher sales potential. Chinese players contribute enormously to the gaming industry, spending as much as US$44 billion. Players from Germany, Japan and South Korea, which are all non-English speaking countries, are also avid players and spend approximately US$33 billion.

  • Better Online Rankings

Recent data show that the majority of video game downloads come from countries that do not have English as a native language. Translating your game to their local language will make you rank higher in these regions, enabling you to tap a wider international market.


What Are the Cons?

  • Additional Expenses

Translating games come at a cost. For each language, you might have to shell out several thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity and, more importantly, the wordiness of the game. On average, the translation rate is at US$0.15 per word, which some languages cost more than others. You will also have to pay for proofreading which is worth approximately half of the translation rate. That being said, what you would spend for translating your game would still only be a small fraction of the game creation cost.

  • Risk of Poor Translation

There are now so many gaming translators out there and there is indeed a chance that you might end up with a translator who is not that good. We have seen so many poorly translated games to know that this does happen. This is why you have to be extremely picky when deciding to translate games.

Considering these points, it is easy to see that translation would be beneficial for most game developers that wish to expand their market. The only exceptions might be games that do not have much dialogue, or those that have a premise that is familiar for any region or country.

Importance of Gaming Localization

Translation in the traditional sense refers to the conversion from one language to another. But in the case of gaming translation, there is another aspect involved aside from the changing of the language, and this is what is known as localization.

Video game localization does include translation but there is so much more to it than just the changing of the language. It is a comprehensive process of making revisions to the game until it is perfectly suited to the local audience. In addition to the language, it also takes into account the target country’s culture, values, religions and beliefs.

Through competent gaming localization, you will not only be able to increase your target market but you can also avoid offending the local players with language, actions or concepts that are not locally acceptable or appropriate.


Here at Circle Translations, we only use human translators to ensure quality, and we also specialize in localization.

Boost Your Games by Choosing the Best Translator

There are two primary options when it comes to gaming translation. The first is done by human linguists and the other is via machine translation, with final revisions by a human.

You might be attracted by translation service providers that charge a very low rate but you better check carefully because there’s a good chance they might be relying heavily on machine translation, which is very prone to mistranslations or poor output. If you want your translated game to retain the high quality of the original version, you should only trust a reliable translator like Circle Translations.

Here at Circle Translations, we only use human translators to ensure quality, and we also specialize in localization. We have an extremely skilled team of linguistic experts, who are all avid gamers themselves, and who are dedicated to providing the best gaming translation services for all kinds of video game content. If you are looking for top quality translation at competitive rates, just get in touch with us and we’ll take care of your gaming translation needs.