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What is Game Localization Testing in its 3 Most Basic Levels?

What is Game Localization Testing in its 3 Most Basic Levels?

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Skipping game localization testing is like launching a rocket without checking the fuel – it might get off the ground, but it’s bound to crash and burn sooner or later. Therefore, before you attempt to skip it, it’d be wise to think twice.

So, what does the phase involve and why is it so critical? In this article, we break it down in its 3 most basic levels, based on the types of mistakes you’ll most likely encounter. Cause believe us when we say it – you 100% will.

Grab our Game Translation and Localization Definitive Guide while you’re at it, and let’s get right into it!

What is game localization testing & why is it so integral when localizing your game?

Game localization testing, otherwise known as localization quality assurance (LQA), is the final step towards the creation of a fully linguistically and culturally-adapted video game. After all previous steps have been successfully completed, including the translation, voice-over, design localization and integration of those elements into the final version of the game, the LQA ensures that everything aligns with gamers’ preferences and expectations.

Slip-ups and mistakes are natural occurrences, from both a linguistic and cultural perspective. Therefore, catching them right in their tracks before your new, exciting gaming product launches overseas should be your top-of-mind. Rushing through this process is highly discouraged, since doing so can put your gamers’ experience at risk, which could lead to losing players, bad PR or financial losses later down the road.

In order to test your game, there are 2 types of LQA testers you’ll need:

Native speaker localizers: Linguists possessing deep understanding of both the language and culture and that are, ideally, gamers themselves. They’ll be responsible for identifying language or culture-related mistakes.
● Game testers: Professional game players, specializing in UX, who’ll be responsible for catching bugs or glitches.

The 3 main levels of the game localization testing

LQA is concerned with testing a video game’s quality on various different levels: the linguistic, visual and functional level.

Linguistic Quality Assurance

On its first level, linguistic QA reviews whether a game’s text has been localized correctly and consistently. Here are some types of mistakes that linguistic testers keep an eye out for during this phase:

Grammatical, spelling or punctuation mistakes: These can be especially problematic in games with a lot of text, such as RPGs or visual novels, and can affect player immersion and understanding.
Word-for-word translations: Literal translations that don’t take into account the nuances and idiomatic expressions of the language, resulting in awkward-sounding sentences that lack natural flow.
Missing translated strings: Text not properly integrated into the game’s code.
Inconsistencies in terminology, tone of voice or style: Any diversions from the style guide and glossary that were put together during the game localization planning stage. For example, the same word being translated differently in different locations.
Incorrect numerical formats and conversions: Elements that weren’t adapted for the target culture, such as date formats (e.g., Day/Month/Year in most of the EU and Month/Day/Year in the US) or units of measurement (e.g., from kilograms to pounds).
Culturally inappropriate references: Offensive or confusing references to cultural or historical events, figures and practices.

Visual Quality Assurance

On the second level, there’s the Visual QA which is mainly concerned with ensuring that visuals, graphics and text appear correctly on the screen. Localization testers are likely to encounter at least some of the following errors:

Text overflow: Translating your game into certain languages, including German, French and Spanish, can cause text to expand significantly, which can lead to…
User interface errors: Text being cut off from the screen or overlapping with other game items, such as images and buttons.
Misaligned subtitles: A game’s subtitles not matching the timing of the voice-over precisely.
Synchronization issues: Audio being out of sync with characters’ lip movements.
Culturally inappropriate graphics: Images, symbols and colours (which differ between cultures) that haven’t been corrected, censored or removed.

Functional Quality Assurance

And then, from an engineering perspective, there’s the Functional QA level. Functional errors generally refer to bugs that could be having an adverse effect on the UX experience. The LQA reviewers might identify the following:

Keyboard mismatch: Some languages use special characters that may not be supported by the game’s code or font, resulting in character rendering errors.
Broker links: Links leading to unavailable resources in the localized game.
Software/application performance issues: The game freezing or running slower than it’s supposed to.
Compatibility issues: A game’s localized versions being incompatible with other operating systems or devices.

Generally, functional errors can be prevented when you plan for them correctly from the earliest stages of game development. As a developer, you can make your game more localization-friendly through the use of Universal Code set (Unicode).

For more tips on preparing a game for localization and going through the process as a whole completely unscathed, check out The Game Localization Process & 22 Tips to Make it Easier.

Don’t let mistakes slip through the cracks & cause you major trouble!

Now that you’re aware about the kinds of errors that can creep up in your game and the major troubles they could lead to, it’s time to be proactive and let professionals guide you through them!

Whether you’re only getting started or need your game tested ASAP, at Pangea Global, we’ve got the right game localization know-how, expertise and tools to help you do it right.

Ready to transform your gamers’ experience in the most lucrative gaming languages and more with game localization and linguistic QA testing? Contact Pangea with your questions and requests using our form!

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