Technology, Management and Marketing Content Localisation

Gaming: it's not enough to just translate and localise

"Localisation is much more than just translation" is something you have likely read in other articles on the AP Portugal blog. In fact, this is the cornerstone of any localisation strategy, and is especially relevant for the field of video games.

Gaming and localisation are becoming more and more intertwined, thanks to video games' growing share in the entertainment market. While it is true that this always involves translation, perhaps we should remind you of the origin of the word "localisation": “it comes from the English word "locale" in the sense of a geographical region that is not only characterised by its language but also its cultural background and distinct conventions"”.


In other words, the task of translating a video game into Portuguese could be considered localisation if it takes into account the cultural differences, for example, between Portugal and Brazil, or Angola and Mozambique, to mention some of the countries with Portuguese as an official language. And this is the same for other languages.


Facing these challenges, there are things that a company specialising in translating and localising content has learnt to prioritise for such a request. Namely:

  1. One of the biggest challenges - not just for video games but for any type of translation or localisation - is finding the best words to express exactly the same meaning in different languages. Concerning localisation specifically, there is also the difficulty of translating the style of the original message.
  2. As is the case with other translation and localisation work, there are words and/or expressions that, if translated literally, lose their meaning. “Go ahead, make my day”, an expression made famous by Clint Eastwood's character "Dirty" Harry Callahan, in the film “Sudden Impact”, is a good example of the need to understand the plot and the context.

    Website translation and digital localisation

  3. The biggest challenge of all in game localisation, compared with other fields, is the fact that they often take place in virtual worlds, with characters and creatures that don't exist, and often using unique and unusual terminology. A challenge which therefore calls for creativity.
  4. “Leeroy Jenkins”, the famous war cry in the game World of Warcraft, only makes sense being translated into Portuguese as "Sangue e Glória" ("Blood and Glory"). That said, localising video games must not only respect the cultures of the source and target languages, but also the game's features.


This type of work requires a translation and localisation company

This type of work, both for these tasks and others, requires a translation and localisation company. It's not enough to just translate and localise the video game characters' expressions. The list goes on, and it makes you realise the breadth and uniqueness of this task, which nowadays is more and more in demand.

To sum up, localising a programme includes, among others, these tasks:

  • Translating resources
  • Translating documents
  • Technical instructions
  • Game instructions
  • Licensing agreements, copyright warnings and warranty conditions
  • Files
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography


HubSpot Video


Gaming market shows positive signs

Although, on the one hand, mobile phones have taken the market share from handheld consoles, on the other hand, this means that the gaming market is continuing to show positive signs of growth.

This is also the case in Portugal, where the new trend is for the main brands to translate and localise their games into European Portuguese and not just Brazilian Portuguese.

This means that there is a demand that will affect the daily work of translation and localisation companies more and more.


Incidentally, let's go back to our article on the gaming industry, where we mention that, according to Statista - a German statistics site which collates data collected by market research institutes and opinion polls - the mobile games market in Portugal will soon generate 30 million euros annually. In addition to this data, according to Newzoo, Portugal is already ranked 33rd globally in revenue generated by gaming. Newzoo also says that the Portuguese gaming industry is worth approximately 200 million euros.

This text was not written by a native English speaker, but by a language lover. However, all our language services are always provided by native speakers.



AP  PORTUGAL - Tech Language Solutions is a Portuguese translation company certified by the ISO 17100 International Quality Standard. The company offers a wide range of language services, which include translation (TEP), post-editing machine translation (PEMT), transcription, desktop publishing and subtitling, voice talent, software and website localisation technology, SEO and consulting. It invests enthusiastically in the development of partnerships and cooperation anywhere in the world where your organization may need a partner for the African, Brazilian and European Portuguese language.

You can also follow us on social media Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Related Articles:

We have already stated that this is not the time to worry about technology, but the time...

Related Articles:

The truth is that in this "information era" knowing the difference between "more...

Related Articles:

The truth is that in this "information era" knowing the difference between "more...


Stay up to date