3 Lessons on Game Localization from SCS Software

6 mins read

Lessons on Game Localization from SCS Software

SCS Software is a video game development company located in Prague, Czech Republic. The company became famous worldwide thanks to two notable games: American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2. SCS Software is also a proud winner of the 2016 Steam Awards in two categories, PC Gamer’s Best Sim 2012 and Czech Game of the Year Technological Solution Award 2016.

Crowdin helps SCS Software manage the localization of their products and Steam Achievements into 47 languages, as more than 70% of their customers are non-English speakers. SCS Software engages its players to be a part of the localization process in Crowdin, which currently has 200+ members.

This article includes the key takeaways and lessons on game localization from the case study we did with SCS Software. Read the full version for more details.

Invite Your Community to Translate

One of the translation strategies you can choose – community translations. The fact is, no matter how many people play your game – you might find those who want to take part in localizing it to their native language.

With over 300K players of both games combined on an average day (according to Steam Charts), the localization of the SCS Software games is effectively managed by the game’s players and a few team members – developers. The latter group is mainly responsible for uploading content to Crowdin and ensuring everything is made on time.

What can you expect from community translations?

Context-relevant translations

People who are playing your game know it best. So you can expect that they will know a lot of nuances, like game terminology, tone of voice, and the game’s overall atmosphere. Most people are scared of stories when products have to retranslate their whole UI after an attempt at community translation. Despite being true to some extent, what they do not mention is that some companies use community translation as their main translation strategy.

Just make sure to apply the quality assurance steps to your project and hire experts to control the process as you would when dealing with LSP (language service providers).

Speed

First, people will translate the most common languages as more people speak them. Some non-common languages can take a while to be translated, but others from the most spoken in the world usually take just a few days. You can post a link to your localization project on Steam, so your most devoted fans can be the first ones to help you with translations.

Your translation project can be a part of your game

Game translation is a great additional experience for your players, as they can adapt the game to their native language. Thus, this can be a kind of extension to their gaming experience.

Moreover, community translation is a cheaper alternative to hiring professional translators. If you have an active community willing to become volunteers, create a Crowdin project and make your game multilingual with their help.

“Crowdin platform is easy enough for anybody. Everything you need is in your browser, you just open it, and can start localizing.”

Provide Context to Improve Translation Quality

SCS Software manages localization completely through the JSON files, one of the most common file formats in localization. To provide a proper context for everyone who wants to translate and save time on managing some localization issues, the team is providing additional comments for groups or individual game items right in the file. For example, they mark city or truck names, and more.

An example of how you can leave comments for additional context is in JSON.

{
"gamemap": {
    "message": "Ancona",
    "description": "city_name"
 }
}

After syncing files to Crowdin, the comments are visible to translators and other members in the translation editor. The results are a greater quality of translation and fewer discussions in the comments section.

We also can recommend using labels as an effective way to mark strings and provide context in various supported file formats.

Steam Store Localization: Use Crowdin to Add More Languages

Along with the product’s localization, tailoring the Steam Store experience for non-English speaking users is an excellent step forward.

Even though Steam, like many platforms, supports a store page and in-game localization, handling both types of content in one place makes translation far simpler. Besides this, there’s another benefit: one of the reasons SCS Software chose to translate their Steam Achievements on Crowdin – is the number of supported languages. Steam offers official language support for 26 different languages on a variety of platform features, while Crowdin supports 300+ default languages.

SCS Software localizes its products to 47 languages in general. All the texts from games and additional platforms like Steam are fetched through the Crowdin API. They are using a script to avoid uploading texts and downloading translations manually.

“It’s not the single feature for me, but the whole UI experience. It’s very polished and easy to get into, even for a new user.”

Go Ahead and Localize Your Game

By localizing your app and using the right localization management platform, you increase its customer base, visibility on the Steam Store, and automate content delivery to reduce manual work.

Make your game multilingual with Crowdin

More about the way SCS Software localizes 2 PC games into 47 enabled languages in the full customer story.
Diana Voroniak

Link
Previous Post
What’s New at Crowdin: February 2022
Next Post
Node.js i18n: Agile Localization for Developers