Localization Best Practices in Japan
A recommended best practice is to think about Japanese localization as early as feasible in the video game development process. This will assist you avoid the taboos and text window issues discussed in the last section. Furthermore, American game companies are also attempting to replicate a popular technique utilized by Japanese game localization companies when localizing a game into English: involving a representative of the original game throughout the entire Japanese game localization process.
The text in the game should be prepared with translation and localization in account, such as on the user interface or subtitles. For example, a list of all the game’s unique items should be created for the translation team, with all terminology and synonyms used to describe each item (e.g. gun = handgun, pistol) as well as what comparable terms relate to separate distinct items to minimize misunderstanding. Also, a note for the localization team about when to use a specific synonym for an item when you localize your video game in Japan, if applicable, and the differences in meanings must be added.
Localized versions should also adhere to strict linguistic quality assurance (QA), especially for the Japanese game localization market, which places a premium on perfection and attention to detail. QA should be carried out by a team of native Japanese speakers based in Japan. Native speakers would be better equipped to spot linguistic discrepancies like a female character using the masculine personal pronoun “boku.”
When a character in a game communicates in slang or with a particular accent, it would be suitable to utilize a comparable local Japanese slang or accent when providing the Japanese voice-over for that character. For example, the Kansai dialect, spoken southwest of Tokyo, is a typical go-to substitution for characters with a regional accent in American English, such as a New York or a Southern accent.
Another excellent practice is to have the localization team play the video game from start to finish at the beginning of the process. This exercise familiarizes the team with the video game’s tone, the appearance of text, and any particular localization requirements. It’s crucial to get a thorough understanding of a project’s scope and tone earlier on, as this can have a big impact on the Japanese game localization strategy and success.
Localize Your Game into Japanese with CCCI
With over 10 years of experience in the Japanese game industry with headquarters in Asia and Europe, CCC International (CCCI) is one of the fast-growing game localization companies in the world. Having worked with top Japanese game localization companies and game developers, we are more than ready and adept to assist you with your game translation, localization, and customer support. Talk to us today
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