Localization: What’s included in the cost?

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Adapting a project for a new audience is an undertaking that requires a serious investment. Let’s talk about what’s included in the price of Inlingo’s localization services and why we chose this approach.

Here’s a detailed checklist for projects of 100,000 words or more. Plus, commentary from experts on the development side.

1. Two project managers

Your project will be handled by two project managers at once. The first PM takes on the job and analyzes it, draws up a statement of work (SOW), assesses the risks, and determines the time frame. The second PM works with the team of translators and editors and ensures that the end result meets your requirements. 

If one of the PMs goes on vacation, gets sick, or can no longer work on the project, the second one is already up to speed on all the details and potential challenges. They will be able to see the project through to the end and make sure we finish on time and the final product is not adversely affected, no matter what happens. Your deadlines are safe. 

2. Glossary and style guide

If your project has terminology that must remain consistent, we keep track of it in a glossary. It’s important that Johnny stays “Johnny” throughout the game and the item “magic wand” doesn’t turn into an “enchanted stick.”  If you don’t make sure that terms stay uniform, the player will just get confused. We can prevent that from happening. 

This is what a glossary looks like.

The second essential document is a style guide. It’s a set of rules that pertain to your project. The style guide helps our entire team stay in the loop on the client’s requirements and follow them closely. In addition, if someone on the team falls ill, the backup translator will be aware of all the important details thanks to the style guide.

One section of our style guide, which is filled out for every new client.

3. A team with experience in your genre, setting, and game mechanics

The PM works with HR specialists to choose an appropriate team for your project. Only translators who have experience with projects in your genre and are familiar with the subject matter will work on it. For example, if you’ve created a rugby game, the team will contain people who know the rules and understand what the sport is about. 

The team is tested on the style guide so we can make sure that everyone understands the gist of the project, the style, and any nuances that must be kept in mind. Only specialists who pass the test are allowed to work on the translation. Some of them are kept in reserve in case one of the main translators must leave the project. 

The portfolio of one of the translators in our database.

4. Translation team briefing

Before starting, the entire team examines the client’s files in detail: visual references, the storyline, character descriptions, and links to gameplay. The translators and editors download and play the game for a while to immerse themselves in the project and look at it through the eyes of a player. 

Even before translating, the team asks questions that come up when examining the files and references and gets answers in advance so that they know all the ins and outs when they start translating. Sometimes questions arise while working on the project. If the manager and editors cannot find the answer on their own, they seek clarification from the client.

5. Integration with your programs

Typically, Inlingo’s translators work in the translation software memoQ. memoQ allows us to load all the essential details into one project, including the glossary, character limits, developer comments, and string IDs. However, we can accommodate other needs if a client uses a different computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool. 

The Inlingo team has experience working with a wide range of systems. We are happy to sync with your programs and work directly in them to make it convenient to monitor the process. As an alternative, we can translate, edit, and review the text in our system and then export the files to your service in the appropriate format. 

memoQ is the program that Inlingo’s translators prefer to work in. 

6. Translation by a native speaker

A native speaker of a language always has the best feel for the special features of their country’s culture. They have a more accurate understanding of which constructions sound natural to the audience who is not yet acquainted with your project. This is precisely why we prefer working with native speakers. Our primary goal is to adapt your game in such a way that players don’t even know it was translated. When your project is adapted into another language, the new audience should see it as a game that was created especially for them. 

Umbrellas for rain and those for the sun have different names. In Japan, a player would never get these two items mixed up. This is why it’s so important for a translation to be done by native speakers. 

7. Free translation of repetitions 

We do not include repetitions in the total cost of localization. By “repetitions,” we mean strings of text with a complete, independent meaning. If the same complete phrase is repeated several times in a project, the client only pays for it to be translated once. All repetitions are calculated by specialized software.

Take the phrase “Contact tech support,” for example. If it shows up in the same form in different menu elements, it will be counted as a repetition. That said, if it appears as part of the sentence “If you have any questions, please contact tech support,” it is not considered a repetition. In this case, “contact tech support” must agree with the other elements of the sentence, and, in context-dependent languages, these phrases will be translated differently. 

8. Proofreading the translation and reviewing the files  

First and foremost, our editors verify that all translations correspond to the source text. They ensure that there are no mistranslations, the translator understood the context, the meaning of the original text was conveyed, the rules of grammar were followed, and all cultural characteristics were taken into account. 

Generally, proofreading follows closely after the translation. All potential errors are caught immediately and added to the style guide so they won’t be repeated as translation continues. Translators regularly receive feedback about their work from editors to make sure the quality remains consistent. 

When the translation and proofreading are done, the PM runs a check on the files before delivering them to the client to make sure there aren’t any tag errors, typos, double spaces, or untranslated strings. 

9. Two-year guarantee

For two years after delivering the project, we continue to bear responsibility for it and oversee the final product. We are happy to make corrections based on valid comments from players or client requests. 

In addition, once a quarter, we check player reviews ourselves and make changes if we find any comments relevant to the translation. 

A review of the Italian localization of the project Guess Their Answer: “A really fun game in magnificent Italian. Tournaments and speed. Deserves 500 stars. I won the Rome Trophy on 3/15/2021.”

10. A consistent team for your projects

If you come back to us after a while, the same team that worked on your game the first time will do it again. They are specialists who are already immersed in your project: they know it inside and out and are ready to take on new updates. 

Еxpert commentary from the development side

A fairly large part of the work included in the cost of localization is culturalization. During the translation process, the game is checked by native speakers of different cultures. They can tell you about certain risks, correct gross cultural or factual errors, and find issues in the source text. These are additional text reviews and repeated ones at that.

Managers play an important role as they would advise on any issues related to localization: how to organize and fetch texts for a particular game, what file format to choose, which fonts to select, and what set of languages is relevant for a market.

Svetlana Panova, Localization Project Manager at Playrix

When it comes to localization costs, your project’s library management is an opportunity for improvement. With every new string added to your project it becomes harder to control the price tag if you can’t distinguish legacy strings from relevant ones with certainty.

A competent localization vendor can save you a headache by providing not only translation but also “tagged-and-bagged” storage of your data for future use, whether you are adding a new language, supporting existing ones or tracking your localization quality.

Vladimir Semin, Head of Localization at Nexters