To have a successfully localised game you don’t only need a good localisation team and experienced translators. If one important element is missing, the whole work may become complex and tough, game localisation may take too long or players may not be satisfied. This important element is a good quality source text.
Why source text quality is so important?
Imagine a chaotic game text with unclear structure and inconsistent naming conventions. Or a game that refers to the real world, but presents incorrect data and contains cultural inaccuracies, e.g. a historical strategy game mixes up battle dates, monarchs’ names, and geographical regions. What is the chance of delivering good game translation on time? Well, not really high. The translation process will take much longer, more feedback from the game developer will be needed and all in all the target text may not be as clear and consistent as it should be. On top of that, a poor quality source text may delay the whole localisation process, which leads to financial consequences. Not a good scenario at all.
How to ensure good source text quality?
The best practice is to appoint a reviewer in the game development team who will carefully check the game structure, add necessary comments within the code and solve all inconsistencies. Hiring a linguistic reviewer is a good idea as well in order to check the style used in dialogues or descriptions. If a game refers to the real world, all historical or geographical data have to be carefully revised. Another great solution is to allow more time for translators to go through the source text in order to check for any linguistic or cultural issues and provide necessary feedback before they can start to translate. This will ensure good quality of the source text in your games and make localisation and translation smoother. More importantly, the localised game will be of high quality and players won’t stumble upon unclear or incorrect information. Reviewing a game source text will pay off and help to avoid unpleasant consequences.