Game localization testing is essential when translating video games for consumers who speak different languages. By doing this, you can prevent myriad issues that arise from inadequate translation and guarantee that every version of your game has the necessary quality to maximize ROI in all your target markets.
The final step in a game’s localization process is localization quality assurance (LQA). In addition to covering UI/UX evaluation, compliance testing, culturalization, internationalization, functional tests, and other topics, it primarily focuses on language testing and translation quality review.
In other words, native-speaking linguists with gaming and local culture knowledge play and analyze your game to ensure no linguistic or visual issues.
Every game version should be tested by the proper native professional game localization services if it is about to be published in several languages.
LQA verifies that the game is localized to all requested languages, that all strings have been translated, that the terminology complies with the hardware manufacturer’s specifications, and that there are no implementation flaws. Additionally, it guarantees that the translations are done consistently and with a natural flow.
What is included in the game LQA?
Localization quality assurance in video games includes both linguistic and visual QA. However, not LQA’s primary goal, functionality problems or bugs are frequently found and reported.
Linguistic Quality Control
Language errors in game scripts and voiceovers are the focus of linguistic game testing. Typically, such are grammatical, spelling, and translation mistakes. Finally, the linguistic QA testers offer solutions or alternate translations.
The following are examples of language-related issues in localized games:
- Typographical errors (missing words or punctuation, incorrect verb tense, repeated words and phrases, etc.);
- Issues with date formats (YYYY/MM/DD in Korea, China, and Iran versus DD/MM/YYYY in the UK), financial symbols, calendars, and numbers;
- Measuring units (miles vs. kilometers, pounds vs. kilograms in the US/UK vs. continental Europe), money conversions, and metric conversions that are incorrect;
- Mistakes due to the country (such as incorrect zip codes, phone numbers, addresses, or names);
- Broken characters that are peculiar to a language (such as incorrectly rendered diacritics in Polish, Hebrew, or Arabic);
- The literal translation of idioms or contextual inaccuracy, where words or sentences are not translated following the actual context;
- Does the language flow naturally? Do the phrases sound normal in everyday speech?
- Incomplete or inconsistent translations (one word is translated in the game in several ways, particularly when it comes to synonyms like “submit,” “send,” and “apply”);
- Difficulties with the voice-over (the voice-over files are wrongly translated, or the audio and subtitles are presented at various times);
- Delicate cultural allusions (cultural taboos, phrases, or language considered offensive).
Because of the literal translation from Japanese, “Fatal Fury Special” was full of amusing expressions. Like this: “Your fists of evil are about to meet my steel wall of niceness.”
Visual Quality Assurance
Visual quality assurance testing looks for any design-related problems, including:
- Shortened characters. For example, UTF characters are not recognized and are changed to complete blocks or question marks.
- Font problems. The font is either too large to fit the screen or area or too small for users to read.
- Content and visuals that have not been translated fully or at all.
- Lengthy strings. German and Spanish translations frequently run into issues because they are roughly 30% longer than English.
- Check for compliance: Does the game appear as it should on iOS, Android, and PC?
- UI/UX problems. When text is allocated a button or a space, it gets cut off. A different phrase or a smaller font is required. Sometimes, a bigger button or text-containing element is the answer.
- The images were placed in the wrong position.
Functional Quality Assurance
Functionality QA testing (FQA) focuses on any design, technical, or artistic flaws that can be rectified with a code change. For instance, errors relating to how the special characters are presented will be common if the game is not designed to be localization-friendly from the start or does not use Unicode.
Other typical problems include:
- International keyboards can cause input errors, and some keyboard functions may not function as intended.
- Links. Does the button text match the purpose of the button? Does the user arrive at the desired page?
- Compatibility. Is the game code localization-friendly? Does it work together with the original version and all localized versions?
- Performance. Suddenly, the game freezes or crashes.
- Graphic. Difficulties with the camera, missing textures, improper or nonexistent collision, and players can pass through walls and encounter unseen obstacles (the wrong angle, frozen camera, etc.)
- AI conduct. Misbehaving non-player characters (NPCs).
- Audio. The subtitles are displayed at different times, and the audio file is corrupted, played at the wrong time, stops in the middle of a phrase, the wrong file is played, etc.
- Text. The user is given inappropriate or insufficient instructions. A wrong message is presented, typefaces are missing or misinterpreted, the text overlaps with another image, or wrong terminology is used.
How many times will the game be tested?
Contrary to the common misconception that LQA testers are gamers who play games repeatedly to evaluate them, they have particular responsibilities assigned by the customers to reduce the amount of work. The game’s creators/owners set how many levels players should check and how many rounds they should complete.
Every title has a unique LQA plan based on the number of language assets, game size, and languages that will be tested.
A thorough LQA approach enables a more accurate assessment of the effort required due to this modification, frequently saving money and needless additional testing cycles.
Which LQA method suits your game best?
Game localization testing QA can include UI/UX evaluation, functional testing, and compliance testing, even though globalization managers typically concentrate on linguistic testing and translation quality review.
The more the project can fund, the better, but there is a price to pay. The success of the localization testing procedure has a significant impact on the price. For instance, the resources required to check the text in a spreadsheet will be far less than those needed to thoroughly test the most recent build of a game just launched.
A Bad Game Localization Approach Example
Have you ever heard the famous line from the Japanese video game “Zero Wing,” “All your base belongs to us”? It is obvious that the English translation was incorrect; the correct phrase should have read, “All of your bases are now under our control.” This idiom quickly gained popularity through media outlets and online communities in 1990. Additionally, some people have even had it printed on T-shirts. Absolute failure, isn’t it?
Find the best localization testing services to rock it! Localization testing is necessary to ensure the best customer experience. It will only improve your company’s brand name and strengthen it internationally.