The video games industry has undergone significant development to become an important trading power in the market in just a short space of time. We’re faced with products created with a view to reaching the widest audience possible depending on the budget available. This process therefore involves developers, as well as translators, localisers and testers.
According to LISA (Localization Industry Standards Association), localising a product involves adapting the original content to create a new product that can be commercialised in a different market. Therefore, we take away from this definition that a professional localiser not only has to translate, but also consider the cultural aspects of the country where the product is going to be sold, in addition to functional and technical aspects.
Localisation takes place during the production stage of game development. More often than not, the translator doesn’t have the complete text, let alone the final version, nor in many instances the image. That’s why game testing services are essential.
What is translated in a video game? Everything from the game menu, system, objects, characters, subtitles and dialogue for dubbing, to the packaging and web pages. Throughout all these stages, the localiser will come across parts of the coding in amongst the translatable text that they’ll need to identify, but never translate.
Therefore, it’s important that professional translators and localisers have both linguistic and technical knowledge. But, as you can imagine, this is particularly crucial within the testing stage, as not only do they perform linguistic quality assurance checks, but also functionality testing. There are three types of tests:
- Playtesting. What is the aim of a video game? Ultimately, the main aim is to entertain the user. This stage evaluates how fun, or rather, how effective the game is.
- Functionality testing or FQA. The functionality errors that affect the gaming experience are corrected in this phase. This is the case of errors in the representation of graphic or sound elements, connectivity problems and issues in terms of progressing through the game, among others.
- Localisation testing or LQA. This is the stage in which those linguistic aspects which may affect the gaming experience are revised and corrected, where necessary. Not only is the grammar taken into account, but also whether the translated text corresponds to what appears on screen, whether the character limit has been respected, etc.
Given that there’s a lot of material to get through and the deadlines are usually quite short, it’s complicated for just one translator to take charge of everything. This means that the review or testing stage is even more important for maintaining coherence and consistency.
There’s another recurring issue that makes testing all the more crucial for ensuring the quality of the product: more often than not, video games are localised blindly, in other words, professionals work without reference images, although screenshots are sometimes provided.
Furthermore, this testing isn’t only performed on computers; it’s also done on other platforms. The apps on various devices, such as mobiles and tablets, are fully checked.
What are bug reports?
Testers have to write a report that records all the errors encountered during their review as well as a proposal for improvements. The fields completed in each report depend on the company, but these are the most common:
- Title. A summary of the bug that gives an idea of what it is in relation to.
- Bug ID. A series of unique digits to directly reference the bug (e.g., 65432).
- Affected languages. A list of the languages affected by the bug is offered. If the bug affects all the languages, you’ll normally see the word ‘ALL’.
- Description. Here the bug is explained in detail, indicating where it is found and a solution is proposed.
- Image. It’s important to include a screenshot or a video that points out the bug.
- Name of the tester. The person responsible for finding the bug must be noted down in case they need to be asked any questions.
- Version. Different versions of the product are released as it is modified. It’s therefore crucial to indicate the version reviewed and the date.
- Bug location. This field specifies where the bug is found.
- Bug type. Whether the bug is language-related or functional, and the subcategory (e.g., spelling, grammar, translation mistake, etc.).
As a professional translation company, we know first-hand that reviewing a translation is invaluable to guarantee clients the highest level of quality in any translation service. The case of game testing is even more complex, which is why we want to stress the importance of turning to great professionals. Here at Tatutrad, our translation company based in Seville, Spain, we offer testing as a separate service.
We’d love for you to count on us!
Paula Jiménez Rivera.