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Introduction to Localization

Introduction to Localization

Oct 26 2018, 6:18 PM PST 5 min

Roblox is dedicated to growing our audience of players and developers. As the number of international players grows, localization will help those players understand and enjoy your game!

What is Localization?

At its basic level, localization is the process of making a game more meaningful and engaging to a particular player base. Every region of the world has its own culture, language, and customs that affect how players there view your games. If your game only displays English in its buttons, billboards, instructions, and character dialogue, people in non-English-speaking communities might have trouble playing it.

Beyond basic translation, localization means using the best translations in your game. While you can simply look up direct word-for-word translations online, every culture has unique phrases which should be used to express what you really want to communicate. For example, popular American slang might be common to Americans, but it won’t be familiar to players in Brazil.

Building the Best Experience

You may think that “online translating” your game is an easy solution, but the results probably won’t be accurate in context. Instead, try your best to provide quality translations and build trust with international Roblox players — in most cases, they’ll return that trust by playing your game more!

When localizing a game, keep these challenges in mind:

  • Translate 100% of your game. A few missing translations may not seem bad to you, because you understand the source language, but they can prevent international players from fully engaging with your game.

  • Avoid context-sensitive phrases so that your in-game text isn’t affected by noun gender, plurals, and time/date formatting. For example, avoid text like “You got 10 gems.” This seems like a simple sentence but it’s nearly impossible to translate across several languages. Instead, display the gem quantity as a Articles/Format Strings|format string alongside a gem icon.

  • Cultural references do not translate well because the cultural context is often different. Meme references, idioms like “stuck between a rock and a hard place,” celebrity references, etc. will not have the same meaning for international players.

  • Number and date/time formatting varies between locales. Different characters may be used for decimal points and digit separators, and the rules for digit separator placement can vary.

  • In most languages, nouns have a “gender” (even inanimate objects and abstract concepts). In turn, the form of verbs, adjectives, and conjunctions must match the gender of the subject.

  • Plurals are complicated. English simply has singular and plural, but some languages have specific forms for one, two, and everything else, or even special rules for everything less than twelve!

Where From Here?

Studio Localization Tools

Roblox Studio contains some convenient Articles/Roblox Localization Tools|localization tools which can help you to translate your in-game text to other languages.

Translation Resources

Machine translation (an automated online tool) is a good start, but it’s best to have native/fluent speakers review your translations. Please visit our forums for a list of Roblox translators!

Developer Interviews

Check out these interviews from other developers about their experience with game localization:

  • localization
  • language
  • translation
  • international