international audience

How To Design Your App/Game For an International Audience

By Hagen Weiss

It may be tempting to put localization on the backburner. “We’ll deal with it after our game is complete,” – you may think to yourself.

However, the translation and localization of your game into another language can have significant impacts on the design of the game itself. Localization needs to take place simultaneously or as early as possible to avoid any quality, censorship, or cultural issues.

Here are some factors to consider when you are designing your app/game for an international audience.

Idioms and Phrases

Certain idioms and phrases may make sense in one locale, but make no sense in another. For example, the phrase “Something is about to go down!” in a North American context means something significant is about to happen. This phrase translated in another language would literally mean, “descending to another location.” It’s important to be cognizant of these language-specific phrases when designing your app/game.

Local Formatting for International Audience

Formatting can vary dramatically from language-to-language. Things like currency, dates, and time have differing formats based on the locale. Moreover, not every language reads from left to right, as the English language does. The Arabic and Hebrew language both read from right to left (but numbers are written left to right). Certain Asian languages read both left to right, as well as top to bottom. The layout of your app/game must take into account these special formatting of text.

Spacing for Localized Text

You can’t assume a string of text will take up the same amount of space when translating into a different language. Sometimes text can take up significantly more space when translated from the source language. This can cause overlapping text, clashes, or awkward spacing issues. Designers need to work closely with a localizer (or agency), providing screenshots, location plans, and other background information to ensure translated text fits in the allocated space of the game.

Context for the Text

When working with a translation agency, provide as much context as possible. You can’t expect translators to simply translate off an Excel spreadsheet. Doing this will result in unnatural or forced dialogue within the gameplay.

The translator requires context to understand the world, characters, and storyline involved in the game. As a designer, it’s important to work closely with the translator, so the translations stay true to the game as well as to the target market.

Check Your Fonts

Not all fonts are capable of supporting every language. Do some research and plan out your fonts at the beginning of the design process. Typography impacts the feel of the game, so keeping it as consistent as possible is an important factor to consider.

iGlobe – Localization Quality Assurance for International Audience

Reaching the international market with your game gives you the opportunity to increase sales and exposure. Localization plays a key role in adapting your game to the international markets.

iGlobe offers localization quality assurance services so you can do exactly that. We’ll work with your team of designers and developers to ensure your game or app is suitable for an international audience. Contact us today for more information!