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13 Challenges in Thai Game Translation Services (P1)

Posted by Gummy Tran on January 24, 2022.

A Thai game translation services provider on one hand can help close the gap between your business and your target customers in the Thai market and on the other hand, affect your brand’s image. In the case of game localization, mistakes in translation can be found commonly. Even experienced professionals who were a hero one day by delivering the perfect translation could make simple mistakes.

So, what are some of the most common challenges that arise during the localization of video games? We’ve compiled a list of 13 most prominent challenges in this industry and how you could avoid them. 

#1. Drift away from brevity

Thai Game Translation Services

This may appear to be a simple task, but brevity (the use of few words in writing or speaking) needs a fair amount of finesse, especially when delivering critical information. It’s important to keep in mind that message boxes in games and display screens are typically quite small, while texts in Thai are usually longer than in other languages. For example, texts in Thai are often 15% longer than in English. Thus, translations should be kept as short as possible to fit this limited space while still presenting the information clearly (but don’t use unnecessary abbreviations unless the client requests it).

That being said, though brevity is important in game translation, it should not be prioritized over clarity. Information needs to be complete in order for users to easily understand what to do and to not waste time confusing players by insufficiently communicating command options and other in-game elements.

*** Note: Brevity is vital in game translation; however, clarity should take precedence. The information must be provided in complete so users could easily understand what to do and not waste time confusing. 

 

#2. Language and style biases

If a language has a courteous manner of address for players, failing to include it in a game’s translation might result in an entirely different user experience. Thailand in particular, like many other East Asian cultures, values “face,” which refers to “a person’s reputation, influence, dignity, and honor” (Cultural Atlas 2020). To demonstrate your respect for Thai gamers, courteous language should be used.   

Now, this isn’t necessarily meant to carry through dialogues and other things characters say (though failing to do so can result in significant changes in characterization); it’s mostly meant to ensure that the game’s interface, instructions, notifications, user manual, and other information are delivered in the most culturally appropriate manner.

For example, many developers often include characters or costumes that resonate with Thai culture. To make the game more recognizable to local players, the character wears a Thai-style costume like this.

Developer: Longtu Game

*** Note: Making too many cultural changes may create a fake product that no longer resembles the original game. To make your game appealing and genuine to Thai players, you’ll need a team of Thai game translation services that excel in video game localization.

 

#3. Inappropriate intonation

Using your own cultural intonations (rather than those appropriate for Thai culture) when translating a game’s interface or instructions may often result in awkward consequences.

For example, the word “please” is frequently used to start instructions in translations for western Europeans, Canadians, and Americans. In Thai culture, however, such attempts are often considered needless. Always localize using language and expressions that give Thai players the feeling of connecting with someone in their own neighborhood rather than someone halfway around the world.

 

#4. Wrong use of slang

When translators are unfamiliar with the slang used in Thailand, the essence of the game might be seriously harmed. Hence, before you begin translating, find out about the slang used in the game and in your targeted Thai audiences.

 

#5. Quote unquotable quotes

Quotes, like slang terms, frequently lack precise analogs or means of expressing feelings close enough to be used in a game’s translation. If you see a game character saying something strange at some time, it might be a mistranslated quote. 

You could save the situation by just Googling the right translation beforehand. If it doesn’t work, try replacing the quote with an appropriate replacement in Thai (as long as the meaning is not changed).

 

#6. Inexperienced swearing used by Thai game translation services

Thai Game Translation Services

Poor localization can be caused by a lack of understanding of a culture’s preferred to swear words and expressions. There is a responsible way to swear. That is to say, there is a technique to safely translate profanity for games. Translation of swearing is a bit of an art form. Using alternative terms to represent profanities or select improper words might weaken the joy, so it’s critical to study preferred ways of expression by your Thai gamers.

But, above all, concentrate on the message that the game character is attempting to communicate, rather than the most precise translation of the phrase used. 

Continue reading: 13 Challenges in Thai Game Translation Services (P2)

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For all Thai game translation projects, we follow a strict quality control procedure such as XBench and use other technologies such as Cat Tools, DTP Tools, and translation management platforms.

You can learn more about Thai game translation services here.

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