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4 Popular Challenges Of Japanese Game Translation

Posted by Ethan N. on March 31, 2023.

Asia’s video game leader is Japan with its ranking as the third-largest video game market in the world by income, and Japanese game translation receiving special attention from worldwide investors might leave a significant impact on the games business. 

To ensure compliance and achieve success in the market, businesses must comprehend what can be the toughest challenges when localizing games in Japan. In this article, GTE Localize will provide detailed answers to help you efficiently adapt Japanese game translation

1. The Importance Of Japanese Game Translation

The production of video games is a huge business and a thriving economic activity today. And when it comes to Japan, this is particularly true. Here is a look at the importance of the Japanese gaming industry.

1.1. Game “Tradition” in Japan

The huge amounts of money the Japanese spend on in-game transactions are evidence that they have always loved video games. Japanese folks play video games for a variety of causes. One thing about the average Japanese person is constant: they think that spending money on something they appreciate is only normal. This is true whether they use the lengthy commute to enjoy their favorite epic games free games list or “meet up” with their pals in multiplayer games. 

In reality, Japan leads the world in terms of per-person spending on smartphone games and other content in 2021. In 2019, the average gamer spent $371 annually, making the Japanese the world’s biggest spenders, opening up opportunities for game developers to invest in this fertile market with proper Japanese game translation.


1.2. Top Language for Gaming

Given that the vast majority of people in Japan are avid gamers, Japanese is one of the most sought-after languages for game translation. In actuality, the first locally adapted video games were released by Japanese producers. It can be difficult to have Japanese game translation for Western producers, and even major figures in the gaming business have had failures, leading to extreme care when converting your game into Japanese.

2. 4 Key Challenges In Japanese Game Translation

2.1. Language Assurance 

Translating video games is totally different from translating regular documents. You obviously can’t get the accurate Japanese game translation back in just one or two rounds, especially when you work with a multilingual company that claims to handle a variety of game materials and translate them into a hundred different languages. A good game the translator will most likely inquire about the background in great detail, perhaps even to the point where it becomes tiresome at times. You can anticipate a poor transcript if contact is very limited.

Another thing about the assurance when translating a game is you might be forced to alter the user interface, images, and symbols. Other gaming elements, such as quips that get lost in translation or personalities, and narrative components that are inappropriate for some markets may also need to be localized.

It becomes harder to provide a consistent experience for every user group the more adjustments that need to be made. On the one hand, you might aim to give gamers in every area the finest experience imaginable. The balance between delivering an experience that is as similar to the original as feasible and making only the required changes, on the other hand, may differ from one market to the next.

2.2. Japanese Polite Manners


One of the hardest things to translate and localize your content for the Japanese language is etiquette and manners. These strict and intricate standards of etiquette can ruin an intense moment in an online game or cause a video game to lose its realism. Such a translation mistake might ruin the overall gaming experience and cause players and the media to react negatively. The difficulty in this situation is managing the subtleties of social interactions and effectively translating them into Japanese using the wide range of forms available to the language. 

2.3. Game Jargon & Context

Japanese game translation includes a gameplay problem in addition to cultural language modification to make the language sound more “natural”. Every aspect of living contains jargon, and the gaming industry is no different.

Let’s take an example in a team-based action role-playing game. To better organize the activities and proceed more swiftly, everyone must comprehend the jargon. That relationship can be significantly impacted by both a contextual error and a linguistic mistake. Respecting the lingo used by online players will also increase the appeal of your game to online groups by creating a feeling of familiarity among your target market.

The complete Japanese game localization procedure revolves around this subject. Every linguistic group has its own colloquialisms, which occasionally act like dialects. Experienced organizations can tell which aspects are common to all linguistic groups and which are not.

2.4. Sensitivity To Culture And Regionalism

There are many terms that are only appropriate in specific areas or nations. When we travel, the jokes, humor, and everyday expressions we use without considering could lead to uncomfortable but occasionally amusing miscommunications. In the case of video games, translation swaps out those localized terms for equivalent ones in the intended language.

For example, the name “Rhyhorn” in the original Japanese gaming magazine is “Saidon”. Therefore, if you want to translate the term “Evolution of Rhyhorn“, you would be careful with the culture and regionalism. 

It is reasonable that many video game figures can be “regionals” when taking a wider perspective. Finding a character in the target language Japanese could then serve as the basis for an aural localization. 

Additionally, Japanese society and culture, which are distinct from other cultures, is one of the greatest obstacles you’ll face when localizing a game for the Japanese market. For instance, a game’s promotion of aggression, drugs, or faith can utterly sour the experience for a Japanese player. You can learn a lot about what is suitable and unsuitable for the Japanese market from a Japanese game translation and adaptation business. 

In short

The issues mentioned above are just a few of the biggest problems that you can encounter when handling Japanese game translation. Numerous other issues, such as singular/plural difficulties, exact translations of idioms, errors in the actual translation, text that is chopped off, etc., also can arise. 

If you are looking for a reliable Japanese translation company, GTE Localize can be one of the best options that you should consider. We offer the best game translation services that make your products more appealing to competitors abroad. Our native Japanese linguists and specialists are equipped with the most up-to-date translation tools and are guaranteed to be experts at creating games for the Japanese market. Additionally, our multi-stage testing procedure confirms the greatest standards of precision and excellence.


So contact us immediately to get your Japanese game translation started right away!