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7 Indonesian Game Translation Mistakes That You Should Avoid

Posted by Ariel D. on June 17, 2022.

Indonesia is a prospective gaming industry. According to Statista, by 2026, more than 130 million people in this country will play at least 1 video game, and this segment’s market volume is projected to reach over $2,500m.

And to successfully gain recognition or sales of the game investment in this country, Indonesian game translation is the key. The quality of your localized version can directly affect user experience and is of nearly equal importance compared to game animations, graphical elements, sound effects, etc.

But have you ever thought of the challenges confronting your localization or prepared to deal with them? This article will help you steer right clear of the 7 most common mistakes that you might unconsciously make when handling Indonesian game translation.

1. Embed Text Into Core Files

The most common mistake in Indonesian game translation, especially for those who are unfamiliar with localizing games, is to “embed text into code files.”

This sounds simple. But why should it be completely avoided?

01 Indonesian game translation code

First, when a string is directly incorporated into the source code, it would then bog down translation. Game translators must search through the entire core file to identify which part of the text needs translation.

Also, externalizing the text from code can harm your software and make maintenance more challenging. You can imagine what happens when the same string appears multiple times throughout the code, necessitating the replacement of all occurrences whenever it is changed.

Finally, since the Indonesian script is unlike Latin alphabets, it can be problematic for your translation programs.

So, bear in mind not to incorporate your text in the code. Instead, externalize it from the source code files.

Externalization is supported by almost all programming languages. For example, it’s usual practice in Python to localize strings with “.po” files, or for Java, “.properties” resource files can be used.


2. Make Budget Cuts

There are several methods for Indonesian game translation, and each has a distinct cost.

Many businesses are tempted to go for a free or the most cost-saving possible option. In the short run, budget cuts can undoubtedly be profitable.

However, this may also mean the compromised quality of your localized games, and it comes with a poor user experience. When a player reads the very first lines or instructions, he or she can already tell how good the game is.

At the end of the day, you may find out that cutting budgets at the expense of low-quality translation will not work, with user experience being affected and the user base going down. Ultimately, back-and-forth Indonesian game translation will cost you far more and make your game much less profitable.

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Drop us a line to receive a consultancy on the project!


3. Give No Context To The Translators

02 Indonesian game translation context

Another common mistake in Indonesian game translation is that game producers do not provide translators with clear context.

Without ​​a clear style guide, a scene and character descriptions, terminology list, etc., it would be challenging for any translator to understand and localize the games.

For example, in the game Bully mentioned above, there is a mistake related to context. The line “Where’d you come from?” was originally a sarcastic way to show the character’s surprise about the other’s presence. But it was translated into Indonesia as “Kamu berasal dari mana?”, which means a simple question of origins.


4. Work With Non-gamer Translators

To successfully understand and localize language in games, translators have to know games. In other words, they need to be gamers.

Otherwise, there will be unavoidable mistakes in your Indonesian game translation. For instance, the game called Bully which was localized into Indonesian by non-gamer translators used improper Indonesian language here and there.

According to the research of Bunda Mulia University, the line “They’re all money and condescending attitude”  was mistranslated into “Mereka semua sopan dan  berkelakuan baik”, which may cause serious misconception. Instead, the proper translation should be something like “Mereka semua berduit dan berperilaku sok tinggi”.

Take the game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” being translated into Japanese for another example.

In its original English version, there is a line of a character saying “Remember, no Russian!” (which indicates that players should not kill them). But this was translated into Japanese as “Kill them, they are Russians!” (which means that players should go shoot them).

These examples are testament to the need of working with translators who know and play games.


5. Ignore The Different Cultures

Although there are some universal symbols and language in games, it will be a bad idea not to take cultural factors into account.

Ignoring the target cultures may lead to serious misunderstanding, tension, or even boycott in the target market.

When it comes to Indonesian game translation, you should pay heed to their cultures. This is because this country is home to a myriad of different traditions, customs, taboos, and dialects.

If you are new to this market, here are essential things to know about Indonesia’s diverse culture.


6. Pass The Final Check

Many businesses want to pass the final check since they believe it is unnecessary and costly. But without proper proofreading, mistakes in Indonesian game translation can cause several dire problems to user experience and your branding.

03 Indonesian game translation final check

You have developed an amazing game, why not take some more time to deliver the best-localized version possible? It will help ensure your success in any market, not just Indonesia.


7. Take Localization As The Last Step

It’s common for many game producers to take localization as the final step. That being said, to keep the game’s spirit across several languages, localization should be seen as an integral part of the production cycle of Indonesian game translation.

It is also crucial to give translators remarks for particular passages that require additional attention, and doing so takes time.


To Wrap Up

We believe that this article has helped you steer clear of common mistakes relating to Indonesian game translation.

If you are looking for a trustworthy vendor, GTE is proud to offer the best quality translation within a fast turnaround time at the best pricing!

Contact us now for 1-1 consultancy with our professional experts!

Indonesian Game Translation