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What Languages to Learn If You Want to Be a Game Localizator

Posted by Chloe G. on September 12, 2023.

The video game industry is competitive, with companies trying to win over their shared audiences in every way possible. For those companies that are aiming to reach a global audience, it takes more than just a great game idea to make it work. They also have to make sure the game is fit for different cultures and types of target audiences they’re trying to reach.

This is where a game localizator steps in.

If you’re unsure what it takes to become a game localizator, how to become one, or what languages to learn- we’re here to help. Here’s everything you need to know about this profession and the journey to conquering it.

What Does a Game Localizator Do?

First things first, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page and understand what a game localizator does. Game localization refers to translating and culturally adjusting video games so that they’re equally successful with audiences from different countries. This job is performed by a game localization translator, who needs to ensure all the necessary details are changed correctly.

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The game localizator will translate, adapt, and change things like:

  • dialogs between characters
  • the text that appears in games
  • jokes and cultural references

They need to change whatever elements can be confusing for people from the target culture and make the game fully localized. 

What does it take to Become a Game Localizator?

The game localization field is highly competitive, and getting that first job opportunity can be challenging. It goes without saying that your skills need to be sharp, and you have to work continually to improve and follow the latest game industry news, language changes, and translation trends.

But what are the basics when it comes to working as a game localizator? There are several crucial preconditions that you’ll need to meet in order to become one.

  • Speaking the Languages Proficiently

Naturally, the first qualification you must meet is proficiently speaking more than one language. Your language skills should be native-like for all the languages you plan on translating and adapting to and from.

Having an official higher education degree is always a plus, but it’s not obligatory. A certificate or any kind of proof of your language skills can help you nail a job.

  • Translation Skills

To be a translator, it’s not enough for you to just speak the languages. You need to have translation training that teaches you all about the process of turning the source text into the target text.

  • Gaming Industry Experience

Finally, game localizators need to understand the gaming industry, types of games, genres, trends, and news. Translating for this industry requires you to understand how gamers think and what elements of a video game are crucial for the ultimate gaming experience.

It’s clear that it takes a great deal of effort to break into game localization and to be working as a localizator successfully. 

What Languages to Learn?

If you’re just getting started or you’re only thinking about becoming a game localizator, you have the chance to do it right. Choosing the right languages can help you find work easier and work your way up this industry.

Below, we’ve chosen the languages that are most in demand in the gaming industry and are thus an infallible choice for your career goals. Let’s break them down.

  • Japanese

Japan is considered one of the major global centers for the gaming industry. With companies such as Nintendo and Sony, it’s clear that tons of games are being produced in Japanese as the original language. For game localizators, combining Japanese with any other language will be the real deal.

  • Chinese

The gaming population in China has reached the number of 668 million, making China one of the largest gaming markets in the world. This makes Chinese and Mandarin the perfect choice for game localizators who want to ensure they’re in the center of the action.

  • German

If you’re planning on breaking into the European market, German is your best language choice. From game-developing companies to a passionate gaming community, Germany is home to some of the most vibrant gaming cultures today.

  • Korean

In South Korea, gaming, especially esports, is extremely popular.  Some of the most popular esports teams and players are from South Korea, and the country has a rich gaming culture. Speaking Korean is ideal for game localizators.

There are other languages that would be ideal for game localizators as well, including French, Russian, Arabic, and even Spanish. So, if the languages you speak aren’t on our list, don’t despair. You can still find plenty of work with any other language combination.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a game localizator is a great professional plan for anyone who loves learning languages and is a fan of the gaming industry. For those of you who are at the beginning of this journey, smart language selection can make all the difference in how fast you progress and climb the professional ladder. The languages we’ve selected for you are the best choice for game localizators. So, pick the ones you are most drawn to and start learning ASAP.