July 2024


With modern video games requiring global audiences to turn a profit, localization is playing an increasingly important role in the gaming industry. So pick up that controller and press start to play as we explore the past, present, and future of game localization.

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ideo games: You may or may not love them, but you certainly know them. They’ve become an inescapable part of pop culture, growing from humble beginnings in the ‘70s and ‘80s to their modern status as the world’s biggest entertainment industry. Whether we’re talking the addictive, play-anywhere titles of mobile gaming or the boundary-pushing, big-budget AAA game space, it’s overwhelmingly likely that video games have a place in your life or in the lives of your loved ones.

Just like the film industry’s gradual introduction of sound and color over its first few decades, video games have similarly grown with increasingly sophisticated graphics and sound technology, narratives, and game design. With the biggest titles requiring similarly huge audiences to turn a profit, the language service provider plays an increasingly important role in localizing games for new markets.

This month’s issue of MultiLingual magazine is all about game localization, with articles exploring everything from current best practices and cutting-edge techniques to its wild history as developers and linguists set the standards for translation title by title.

With the industry projected to continue growing as the decade unfolds, it’s clear that games will be a driving force in the language industry for the foreseeable future. So pick up that controller, plan out your character build, and press start to play as we explore the past, present, and future of game localization.





Kulitan and the Fight for Revival

By Tim Brookes

Tim Brookes poses the question, “How can a script that serves a language spoken by millions be endangered?” At issue is the traditional Kulitan script, employed by the Kapampangan people of the Philippines. Brookes discusses its decline, efforts at revival, and what’s at stake.



In Africa, Time Is Not Money

By Michelle Rabie

Michelle Rabie considers the concept of “African time” and delves into the real reasons behind missed deadlines — from the challenges of working with low-resource languages to the lack of support from language service providers.



Allegorical Distance and Its Impact on World-Building

By Kate Edwards

“Allegorical distance” is the amount of effort required for a player to perceive the real-world inspiration behind an allegory in a game. Kate Edwards gives examples of short, medium, and large allegorical distances and urges game developers to intentionally determine the distance that best serves their narrative and players.

Translators Remain Unsung Heroes in the Global Success of Video Games

By Diego Perez

Video game translators were never meant to be ghostwriters. Diego Perez argues that the significant amount of uncredited work not only hinders translators’ bargaining power, but also undermines their moral rights as creators of derivative work. This article analyzes the current state of translator credits in gaming and suggests ways to achieve better crediting practices.


Magic, Mayhem, and Mergers

By Cameron Rasmusson

Three decades ago, the work of translating popular Japanese video games for Western audiences often fell to just a few people using rudimentary technology. In this article, Rasmusson explores the ups and downs of game localization in the ‘90s and how this chaotic period influenced the industry moving forward.

The State of AI in Game Localization

By Mimi Moore

The integration of AI into video and computer game localization is transforming how developers approach their work and how players experience gaming. Mimi Moore explains AI’s impact on inclusivity, indie developers, real-time localization, and game quality across languages and cultures.


Artificial Intelligence

Language Companies and the Generative AI Boom

Compiled by Eddie Arrieta and Cathy Martin

With GenAI in its nascent stage, language companies that use this emerging technology are in uncharted territory. In this article, ten of the most influential companies in the industry explain how they are leveraging GenAI to improve outcomes for their teams and customers.


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