games

The State of AI in Game Localization

By Mimi Moore

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he integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into video and computer game localization is transforming how developers approach their work and how players experience gaming. Ever more sophisticated and accessible AI tools are now performing many localization tasks — such as automating voiceovers and generating subtitles — more quickly and cost-effectively than traditional methods. In particular, advancements in AI are opening new markets, increasing inclusivity, supporting indie developers, enabling real-time gameplay, and enhancing the player experience across languages and cultures. 

Area of Effect: Reaching Underserved Groups

Traditional localization strategies often focus on widely spoken languages due to return on investment (ROI) and resource constraints, but AI makes it economically viable to translate games into languages with fewer speakers, thus expanding their reach to untapped markets and historically underserved groups. Not only is this a huge opportunity for game developers, but making games available to more people and languages also expands inclusivity.

Moreover, AI can assist in identifying content that needs cultural adaptation to avoid offending or alienating players in certain regions. Players are more likely to engage with and support games that resonate with their cultural context, which leads to more diverse gaming communities.

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Power-Up: Supporting Indie Developers

Independent — or “indie” — game developers often face significant challenges reaching global audiences because of limited localization budgets. AI can automate many aspects of the localization process, reducing the need for human intervention and allowing indie developers to focus on the creative aspects of game development. Generative AI tools like ChatGPT can even help developers create natural-sounding character dialogue in a language that they don’t speak.

AI voiceover and dubbing tools are particularly useful for indie game studios. Products like OpenAI’s Whisper are making automated voiceovers mainstream, providing professional-level voice acting in multiple languages without the need for extensive recording sessions. Another notable example is Deepdub Go, an AI-powered audio and video localization platform that enables smaller developers to achieve high-quality dubbing cost-effectively. Deepdub’s technology includes voice cloning and voice characteristic editing for better lip syncing. The platform uses emotion-prompting AI to produce natural and engaging voiceovers, maintaining the original emotional intent across various languages.

Additionally, AI is playing a key role in quality assurance (QA) and legal compliance. Automated QA tools can identify inconsistencies and errors in localized content, while AI-driven compliance checks ensure that games adhere to regional laws and regulations.

Speedrun: Localizing in Real Time

AI is improving real-time localization, which aims to provide players with a seamless and immersive experience regardless of their language or location. This is particularly crucial in multiplayer games, in which instant translation provides all players with real-time communication. AI-driven tools can quickly translate chat messages and in-game text, allowing players who speak different languages to easily interact and enjoy a more inclusive gaming experience.

Another important example is live service games, which are “always on” and require frequent updates. AI can help manage the continuous flow of new content that needs to be localized, ensuring that players around the world receive the updates simultaneously. This is crucial for maintaining player engagement and competitiveness in a global market.

Level Up: Achieving Higher Quality

AI-enabled voice cloning that preserves emotional intonation are creating more realistic and contextually appropriate voiceovers than ever before. These tools can synthesize voices that match the original characters’ tones and emotions, ensuring that the voice acting remains consistent and engaging across different languages.

Dubbing tools are using AI to synchronize character lip movements with the translated speech. These dubbing solutions can handle complex dialogues and nuanced emotions, making the localized versions of games as compelling as the original, while also enhancing player immersion and accelerating localization.

Beyond speech, improvements in context-aware translation — where advanced AI models understand and translate game content by considering the broader narrative and dialogue context — is reducing the risk of mistranslations that can break immersion and disrupt the player experience.

Finally, AI can allow for more and better non-player characters (NPCs) in a game, which improves player satisfaction by making the game environment more immersive. According to a recent survey by Inworld AI, 99% of gamers believe that AI-based NPCs would improve some aspect of gameplay, 78% of gamers would spend more time playing games with AI NPCs, and 81% of gamers would pay extra for games featuring AI NPCs.

Player One: Keeping Humans in the Loop

Even with the impressive strides AI is making, the human touch remains an indispensable part of game localization. While AI can easily handle some tasks, it often misses the subtle nuances that make a game feel authentic. Human linguists catch the little things AI might miss, making sure the game’s story and characters feel real and engaging in every language.

Moreover, AI models like ChatGPT are trained on vast amounts of data that often include cultural biases and are heavily English-centric. Without human oversight, these biases and other inaccurate information may slip through, creating games that could unintentionally offend or misrepresent.

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End-Game: Harnessing Potential

By leveraging advanced AI, the “normal” way of developing games is quickly changing. From indie studios to large franchises, the integration of AI into game localization is reshaping how games reach global audiences by delivering improvements in speed, cost-efficiency, and quality.

However, the human element remains a central part of the process. AI excels at automating processes, translating large volumes of content, and enabling real-time localization. But human linguists provide valuable cultural expertise, sensitivity, and authentic storytelling that AI can’t replace.

The real potential of AI in game localization lies in its role as a force multiplier. By allowing for localization into more languages faster, helping indie developers compete globally, and providing a more culturally authentic experience to players worldwide, AI promises to further democratize game development and enhance the global gaming landscape.

MIMI MOORE is owner of Wolfson House Writing, a content marketing agency for LSPs and B2B technology companies.
She is also a social media and content program manager for Women in Localization.

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