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video game localization services|textual files and formats

Video Game Localization 

Video game localization is a process that involves the adoption of a video game, its content, and graphics according to a particular region. It further involves implementing the changes in an effective manner so that it conveys the real and original essence.

A number of language service providers offer professional video game localization services and try to handle the gaming localization with the same approach. They often try to handle the game localization with the approach that they use for the other industries such as legal, retail, or life sciences. The process of translation is relatively simpler for those industries.

However, things are not the same for video game localization services. There are more technicalities involved in the process.

The video game localization is for the preparation of the video games, their software, and other components for sale in foreign regions and territories. The biggest part of the localization is translation, however, there are other parts to it as well.

The localization of the video games allows the language service providers to change the game, packaging, and manuals, new audios, transform the hardware, cutting the particular parts of the game to make it appropriate for the culture of the target audience. It might also include adding the parts to balance it and replace the omitted content.

The textual types and file formats for video game localization

The different products of the video game localization have different textual kinds with their particular characteristics and purpose.

Since the video game localization services are relevant to the multimedia and products, the challenges the translators have to go through and face are regarding the multimedia mainly. The translators have to deal with a number of issues and problems during the translation of the video game content.

The issues include the oral quality of the dialogue, lip-synching for dubbing, and space and time constraints for subtitling. It further involves the issues of the number of characters for the subtitle, UI, etc.

Here are the few textual types which accompany the standard desktop video game.


The manual is important to write. It contains attractive and engaging content, it either could be promotional or literary. It comprises mainly of the didactic content which tells the users and players about how to follow the instructions to enjoy the game fully.

The manuals further have the technical information as well. The text contains the relevant software and hardware specifications that run the application or video game.

 The manual also has details about the corporate and legal texts with disclaimers containing the rights and responsibilities of the software product.


The packaging is also in written form and is usually in the word format. The video game boxes and the packaging, like the manuals, have a mixture of textual types. 

It, additionally, contains the images of the games and logos of the companies as well as the legal labeling requirements. Packaging content is a mixture of promotional, technical, and legal content.


The README is usually in the .txt format. It is the last procedure of the development process. The file contains the information which addresses the issues of the adjustments, products functionality, and rectification of the mistakes.

 It also has information about any typos in the printing of the manual or packaging. It is basically a technical text.

Official website

The website is in HTML or java format. It has the text for promotion as well as the journalistic content. It further includes the technical details and minimum requirements.

 The maximum content which is offered on the website is the same as the one which is shipped with the game. However, the website has a lot more than that. It has the reviews and previews of the game product, customer support data, notice boards, and other downloadable files to fix the errors.

It further has the patches with the next language versions as well as the concept art, screenshots. Screensavers etc.

Dialogue for dubbing

This content is available on the website in spoken form. It has the audio files and the written script is also there which is usually in the spreadsheets and word tables.

 There are speeches delivered by the game characters where the accents, registers, and idiosyncrasies need to be conveyed into the languages, at times there are additional columns to add the inflection comments for the dubbing director. 

There are many games that feature the characters talking or reacting to particular actions of the players. Most of the time these characters are not even relevant, but their inclusion is important for the virtual world of the player.

Subtitling dialogue

Usually, spreadsheets and tables are used for this feature however, the subtitles are often hard-coded so that they synchronize well with the video and animations. The oral text is usually in written form. The script of the dubbing could be applied directly.

 It helps in the formation of the cluttered and quick subtitles without any character limit and lines per subtitle. Additionally, the translators also face the issue of not having the same liberty when writing subtitles.

 The translators often have to apply the techniques from other different literature and comic books to describe the certain characteristics which otherwise could go missing. Time and space constraints are important to quote here.

User interface (UI)

The user interface is a hard-coded text file. It is in table format. There is space in the menus, pop-up windows, and other hint captions the developers barely consider the redesigning as an option. 

So, the translators are bound to maintain the number of characters as per the original label. As it happens in software localization, similarly the video games are quite crowded with different control features including the difficulty level as well as graphic display selection feedback preferences and other features of the mouse sensitivity.

Graphic art with words

It is usually available in written form. It requires a multi-layered graphic format. The players normally find this graphic text in the names of the games, but they are quite visible throughout the game as a branding part and in advertisements as well.


The process of professional video game localization is extensive. There are a number of companies that offer video game localization services. However, the vendor should be picked after detailed research. 

Video game localization is not easy and simple. The process involves a lot of technical stuff and content. Besides that, the multimedia requirements are also there to look for.

The textual types and file formats are a significant part of the video game localization services and details are essential to get familiar with, before diving into the localization. 

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