TESTRONIC TALK: Gamers hate bad language!

Testronic’s Manuel Verdinelli discusses the problems face with translations in games and how it can effect LQA after.

When it comes to localising a video game successfully, there are clear benefits obtained by bringing the translation team as close as possible to the QA team, ideally under one roof. Testronic’s Translation Service Manager Manuel Verdinelli explains why

If you are reading this there is an almost certain chance that you love games, and also work in the business of making games. The joys of this job are many, but there are also challenging issues that will be familiar to most.
One of the most frequently overlooked aspects of a successful and well-marketed game is a solid translation. If there is one collective that has suffered the consequences of bad translations more intensely than foreign language players, it is LQA testers. Arranging an LQA pass is often a long process, which involves analysis of a game’s structure and text content. Sadly, it often requires optimising budget allocation in order to achieve the highest quality within the available means
This process usually comes in near the end of a game’s development cycle and does not allow for much time. There are few worse things after a lengthy client-vendor set-up for an LQA pass, than to discover that the test build has been populated with a sub-par translation. Countless times we have faced this situation, which has often forced us to reconfigure our approach. When getting close to a publishing deadline, receiving a build with a broken translation almost entirely invalidates the point of LQA testing. Technicians are forced to stop focusing on what they are good at and meant to do, to return to the text file for an emergency proofreading. This situation is far from ideal and, most importantly, it´s an avoidable misuse of budget and planning.
Since we started directly providing translation services internally at Testronic, we have witnessed the benefits of cross-department collaboration in several instances and the difference is substantial. Doing so does not mean that translators will also perform QA functions. However it does bring both sides of the process closer together, and guarantees that the final product deliver will be reviewed by at least three sets of eyes per language, without concessions. Although this may sound like a given to many, it is rarely a guarantee, unfortunately.
The benefits of cross-department collaboration on QA are countless. Translators perform more confidently, focusing on important issues like those of meaning, humour or cultural references. This is because they are assured that testers have looked at other issues, which it is inefficient to address during translation (dialogue directions, string length, and context ambiguity).
Working in this way also means that a developer doesn’t have to answer the same questions several times, as anything the translators themselves have queried are logged and handed over to the QA team afterwards. Moreover testers and translators can interact directly to solve problems. The aim is to guarantee that testers do not have to waste their time with ortho-typographic or grammatical text errors (of which there are many in projects where the translation has been mishandled).
Using the same provider for both aspects of localisation is also more cost-effective. Restrictions in the budget allowed for LQA mean that allocated time for a pass is sufficient at best, but often falls short. With bigger control of the full picture and ensuring that the QA team is working with a text that fits quality standards from the get-go, the amount of hours required for testing can be reduced without compromising quality. Ultimately, better results are produced at a lower total cost.
Developers and publishers know how vocal and passionate their audiences are, and more so those who speak foreign languages and have been historically served half-baked localisations. Testronic’s linguistic services have been developed with a cast of professionals experienced in both Translation and LQA, and we will always ensure that no aspect of your game’s localisation is overlooked. The result is a smooth, target-oriented translation for the modern gaming audience. That’s what your players expect and deserve.