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How AI is Changing Game Localization

AI is Changing Game Localization

The gaming industry is massive, with estimates suggesting the sector could reach a value of $321 billion by 2026. Game developers and publishers want to tap into as wide of an audience as possible, as that allows them to increase their ability to secure profits. As a result, many embrace localization as a means of reaching more potential buyers.

Localization is a process where content is adapted to meet the needs and preferences of individuals from different cultures, countries, or regions. Often, this involves translating existing language-based content – including written text and audio – into other languages or dialects. And in the gaming industry, localization is often the key to unlocking different markets, ensuring a game is fully accessible to a wider audience.

In years past, localization activities were primarily handled by employees or contractors of the company that created the game. Now, that landscape is changing. Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to develop tools that can functionally handle most of the localization process. Here’s a closer look at how AI is changing game localization.

 

Game Localization Prior to AI

Prior to the use of AI, localization was often a cumbersome process. Text and audible speech would have to be extracted and translated, and then the updated text and audio files would need to be added to the game. While that seems straightforward, it comes with challenges.

For example, text expansion or contraction can occur, causing the physical space taken up by text to expand by 15, 30, 50, or even 300 percent, based on translating English into another language. Translated and rerecorded audio may also take more or less time to speak when compared to the original language. If character mouth movements aligned with the original audio, that alignment typically won’t exist once the translated audio is added, creating a disconnect that may need correcting to elevate the user experience.

As a result, a lot of time and effort goes into localizing games for various audiences. However, AI can significantly shorten the timeline and reduce the workload.

 

How AI is Changing Game Localization

AI provides tools that can significantly streamline the localization process for games. First, AI solutions are becoming increasingly adept at translation. While the quality of the results is highly dependent on the availability of reliable training data, high-use languages are often well-represented, allowing AI to perform admirably in this arena. Additionally, AI can complete translations far quicker than individuals. Some AI can produce the new audio based on the translated files. Additionally, certain AI solutions can also adjust specific visual elements within a game to align with the updated audio recordings.

With AI making other visual changes, such as updating the look of characters, settings, or other visual features, localization can be incredibly in-depth. It’s a far faster way to update elements to align with a broader variety of cultures. Ultimately, AI is poised to revolutionize game localization, making various types of updates and changes far easier to complete and manage.

 

The Risks of Using AI for Localization

While most of the changes AI could make in the world of localization may seem like boons, using the technology in this manner isn’t without risk. An AI’s capabilities are only as strong as its training date. When it comes to translations and language-oriented audio creation, mistakes can occur, particularly when lesser-used languages are part of the mix.

At a minimum, relying on AI alone isn’t wise. Any AI-created text or audio needs to be reviewed by language professionals who are suitably fluent in the original and target language. That way, mistakes can be identified and corrected quickly, ensuring games aren’t released with incorrect or nonsensical text or audio.

 

Do You Need Reliable Localization Services?

Whether you’re in the gaming industry or have other types of content that you want to ensure are accessible to a diverse audience, localization services make the process easy. You’ll get access to skilled language professionals who understand the nuances of the target language, leading to better results. At Acutrans, we offer industry-leading localization services. Additionally, our post-editing machine translation services ensure that any AI-generated translations are accurate and reliable. Acutrans can also provide top-quality certified document translations in just 24 hours. Along with translation, Acutrans has interpretation programs that cover over 200 languages, including over-the-phone, video remote, and on-site interpretation services. Contact us for a free quote today.