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Default Expeditions: Conquistador - GDC Vault Video

February 11th, 2015, 21:16
Gamasutra is hosting another GDC Vault Video this time about Expeditions: Conquistador, and they talk about it's worth it to localize your own indie game nowadays.

Figuring out whether or not to localize your game, and to what extent, is a personal decision for every developer.

But without the benefit of publisher support, small-scale and independent game makers may be hard-pressed to understand exactly what the process entails, and whether it's a good idea for their project.

Thankfully, at GDC 2014's Localization Summit an indie developer and an experienced game localizer gave a great talk on the topic using the localization of the indie game Expeditions: Conquistador as a case study.

Their brief talk offers key info that indie game developers should know about localization, like: how much does it cost? Will you recoup the investment of the localization? What's the best way to go about it?
More information.
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February 11th, 2015, 21:16
Imho this was extremely game specific and not too informative regarding the actual answers. Most of the meta stuff however (the loca woman talked about) I'd consider common sense more or less.

For example the amount of words is very important (again, common sense) for the price. Now if the game has more text but a smaller audience, like the Spiderweb games for example, the whole thing might not work out.

And then they showed Data of Different sales in Countries e.g. Germany with 12%.
Now the only other countries the game is currently available in (besides English and Spanish) is Russian, which is listed as 4% and Italian which is not listed at all.

With the example of Germany they showed that they reinvested the money from sales in Germany into the German product. This is very relative Data which imho isn't really helping others that much (though it's a decent idea).
Because you can't just spent 60% of the income of each country into the localization. That would give horrible results. So they mentioned that they reinvested 78% of the income in germany before the translation. Which in the end is just a part of 36%. So 64% of the money was income after translation costs for Germany.

But if you go to Russia now which is listed as 4% now even after it's translated, that doesn't make the translation into russia cheaper. Or if you wanted to translate it into french which is listed as 5%. The translation costs for most languages will probably more or less the same. So assuming the costs to translate it into russian are about the same as the ones to translate it into German (its probably done by the same company and not by some russians in a poorer russian region), there is hardly a way that they made profit from it because the relation to sales doesn't work.
Let's just assume the absolute number of 12% in Germany equals 12000. That makes the 36% they spent for translation roughly 4000.

Now if you take Russia the 4% equals 4000. And as the translation doesn't get cheaper just because less people are interested, it's still 4000. So the "win" is almost equal zero. Unless the numbers wre taken just before they went live with the russian version and didn't see the additional sales yet.
With Italian it probably doesn't look much better.

In addition they tried to bring some trust to the company doing the translations. When I worked at a game company more than 10 years ago I saw some translations from external companies which were just horrible. Quality wise, and also the variables in strings as they mentioned were hardly used at all. It was a total mess and needed to be completely overhauled.

So while the idea to reinvest initial sales from one country into the localization for the language of this very country is a neat idea, I think almost everything else was a little to positive and too much tied to the game and therefore unusable for other projects.
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