Enter the Matrix of Video Game Localization: A Q&A with Tugdual Delisle

When deadlines tighten and video game production complexifies, can localization companies keep up?

In the gaming industry, the process of video game localization and audio production requires a special approach. We asked Tugdual Delisle, Managing Director of Lionbridge Games to shed some light on how localization and audio production fit into the complex game development process. With offices located everywhere from Mexico to Taiwan, Lionbridge offers the kind of far-reaching and well-connected game localization and audio production services the gaming industry demands.

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Q: What is video game localization?

Video game localization is a blend of the translation process and creative entertainment process. When game designers create a world, they build a story structure with plot, characters, and dialogue. Localization ensures that the dialogue exchanges in video games feel natural and believable to gamers in any target audience.

It is Lionbridge Games' role to create stories that support fantasy world of the game for as long as possible. This is a multistep process. First, to localize voice overs, the Lionbridge Games global audio team recruits artistic talent to work in our physical studios around the world. This creative team then works closely with the localization and translation team to ensure that the game's script is expertly dubbed and delivers a gaming experience that resonates for the local player audience.

Q: What does "follow the sun localization" mean for us, and our customers?

To meet our global customers' needs, we need to be always on. In today's video game market, our global customers are releasing a constant stream of new content, features, and storylines. We take pride in our mission to ensure each element is translated, localized and distributed to players around the world--sometimes to as many as 35 markets in 24 hours or less. With this tight deadline, we call upon our global game localization network of studios supported by a state-of-the-art project management, language processing and audio management infrastructure. Customers can deliver a game anytime, day or night, to any target market. We are ready.

Q: What makes Lionbridge Games stand out in the game localization market?

Three things: Our people, our scale, and our experience dealing with major franchises with our language technology stack.

#1 Our people

Our "family" has over 2000 gamers around the world--all collaborating to design quality games for our customers. We have colleagues testing everything from the latest indie game, to the newest MOBA, to time-old classics. Our people don't just see this as a job. They love what they do and they are not satisfied until they see the game reach its fullest potential in all its international markets. This is the type of culture that you can't buy--you create.

#2 Our scale: let the numbers do the talking

  • 26 countries
  • 50 studios and labs
  • 60 + languages
  • 2k + Lions focused on game development around the world

As the global games market becomes more complex, more video game developers and publishers move to a continuous release cycle serving more locales, Lionbridge's scale becomes an invaluable asset.

#3 Our experience in language technology and project management workflows

Translating and localizing games is a creative process steeped in business realities: it needs to be done fast, well and efficiently. This is where our experience in language tech and workflows is significant. We can deploy our technology stack or operate comfortably within all the current commercial platforms. To add to that, we can apply the technological tools to realize our customers' artistic vision. The combination of these qualities—that's what makes us different.

Q: Where does localization fit into the process of game development?

The most successful gaming companies consider localization and translation from the beginning of the game development process and engage us early. That way we can initiate our end-to-end value chain—from narrative design to localization to audio production to functional quality assurance all the way to community management. Customers who involve us early in the process reap the benefits of our game localization network and of our growing knowledge.

Q: What do you see for the future of game production?

There are three trends I see: time-to-market acceleration, growing go-to-market scale, and continued Asian market evolution.

Consider these first two trends: In the world of game localization, agility and automation go hand-in-hand. As more gamers in more markets demand new content faster, the matrix of games production becomes even more intricate. In turn, localization services become exponentially more challenging. The solution? Innovative technology and secure infrastructure. Streamline technology across the whole localization process to help customers meet their objectives. Already, Lionbridge offers select customers state-of-the-art game testing with our impressive tech-stack. But, in order to implement that tech-stack, you need a widespread and secure infrastructure. Lionbridge has offices and studios across the globe to support diverse locales and customer bases.

Now for the rapid expansion of the Asian market: Asia is #1 in number of gamers. In response, game publishers and video game developers are leveraging this major population. Lionbridge sees the demand trend of the market, and we are rising to the challenge. We are initiating processes to localize content from Asian languages to US and European markets. And, with growing importance, we are engaging our network in Asia to translate and localize directly between Asian languages. With offices already operational in Thailand, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and India, we bypass other common intermediary languages and maximize linguistic efficiency by using the source language.

The Takeaway

At Lionbridge, we are uniquely able to provide highly optimized game localization and global audio services for the video game industry. For one, we are a world leader in translation and localization with a depth of experience, resources and technology assets. Two, we are avidly expanding our global audio infrastructure. Lionbridge studios and labs are popping up worldwide to match our global customer base and maximize the quality and output of our artistic teams. All of these qualities working in tandem--that's what makes Lionbridge a game localization powerhouse.

Are you ready for your next games adventure? Contact Lionbridge.

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Sophia Eakins