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Translation services for Indie Developers - Share your experience!

02-25-2016, 04:59 AM
#1
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 3
Translation services for Indie Developers - Share your experience!

Hi,

What do you think about translating the games to other languages?
My experience is that it works.
I have tried to translate to the major languages some of my games (English, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, etc) and i have seen a great increase in the downloads and revenues in those games.

I have tried some services, and here is my conclusion:

- Translatelab. It works well, but the standard package is very expensive (200 USD to translate into 1 language). http://translatelab.com
- Getlocalization. This is a software to manage translations but they can also offer translation services. I have asked them but they are very expensive for an indie developer. https://www.getlocalization.com
- OnTranslate. This is the last service i have tried and i am satisfied. It has the best price i have seen for professional translations and all the prices are clear. 0,04 eur per word, i have not seen those prices on other services. I am actually using this service with good results. http://ontranslate.com

Which has been your experience?

Thank you!
02-27-2016, 04:52 AM
#2
Joined: Mar 2015
Location: Appstores
Posts: 28
ICanLocalize is also something I used some time ago. $0.09 (per word) for expert level translation

02-29-2016, 06:07 AM
#3
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 3
DYS is the best.

Investing in good localization efforts offer clear returns on investment.

In our experience (8 games translated since 2010), DYS translations is without a doubt the best translation/localization service, considering the ratio of quality to price. We love them because they're very flexible, very fast in responding to our questions and provided us with great support (both technical and practical).

In the past we tried other agencies, ending up spending double for a lower quality service (got complaints from users and had to improve the translations).

If you want to get a rough idea of the costs involved (English - French simulation, 20,000 words translation):

Gengo: $1200 (for the lowest quality service. We tried, and wouldn't advice. Other options would be more expensive)
DYS Translations: $1500 (the best)
ICanLocalize: $1800
AppLingua: $2980.
Transfluent: $4800 for specialist level. $3600 for expert. $2400 for economy.
OneSky: $3.400.
Babble-on: $4200
Wordcrafts: 5000-5500Ä

This is the best advice I can give you: always provide screenshots to the translation provider.

PS: professional translators don't work for less than $0.06 per word, so watch out.

Kenji Inamoto
02-29-2016, 08:18 AM
#4
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 3
Thank you for your experience! It is good to know other users experiences.

In our case, we dont have time to hire each translator separately, there are lots of languages and manage all of those translations of different languages can be more expensive in time and results (this has been our experience).

For example, we have used http://ontranslate.com/ for different translations of apps and games and it has been great and at the cheapest price.
We have checked the translations and they are really good, made by professionals, so we are happy with the result.

We recommend you to try it.

Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BottleCube View Post
Investing in good localization efforts offer clear returns on investment.

In our experience (8 games translated since 2010), DYS translations is without a doubt the best translation/localization service, considering the ratio of quality to price. We love them because they're very flexible, very fast in responding to our questions and provided us with great support (both technical and practical).

In the past we tried other agencies, ending up spending double for a lower quality service (got complaints from users and had to improve the translations).

If you want to get a rough idea of the costs involved (English - French simulation, 20,000 words translation):

Gengo: $1200 (for the lowest quality service. We tried, and wouldn't advice. Other options would be more expensive)
DYS Translations: $1500 (the best)
ICanLocalize: $1800
AppLingua: $2980.
Transfluent: $4800 for specialist level. $3600 for expert. $2400 for economy.
OneSky: $3.400.
Babble-on: $4200
Wordcrafts: 5000-5500Ä

This is the best advice I can give you: always provide screenshots to the translation provider.

PS: professional translators don't work for less than $0.06 per word, so watch out.

Kenji Inamoto
02-29-2016, 10:49 AM
#5
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnaGar View Post
Thank you for your experience! It is good to know other users experiences.

In our case, we dont have time to hire each translator separately, there are lots of languages and manage all of those translations of different languages can be more expensive in time and results (this has been our experience).

For example, we have used http://ontranslate.com/ for different translations of apps and games and it has been great and at the cheapest price.
We have checked the translations and they are really good, made by professionals, so we are happy with the result.

We recommend you to try it.

Thank you!
Which app/game did they translate for you?
02-29-2016, 12:33 PM
#6
Hello from the other side

Hey there,

I am a video game translator, and I thought it'd be good to give you a hint from the other side.

BottleCube's post is great at giving you an idea of the - wildly different - costs attached to game localization. In general, I'd suggest someone who wants to localize their game to keep in mind that:

- Good translators (as good consultants, designers and so on) are not cheap. Ideally, you want your game translators to be a) native speakers of the target language with great language skills in both the 2 languages involved b) video game players and experts and c) professional and responsive.

- Localization agencies can add value to the process with suggestions, best practices, excellent coordination. However, when hiring an agency you have to factor in that their overhead can be anywhere between 20% and 100%. If their rate is too low, they'll be left with not enough money to pay for decent translators.

- A bad translation is worse than no translation at all

I'll try and give you some figures: you can expect top video game translators to charge something between $0,12 and $0,18 per word - in other fields like business or marketing, rates can be much higher. I usually charge $0,15.

An agency that sells translation at $0,09/word won't offer their translators more than $0,05/6. In the localization field, most professionals would consider this rate insulting.

There are ways to get more for less, though.

- Whatever the price you pay, localization wonít work if you donít do your homework. In other words, as someone pointed out already, you need to provide your localization team with extensive reference materials to empower them to deliver you a great service. Screenshots, walkthroughs, information on your game are not only helpful Ė they are necessary. The same goes for character limits Ė let them know if thereís a specific limit before the project starts. Otherwise, youíll have to pay at a later stage to fix the mess.

- Write your code with localization in mind. Create a system which allows translators to move variables, because an English <long> <sword> may become a <sword> <long> in a different language.

- Consider using freelancers instead of agencies. If you canít review and assess a translation and have to make a wild guess, itíll still be risky. At least youíll be risking at a lower price / for a higher quality

- There is a third option: hiring a freelance translator who operates as a small agency with a team of colleagues they know and trust. Their overhead is lower, and the quality most of the time higher.
03-03-2016, 04:21 AM
#7
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by DomTranslator View Post
Hey there,

I am a video game translator, and I thought it'd be good to give you a hint from the other side.

BottleCube's post is great at giving you an idea of the - wildly different - costs attached to game localization. In general, I'd suggest someone who wants to localize their game to keep in mind that:

- Good translators (as good consultants, designers and so on) are not cheap. Ideally, you want your game translators to be a) native speakers of the target language with great language skills in both the 2 languages involved b) video game players and experts and c) professional and responsive.

- Localization agencies can add value to the process with suggestions, best practices, excellent coordination. However, when hiring an agency you have to factor in that their overhead can be anywhere between 20% and 100%. If their rate is too low, they'll be left with not enough money to pay for decent translators.

- A bad translation is worse than no translation at all

I'll try and give you some figures: you can expect top video game translators to charge something between $0,12 and $0,18 per word - in other fields like business or marketing, rates can be much higher. I usually charge $0,15.

An agency that sells translation at $0,09/word won't offer their translators more than $0,05/6. In the localization field, most professionals would consider this rate insulting.

There are ways to get more for less, though.

- Whatever the price you pay, localization wonít work if you donít do your homework. In other words, as someone pointed out already, you need to provide your localization team with extensive reference materials to empower them to deliver you a great service. Screenshots, walkthroughs, information on your game are not only helpful Ė they are necessary. The same goes for character limits Ė let them know if thereís a specific limit before the project starts. Otherwise, youíll have to pay at a later stage to fix the mess.

- Write your code with localization in mind. Create a system which allows translators to move variables, because an English <long> <sword> may become a <sword> <long> in a different language.

- Consider using freelancers instead of agencies. If you canít review and assess a translation and have to make a wild guess, itíll still be risky. At least youíll be risking at a lower price / for a higher quality

- There is a third option: hiring a freelance translator who operates as a small agency with a team of colleagues they know and trust. Their overhead is lower, and the quality most of the time higher.
Very well written, Dom.

Having worked in other fields in the past, I know video game/app translations tend to be cheaper than specialized translations (technical, medical, etc.), but there's a limit to everything; charging $0,04 literally means the agency is not using professional translators, but random people found on the Internet (IF they're actually using human translators).

As for the rest, I really want to remark the fact that providing the right context is extremely important.

Last day I was using a very popular app (a YouTube downloader).
In Japanese the button "Play" was translated as in "Play a game" instead of "Play the video". This would never happen if the developer provided the right context.

Kenji
03-08-2016, 02:50 AM
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by BottleCube View Post
Investing in good localization efforts offer clear returns on investment.

In our experience (8 games translated since 2010), DYS translations is without a doubt the best translation/localization service, considering the ratio of quality to price. We love them because they're very flexible, very fast in responding to our questions and provided us with great support (both technical and practical).

In the past we tried other agencies, ending up spending double for a lower quality service (got complaints from users and had to improve the translations).

If you want to get a rough idea of the costs involved (English - French simulation, 20,000 words translation):

Gengo: $1200 (for the lowest quality service. We tried, and wouldn't advice. Other options would be more expensive)
DYS Translations: $1500 (the best)
ICanLocalize: $1800
AppLingua: $2980.
Transfluent: $4800 for specialist level. $3600 for expert. $2400 for economy.
OneSky: $3.400.
Babble-on: $4200
Wordcrafts: 5000-5500Ä

This is the best advice I can give you: always provide screenshots to the translation provider.

PS: professional translators don't work for less than $0.06 per word, so watch out.

Kenji Inamoto
Thanks for the info. Just curious if these shops typically handle multiple languages - or do they specialize in just one / a few? Like DYS seems to have all the languages someone would reasonably want. Is that the norm or are they the exception?
03-08-2016, 10:22 AM
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanshui View Post
Thanks for the info. Just curious if these shops typically handle multiple languages - or do they specialize in just one / a few? Like DYS seems to have all the languages someone would reasonably want. Is that the norm or are they the exception?
It can vary a lot, but they usually specialize in a handful of subjects/languages. A video game localization agency can reasonably handle all the most common language pairs.
So if you ask English to German, sure they can handle that, but if you want to translate your game to Croatian, well, that may be more complicated.

It should also be noticed that game localization usually does not involve 30/40 languages. While all devs want to go to Germany, quite a lot to Korea, some to Czech Republic, I have rarely seen a game translated to Serbian, just to mention one.

If you want to choose a localization partner, the number of languages they can handle shouldn't be your first priority, as long as they can translate for the markets that you want to enter.
03-08-2016, 12:34 PM
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by DomTranslator View Post
It can vary a lot, but they usually specialize in a handful of subjects/languages. A video game localization agency can reasonably handle all the most common language pairs.
So if you ask English to German, sure they can handle that, but if you want to translate your game to Croatian, well, that may be more complicated.

It should also be noticed that game localization usually does not involve 30/40 languages. While all devs want to go to Germany, quite a lot to Korea, some to Czech Republic, I have rarely seen a game translated to Serbian, just to mention one.

If you want to choose a localization partner, the number of languages they can handle shouldn't be your first priority, as long as they can translate for the markets that you want to enter.
Thanks for the response - those two things are one and the same for us though. We know which markets we want to enter which means we know which languages we are looking for people to do.