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Game Translation – The Big Challenge

“Video gaming will be the fast growing industry of mass media over the coming decade,” says Tim Cross. Brand building via games apps is becoming a popular way to reach millions of potential customers.

Offering free goods and services instead of mobile ads is one of the innovative approaches Kiip, a San Francisco-based mobile marketing start up, takes. Their mantra is exploiting the “rewards network”: users are rewarded with prizes as a way of marketing products, versus the use of traditional static advertisements. The most obvious use case is games, where players receive rewards for beating a level, for example. With Kiip, mobile ad developers can give their users real-world rewards for achievements in their apps. Kiip says it’s giving out an average of five rewards every second across more than 400 apps, leading to more than 100 million “moments of happiness” in the United States every month.

This company is going international and has recently signed up with the UK-based sushi chain, Yo! Sushi, to offer free sushi by using the apps that have integrated Kiip’s service in the UK. CEO and co-founder Brian Wong says that up to now the engagement rates have been very encouraging.

The majority of users are between the ages of 18 and 34 and are an equal mix between male and female users, with ads coming in from big names like Disney, Best Buy and Procter & Gamble.

The gaming industry is booming and there is a growing demand for professional game translation and localisation: both games and free offers through apps like Kiip when translated and localised will be able to carry out a global marketing strategy in split seconds. It is absolutely crucial for the games to be written in the players’ mother tongue, so that they will not waste time self-translating words that they cannot easily understand to enjoy the games.

There are two big challenges when translating games: the translation company, like SanTranslate, often has to translate the game when it’s at the development stage.  Only words are given to translate without any visual aids.  Once this is done, the app or game has to be tested and checked. Different languages require different approaches to test the games, for example:

  • Functionality testing: functionality testers look for general problems within the game itself or its user interface; they also test that the application works the same under different environments, such as browsers, OS, devices and social media platforms.
  • Load and performance: load testing requires either a large group of testers or software that emulates heavy activity. Load testing also measures the capability of an application to function correctly under load.
  • Localisation: expert testers in the local market of choice check and validate translations, symbols and other common L10N problems.
  • Usability: gamers are notorious for not reading instructions. Surveys and research reports are completed to investigate whether users understand the product.

Launching a multilingual game demands the cooperation and the liaison of many different experts including a translation team that specialises in games, a translation project manager and multilingual game testers.  Each must carry out their duty accurately and carefully to provide trendy and creative translations.

By | August 16th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Translations critical for global fashion brands

The first two quarters of 2012 showed a rise in profits due to growing sales in emerging markets for major brands such as LVMHPPR and Luxottica. The top market is China, where luxury goods makers are gaining profits on sales of high-end handbags, fine jewellery and fragrances. Paris-based LVMH, said its sales went up by 26%, with 29% of their revenue coming from Asia, outside of Japan, the group’s largest market. Italy’s Luxottica, the largest eyewear maker in the world, said its first-half profits jumped 20.6% to EUR195.5 million: sales rose by just 1% in Europe, but were up by 35% in emerging markets.

Luxury brands aren’t the only ones who benefit from emerging markets; high street brands, such as Zara, H&M, Topshop and Next, are involved globally as well. Due to globalisation, people study, work and travel abroad. It can be a nostalgic buy or love of a brand, but customers are now more willing to make online purchases from overseas sites, and the business prospects of this trend are very promising.

Some countries do not see much success in online sales due to credit card security issues or because locals find it more convenient to shop in a store than buy online. Generally speaking, though, the rate of growth in online marketing is nearly double that of normal retail stores. The number of UK online shoppers is expected to reach 31.8m by 2013, and online sales in Europe are expected to grow to 190m online shoppers by 2014. 44% of retailers are selling from the UK to overseas locations while a further 14% intend to start doing so.

GSI Commerce International has commissioned a survey of over 2,000 UK adults and their online fashion buying habits. According to the report, almost half of the surveyed consumers prefer shopping for clothes and accessories online. Almost 64% of those surveyed visit fashion retailers’ websites to research items they like before deciding to buy them on the high street. 56% of consumers like online fashion outlets that allow them to filter searches by size and colour. Half of those surveyed said they liked being able to rotate and zoom in on products, while the same number also found hover boxes that offer additional product information useful. Customer reviews on items were considered to be important by 44% of the consumers surveyed. On the contrary, videos and pictures of celebrities wearing products (5%), being able to share content (3%) and audio descriptions of items (2 %) offer little incentives for consumers to purchase online.

For international brands it is important to keep the same image throughout the global market place. Translating their websites into different languages for the regions they are targeting for export is important for fashion brands so they can reach a large number of customers. People are more likely to search on Google (except China and Hong Kong where Baidu and Yahoo are preferred, respectively) in their native language, so online shops translated into different languages outperform those that are only presented in English. An example of a centralised portal translated into different languages is Zara. The company manages its global flagship stores to keep the same brand image and simply translates it into different languages keeping consistency across all regions.

By | August 9th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

London Olympics – Communication and Translation Importance

With 10,000 athletes coming from 205 countries to compete in 300 events, the London Olympic Games 2012 are the emblem of internationalism. Clearing the language hurdle is essential to make such a diverse audience communicate effectively. Accuracy in translation is of the upmost importance; the detailed precision will make the difference between smooth communication and embarrassing misunderstandings.

Seamless communication is the backbone of any international event. According to The National Centre for Languages (CILT) an estimated 70,000 volunteers, including language experts, are needed during the Games; languages are identified as one of the top 10 skills areas requiring volunteers. People with language skills are needed in all Games roles, not just interpreting and translating.

Translation mistakes by organisations creating Olympic promotional material have already been spotted by the public. For example, the London shopping centre Westfield Stratford, which is located next to the Olympic Park, has become famous on the web because of a translation slip. To welcome international visitors for the Olympics, this shopping centre printed huge banners and staff T-shirts saying “Welcome to London” in different languages.

The Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) said the words in the Arabic banner were back to front and not joined up as they should have been. The phrase that was meant to be "Welcome to London" was closer to "N O D N O L O T E M O C L E W".

Chris Doyle, the director of Caabu said the mistake was likely to have been made because  translation software was used, rather than an actual translation mistake by a qualified linguist.

A similar mistake has been made by the rail firm First Capital Connect, which sent posters to 13 stations printed in English and seven other languages. The Olympics security poster, intended to warn people not to leave items unattended, reads as "gibberish" in Arabic.

Mustafa Kadhum, the BBC's Arabic Online news editor, said: "Arabic words and sentences are written and read from right to left and Arabic words are always written with joined up letters, with some exceptions." A spokesman of First Capital Connect declared that the English message had been translated by a professional translator, but the printer substituted another font, so that the wrong alphabet was used for the Arabic message. The choice of the font might have been a matter of taste to a non-specialist, but it can be the most crucial factor!

The Olympics show the importance of language knowledge and good translation on a large scale, but any international meeting or event, where people speak different languages, requires attention and cultural awareness to carry out a successful communication.

By | August 7th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments
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