A slot game in translation needs to be as fun and engaging as the original. To perfect this requires more than just the most basic and well known translation steps - it requires expertise. Slots are interactive; they depend on context. That means it’s not enough to give a translator a word document with text to translate. So, if you want your slot game translation - or localisation - to be accurate and engaging, what are the top 10 things you need to know?
1. Resources Rule
Nothing makes a translator happier than receiving lots of context for their translation. The best way for the translator to envisage how to localise a slot game is to give them a demo link. This allows them to understand what the different symbols will look like. Seeing how the gameplay works helps them grasp some of the more complicated game mechanics where it may be useful to restructure sentences or have a less literal translation. Screenshots of the game, showing where certain lines of translation will appear, are another great resource.
2. Verb or Noun?
Clarifying whether a word is a verb or noun is sometimes necessary, due to the nature of, say, English where some words are the same for both. The words “play”, “bet” and “buy” are very common in slots but in English, they’re both the same whether they are a noun or a verb. Without context from resources or comments left by the client’s localisation team, how will the translator know what the translation should be?
The translator needs to know whether clicking a button sets an action in motion or if the button is a link to more information, for example. Here “Pays” is referring to the noun “Pay Lines” but could be interpreted as a verb - “It pays”.
3. Numbers Can Change
It is important to know whether numbers will be used before or after translations. Let’s take the phrase “Free Spins”. Will it appear with a number like “3 Free Spins have been awarded”? Or is it simply the title name of the feature? In Chinese, if a number will appear at the beginning of a phrase or sentence, it needs an extra symbol or measure word to be grammatically accurate.
In languages like Russian or Czech the translation of plural nouns changes depending on the quantity of the number. For example, in Russian, the plural of a number referring to 2-4 items is different from the plural for 5-21 items, 22-24 items or 25+ items.
4. Word Order Matters
Translators need to know if the word order can be moved around. Can a line break be added? If there is text that must be left in English, like a feature name, can the rest of the text be moved around it or does that special text have to remain at the beginning? If the order cannot be changed, the translator needs to know this, so they can avoid creating errors when the translation is implemented in the game.
5. Will It Fit?
A translation will likely be of a different length from its source - that’s just how languages work! A slot game is a combination of lots of different moving parts - banners, buttons and pop-ups - and they all have to fit together on the screen. To make sure a translation looks flawless in the game, it has to fit. Tell your translator what character limits there are to avoid parts of the translation being cut off or disruption to the appearance of the slot.
6. The Title Has to Be Right
The title of a slot is extremely important for converting potential players into players. It must be snappy and memorable while alluding to the slot’s general theme. Each slot provider differs on whether they like to keep their slot title in the original language - usually English - or if they want to localise it. This is key information for the translators or translation company. In a similar vein, should trademarks like MegawaysTM be translated or left in English?
7. Are There Any Placeholders?
Images within text are a great way to make a game more visually appealing. But before they go into production, they’re represented by a placeholder, for example, “3 [symbol image] landing on the reels triggers Free Spins”.
It is important to specify in the source text what the placeholders represent so that the translator can accurately fit them into the translation. It is good for them to know whether the placeholder represents a masculine, feminine, plural or singular noun. Where there are several placeholders in one place, the word order may not always be the same in the target language. Only if the translator knows what each placeholder represents can they accurately move them around in the translation.
8. The Fonts to Use
When localising games into languages that do not use the Latin alphabet it is important to think about the font that will be used. Languages like Chinese, Japanese and Hindi may not appear correctly in fonts that work perfectly well in the Latin script. Fonts that take on the appearance of calligraphy in one language may decrease the graphic quality of a game in others. In Japanese for example Meiryo is one of the cleanest fonts to use.
9. Consistency is Key
The buzz word on any slots translator's lips is consistency. Slots are full of key terms that appear in every game. To appear professional and not confuse any customers these terms should be consistent throughout and across all games. Terms to consider are words like “Free Spins”, “Wild”, “Scatter”, “Reel”, “Feature” or “Respin”.
An efficient way to ensure this consistency is by using a glossary. The client can provide this if they already have set or preferred ways of translating these phrases. If not, the translator or translation company should compile one. Using a CAT tool, like we do here at ICS-translate, is another excellent way to guarantee consistency across translations. It gives the translators access to a translation memory which you can read more about in this article.
10. It Has to Work in Practice
The final step to a perfectly localised slot game is to put the finished translation into practice. It involves reviewing the translation once it has been implemented in the game. This allows a native speaker to check that everything appears as it should in the game and that the translation works and is accurate in context. Once the reviewer has played the slot and confirmed all of the translations are accurate, the game is ready to go and be played around the world!
To create a smooth looking, easy to understand and consistent slot translation, you need to consider a whole range of different factors. To do this, you need a dedicated translation team with years of experience and knowledge of the iGaming industry.
To give the people across the world access to your slot games, contact our team today.