Burrito, Gasolina, Dale
Is it a good idea to translate your game in Latin American Spanish?
When it comes to localize a game into Spanish there’s some confusion.
And this is a logical confusion! because it’s the official language of 21 countries!
Confusion #1Should I localize it in more than 1 version of Spanish?
(Potential benefit: Improve player’s retention and increase customer experience by understanding completely the content of the game)
Confusion #2 is it worth it to localize in more than 1 variant of Spanish?
(Will I get a favorable ROI?)
My personal opinion is:
· YES it’s a good idea to localize a game in European Spanish and in Latin-American Spanish. I do believe it’s worth it.
Show me the money!
It’s worth it from an economical perspective. According to gameindustry.biz the Latin American region is becoming a market as important as Southeastern Asia. There’s revenue of $4 billion in 2015 and there’s also a great penetration of mobiles games and tablets.
Another interesting aspect of the Latin America market it’s the rhythm of growing year after year, 18%….. Hhhmmm this is tempting, isn’t it?
Show me the content!
In terms of number of native speakers the data are also quite overwhelming
According to Wikipedia Spanish is the second more spoken language (over 440 millions of native speakers). Out of this impressive number, Spain only represents 10% of these speakers. The other 90% come from 20 different countries.
Does this mean that you need to translate in a version for Spain and another 20 versions to cover Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico etc etc?
No. Wait, don’t panic yet!, there are some approaches to solve this problem.
There are differences in all these variants of Spanish and definitely the terminology varies.
For example our famous Tapas in Spain it will be Picadita in Argentina, Picoteo in Chile, Botana in México o Pasapalo in Venezuela.
But the positive aspect is that : grammar; syntax and punctuation vary much less! Phew!
During my career in the localization industry I have seen the following approaches to unify the localization needs for the South American region.
· Use very simple grammar structures
· Use active verbs and avoid passive structures
· Use adjective wisely. i.e Cool has so many similar translations in different regions that it might end being a localism only understood in a region. In this specific example Incredible or Fantastic would be more accurate to find later the right adjective in Latam
· Use dictionaries such as Real Academia de la Lengua Española to improve accuracy
· Use Google results when you are not sure which word to choose i.e car, might be “coche”, “carro” “camioneta”, “auto or automóvil”. This tip might help you to find a universal term. When you Google it you find the most popular words, and this can give you an indication of the term to choose.
I hope these tips and reflections might help someone, and obviously I understand that a decision of localizing into 2 “Spanishes” depends on your budget.
For a small developer or an Indie studio this approach will not work. In that case the translation into FIGS, Korean/Japanese/Chinese etc etc it’s a higher priority; however, for other developer or bigger Studios I can see a lot of potential and benefits to go with a version for Spain and another for South America.
¡Hasta luego! Thanks for reading and enjoy this video!!!