Natalia Shuhman
Posted by Natalia Shuhman
on 5/14/21 9:38 AM

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Case Study: Automation of adding courses in foreign languages for the Workfusion Automation Academy

Automation Academy is an online platform for courses on automation, launched by WorkFusion, Inc. Course materials are intended for automation engineers, machine learning engineers, and data analysts, and for those who would like to enter these fields. Automation Academy currently has 30+ courses, 1000+ hours of learning materials, and over 35 thousand students.

The Automation Academy team wanted the courses compiled in English to become accessible as quickly as possible to students who study in Japanese and Spanish.

Project

  • an online learning platform based on LMS Moodle, 

  • course content stored in a database, 

  • source language: English,

  • target languages: Spanish and Japanese,

  • platform used for translation: CrowdIn,

  • project volume in the source language as of January 2020, excluding hidden strings: over 1.1 million characters,

  • volume of translated content from April 2019 to January 2020: over 9 million characters.

Issue 1: lag between the stages "new course is ready," "translation of the course is ready," and "translated course is available to students"

The content manager had to manually transfer new course content from the online platform on the Moodle base to an online document for the translators, then — once again manually — retrieve the completed translations from the online document. 

If changes were made to the original course text after completion of the translations, the changed portion had to be sent for translation separately. And since several people can edit the course at once, the additional burden of tracking changes fell to the content manager.

Issue 2: practical inconvenience of manually adding localized content

Although the user is only shown the course in their desired language, in the Moodle admin panel both the original and the translated course content is located in a single editable field.

The plugin used by the client for multilingual support delineates language blocks with special tags. But from a practical standpoint, placing all the localizations in a single batch of text is inconvenient, especially considering the volume of content and the presence of HTML formatting within the text.

This inconvenience was heightened by the fact that one of the localization languages was Japanese. It was difficult for the content manager, who did not speak Japanese, to monitor whether the content had been distorted after adding the HTML formatting or any other manipulations in the form.

Solution

Here at Alconost we developed a connector for Moodle, which makes it possible to download content in the source language from the client system to CrowdIn, then upload the translated content back to it. 

The content offloaded via the plugin is converted to HTML (the source content contains HTML formatting, which must be preserved in the localizations) and sent to the CrowdIn localization management platform. When the translations are ready, the connector receives the localized content from CrowdIn in HTML format, converts it back to a format the plugin can understand, and transfers it via a REST API.

Outcome

The lag issue was resolved via automation. Courses are sent for translation on a schedule, twice daily. The next step after sending is that the completed translations are retrieved. If necessary, any of these operations can be initiated in a single click at any moment. The content manager no longer has to manually transfer thousands of lines, reducing the risk of errors when adding content to zero.

Furthermore, the uploading of any course to CrowdIn can be disabled temporarily, then enabled at any time. For example, if a course is actively being edited, it can be excluded from the courses being translated until work on it is completed. Then the final version of the texts can be offloaded to CrowdIn.

How to apply this yourself

Contact Alconost for solutions to tasks of this type. The engineers at Alconost will integrate the special Moodle Connect plugin into your system, which will convert the courses you select for uploading to the localization platform. There the courses will be translated by professional translators into the languages you require. Next the plugin retrieves the resulting translation, converts it into a format for Moodle, and uploads the localized courses to your system. 

Watch a video about how it works:


Make your educational content accessible to users all over the world! Learn more and request a consultation: https://blog.alconost.com/en/moodle-connect.

 

Want to discuss your project? Book a call with us!

Popular articles

In 2021, we at Alconost published data on the most popular languages for product localization. This year, we're continuing the tradition and publishing the latest stats on the demand for languages to enter foreign markets. Read on and get the broad strokes right now.

 

Highlights: 12 Consistently Popular Localization Languages
Top 5 Languages: The Classic Four + Brazilian Portuguese
Companies that localize into the most popular languages
Japanese, Korean and Chinese are shoulder to shoulder
Places 9-12 and below: What other local markets are popular for localizations
A treat for number geeks: A closer look at the Top 10 localization languages
But localization isn't everything. So, what else is there?
Editing and localization QA: When you need them
Remember: Every product is different
Request the full edition of the article from Alconost for free

An abridged version of this article was first published on the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA)'s website. We thank the association for the opportunity to publish it and for its interest in our content!

In this review, we look at orders made by Alconost Localization Department customers with English as the source language.

People turn to Alconost when launching a product — most often software, an application, or a game — so they can enter foreign markets. The company provides translation and localization services into 100+ languages, video production and multilingual marketing services. Our clients include both indie developers and such large companies as JetBrains, Microsoft, Kaspersky, and Bitrix, to name a few.

Highlights: 12 Consistently Popular Localization Languages

The 12 most popular target languages for orders that had English as their source language remained the same as last year. French (France), Italian, German, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish (Spain), Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Dutch, Turkish, Polish, Russian are languages that are consistently in demand.

Figure 1. The most popular target languages (1)

Figure 1. The most popular target languages in projects with English as the source language in 2021. The share of orders for the top 12 languages accounts for 63.6% of the total volume of orders.

However, the positions of some languages have changed within the most popular ones compared to last year. Korean, German, and Brazilian ranked higher in the top 12, while Spanish, Dutch, and Turkish ranked lower. 

The main surprise in the top 5 is Brazilian Portuguese's rise to 4th place and Spanish dropping out of the top four languages. 

Top 5 Languages: The Classic Four + Brazilian Portuguese

There is a group of the four most popular languages for localization — not including English, of course — with the acronym FIGS: French, Italian, German, and Spanish. Just like last year, these languages are among our top 5 languages for localization from English. 

When localizing software, apps, and games into the "classic four" languages, developers are able to do more than just enter the markets of four countries. Italian, for example, is the official language in three other countries besides Italy, and German is the official language in five countries outside of Germany. Not to mention the prevalence of Spanish, French, and their variants in dozens of countries on both sides of the Atlantic! 

"The availability of a product, not just in English, but in FIGS languages, too, is, in a way, an integral part of software, games, or apps that strive to be global. But we can't forget that translating a product into a particular language and localizing a product for a particular country's market are not the same thing. For example, localization for Spain will not fully meet the expectations of users in Argentina or Mexico. The Spanish language in Latin America has its specifics. You need to adapt the product to the local version of the language in a particular country," says Stas Kharevich, Localization Team Lead at Alconost. 

 

While Spanish's move to fifth place in popularity is a noticeable change in the ranking, it doesn't indicate a global decline in interest in the Spanish language. After all, if we combine the order statistics for all varieties of Spanish (in 2021, we also worked with Spanish for Mexico, the US, Argentina, and Colombia), they would have taken the top spot in our ranking with a share of 8.45%.

If we talk about French, which leads our ranking for the second year in a row now, we mean only the French spoken in France. Note that, for example, Canada, one of the most attractive Francophone countries in terms of marketing, has its own variety of French, and orders for "Canadian French" in our statistics aren't included in the number of French orders for France.

Learn more about the nuances of localization into Canadian French in our review. 

Brazilian Portuguese deserves special attention in the top languages. In 2020, it was the "fifth element" in the ranking, on the heels of the classic four. And in 2021, it moved into fourth place and changed the traditional balance of power. 

The following factors, we believe, have influenced the growing popularity of Brazilian Portuguese for localization: 

  • Brazil has the ninth-largest economy in the world.

  • The country has a high purchasing power.

  • Smartphone and console games are very popular among Brazilians.

  • The country has one of the highest download rates in Google Play and the App Store.

Indeed, the Brazilian market looks like a tasty tidbit for developers. Considering that Brazil is a growing market for mobile apps and games, we predict that Brazilian Portuguese has a good chance to settle in the top 5 and to be in demand for localization as much as the most popular European languages.

Here's a review of the Brazilian mobile games market and helpful information for those planning to scale their product to Brazil.

Companies that localize into the most popular languages

Among the companies localizing their products into the top languages from our ranking are JetBrains, TransferWise, Avangate, Movavi, and Vizor Games. Bear in mind that these Alconost clients' activities aren't limited to the top 5 languages. As they expand into foreign markets and develop their products, they need to localize into additional languages, and their list is even wider than our top 10. 

Request the full article on Top localization languages for free

Japanese, Korean and Chinese are shoulder to shoulder

Just as it was a year ago, Japanese remains the sixth-most-popular language in projects with English as the source language. Although its share among the total number of orders increased by 0.7%, it failed to make it into the top five.

Follow the link for tips on localizing games for the Japanese market.

Please note: The statistics we analyze in this article reflect only "English to Japanese" orders. However, there's another side of this moon: translations from Japanese to English and Asian and European languages.

Ilya Spiridonov, Chief Commercial Officer at Alconost, sheds more light on this: 

"For the last year, we've been actively working with clients from Japan. Among the exciting companies from Japan that we started working with in 2021, I would like to mention the game developers Characterbank and Zxima, as well as the tech company RICOH. We expect that we will help more IT and tech companies gain new clients and users from the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world in 2022. This March, Alconost was ISO 9001:2015 certified and received two more industry-specific ISO certificates relating directly to translation services. The documented quality of processes will simplify the company's work with corporate clients.

 

Yoshiyuki Suginome, Regional Director of Alconost Japan and Asia-Pacific, talks about what languages Japanese companies are interested in as target languages and what matters when choosing languages for localization: 

"According to our observations, many app developers, from startups to mid-size companies, evaluate the possible impact of localization on ROI efficiency. This potential impact seems to be one of the key factors for specific target languages' selection. As for English, Chinese, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese, I guess they're amongst the most popular target languages for Japanese app development companies because of the number of speakers. Apart from that, the cultural and geographical proximity to Japan can factor in. As far as I can tell, this is one of the reasons why Korean, Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese are also in demand."

 

Korean is a popular language for localization, and not just among Japanese customers. It ranks seventh in overall popularity among target languages for orders with English as a source. Over the past year, Korean has jumped three lines up in our ranking: in 2020, its share of 4% earned it tenth place, while in 2021, with a share of 5%, it moved straight to seventh place. 

Request the full article on Top localization languages for free

It doesn't come as a surprise if you know the situation in the Korean gaming market. The users from this country are among the most willing to pay in the world, and in 2018, one out of every two(!) citizens of South Korea could be considered a gamer. Given the growing worldwide interest in Korean mass culture, the localization of a product into Korean can no longer be considered something exotic.

Read about the preferences of South Korean users and the specifics of game localization for this market in this review.

Of course, developers aren't ignoring China's audience of more than a billion people. Like last year, between translations into Simplified and Traditional Chinese, developers are more likely to choose the former. Simplified Chinese is eighth in our ranking, just as it was last year. 

By the way, if we combined all the varieties of Chinese that we translated from English in 2021 — Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and the Hong Kong dialect — their share would be 7.3% in total. In this case, translations from English into all varieties of Chinese would be second on our list after French.

Read this article about the issues Chinese developers face when localizing games for users in Western countries.

Places 9-12 and below: What other local markets are popular for localizations

Oddly enough, the 2021 statistics show that the languages of three Asian countries — Japan, Korea, and China — are ranked next to each other. A year earlier, Dutch stood between Japanese and Simplified Chinese. Now, it's moved from 7th to 9th place. 

The year before, Turkish was ninth, wedged between Simplified Chinese and Korean. This year, Turkish is tenth, but note that this language has been one of the stable areas for localization from English for several years now. Developers' interest in it can be explained by the fact that the Turkish game market is considered the most developed among Middle Eastern and North African countries. The presence of localization significantly increases the chances of a product's acceptance among users from Turkey.

Turkey is interesting as both a target market and a source one. Their game development industry is booming. Read about the outcomes of Turkish game localizations into popular languages in this case study

Places 11 and 12, as in 2020, are reserved for Polish and Russian, respectively. The gap between them slightly narrowed over the year. The share of Polish decreased by 0.1%, and the percentage of Russian increased by 0.2%.

Places 13 through 17, in decreasing order of share, are occupied by European Portuguese, Traditional Chinese, Arabic, Mexican Spanish, and Thai. The shares of orders for these languages range from 2.3% to 2%. 

Read the review of the Middle East market for localization into Arabic here.

Among the languages gaining popularity specifically for game localization, we'd like to mention Hindi. In 2021, the English-Hindi language pair accounted for 1.3% of orders. We'll see how the situation changes a year from now.

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You can compare the recent data with last year's data.

Need a localization partner? Book a call with Alconost

Alconost states that it provides localization into 100 languages and that they work only with native-speaking professional translators. It sounds great, but how do you do it? For example, if you need to localize an interface from English to Burmese, Hindi, Odia, Lao or Dzongkha, where do you find the right people, how do you check the quality of their work, and how do you retain them for regular collaboration?

ORDER LOCALIZATION

We spoke to Anastasiya Yazepenka, who is responsible for finding and testing translators at Alconost, about the unique aspects of hiring rare language translators. This is mainly required for localizing apps, games and online services, technical documentation and marketing materials for IT companies. 

1. What are rare languages in localization?
2. The process of finding a translator: 6 steps
3. How to find rare language translators
4. How much does a rare language translation cost and what affects the price
5. How to communicate with translators
6. Four ways to avoid selecting the wrong candidate
7. Testing translators
8. Interactive onboarding
9. Why all this isn't a secret

1. What are rare languages in localization?

Anastasiya, let's first clarify which languages are considered 'rare' in our context.

Yes, let's clarify this from the start. Of course, classifying a language as rare depends on certain things. In one way or another, all the languages that we work with are living languages, which are widely used in a particular region, with relatively large communities using them on a daily basis. For example, Kannada is the native language of over 40 million people in South-West India, but we classify it as a rare language.

In terms of localization, we consider a language rare if it is not in constant demand on the market, both among our clients and overall. The lack of consistent demand means the supply, i.e. the number of translators working in this language, is also limited. When there is demand for this language, the suppliers, i.e. the translators, are in a more favorable position than the customers. Consequently, clients are more likely to compete with each other for a good rare language translator than translators compete for a client.

There is no shortage of translators who are native speakers of Spanish, German, French, Chinese or Japanese. Nevertheless, even in these popular languages, it may be hard to find a language specialist to translate highly specialized projects, such as medical equipment software. It may be hard to find suppliers who are experienced and responsible, and available for collaboration, even in the popular language pairs. In any case, when translators are competing with each other for a client, it creates a certain balance of power. Translators understand that the client will choose them based on their competitiveness: ability to keep to a deadline, readiness to negotiate the price, and the ability to translate accurately. Of course, if a translator is experienced in using specialized computer-assisted translation tools (CAT tools or platforms), is easy to talk to and discuss the project details, that is also a big plus.

When clients compete for suppliers, it creates a different power balance. If we receive only a few replies, or even none, to our advertisement or we see very few available translators, it means that this target language is in less demand, so we can call it a rare language for localization purposes.

I'd like to ask then how quickly you find rare language translators? It can obviously vary…

Yes, it's always very individual. From what I can remember, the shortest amount of time was five working days, and the longest was more than three months (however, in that instance, we needed a pool of several suppliers, who were competent in a certain field). Ignoring the extremes, I would say that we can find an exotic language translator in about three weeks on average.

Want to learn more about how quickly we are able to
find a rare language translator for your project?
Book a free call with our team!

By the way, when we're talking about "finding a translator", we mean selecting appropriate candidates by sifting through applications and studying their resumes, right?

Oh, not only that! Studying the resume is just the start, the real work comes next. Let me describe all the stages included in "finding a translator" at Alconost, step by step.

2. The process of finding a translator: 6 steps

Step 1. Manually searching for potential suppliers: using selection criteria and examining relevant profiles. As an option, we may publish an advertisement on specialized platforms and study the profiles of translators who respond.

Step 2. Contact: inviting a translator to collaborate via a private message or email.

Step 3. Negotiation: requesting additional information from a candidate about their qualifications, discussing rates and payment methods. 

Step 4. Test task: providing a test task and reviewing the results after a couple of days. 

Step 5. Validation: examining any errors the candidate made when completing the test. This is the most interesting, although time-consuming step, where every comma can affect the outcome. This stage has three possible outcomes. If the test is an obvious fail, we inform the supplier of this but do not go any further. If the test is an obvious pass, we move on to the onboarding. The most interesting are borderline passes, for example, when the result is technically a fail, but the reviewer believes the translator did a good job. The decision is made on a case-by-case basis in these instances, based on how serious the errors were and ways of minimizing these errors in the future.

Step 6. Onboarding: this is probably the most predictable stage for us, but the most unusual stage for the supplier, who is not yet familiar with Alconost's processes, standards and corporate culture. During this stage, we introduce the translator to our workflow and deal with administrative tasks, such as adding the translator to our contractor database, and signing an agreement that includes the NDA. We are not big fans of bureaucratic procedures ourselves, but we know how sensitive clients can be to these nuances, so we deal with them from the start.

Alconost: rare language translator search

Only after all six steps have been completed, can we say that we have found a rare language translator. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that it takes an average of three weeks not to search for a translator, but to find one: it's a subtle but important difference in this case. 

True, looking at profiles is only the tip of the iceberg. What is the trigger that launches this entire process? 

The trigger is always a request from the client for a particular language pair. The language pair is what we call the source and target languages. This is how it works: when localization managers receive a request from a client for translation into a language we haven't worked with before, they create a task in our internal system. The task to find translators is created using a template that we have refined over the years of recruiting. The template contains only 11 questions but they're all important ones. 

Answers to these questions give us an overall idea of the task that the translator will need to complete and suggest certain requirements that the translator needs to meet. Basically, answers to these questions form the work specifications for the vendor managers. 

So you look for rare language translators only upon the client's request? 

When we're going through the database, we might notice that we don't have enough active translators for a particular language pair, while we have plenty of specialists in another language pair but no one working in a particular high-demand niche. But these observations don't trigger a search. It doesn't make sense to collect translators just to add them to the database, since inactive contacts fade over time. If you don't provide translators with regular work, they tend to forget your standards and criteria, but remember the long-winded process (emails, test translation, onboarding) which, ultimately, led nowhere. Therefore, only a specific task triggers a search for translators.

Do you find translators for any volume of work here at Alconost? Or does it have to be a large project to start looking? 

If the potential project is over 1,000 words, we start looking. Which isn't to say that small projects don't stand a chance. If we're talking about a constant stream of small projects, that's even better for us than a large, but once-off translation project. As I've said before, we're interested in regular collaboration with the translator. It's important not to let the company and translator relationship fall dormant. So, if the client needs translation into a rare language and the volume is quite small but these jobs are recurrent, we're on board! 

By the way, it's not a problem for us if the client views us as an additional or secondary vendor. For example, if the client already localizes their product into most languages themselves or with the help of another vendor, and contacts us only for a particular need. We're happy to help with translating only rare languages, for example, or with quality assurance of already existing language versions of a product, and we can embed ourselves into a client's existing localization set-up.

Try Alconost as a secondary localization vendor

3. How to find rare language translators

How do you and your colleagues usually find translators? 

There are a number of online platforms that we use in our search. Unfortunately, I can't mention them by name, but I can say that there isn't a single resource out there to cover all our needs for qualified translators. 

All platforms where we find suppliers have their own pros and cons. Some platforms, for example, have a lot of rare language translators in particular, but not everyone lists their contact details, which complicates communication. Other platforms may have many excellent specialists, but only in one language pair or for only one particular topic. For example, only translators into Japanese or only translators with software development experience. 

A translator with software development experience? Sounds like a rare combination! 

Of course, not all developers have a linguistic background. But there are projects where knowledge of niche terminology, localization experience in a highly specialized topic, and familiarity with the topic overall, are more important than a translation degree. Here we have another problem: rates that would motivate a programmer with experience in localization to work in localization rather than programming.

What about platforms like LinkedIn? Do you find translators there?

Sometimes, but we have to look through a lot of profiles that might not be complete, and in some cases, there are significant delays in potential suppliers responding to our queries. LinkedIn is good but it isn't our main source of suppliers. 

Can you remember the most unusual source of an excellent translator?

The most unusual case in my practice was when a potential translator into Canadian French recommended their colleague as he himself was working on urgent projects. We contacted the specialist recommended to us, he was interested in the job, successfully completed the test task and onboarding, and is now part of the Alconost translator team.

Alconost: Rare language translators team

4. How much does a rare language translation cost and what affects the price

So, what about pricing? Is there a correlation between "the more popular the language, the cheaper the localization"? 

That statement is only partially true. If we're talking about translation into popular localization languages, the price is mainly influenced by the living standards of countries where the native speakers live. For example, translations from English to Hebrew, Norwegian, Dutch or Japanese will cost more than, for example, localization from English to Turkish, Hindi or Indonesian. 

Of course, a shortage of qualified translators in a particular language pair will significantly affect the price. For example, the cost of translation from English to Khmer (which is spoken in Cambodia) or Burmese (spoken in Myanmar) will be about the same as translating to Swedish or even Norwegian. All because these translators know that they are in high demand, so they avoid reducing their rates or negotiating prices in general.

Another factor is the translator's competence in a specialized topic. Such as translators with experience in development, as I've mentioned before. The problem is that these suppliers will expect translation rates that are close to the prices charged by programmers. But programming rates are higher than the average translation rates. It's the same situation with other topics in which only a handful of translators specialize. 

So, even if the language itself is popular and relatively cheap to translate into on the whole, the rates may skyrocket for high-quality work in a very specialized field. A translation of the same size and into the same language may cost very differently, depending on whether it is an article on consumer behavior or instructions for a woodworking machine.

Want to learn more about rare language localization pricing? Book a free call with our team!

5. How to communicate with translators

Let's talk about establishing contact and how you communicate with candidates. What do you normally write to the translators and what do you pay attention to in their responses? Any specific advice about communication? 

If I was the one who found the candidate, I usually briefly describe the company and project for which I need a translator, in the first email.

If the candidate responded to my ad, I study their profile and CV, and then write a short email to discuss conditions if I'm happy with what I've seen. I often ask clarifying questions regarding experience, specializations and their role in specific translation projects.

Do you communicate with translators over email or in messengers? 

Here at Alconost, we prefer email. This ensures colleagues can see everything, there is a record of the correspondence, which is easy to search through. Some translators would prefer to communicate using messengers. I've noticed that translators of African languages prefer WhatsApp, while speakers of Asian languages prefer Skype. But we leave messengers only for extreme cases and emergencies. For example, if our emails aren't reaching the translator, we find out the reason via messenger and then return to email. 

6. Four ways to avoid selecting the wrong candidate

Alconost: Tips on translators selectionWhen we study a resume, we always take note of how many languages, dialects and fields a translator works in. Let's take two fictional resumes as an example. First resume: a niche specialist, who works with one language and a maximum of two dialects, and specializes in certain fields. Second resume: a 'universal' translator, who claims to know several languages and dialects at the native level and states that they're competent in a dozen fields, from translating poetry to software localization for heavy industry. The owner of the first resume definitely has a higher chance of reaching the next stage in Alconost's recruitment process than the owner of the second. 

Mentioning world-renowned brands as clients can also backfire. This can mean that it's the resume of a scammer: for example, this article even lists famous companies used by unscrupulous people to try and pass themselves off as in-demand, qualified professionals.

Less obvious red flags in a resume are online language courses. Of course, we won't automatically reject a specialist who includes them in their resume, but we'll check the candidate more thoroughly. I'll explain why. Online language courses often provide lots of useful information that can show a translator which areas to focus on, which resources and tools to use. But these courses can't compare to the fundamental linguistic training provided by good old universities, and certainly not to many years of real-world experience. Perhaps other recruiters think differently, but here at Alconost, we're not very impressed by certificates from online language schools.

The most concerning thing is when a candidate provides contradictory information about themselves. For example, one candidate claimed to be a freelancer but then used "we" when writing about himself. As it later turned out, this candidate wasn't a translator, but a representative of a translation agency. The problem here wasn't that he was an agency employee, but that he tried to hide this fact and was being disingenuous.

ORDER LOCALIZATION

7. Testing translators

Do you test all potential translators or are there exceptions?

Everyone who reaches the testing stage.

What do you use to test the real translating ability? 

We check translating qualifications using a fragment of the project for which we need the translator. We negotiate with the client which fragment of the project can be used for testing. It is usually 250-300 words long. This amount won't take too much of the translator's time but it is long enough for the candidate to show their skills. What's important is that a translation of this fragment not be already available anywhere online. Since this is only the test translation and the translator hasn't yet completed the onboarding, which includes signing the NDA, we try to choose a text fragment that doesn't make it obvious which product it's referring to. 

Which criteria do you use for assessment and who checks the test task? 

We check the test translation using a specialized quality assurance system. If we already have a translator for this rare language, whom we're currently working with (this happens if we work with this language, but we need to expand the translator pool), then our regular translator checks the quality of the candidate's work. If we don't have a regular translator, candidates check each other, while another candidate can serve as the arbitrator in case of disagreements. 

Translation quality is measured as a percentage in the QA system, so perfect quality is 100%. The candidate is considered to have passed the test if the test quality is 98% or higher. The quality index is calculated automatically, based on how serious the errors are. Error severity is decided by the reviewer, but we make sure that they don't over- or underpenalize. 

We also often ask the reviewer to provide their overall impression of the test translation. In my practice, I remember one instance when the candidate made several critical, but repetitive errors, which were related to the specific terminology in this project. The reviewer was already working on the project and knew the terminology, while the candidate hadn't and didn't know the terms, but the reviewer couldn't approve a test containing errors. But it was obvious that if the translator learned the right terms, they could provide an excellent result. Which is what ended up happening. 

Plus, a quality score of 98%, which we consider the pass level, is a pretty high requirement. As far as I know, some translation agencies accept tests with a score of 95%. 

What if a candidate disagrees with the reviewer?

We always ask candidates, even those who successfully passed the test, to carefully study the test results, note the errors, and reply to the reviewer's comments. It is a constructive process when searching for translators into popular languages, but less so with rare languages. There can be emotional and prolonged arguments, and we have to soothe participants and ask them not to take the reviewer's comments personally. Vendor managers have to act as mediators to preserve a constructive atmosphere between candidates and help them listen to each other.

Want to learn more about localization quality assurance at Alconost? Book a free call with our team!

8. Interactive onboarding

You've spoken about all stages of the search except the last one — onboarding. Is it a topic that can be discussed publicly? There's probably corporate know-how involved… 

My colleagues and I try to ensure that the onboarding process doesn't turn into a stream of boring instructions. Right now, onboarding is a series of tutorials set out on Google forms and Trello cards, and a few instructional emails, which are sent to the translator at certain onboarding stages. We believe that thanks to the portioned provision of information, the translator develops a better understanding of our processes.

More specifically, we provide more information about our translation quality standards and communication during onboarding, as well as presenting our attitude to the work processes and deadlines. While the translator tells us more about themselves. For example, which translation tools they can use, which platforms they usually work in, the operating systems on their PC and smartphone. The last question may sound odd, but we have a reason for it. It can be important if the client requests localization quality testing (LQT) and the translator has to launch the application or game on their device.

The purpose of onboarding is to prepare the translator for working on a real project, so that they understand what is expected of them and what they need to do in a particular situation.

Alconost: Translators onboardingThe process of onboarding only takes a few days, so it can't really change an already formed specialist or make a person acquire some hard skills. But we can suggest some simple things that the translator might not have paid attention to before. We highlight these during onboarding: yes, these are minor details but they are important for us, please keep them in mind. 

Returning to the topic of rare languages. Can you list which rare languages Alconost actively works with at present? 

Yes, I checked right before our chat. We've already spoken about some of these languages, while others may not be familiar to a large audience, but here is a list of rare languages that we can translate into from English at any moment. 

Amharic

Gujarati

Odia

Basque

Icelandic

Sinhala

Bengali

Kannada

Somali

Bislama

Kinyarwanda

Swahili

Burmese

Lao

Tagalog

Catalan

Malayalam

Welsh

Cebuano

Marathi

 

Dzongkha

Nepali

 

Order localization at Alconost

I can imagine how much work had to be done behind the scenes to make this possible! 

Thank you. This may sound obvious, based on our conversation, but I'd like to stress one thing. Finding translators is a system in Alconost: it's a process rather than an ad hoc scenario. We understand that it is a long game, and that a translator for whom we have no work today could become a vital member of our translator team tomorrow. That's why, even if the amount of work for a translator drops, we try to keep in touch with them, to maintain regular contact.

Alconost finds hidden gems amongst rare translators
Rare language translators require particular care. After all, if we have a need for this language again, a new search might take even longer if an existing contact remembers us as an agency that wastes time with questions but doesn't provide work.

Maintaining a good relationship is also useful when the search for translators hits a dead end. Then we can ask the translator for a recommendation. It may be that they've worked on another project with a colleague who speaks the very rare language that we're looking for. A localization company must have established ties in the translation community.

9. Why all this isn't a secret

Through our conversation, we've learned a lot of details that not all language service providers would be willing to share, I think. Are you afraid that clients who localize products in-house will copy your processes and turn to your agency less often? 

I'm not so sure that our system can be easily copied. Let's take the OKR methodology or Objectives and Key Results. It is described in detail in John Doerr's book, Measure What Matters, there is plenty of information about OKR, and there are special instruments for the practical application of OKR in companies. But not everyone who wishes to implement OKR is successful. It's not just about information access, but about how it is used, as well as whether a company is at a stage where it has a critical need for these changes.

I can't deny that a development company with in-house localization might consider borrowing a page from Alconost. Indeed, why not: Alconost has developed real-world methods of expanding the translator pool, our quality management system is ISO 9001:2015 certified, and we have a lot of positive client feedback. Why not create a similar system? I see two reasons. 

First, a development company will most likely have their own process for expanding the translator pool, so it's difficult to start again from scratch. The company will probably integrate our process into their existing one, which will lead to a hybrid system that certainly won't be the same as ours.

Alconost: Translation that fitsSecond, as a localization company that provides services to many different clients, we can provide translators with a variety of work and quite regularly. This strengthens translator loyalty and increases the chance that a translator will agree to accept an urgent project, do a good job, and finish by the deadline. Even a very large development company may not have the translation volumes to provide translators into certain languages with regular work. 

I've already explained why we don't look for new translators 'just in case'. For the same reason, a development company is unlikely to spend time and money on searching for, testing and onboarding suppliers who will ultimately just hang around. 

So, it's less about how difficult it would be to copy our system, but rather about whether it would make sense to copy it.

Want to learn more about localization into rare languages? Book a free call with our team!

Thank you for such an honest and in-depth conversation! 

I was glad to share my experience and the company's experience. I'll leave our email address: info@alconost.com. If a rare language translator is reading this article, please know that we're always happy to hear from you.

ORDER LOCALIZATION

Image created by alconost.com

When companies enter new markets and decide to promote their product or service in new regions, they are faced with localizing not only the product itself, but also its marketing. Below we'll discuss marketing localization and share our experience on how to make localizing different types of marketing content as easy as possible.

Why not leave everything in English?

The short answer is: personalization.

The more relevant the information is to its recipient, the more likely it is to result in the desired action. And presenting information in a person's native language is the first step in personalization. To win over users, companies strive to speak their language — to sound like "their people." That's why they choose localization.

What is marketing localization?

Let's be quite clear: we're talking about localization here, not about local marketing.

Local marketing is where a marketing strategy is developed almost from scratch when introducing a product or service to a new market. Local marketing includes market research, studying local users and competitors, and developing and testing a local strategy. Sometimes you have to make changes to the product/service. Typically, these projects involve product owners, developers, and marketers. When you need to develop a local marketing strategy in another language, you can employ multilingual marketing services. 

Now back to marketing localization.

Marketing localization is the translation and adaptation of all marketing content for a product or service for the desired locale. What marketing content needs to be localized? Any materials that help promote the service or product.

Things to consider when you tackle marketing localization

The goal of marketing localization is to convey the content in a way relevant for the target region.

Localized content must remain:

  •     informative and persuasive, to describe a product or service and motivate to buy;
  •     creative, to help stand out from competitors and be remembered;
  •     authentic — after all, it is advertising your particular product.

Translation is only part of marketing localization. For a brand's key message to work equally well in all regions, translation alone isn't enough. For a high-quality localization, sometimes the source information has to be drastically reworked. Copywriting, rewriting, and transcreation are all used.

Take a marketing campaign slogan, for example. Slogans are short, spot-on phrases that often use puns or idioms. To adequately convey the slogan's meaning in the target language, the translator has to be a skilled professional and understand the context.

Transcreation can be helpful in translating slogans.

Transcreation is the process of creatively reproducing content in other languages — in a word, creative translation. 

People who do this have to be well versed in the product or service, and also be able to think locally, understanding regional linguistic and cultural particularities.

For example, take the translation of the slogan for Haribo gummy bears. In the original German it runs as follows: "Haribo macht Kinder froh, und Erwachsene ebenso." 

Haribo commercial, Youtube.com

This is not just a brand slogan, but also an important element of communication and a rhyming advertising jingle. If it were simply translated into English, it would be: “Haribo makes children happy, and grownups too.” The rhythm is lost; the slogan is no longer catchy.  

But with a translator's creative approach, the phrase in English goes like this: “Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of Haribo.”  The translation isn't literal, but the idea and values of the brand are conveyed, and the rhyme is also preserved.

Another example, this time regarding the importance of cultural particularities. Localization specialists need to know how people customarily communicate in the target region, because this determines the approach to translation and the tone of the message.

For example, Booking.com took different approaches to the localization of email texts for customers in Israel and Japan.

Hebrew text with reverse translation into English:

Hi {client_name}, We'd love to look into it. Customer service will contact you by phone or email to make sure everything is handled as it should be. Thanks!

Japanese text with reverse translation into English:

Hello {client_name}, Thank you for your inquiry. After looking into the situation, our customer service will contact you by phone or email. Thank you for your understanding.

Due to cultural differences, the Japanese version of the letter is more formal, thanking the recipient twice, while the Israeli version has a friendlier tone. 

Let's take a look at our experience with localizing emails and other marketing content.

Localizing different types of marketing content

We've compiled the most frequent marketing translation and localization tasks that customers request at Alconost. These are landing pages, app store pages, advertising, infographics, online banners, reviews, and email marketing.  

Landing page localization

Having a landing page in your visitors' native language is more likely to convert them into the targeted action.

A marketing page often needs to be translated into not just one, but multiple languages at once. Even more challenging are frequently updated pages — for example, product pages in online stores. Here continuous localization can be useful, and on platforms like Crowdin these translation projects can be automated. Here's how it works: the marketer adds files for translation, then the manager obtains access and distributes the tasks to translators. The finished translations can be exported manually or automatically via the API. Crowdin offers quick notifications that save time and simplify project coordination, and also has a glossary for translators.

Localization of ASO

Localizing pages in app stores boosts the number of app downloads. There are several stages in the process, including localization of keywords, titles, descriptions, screenshots, and videos. 

Often developers with lots of apps need to quickly update app store descriptions for several products at once, and they use different translation APIs. For these purposes it's not always efficient to have your own team of translators. It also presents administrative challenges: the translation tasks are small, and there are many different languages, translators, and updates. 

This is often the headache that brings clients to our translation service Nitro. Here Nitro's advantages are fast translation by native speakers, the ability to automate via the API, and a convenient self-service format. There's no correspondence with a manager and no waiting: customers independently place orders from their Nitro dashboard any time of night or day.

Localization of advertising campaigns  

Localized ads deliver the message to the user more effectively and produce more app downloads. Many user acquisition managers translate ads using machine translation, often via APIs, then have to test the translated content and choose the text with the best metrics. 

Texts produced by machine translation are not always of acceptable quality. Often this depends on the language pair and the topic. On the other hand, employing professional native-speaking marketers for every advertising campaign is an expensive proposition. 

For cases like this, Nitro is ideal. The Nitro API for ad localization is unique in that the translation process is automated but translation itself is performed by human professional linguists with knowledge of the given topic. Furthermore, it offers a fast turnaround time for translations — 24 hours or less. This is important when launching ads, which are often run only briefly or are frequently updated. 

For high volumes of advertising campaigns, to make scaling more convenient you can obtain ready-made translations via the API. This lets you automate translation of advertising campaigns into as many languages as you need, without sacrificing quality and without a team of local marketers. This swift bulk translation tool proved a good solution for one of our game development clients localizing Google Ads campaigns. 

Case Study: One of the major Nitro API clients uses the platform to translate Search Text Ads into 28 languages at once.

Localization of visuals

Marketing content often contains visuals in the form of illustrations, screenshots, and infographics, which need to be localized. Here it's important to remember that text within graphics and screenshots shouldn’t be hardcoded: it must be retrievable, since otherwise the content will remain untranslated. 

When preparing visual content for new regions, bear in mind the difference in color perception and character preferences. Consider that localizing this kind of content sometimes requires not only translating the text, but also adapting the visuals. 

Localization of a babycare app for Europe, South Korea, Japan, and Brazil

Localization of email campaigns

Our clients often need to send marketing emails to partners who speak other languages. Sometimes one email sequence needs to be translated into 10 or more languages, with these sequences going out several times a week. The texts are needed immediately in all the languages and in very short order. Our client chose Nitro for this task, since the service is specifically designed for fast translation of small texts into multiple languages at once. 

It is important to note here that translation quality for marketing texts often depends on having sufficient context (information about the target audience, tone of voice, explanations of terms, etc.). In Nitro, the client can add this information in the comments for the translator.  

Localization of online banners

Banners are a simple and effective tool that marketers use to drive visitors to a website and boost brand awareness. Usually banners contain a little text, which also has to be localized.

For these tasks our clients most frequently use Nitro. One important detail: when localizing banner text, it's a good idea to remember about possible character limitations. An advertising phrase in some languages takes up more space when translated, because the words are longer - in German for example.

Incidentally, this is also relevant for advertising with Google Ads: the title and description of the ad must not exceed the possible number of characters. 

For mass creation of online banners for different locales, a convenient option is the Nitro + Pikaban bundle. Pikaban is a creative banner generator in which marketers can make animated HTML banners without the aid of a designer. On the dashboard they can upload images; enter the desired text; select a size suitable for Google Ads and other platforms; apply effects; and have the resulting set of banners sent directly to their email. If there are multiple languages, the texts can first be quickly run through Nitro, and then the templates with different languages can be saved in your account. 

Localization of reviews

User reviews are also part of marketing. They are needed to increase customer confidence or to provide more information about something. When customers choose a vacation home, they read the reviews of those who have already booked it. Many major lodging search services (such as Airbnb) use machine translation to translate large numbers of reviews. But machine translation is not always a good option, because it can't reliably convey human emotions with accuracy — an important factor for reviews. 

Reviews can be translated by human translators in Nitro. Review texts are not typically all that large, and orders like this can literally be completed in just a few hours.  

In a nutshell, it turns out that when localizing different types of marketing content, speed, personalization, and creativity are always important, and cultural particularities and limitations (for example, the number of characters) must also be considered. 

Now let's talk about what stages marketing localization consists of and how to prepare your project for it.

How localization of marketing works

Localization of marketing consists of several stages. 

The first stage is preparation. We've already mentioned the importance of context and of understanding the product and market particularities for quality marketing localization. Often the product owner already has research data for the region, possesses knowledge of the target audience, and has formed a brand image. This information should also be applied to marketing localization.

This means it's a good idea for the client to prepare a localization kit, which includes information about the brand (the product or service) and their ideas about how the brand should “sound” to the user. 

This includes the following materials:

  • description of the product or service;
  • description of the brand, its positioning and target audience;
  • style guide, or rules for writing and designing texts;
  • tone of the marketing content;
  • information about competitors and how this product/service differs from theirs;
  • general information on the industry that the client considers important;
  • translation memory — a database of previously translated content;
  • instructions for translation of terms and specific words,
  • limitations, e.g. character limits, etc.

The next step is to request a quote. Here you need to specify the amount of content to be localized, what industry the order is for, the desired time frame, and the file format for the finished translations. The localization partner assesses the task and provides information on the cost. Once the client has approved the cost, time frame, and other nuances, they transfer the actual content to be localized, as well as the localization kit materials. If the client has comments, they can contact the translator and discuss revisions. All this means some time and efforts.

When working via Nitro, the marketing localization process is faster. It looks something like this: the client submits the text for translation, selects the languages, attaches all additional materials, and within 24 hours receives a finished translation via email or the API. 

Conclusion

Localization of marketing helps to personalize content for local users. In order for the content to remain creative, generate interest, and convert into action, localization must be professional and unobtrusive. This gives the user the sense of personalization that the product or service was created just for them. Striking the proper key, respect for cultural particularities, compliance with all technical restrictions — there are absolute musts. 

For marketing localization, Alconost can be of assistance. Our service Nitro is a great option when you need to regularly translate marketing and other texts into multiple languages at once. The materials will be translated by native translators, taking context into account — quickly and without unnecessary correspondence. 

Try Nitro

 

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Instructional video production is a task every IT company faces sooner or later. There’s no better way to ensure using your product is simple and intuitive than making a video to teach users the ins and outs.

If you’re tired of long-winded guides on how to come up with a decent tutorial video, Alconost is here to help. This article will explain the basics of producing a training video, share advice that you can implement in practice, and highlight key pitfalls to avoid. 

Our focus here is on educational videos about digital products, such as software, apps, and online platforms. So if that is what your company develops, read on for some helpful insight!

Who wrote this article, and why should you trust them? The author is a video production manager with five years of experience under her belt. She gained this experience working for Alconost, an animated video production studio. Before switching to marketing writing, Natalia personally managed the production of dozens of instructional videos for IT products, from script writing to the final approval of finished videos by clients. In this article, she summarizes her own and her colleagues’ experience.

Now let’s move to the three key secrets to an effective video tutorial, some practical and applicable recommendations and insights straight from the Alconost Video Production backstage.

Alternatively, you can go back to the production facade.

Secret 1: Organize the script of your instructional film logically

Ideally, an instructional clip shows scenarios of successful interaction with the software. To enable your video tutorial to work this way, sketch out an impeccable logical foundation for your script before you even start writing it. To do this, create a table with three columns and approximately 10 rows. Each row is intended for a specific scene, and, naturally, you can add or subtract rows as needed. But let’s talk about the columns.

  1. Use the first column to specify the gist of every scene, for example, ‘login window,’ ‘order placement,’ ‘payment process,’ etc. This will help you stay on topic, as any step away is a potential rabbit hole that can trap your user, making them lose focus. 

  2. The second column will serve as a log of actual steps with matter-of-fact descriptions of where to click to breeze through each phase successfully. These descriptions need to be detailed; imagine that you are writing a technical manual for a how-to video. Keep it as straightforward as possible, avoiding subplots.

  3. The third column is for the voiceover content. An off-screen voice will comment on the actions the user is supposed to take. The narration will be closely linked to the actions in the second column, and one of your tasks will be to harmonize the actions with the spoken text.

This three-column structure helps you keep a holistic vision of your step-by-step video and build a clear logical path for navigating your software.

Need an example of a well-balanced walkthrough video? Watch this video for the Unight app and pay attention to how well the off-screen text corresponds to the actions in the frame.

 

 

Secret 2: Use screenshots for your screencast, not a screen recording

We know it’s very tempting to opt for screen recording when you’re planning a learning video for your software. In fairness, screen recording really is a widespread method for creating amateur DIY video. It also comes in handy when you make game trailers

But if you’re wondering how to make an instructional video with screen recording, we should tell you that in our experience, this method isn’t the best choice for a professional tutorial video. Here are the drawbacks: 

  • Videos with screen recording are famous for sloppy screens and shaky cursors. 

  • Once you start recording, you can do very little to smarten up your product’s UI.

  • Editing your videos will be a grueling and unrewarding job that never brings you satisfaction.

  • If you need a retake, any patches will most likely be noticeable, so your video won’t be seamless.

To end up with a flawless screencast that is easy to follow and pleasing to the eye, we recommend using static screenshots as source material. Capture screenshots of every action (remember that you described these actions in detail in the second column of your script) and animate them afterwards.

To anticipate the question of well-versed training managers, we’ll say that using simplified, stylized UI instead of the real interface is what we sometimes recommend for an explainer video or other kinds of marketing video content. But the best solution for tutorial videos, from our point of view, is an animated screencast.

Do you find it hard to believe that this method pays for itself, given how laborious it might be? Watch a demo video we created at Alconost about the HelpDesk for Jira plugin. It’s not a screen recording; it’s a painstaking animation of meticulously captured screenshots

 

You can watch the full case study on how we made a software tutorial video for Jira Helpdesk. It reveals all the details, starting with the client's requirements and a description of how we made the screenshots come to life. It finishes with the spectacular results of this instructional video usage.

 

 

 

Apart from the screencast, this video features animated elements such as callouts, a cursor, click effects, and some animated graphics. Together, these touches help manage viewers’ attention, revitalize the video sequence, and give the educational clip a finished look.

As the HelpDesk for Jira plugin developers reported, they played this informative video at their booth at Atlassian Summit, an annual in-person event. In addition to a lot of positive feedback from their potentials and even from the other event sponsors, they noticed a 26% increase in booth attendance. It’s quite a compelling argument in favor of taking demo video production seriously, isn’t it?

Four screencast tricks for a teaching video 

  • When capturing screenshots, always use the same resolution and scale; for example, 1920x1080, 100%. Remember that to zoom in on a specific area, you might need a bigger initial resolution than standard FullHD. Otherwise a zoomed area will look messy because of the pixelization effect. For example, all screenshots for the HelpDesk for Jira video (above) were captured in the proportion of 2543x1439 pixels. This is what gave us ‘freedom to zoom!’

  • Do not ignore barely noticeable changes in the UI such as buttons being on or off, shading in an active string, etc. Capture these stages of interaction with your product too! They are only unnoticeable at first glance.

  • Track consistency: if you start your demonstration video with, let’s say, $100 in the top right tab of your account, the amount should change only as a result of the actions shown in the video, not at random.

  • If you showcase elements like contact lists or database entries, replace real personal or financial information with fictional data. If the product your lesson video is about is accessible via browser, you can do this via page source code editing.

Secret 3: Use the power of voice at the right time

This is a two-in-one secret. 

First, record the off-screen narration before you start assembling the screencast for your instructional film. The narration is what determines how long your video will last. Then, at the screencast assembly stage, synchronize the animated actions with the voiceover, instead of doing it the other way around. This is the key to making a dynamic, balanced video with no lags. 

By the way, it’s a good idea to review the voiceover text after you finish taking screenshots. The reason is simple: Chances are that while taking screenshots, you had to slightly adjust your initial script. This is fine, as theory is often at odds with practice. But if the actions changed even slightly, that most likely means the narrative part needs a slight revision, too, for a better match with the visual part.

Second, before you assign the narration task to a native-speaking voiceover talent, double check the volume of text they’re supposed to narrate.

The most common mistake at the amateur level of instructional video production is an imbalance between the video and audio. For example, the script might contain too much action for a video with a bare-bones voiceover. Or the opposite might happen: there are too many words in the voiceover part for only a handful of actions. This leads to the awkward situation when we’re still doing something in the software, but the voice isn’t making any comments, or the actions are completed, but the narrator is still talking. 

To avoid this mistake in a guidance video, do tests to determine how many seconds each in-frame action will take, and adjust the voiceover text accordingly. In practice, most often this means shortening the voiceover text.

Need an example? Sure! Watch the informative video on how to automate invoice generation in the Febooti software. Notice how well-synchronized the voice is with the actions!

 

Wrapping Up

Want to know more? Check out one more article about software training videos.

Instructional videos show users how to interact with a product and give a quick overview of its features, even for people who are just browsing. They also provide quick help for customers who are experiencing issues with your product. Yes, when the user of your software, app or service runs into trouble or gets confused, it just might be your instructional video that can help them out… and snatch their loyalty back!

A good tutorial video can salvage the user experience and increase customer satisfaction. Learn about 5 reasons to order instructional videos at Alconost, or request a free quote for your own tutorial video project! 

 

When sending a request, please briefly describe your product and give a link to it. Thank you!

What is audio localization in video games? Picture this: players enter your game and hear characters’ dialogues and all other spoken narratives in their native language. Yes, that’s what it is, and it’s that simple!

In this article, we’d like to speak about the benefits voice-over localization for video games can bring. We’ll also provide examples of professional video game dubbing, and help developers and publishers fix typical problems of audio translation for games by sharing our practice-based knowledge in simple words.

The Importance of Game Audio Localization

Game audio localization is a part of the game development process that enables game developers and publishers to increase the market potential of their game, create a more immersive gaming experience for players, and get more positive reviews from satisfied users. 

Need more pros to video game dubbing? There are a few! Let’s elaborate.

  1. Immersion: Without localized voiceover, the user experience would be lacking, even if the story itself is designed to be riveting. Translating game dialogue sets in the written form isn’t enough if the same text is being read out loud in the original language; localize the voiceover too!

  2. Retention: With localized voice-overs, it should be easier for players to feel at home in the game universe and develop an emotional attachment to the game. With a comprehensive game language localization that includes voiceover, you can motivate the audience to actually keep playing, which can turn into a higher LTV and increased revenue. Sounds like a win-win, doesn’t it? 

  3. Better Reviews: Let's face it, players are more likely to leave positive reviews if they can understand the game's audio. If players are struggling to understand what's going on in the game because of language barriers, they might not enjoy the experience as much. Game audio localization can help ensure that players understand and enjoy your game, leading to better reviews, more installs, and higher sales.

  4. Competitive Advantage: Offering multilingual game audio can help you attract players who are looking for games in their native language. Although subtitling for video games technically fills this gap, the necessity to constantly read endless lines of narrative might feel exhausting to some players and annoying to others, leading to player dissatisfaction and, subsequently, making them want to jump ship to games that are easier to deal with.



    Look & sound native to your audience from the first marketing touch: localize your game trailer too when going global!


     

  5. Cultural Appropriateness: Sometimes games feature characters of, for example, different ethnic origins, and this fact affects the way they speak. In a case like this, audio localization can help developers present the specifics of those characters in a way that players from another culture would be able to appreciate. Does that sound a bit too complicated? Read a little story below! 

A video game sound localization example: a LIF:YO case study

Life is Feudal: Your Own (LiF:YO) is a sandbox game with a realistic medieval atmosphere. The game character gives vocalized battle commands, screams in fear, moans when injured, recites prayers, etc. We recorded voice-overs for the character in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese; more details here.

Each line had to be recorded in four versions, with different accents that correspond to the player’s choice at the beginning of the game: a hero from the East, a hero from the North, a peasant hero, and a noble hero.

Listen to the examples below to see how Alconost succeeded in making the voice-overs sound genuinely authentic.


And there’s more. The character uses several rude exclamations to taunt enemies. Those phrases are intended to be offensive! But what feels offensive for a Spanish-speaking person might not be understood by a Brazilian Portuguese-speaking player the same way. As crazy as it sounds, the professional audio localization for this video game helped keep the rudest parts of the voiceover equally eloquent in both languages!

All this means that game audio localization can bring numerous benefits to game developers and publishers. It's not just about making the game accessible to more players, but also about creating a more immersive gaming experience that can lead to better reviews and a competitive advantage.

Three curious behind-the-scenes facts about video game dubbing

  1. The gender of the character does not necessarily have to match the gender of the narrator. Professional voice actors are versatile and can successfully impersonate literally any creature.

  2. Need to record a voiceover for a child or teenage character? Work with adult voice over talents! Need one of the weirdest reasons to do so? Well, children grow fast, and several years from now, it will be difficult to record add-ons to your game audio localization with the same voice! And yes, the childish effect is better achieved during the recording itself, not at the game audio engineering stage.

  3. There’s no such rule as ‘one character—one artist.’ To reduce voiceover localization costs, consider limiting the quantity of voice talents involved. For example, for the English voiceover of the game ‘Camelot: Wrath of the Green Knight,’ 5 versatile artists lent their voices to over 20 characters! 

 

Four Practical Tips for Voice-over Localization for Video Games

For sure, the main responsibility for providing quality audio localization for a video game lies with the localization company. But there are several things game development studios and game publishers can do on their end in order to give their game voiceover localization project every possible advantage from the start.

Although you can find substantive tips on localizing audio here, below we give the most practical recommendations that can save you time, money, and sanity.

  1. Write up with a document that describes each character in detail. Specify their name, gender, and age, and describe their look, role in the game's plot, attitude towards other characters, etc. Add a screenshot of each character or, better, a video showing them in action. Assets like this are extremely valuable for proper audio localization in video games. This will help you breeze through the casting stage and minimize the risk of unsuccessful takes on the recording stage.

  2. To simplify game audio implementation, specify whether the voiceover lines should fit a specific timing, and do this before the project starts. Why, you ask? Meeting timing requirements is a job that starts as early as at the translation stage, long before the voiceover artists switch on their mics!

  3. For the sake of simpler implementation, consider ordering the audio recording with file slicing and naming included. That means cutting a long narration into pieces and giving each piece an easily recognizable name that fits the internal logic of file organization in your game.

  4. Specify your requirements for game audio post-production. Do certain voiceover files need a special touch (an added echo, robotic delivery, etc.)? Prepare references, if any, or simply provide your audio localization company with a textual description of the desired sound.

A game audio engineering example: an Avatarico case study

For one of the VR games developed by Avatarico (details here), we recorded voiceovers in English, German, Spanish, and Catalan. To enhance the effect and charge the atmosphere, the majority of audio files produced were post-processed.

Compare, for example, how the funny Robot Assitant sounded in Spanish before and after audio post-processing! For a better understanding of how powerful a game audio post-production can be, listen to the lines spoken by the Pyramid in German in both the raw and processed versions.

 

 

Five Reasons To Localize Your Game Audio With Alconost

Alconost is here to help game developers and publishers who are looking to enhance the audio experience of their games. Below you can find several reasons game & app developers entrust Alconost with their product’s audio localization. 

1. Extensive Game Localization Experience: Alconost has been providing game localization services for over 18 years. Now it’s an ISO-certified company that is familiar with the nuances of the multimedia localization industry… And has a never-ending passion for games!

 

2. Native-speaking Translators and Voiceover Artists: Alconost has a vast network of native-speaking translators and voiceover artists well-versed in game localization. They provide high-quality translations and voiceovers, accurately convey the meaning and tone of the original content, and implement their creativity and eloquence in exactly the way the customer needs.

‘Alconost gets the most out of their voice actors. Whatever you're looking for, they make it happen. :) It's nice that the company is ready to fulfill complex, unusual orders.’ — CEO at Avatarico, a VR quest developer

3. Custom Casting: Alconost offers custom voiceover selection free of charge. This helps game developers and publishers find the perfect voice actors for their characters. We at Alconost have a wide range of voice actors for a wide range of roles, and we have vast experience proposing the right actors for specific characters. Listen to the character voiceover samples in different languages below!


4. Good Feedback From Existing Customers: Alconost has been receiving positive feedback from many existing customers who have used our game audio localization services. We have helped game developers and publishers to enhance the audio experience of their games, and we’re committed to delivering high-quality work.

‘By partnering with Alconost, we were able to get quality voiceovers for our game project. Alconost's specialists were more than a match for the task. I would rate them five out of five.’ — COO at BitBox Ltd, a game development studio

5. Both Artistic and Budget-Friendly: Even if your budget is limited, subtitling for video games might not be the only option you can afford. We at Alconost help customers spend their game localization budget wisely, avoiding superfluous expenses without skimping on quality.

‘Voiceover costs are nothing that would startle developers who know the price of programmers' labor.’ — Chief Product Officer at Happymagenta, a development studio that commissioned voiceovers in 10 languages for their app from Alconost

Wrapping Up

Game audio localization is a must for game developers and publishers aiming for success in international markets. It requires a combination of technical expertise and creative talent. With Alconost's expertise in video game sound localization, you can rest assured that your game is in good hands. We are committed to providing game developers and publishers with the best possible audio localization services to help them create immersive, engaging games no matter the language. 

Get your game ready for a global launch with Alconost. Our passionate and experienced localization professionals will have you covered!

Learn More On Audio Localization

 

A well-made trailer about your game can generate interest, build hype, and drive your game's sales. However, creating an effective video game trailer is not as easy as it may seem. It requires careful planning, a deep understanding of your target audience, and the right production team. The final cost of a game trailer video depends on various factors, such as length and the complexity of graphics and animation. Here at Alconost, we have produced  over 150 game videos, including trailers and teaser trailers, and have a piece of advice on how to make a good video game trailer and what budget to plan for it. 

In a demo reel below, you can see some highlights from various game trailers and teasers produced at Alconost.

3 Factors That Drive the Video Game Trailer Cost

When dealing with game trailers, we at Alconost always consider three main factors determining game trailer price. Among them are:

1) Quantity of scenes

Similar to explainer videos, the number of scenes in a video game trailer is the factor that affects the price most. Rather than basing the pricing solely on the length of the trailer, we count the number of scenes. Each scene lasts 5—15 seconds on average. 

As soon as a game trailer aims to showcase the game's features and captivate the viewer's attention, we recommend focusing on selected features rather than stuffing the trailer with too much content. A mindful approach to scriptwriting can really help here. For example, while working on the Infinitode 2 game trailer, we followed ‘one game feature, one scene’ principle that made the game trailer easy to follow.

2) The complexity of animation

The complexity of the animation also affects the game trailer cost. Depending on the game's genre and style, the trailer may require sophisticated graphics development from scratch or 3D animation. The production cost will be higher in such cases due to the labor-intensive design work and time-consuming rendering process. On the contrary, the simpler the animation, the lower the total price. 

Good news is that even if you decide to stick to 2D animation, it doesn’t necessarily mean your video will be boring. Check out, for example, the Altar: War of Gods Trailer we made by means of 2D animation.

 

As an example of a game trailer with 3D animation, watch the Backgammon 3D Trailer below.

3) Additional assets development

Adding extra assets to the trailer can also affect its pricing. For instance, writing an original music track or developing detailed graphics  may increase the production cost. it To decide whether you need these extras or not, think of whether  they enhance the trailer's overall quality and appeal to the target audience. Based on our experience, including superfluous assets may not always be necessary.

Average Cost of Making a Video Game Trailer

The cost of a game trailer is determined by several factors, such as the number and type of scenes included in the video. This may range from 2D or 3D animated graphics, gameplay footage, or a combination of both. Additionally, the source files provided, such as artwork that may or may not be animation-ready, and gameplay recordings, can also impact the final cost. 

Furthermore, the need for different versions of the video can also increase the pricing. For example, in addition to the standard FullHD edition for YouTube, developers sometimes need shortened versions of their game trailer for advertising platforms, or versions with alternative aspect ratios. It's essential to consider these factors when determining the cost of a game trailer to ensure it meets both the developer's needs and the project's budget.

In the table below you’ll find rough estimates of production costs at Alconost for game trailers. The prices listed below include creating a script and translating it into the required language; recording the narration; purchasing a background track; storyboarding; animation; gameplay recordings cut; and audio design.

Game Trailer Pricing Budget Price Range, US dollars
  Low-budget trailer 1,000 - 2,000
  Mid-budget trailer 2,000 - 3,000
  High-budget trailer 3,000 +

 

Here you can find more specific details of video production and see how the game video cost may vary for the different types of trailers.

Summing It All Up

The cost of creating a video for a game promo can vary depending on its complexity and the number of scenes involved. While a ballpark figure of $1000 to $3000 is generally provided, this is not always the case as production costs may go beyond that. The labor intensity required for production is the key factor that affects the price. If a video consists mainly of gameplay footage and the footage is recorded in-house, the production requires fewer resources and will be on the lower end of the budget spectrum. 

However, if the video includes animated graphics, the pricing will depend on whether the art is ready for animation or if it has to be developed from scratch. Typically, 2-D animation is less expensive than 3-D. If you require multiple versions of a game promo video, make sure to include these in the budget. At Alconost, we understand that ballpark figures can sometimes be confusing, so we provide tailored price estimates for each project.

 

We can also localize your video to any language for 50 to 80% of the original cost. Localization is complex and involves translating all on-screen text, recording new screencasts, translating and recording the voice-over for video games with a native speaker, and adjusting the animation to fit the new timing.

Working with Alconost to create a video game trailer is a smart choice for game developers and CEOs. , With years of expertise under our belt and over 150 game videos produced, Alconost is willing to help you create a video trailer that effectively showcases your game and generates interest in it. Boost your game marketing and promotion: try Alconost as your game trailer production company!

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