Did you know that US companies lose roughly $50 billion in potential sales every year because of problems associated with translation and localization? It’s true, just ask the U.S. State Department if you don’t believe me.
I came across that statistic in a recent article by David Marino in which he asks the question: Should I localize my mobile app?
Short answer: yes, but it’s not all about the money.
If you want your game or company to move beyond being a local product, you need to think global, and if you want your product to compete successfully with other native products, you need to localize it. This goes beyond simple translating.
What follows is a great discussion of how to best achieve localization success. He talks about big picture stuff (i.e. whyL10N is vital), tactical details (i.e. fonts & languages) and most importantly, how to select a partner to make the process run smoothly. Let’s take a quick at each of these points (notes added in parenthesis):
Localization helps reinforce the impression that the game (or app) was carefully crafted and tailored for each market, rather than simply “mass-produced” for worldwide consumption. Finally, it allows your game to build credibility by demonstrating that you care about the customs and sensitivities of other cultures.