Darkest Dungeon
Russian Localization Test Drive
Darkest Dungeon Russian Localization Test Drive
The indie developers who promote their own games are aware of the localization's importance. Yes, many gamers understand English pretty well, but, still, the localization can help build a stronger game's community in foreign countries and even increase its sales.

Most gamers who don't speak English still prefer searching for only for those Steam games that have the subtitles or voiceover in their native language. So, localization is important if you want to sell your games outside the USA or UK. The voiceover is more complicated thing to do for indie developers, while the localization through subtitles is a quicker and more affordable solution.

When it comes to the localization of an English-native game, indie developers has a few options to choose from:

  • Google Translate;

  • Fans;

  • Friends who agreed to help with the translation;

  • Professional localization studios.

The first option is pointless. Don't even try it. Google Translate can't help you, especially with Russian or Chinese languages. The short phrases can be translated pretty well. But the longer phrases will completely lose their meaning and become a senseless rubbish.

If you have a loyal fan community that is ready to translate your game for free and even before the official release on Steam, consider yourself a lucky one. However, despite the fan's loyalty and passion, many fan-made translations are bad and frequently lose the important context during the translation. Also, many fan-supported translations stop the halfway because you can't ask people work for free till the end, especially if they've lost interest or simply have no time to continue.

The same can be said about friends — they can't promise the excellent and complete translation timely.

The only option if you want a good localization is the professional translation. Yes, it costs money, but the expansion of the target audience for your game thanks to the professional localization is definitely worth it. And even the professional localization studios can make mistakes and lose the context meaning during the translation. That is why it is important to find the experienced and truly dedicated localization specialists who play the game before translating and are really prone to translate it in the right way. Unfortunately, only a few companies can offer such professional localization services for indie developers without the necessity to spend the transcendental budget.

This information is the food for thought. Further, we want to review the recent Russian text localization of the popular indie project The Darkest Dungeon.

First things first, the localization from English to Russian for this particular game was done at the decent level. However, being the native Russian speakers, we have noticed the mistakes that are common to many, even official AAA localization projects.

Context mistakes

This is the most common problem for all translations, including the process of any game's localization. This happens when the translators have not played the game completely or work on different parts of the game, without discussing the common context, terms, names, etc.
The Russian translation of the simple English phrase "The game expect a lot from you" was translated as "We expect a lot from our gamers". Why "we"? It seems to Russian gamers that developers expect a lot from them, instead of the challenging gaming process.
Misprints and lost words

We are all human beings and can "lose" the letters or even words during the translation. That is why it is important to test and check how the translation looks at the every stage of editing and adding new translated pieces to the game's code.

Russian version screenshot.

Instead of the conjunction "and" (Russian "и") we have the Russian letter "с" that can be translated as "with".
English version screenshot
The Russian word "готовы" (eng. "ready") between the words "будете" (be) and "начать" (begin) is missed. Instead of the sentence that can be translated to English as "…when you will be ready to start…", gamers read "…when you will be to start…"
Non-translated parts

Inattention of the translators is also the main reason why this happens. Double check is important.
This line was not translated, though it could be.
The names of all characters are not translated. Russian players can't even relate to the characters because not all of them know how to pronounce their names.
The word for word translation is not always necessary or good

Sometimes you just can't translate word for word. You need to take into account the cultural differences, set expression, the local analogues of the proverbs, etc. Otherwise, the translation will look illogical, ridiculous or even offensive. That is the reason to use the service only of the native Russian speakers when ordering the localization.
For example, the word "Resistances" doesn't have the used plural form in Russian. But, still the translators used it in order to translate word for word. Why? They could use the word "Стойкость" или "Устойчивость" and the meaning could remain the same, without looking odd.
"Неумолчный" (that can be literally translated as "unsilenced" – yes, it sounds equally bad in Russian) is the word that the gamer sees at the intro loading screen.
Instead the English word "unrelenting" from the original version can be translated as "неумолимый". It sounds very close to "неумолчный" but it is the closest to context and really used in colloquial Russian speech. This is an example of the bad translation that shows that a translator confused two similar by spelling words.
Another example of the bad word for word translation is "Death's Door". The Russian translation used the phrase "Герой при смерти" that can be translated to English as "Hero is dying".
Graphics and fonts

The default fonts and design are important factors to consider when adding translation to the other language to your game. In this particular case, the Russian localization team of The Darkest Dungeon did a great job, but still there are a few examples when the translated phrases don't look very good with the default design.
Check these 2 screenshots. English words look great, while the Russian words were cut, though they could be fit into this frame without problems.
Another example of the word not fitting into the frame. And again that bad translation of the word "Resistance".
Darkest Dungeon Russian Localization Quality: 3/5

Surely, you may say that these are the small details that don't affect the full translation. But, if you pay for the localization services, you probably want the translated version to be flawless, don't you? What do you think about translating your indie game to different languages? We will be glad to receive your feedback.

All photo materials and logos belong to their owners and are used for demonstration purposes only.

Copyright Noitatech Oy, 2017.