When releasing a game in a local market, you want to ensure it works flawlessly. Game localization testing, like any other procedure, may be time-consuming, repetitive, and error-prone, mainly when dealing with several languages and locales. It’s time to automate.
Let’s look at the unique issues that mobile game localization testing provides and solutions to ensure a smooth and effective process.
The Three Primary Levels of Game Localization Testing
Localization quality assurance (LQA), often known as game localization testing, is the final step in creating a fully linguistically and culturally adapted video game.
After all preceding phases, including translation, voice-over, design localization, and integration of those parts into the final version of the game, have been accomplished, the LQA guarantees that everything fits with players’ preferences and expectations.
LQA is focused on determining the quality of a video game on three different levels: linguistic, visual, and functional.
Linguistic Quality Control
On the first level, linguistic game testing examines if a game’s text has been appropriately and consistently localized. During this step, language testers look for the following types of errors:
- Grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors
- Word-for-word translations: Literal translations that ignore nuances and idiomatic phrases in the language result in awkward-sounding sentences with no natural flow.
- Strings that have not been translated: The text was not correctly included in the game’s programming.
- Inconsistencies in vocabulary, speech tone, or style
- Numerical formats and conversions that are incorrect: Date formats or units of measurement that were not changed for the target culture
- Culturally insensitive references: Inappropriate or perplexing references to cultural or historical events, figures, or customs
Visual Quality Control
The second level is Visual QA, which is primarily focused on ensuring that visuals, images, and text look appropriately on the screen. Localization testers are likely to encounter at least some of the mistakes listed below:
- Text overflow: The text can become much larger when translating your game into some languages.
- Text being chopped off the screen or overlapping with other game components, such as graphics and buttons, are examples of user interface issues.
- Misaligned subtitles: When the subtitles in a game do not precisely match the voice-over time.
- Synchronization problems: The audio is out of sync with the characters’ lip movements.
- Culturally incorrect graphics are images, symbols, and colors that have not been changed, censored, or eliminated.
Functional Quality Control
Then there’s the Functional QA level, which comes from an engineering standpoint. Functional errors are faults that may have a negative impact on the user experience. The LQA reviewers may notice the following:
- Keyboard mismatch: Some languages utilize special characters that the game’s code or font may not support, resulting in character display issues.
- Broker links: links to resources that are unavailable in the localized game.
- Software/application performance issues: The game freezes or runs slower than expected.
- Compatibility problems: When the localized versions of a game are incompatible with other operating systems or devices.
The Challenges of Mobile Game Localization Testing
Mobile game localization testing presents unique issues not found in regular PC or console gaming. Here are a few of the major challenges:
1. Scarce Screen Real Estate
Because mobile devices have limited screen space, text localization can be difficult. Text that has been translated may not fit into UI elements, creating text overflow or impacting the overall user interface design.
Solution: Create a user interface that is adaptable to multiple font lengths. To support longer strings, use simple translations and a text expansion approach, such as dynamic text scaling or scrollable text boxes.
2. Distinctive Device Fragmentation
The Android ecosystem, on its own, includes various devices with varied screen sizes, resolutions, and hardware capabilities. It can be challenging to ensure consistent gameplay and performance across this dispersion.
Solution: Regularly run the game on various devices with varying screen sizes and hardware requirements. Use mobile game testing solutions that provide access to several devices for thorough testing.
3. Monetization and In-App Purchases
Many mobile games rely on in-app purchases (IAPs) to generate cash. Testing localized IAPs includes checking translated content and ensuring that payment procedures and local currency integration function properly.
Solution: Work with payment service providers to ensure currency compatibility and operation. Create sandbox settings for testing IAPs in the absence of actual financial transactions.
4. Continual Updates and Agile Development
Involve localization teams early to integrate localization testing into the agile development workflow. Continuous integration and automated testing can be used to speed up testing new materials and upgrades.
Solution: Involve localization teams early in the process to integrate localization testing into the agile development workflow. Continuous integration and automated testing can be used to speed up the testing of new materials and upgrades.
5. Resource Constraints
Mobile devices have limited processing power and memory compared to PCs and consoles. It is critical to ensure that the game works smoothly and without performance difficulties on various devices.
Solution: Improve game performance by profiling and testing on low-end devices regularly. To ensure a seamless gaming experience, use graphics and resource settings that can be changed based on device capabilities.
Best Practices and Solutions
Follow these best practices and implement the following methods to solve the obstacles of mobile game localization testing:
1. Early Preparation and Collaboration
Begin planning for localization and testing early in the game development process. Involve a localization testing company and experts early in the design process to anticipate and address localization issues.
2. Standardized Terminology and Style Guides
Create a detailed style guide and terminology database to maintain linguistic uniformity across the game. This guide should include information about character names, item descriptions, and any in-game backstory.
3. Tools for Automated Testing
Identify text overflow, formatting errors, and linguistic anomalies using automated testing methods. Automated testing can help speed up testing and spot problems early on.
4. Actual Player Reaction
Through beta testing, gather feedback from genuine players in the target markets. This vital information can reveal issues that were previously undetected during internal testing.
5. Iterative Process
Iterative testing for game localization should be used. To improve the localized gaming experience, collect feedback regularly, update translations, and refine the user interface.
6. Quality Assurance Teams for Localization
Engage specialized localization QA teams with mobile game testing experience. These groups are familiar with the special issues of mobile gaming and can offer extensive localization testing services.
7. Load Testing
Simulate varied network conditions and server loads to guarantee that multiplayer and online features work consistently across multiple regions.
8. Cultural Awareness
When localizing mobile games, keep cultural sensitivity in mind. What is accepted in one culture may be insulting in another.
Localization testing for mobile games is essential in ensuring that your game is appealing to a global audience. Game developers can deliver a localized mobile gaming experience that is not only linguistically accurate but also culturally sensitive and technically flawless by understanding and addressing the unique challenges associated with mobile gaming and implementing the solutions and best practices outlined in this article. As a result, they will be able to tap into the enormous potential of the global mobile gaming market and develop successful and engaging experiences for players worldwide.