Ogdc 2007 David Lakritz

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Games Localization

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Ogdc 2007 David Lakritz

  1. 1. Optimizing Your Localization Pipeline for a Dynamic Universe David Lakritz President & CEO Language Automation, Inc.
  2. 2. Overview • Definitions • Analyzing the LP • Optimizing the LP • Localization in the world of MMOGs • Conclusions • Q & A
  3. 3. Definitions
  4. 4. Localization “The process of adapting a game for a specific country” • Conceptual • Translation • Text-based assets
  5. 5. Pipeline “A set of data processing elements connected in series, so that the output of one element is the input of the next one. ” • H/W – S/W term • Structured process • Visual representation
  6. 6. Simplified Localization Pipeline Organize Assets Translate Integrate Build/Test Fix bugs
  7. 7. Optimizing the Pipeline
  8. 8. Why? • Better quality • Reduced schedule risk • Lower cost  Enhances gaming experience
  9. 9. How? Analyze the pipeline to find bottlenecks • Software engineering concepts • Qualitative data • “Weakest link in the chain” Reduce / eliminate bottlenecks
  10. 10. If it costs $10 to make a program change during development, it will probably cost $400 to do it after the system is in the field. - R.S. Pressman (1992) Software Engineering: A Practitioner's Approach
  11. 11. Once a piece of software makes it into the field, the cost of fixing an error can be 100 times as high as it would have been during the development stage. - Robert N. Charette (2005) Why Software Fails [IEEE Spectrum]
  12. 12. It is about 40-100 times more expensive to fix problems in the maintenance phase of a program than in the design phase. - B.W. Boehm (1981) Software Engineering Economics
  13. 13. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Translation Integration Linguistic Testing Post-Ship $ $$$$ $$$$$$$$$$$ S/W Engineering  Localization Relative Cost of FixingRelative Cost of Fixing Translation ErrorsTranslation Errors
  14. 14. Qualitative Data • Poor translations  Retranslate  cost up  schedule slip • Corrupted files during translation  Delayed asset integration  cost up  schedule slip • Poor communication  Extensive rewriting  cost up  schedule slip
  15. 15. “Weakest Link in the Chain” Organize Assets Translate Integrate Build/Test Fix bugs  Lack of Control
  16. 16. Bottlenecks 1. Translation Step 2. Interfaces to Translation Team
  17. 17. 1. Translation Step
  18. 18. 2. Interfaces to Translation Team
  19. 19. Interfaces to Translation Team • L10n vendor as part of process • Not just afterthought • Streamlined communication • Start early
  20. 20. Key Questions for Developers • How to choose a l10n vendor? • What kinds of information to communicate? • What should the interfaces look like?
  21. 21. Selecting a Vendor • Process, Process, Process • Tools • Experience
  22. 22. Selecting a Vendor (Process) • Process vs. Event • Well-developed workflow • Management control & reporting • Compatibility
  23. 23. Selecting a Vendor (Tools) • File handling • QA tools • Length checkers • Terminology/glossary management
  24. 24. What to Communicate? > Concept diagrams > Gameplay flowcharts > Playable copy of the game, if possible > As much context as possible > Character descriptions > Glossary or dictionary of game items and game elements
  25. 25. What to Communicate? • Timely updates • Status • Schedule changes  Think of vendor as part of the production team
  26. 26. Interfaces • Set clear expectations • Single point of contact • Avoid adding unnecessary layers • Channel not filter
  27. 27. MMOGs and the Localization Pipeline
  28. 28. How are MMOGs different? • Support for multiple concurrent languages • Server-based, so unique opportunity to update the game while it’s being played  Dynamic Content • User-generated content
  29. 29. Implications for the LP • Need a process to handle content that rapidly changes • Need to store the content efficiently • Server can push new localized text out to the clients (like patching) • Need a more streamlined workflow and interfaces
  30. 30. Example MMOG Localization Architecture
  31. 31. Handling dynamic content (1) • Need highly optimized pipeline • Automated tools a must • Need good, streamlined interfaces for good communication with vendor • Need to make the vendor part of your team
  32. 32. Handling dynamic content (2) • Move l10n closer to content authoring • Need Content Management System to orchestrate the workflow • Make l10n part of the development/creative process and not just an afterthought
  33. 33. Conclusions • Translation/localization is a process not an activity • Tools can help automate/streamline the process • Good communication on "both sides of the fence" is crucial • Choose your localization vendor carefully • As content becomes more dynamic, think Content Management and integrate the vendor closer to your production flow
  34. 34. Questions? Copy of presentation: http://www.lai.com/games.html Contact: dave@lai.com

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