As the world becomes more interconnected, gaming translation becomes essential. The gaming industry has grown exponentially in recent years, and the future looks bright. Games have become a universal language, bringing people from all corners of the world together. However, with different cultures and languages comes the challenge of translating games for a global audience.
And you must know: a large part of this audience speaks Portuguese. In this article, we will see the importance of translation and localization of electronic games. Most importantly, how adaptation titles to Portuguese can attract millions of players and help build a solid game community.
The Importance of Game Translation
Video games have evolved from a niche market to a billion-dollar industry. Game developers are now creating titles with a global audience in mind, and gaming translation has become a crucial element in the development process. Games that are not translated into other languages risk losing a significant portion of potential players.
Translating games into multiple languages is essential for reaching new markets and expanding the player base. It is a strategic decision that can ultimately increase revenue and strengthen the brand’s global presence. Additionally, gamers who do not speak the game’s original language can enjoy it in their native language, enhancing the gaming experience.
Why Translating to Portuguese Matters
Numbers matter a lot! Portuguese is the sixth most widely spoken language on the planet, with over 200 million native speakers. This includes populations from Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, and several others. By translating a game into Portuguese, game developers can reach a significant portion of the world’s population and expand their player base.
Furthermore, the gaming industry is growing rapidly in Portuguese-speaking countries. Brazil, for example, is the largest gaming market in Latin America, with over 75 million gamers, and the forecasts say that this number will grow more and more. By translating games into Portuguese, game developers can tap into this growing market and increase their revenue.
A language left aside.
Knowing the market size for Portuguese-speaking games, it is astonishing that many game publishers have left this player base aside for so many years. Portuguese is one of the most forgotten languages between big and small productions, with many franchises adapting to this market only in the last few years.
There is a long list of games that have neglected Portuguese language players. For example, franchises like God of War, Assassin’s Creed and Resident Evil started their campaigns with no support for the Portuguese language. Even in more recent versions, the options for Portuguese speakers were very limited. Some titles only have European Portuguese subtitles and no Portuguese at all for dubbing.
To get an idea, it was only in Resident Evil Village, from 2021, that the franchise could count on Portuguese dubbing. Another huge title, Silent Hill, which announced its remake Silent Hill 2 in 2022, to the surprise of fans, only had support in European Portuguese, despite having support for two versions of Spanish and Chinese.
One of the most shocking cases is from the Japanese developer Nintendo, who for many years refused any kind of translation or localisation for its games. However, thanks to pressure from the public, who even had to open online petitions, the company turned around and began considering the transition of their games to suit the audience.
The Good Ones
Ragnarok Online – Gravity Corporation
But obviously, not all companies fail when distributing their games on the global market. Many bestsellers and even indie companies know the market potential and do not let their games fall behind. We have great examples, such as Overwatch from Blizzard Entertainment, which was highly praised by the community for its dubbing. Also, several games from the giant Riot Games are known for their excellent translations and localizations in their many games: League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra, Valorant and others.
The image above shows a sample of the game Ragnarok Online, which has been a resounding success in Brazil. Part of this success is due to the brilliant adaptation to the language. In this image, the Bard class uses their Frost Joke ability, a joke with a chance of freezing enemies. All jokes were adapted to the Brazilian culture with the community’s help. That’s one of the reasons Ragnarok already has more than 20 years of release but continues to be played in Tupiniquis lands. This is how it is done!
The dubbing and localisation of games have become so vital to the gaming industry that it is even an award category in the Game Awards, the Oscars of games. See the list of winners of the best dubbing from the last years for Brazilian Portuguese.
- 2019: Mortal Kombat 11
- 2020: The Last of Us Part II
- 2021: Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy
- 2022: God of War Ragnarok
It is Not Just About Translation
It is important to know that translating is not everything when adapting games. Localisation is essential, otherwise your efforts will fall short when they reach the screen.
Localization is adapting the game to cover the nuances of language, culture and even regulations each country has. This is an extremely delicate process and is directly correlated to a game’s success in a determined region. We have already written an article on the subject, which can be checked on our blog.
See in this example how vital localization work is. In the following image, we have a card from the Legends of Runeterra game, a card game from the aforementioned Riot Games. To adapt to different markets, some cards have different versions of their artwork. This is because, in some countries, images that contain violence, alcohol, blood, and skeleton shapes, among others, are not allowed.
Legends of Runeterra – Riot Games
The Future of Gaming Translation and Localization
The gaming industry’s growth is showing no signs of slowing down, on the contrary. Indicators show that the market will grow even more in the coming years, reaching the $300 billion mark before 2030, and is an excellent area for investment. No matter if the game is released on smartphones, PC or consoles, gaming translation will continue to be a vital element in the development process. With the rise of cloud gaming, which enables gamers to stream games from anywhere in the world, the need for gaming translation will only increase.
Advancements in machine translation technology have also made gaming translation more efficient and accurate. However, machine translation cannot replace human translators’ cultural understanding and contextual knowledge, which are essential for accurate and appropriate translations.
Final Thoughts on Game Translation and Localization
EVO Championship – Biggest eSport event for fighting games
Gaming translation plays a crucial role in the gaming industry, enabling gamers worldwide to enjoy the same gaming experience. It is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of the target audience’s culture and preferences. Gaming translators must possess the skills to accurately translate game content while preserving the game’s context and tone.
With the gaming industry’s continued growth, gaming translation will remain an essential element in the development process, ensuring that games are accessible to a global audience. Want to reach them? Contact us today, and we’ll assist you in reaching an audience of 200+ million users.