How would you translate a game into different languages?

I was just wondering say if one day I was to make a game all by myself, ready to be published, how would you translate it into different languages, what’s the cheapest way and are there any services that offer accurate language translation?

Also say if you master Japanese could you just publish the game in English and Japanese, then in the future update the game with more languages?

Also how would you make updates on your game, say if you published it through Epic Games?

Are you asking about the technical aspect or the translation itself?

Technical: Depends on the engine. In general terms it’s done like this:
Everything that needs to be translated gets a constant as a name.
For example: Button_Cancel
Then you have a lookup table for each language:
Button_Cancel = “Cancel”
If you want to add another language later, you just create another lookup table and translate all entries.

This is how it’s done usually. There is more to it though, for example different languages have different word lengths, so your controls or whatever must be large enough or have auto sizing.
Most game engines help you with these tasks.

As for the translating itself: Find a native speaker for the language you need. Don’t use automatic translation, that never turns out well.

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I didn’t understand what you said but thanks for the response, I guess I will just do what I can now and worry when it’s actually time for me to publish a game lol.

Use Google Translate to obtain raw translations. Then correct them using context translation sites like
Takes a bit of work, but you can translate pretty much everything in any language this way for free with minimal error. There are also translation sites where you can have people translate your work while you translate something for them (language exchange).

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You need to hire a professional translation service which actually employs native language speakers. You also need to make sure that the template system which you use for preparing messages and such is capable of allowing the translators to re-arrange the order of the substitutions.

So-called “I18N and L10N”{*} is a fine art.

{*} “I18N” = “I plus eighteen letters plus N” = Internationalization. “L10N” = "L plus ten letters plus N = Localization.

In every software system, these concerns have been very thoroughly studied and standardized solutions have been developed. You definitely should seek out and embrace these solutions instead of “rolling your own.”

Language services are expensive, because it is necessarily “100% human effort,” and humans are expensive. But, if your market really is international, it is money well invested.


if you ever consider to go Japanese… don’t ever use Google Translate for it! Seriously! Go to Fiverr and hire a translator.

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If the translation, as I presume, is text only and the game is opensource the possibilities are many. Like getting people around the world to do it and submit DLLs as e.g. IrfanView does.

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At the very least consulting someone who actually speaks the language (volunteer or pro) is important.
As non-english-speaking gamer I know the pain of seeing bad translations.
Like the most amusing Serious Sam 2 (probably pirate) auto-translation: simple “press fire to restart” somehow turned into “flames print non-profitability” (roughly translating back to give the sense of that horror).
That’s the worst case scenario but only those who speak target language would know. Even today there’s too many words/sentences that auto-translation takes out of context and in games that can cause A LOT of confusion.