Translation’s role in the rise of mobile apps and games


I attended a wonderful panel last week that talked about the globalization of mobile apps and games. Based on their conversation, the mobile gaming industry is growing at high velocity. Although opinions differ, it’s been speculated by many that by 2015, the industry’s annual revenue is expected to reach $50 billion.

For companies trying to maximize their piece of that pie, dominating secondary markets is a critical strategy.

The connectivity of the World Wide Web allows people of all countries and languages to access games that were not necessarily launched for their market. For games using the “Freemium” model, this does little to help the bottom line.

Freemium: A game is provided free of charge, but a user can pay a premium for better functionality, features, and related products and services.

Globalization can help with that road bump, because it’s much more than translation. It is a process a company must employ early on to prepare its product(s) for success in other countries.

This can mean culturalization, where aspects of the game are altered per geographic location, based on local politics, religious beliefs, popular culture, etc., as well as language translation. By doing this, the marketing department will be better able to sell ads to geographically relevant businesses, increasing profits for mobile apps that are free to users.

While this approach could increase the bottom line, excessive market research should be done to determine how much return on investment (ROI) can be achieved by entering new markets.

The main points of this blog post were taken from the 2012 Internationalization and Localization Conference.


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