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Thought Leadership

What is Desktop Publishing Localization (DTP)?

Desktop Publishing or DTP Localization is a specialised branch of localization that combines artistic and technical capabilities with localization to adapt out of game content, particularly in formats with fixed spaces like print, 2D images, or videos.

Date Published: 01/12/2023
People with colour charts working at a computer

1. What is Desktop Publishing?

As games become increasingly impactful in popular culture, so too does the amount of content players and fans around the world crave from their favorite IPs outside the game itself. This content can range from a board game resembling the mechanics of your favorite Trading Card Game, a web comic set in the universe of an MMO, a promotional video explaining the new features of the latest auto battler patch, a printed instruction manual made as memorabilia and so much more.

Whether the format is a physical printed object, a 2D image or a multimedia video, all these pieces made by developers and publishers outside of the game require thoughtful, culturally relevant localization to fully engage people. This specific service is what we call Desktop Publishing or DTP Localization.

2. Why is DTP different from the rest of game localization?

For DTP, format makes a substantial difference. While the act of translating content might work in the same way for a web comic as for the game it is inspired by, the implementation of these translations is not in the same format. 

This generates a set of specific necessities for the creators of the content and the need for a different type of service.

Adding the localized dialogue to a comic, for example, requires fitting it to the bubbles on each page. These bubbles were made to fit the original text, which might even use a completely different writing structure. Think, for example, how complex it can be to fit German text in a space made for Japanese writing (which goes up-down). Same goes for the text in a promotional video, with the added difficulty of having not only to make the content fit in a set space, but also to replicate the animations and effects so two people seeing the same video in different languages have the exact same experience.

3. What are the challenges involved with DTP?

The challenges of DTP when compared to those of game localization come from the artistic and technical skills needed to fit the localized content in fixed spaces on formats less flexible than in-game text. 

At Keywords Studios, we have solved these challenges by merging our localization and art teams. The former support with fully localizing the content and feeding it through to the latter, who use their skills as artists and their knowledge of image and video editing software to implement it in the required format.

By combining these teams and their knowledge we can partner with our clients to deliver finalised assets.