By Yunte Moo, Regional Localization QA Manager (Asia)
Last year saw a huge swell in the number of gamers across the world.
The pandemic forced people to spend more time at home and video games provided a platform to stay entertained and connected with friends. The result, and the advent of new-generation consoles, has seen a sharp increase in demand for content creation.
As the industry continues to mature, publishers and developers are increasingly turning to specialist service providers to reduce costs, improve quality and bring new content to market faster than they can do it on their own.
This is especially true for localization quality assurance (LQA), which is a key aspect of both localizing and testing a game.
Testing for out-of-context translations, truncations, spelling, grammar, age rating issues, geopolitical and cultural sensitivities, and console manufacturer compliance requirements using native speakers is something that generally not resourced in-house by developers.
More and more people took to games in 2020 to stay connected with family and friends
At Keywords Studios, by providing consistent and reliable localization QA services, we help ensure our clients delight their players everywhere with a truly immersive experience.
Yet there remains a misconception in certain parts of our industry that third-party providers are easily replaceable. There is also the idea that immediate benefits of reduced costs outweigh the long-term positives of investing in integrated relationships.
In fact, the truth is very different.
As well as being passionate gamers themselves, those specialists working in localization QA companies are not much different from your own employees and often share similar journeys, including:
- Selection/hiring process;
Typically, these teams see themselves as an extension of their client’s organisation and are heavily invested in a quality outcome in each project they touch.
To maximise the benefits and efficiencies you can gain, there are a few fundamental ways to build better relationships with your localization QA provider.
Let’s examine how.
Get to know your LQA provider
Familiarising yourself with the localization QA company can help you understand the range of services offered and can help manage expectations for what solutions and value can be delivered.
Get to know their business, their capabilities and, importantly, their limitations. Understand what their core strengths are and what they’ve been successful at in the past.
Read case studies and how these relate to your project. Brief in the project and understand what can be included in the scope.
Understand any limitations or dependencies that they may have and respect these.
Pay close attention to the work
Develop and track meaningful performance metrics as they relate to your project.
Determining what mutual success looks like upfront and holding service providers to that goal while also being accountable as a client will incentivise cooperation.
When the bar is raised too high, some providers may seek shortcuts to deliver. If the bar is set too low, they will not have learning opportunities.
Any third-party worth collaborating with will want your project to succeed so work together to set these optimal challenges and goals.
Provider chances to fix any performance issues , as well as immediate and ongoing constructive feedback. At the same time, it’s important not to micromanage, as this tends to hold back growth.
Communicate with your service provider
This is probably the most important aspect of any partnership. Open and regular communication can be the difference between success and frustration for localization testing.
Share important data, business strategy, processes and current challenges and pain points. Anticipate, forecast and communicate your needs ahead of time.
Ask questions and allow reasonable time to answer.
Invest in their capabilities
Continuously improve and help them prosper alongside with you. If possible, provide training for any new tools or processes. Also, have joint improvement activities and provide an channel to provide feedback.
Encourage your localization QA provider to innovate and come up with new strategies, processes or technologies that improve quality or increase efficiency.
Build trust with your service provider
In most cases, players don’t blame a service provider for a badly made game, they blame the publisher or developer. Therefore, your success can be partly dependent on your provider’s performance.
Mutual success on a project engagement should lead to long-term stability and prosperity.
In similar spirit, your service provider should be obsessed with your success as your wins are theirs too.
Conclusion: Strong partnerships for long-term gains
Outsourcing is attractive to developers and publishers because it converts their fixed costs into variable costs, helps remove bottlenecks in capacity by providing access to talent as required and enables them to focus on their core competencies.
At Keywords Localization QA, see ourselves as more than just a service provider or outsourcer for one-off engagements. Instead, we look to build deep relationships with our client partners, integrating for greater quality and efficiency by acting as an extension of their teams.
Strong partnerships not only deliver cost savings, they will also reduce availability problems, delays and quality issues for your game – all of which can deliver increased value for your business.
Discover more about how Keywords Localization QA services can deliver proven, quality results for your game development project.