Let's be honest: A couple of years back, our Terminology Manager, Edu Ferrer, was the sole person in the company who really knew what esports is all about. An esports player himself and having worked on a lot of localization projects for video games played in esports tournaments, Edu instantly became our go-to esports wizard as we started tapping into the potential of this field.
Helping esports brands with their global reach
Our Business Manager, Michele Spiteri, is a different type of wizard - a business wizard. Almost all of our clients are involved in gaming and sports, and it's no surprise that the iGaming community have great interest in the enormous growth potential of esports. With her hat-full of business acumen, Michele quickly identified the upsides of All-in Translations offering to help esports brands with their global reach and rollout. It was decided that she should draw up a detailed plan of execution.
While working on this plan, we have simultaneously geared up to cater for esports clients by recruiting esports translators and copywriters, and creating esports glossaries. We even started projects with big names like Pinnacle, Luckbox and chiliZ, and we have learned that esports localization is a challenge which requires a great deal of finesse. Without further ado, here are the 5 essentials all companies should keep in mind when localizing esports content.
1: Terminology varies from game to game
That esports lingo varies game to game should come as no surprise. After all, we don’t see precisely the same terminology in different variations of racket sport. What makes lingo variations an especially burdensome obstacle within the esports industry, however, is the exact depth of each games’ terminology. The most basic glossary for any of the major esports games can easily go beyond 200 terms (with which dedicated players will most certainly be familiar). Some of these terms will be consistent across esports genres. For example, a Dota2 writer is likely to grasp the basics of League of Legends since both games are MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas), while Fortnite experts will understand PlayerUnknown’s Battleground as they are both so-called battle royale games.
But even out of those esports writers thoroughly familiar with a specific esports genre, few can cover more than one esports game comprehensively. What does this mean for your brand’s esports content creation? To convince your audience of your authority within competitive video gaming, an experienced esports writer should only be assigned the content related to their game expertise. This writer needs to know their speciality game inside out, stay up-to-date on relevant news and understand that particular game’s community - all the while being able to produce selling and persuasive copy. If finding the right esports writer in time for an upcoming content project seems a bit ambitious - then that’s what we’re here for!
2: Esports readers have high expectations
Following on from the previous point, you may be wondering whether your market’s esports readers could really be so pedantic and unforgiving as to turn their noses at esports content which does not demonstrate expertise. Well, perhaps some of them are forgiving - but esports fans are incredibly well-versed in their favourite sport. Unlike in football or horse racing, where even casual viewers enjoy wagering bets, those who bet on esports are almost definitely going to be extremely knowledgeable in the game on which they bet. This also has them expecting betting options which are truly unique to the game.
In other words, an esports specialization is not always enough. Esports betting specialization will give you an edge over other brands in that you can offer bets which truly take the game’s particularities into account and thereby better appeal to the game’s fans. Since esports betters do not only value monetary reward, but can also consider ingame items and other prizes as winnings, it pays for esports betting brands to think outside the box. This way, you can establish your brand as one that truly understand esports and instill trust in esports fans looking to place bets.
3: There’s a lack of lingo consensus
We’ve already discussed the terminology differences between games, but here is where it gets tricky. The same game’s lingo can differ between different markets too. For example, a Swedish localization of esports content will see a lot of gaming terms remain in English. Russian esports content, meanwhile, sees a greater number of gaming terms translated. In some languages, there may be no general consensus on how to translate a particular term.
What becomes important here, therefore, is consistency across your localized content. A writer needs to pick a translation (or intentionally choose not to translate) based on what is most appropriate for their market’s reader base. From an SEO perspective, this also has implications. If you’re trying to attract visitors with stellar content that covers game strategy and updates you could be missing out on exposure in the SERPs simply because your terminology translations do not reflect the most commonly searched vocab in that market’s Google.
All-in Translations portfolio of language services include SEO keyword localization and strategic structuring as well as professional link building and content outreach.
4: Grammar can be a grey area
Choosing how to localize a particular gaming term is sometimes only half the struggle. Verb tenses can be tricky. For example, ‘rush’ is a popular term in esports games. In CS:GO, a team could ‘rush’ a bomb site - which is to say they all charge through a site rather than attempt to strategically manoeuvre through the area (a team might choose to rush when the numbers are in their favour). In past tense, you would therefore describe a team as having ‘rushed’. But in languages where the English term remains the same, verb tenses can prove problematic. A Swedish writer might employ the past tense ‘rushade’. So far, so good. But sometimes there will be alternative viewpoints on how to best translate verb tenses for clarity of meaning and best grammar.
A Spanish CS:GO writer might translate the present tense of the term as ‘rushear’. ‘Rushear’ is feminine (la rush), though strictly the translation of ‘rushing’ should be ‘atacar’, which in its infinitive form would be masculine (el ataque). We can draw another example of grammar conundrums from League of Legends, where a ‘tank’ refers to the character able to withstand the most damage. You’ll see that Spanish esports writers often translate the ‘tank’ as ‘el tanque’ or ‘un tanque’ - but you’ll also see them using the feminine ‘la tanque’ or ‘una tanque’. Consistency in your esports content becomes especially important in that game grammar is a grey area.
5: Regional differences should define content approach
Properly localizing content for a new market requires special attention to regional gaming trends. Game popularity, preferred tactics and esports communities are varied across the world. In Asia, you’ll see that fantasy games like League of Legends are by far more popular than titles like CS:GO. In America, meanwhile, shooters seem to be the preference. Europeans are mixed - game popularity differs from country to country, but Europe also has the most competitive leagues so the level of skill amongst European players is extremely high.
It’s not just attitudes towards games that may differ across markets, however. Sometimes the game itself differs. Germany, for example, is famed for censoring certain aspects of video games (such as by toning down on blood and gore, or by removing political symbols). A writer or localization expert should seek to apply such regional knowledge when adapting content to make it as relevant as possible to a target audience.
We’ve established that esports content writing and localization is no walk in the park - but only because esports is an exciting, new and fast developing industry that appeals across the globe. When you’re looking to launch your esports brand in a new market, get in touch to find out how All-in Translations can make the expansion as expertly seamless as possible with our team of esports writers at hand.