Ukie Member Localize Direct has kindly written a report outlining the most in demand languages for game localisation in 2020.
Summary: Dutch and Nordic languages were #1 for MOBA and casino games. FIGS requests are falling down the pecking order in terms of most popular game localization languages, perhaps in part due to the somewhat lower demand of Italian and European Spanish. Delays in foreign game approvals from China’s regulators resulted in a lower showing of requests into Simplified Chinese. Polish got into the top 10 for the first time.
LocalizeDirect 2019 localization data revealed the 10 most popular languages in game localization. Most frequently, game developers translated games into German, European French, Japanese, Russian, Korean, European Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Simplified Chinese, and Polish.
These 10 languages accounted for over 80% of the overall word count, from a pool of 48 languages.
Commonly, FIGS (French, Italian, German, Spanish) were integral to game localization, accounting for around 40-45% of the total word count. Their share has now dropped to just under 37%, due to the slightly decreased demand for Italian and Spanish.
Simplified Chinese, widely spoken in mainland China, lost three percentage points, falling from 9% to 6% of the overall word count compared with the previous year. This can partly be explained by repercussions of the nine-month freeze in game licenses in PRC in 2018 that affected mobile, online and console games. Only 185 approvals were issued to foreign titles in 2019, compared to 467 in 2017.
Nevertheless, game developers still see Asia as a promising region due to a large population and high purchasing power in Japan and South Korea. Japanese, Korean, and Russian gained on popularity amongst many developers, making the top 5 after German and French.
The list of the 10 biggest languages is now supplemented with the rising star Polish (which also became one of the fastest-growing languages in the past four years), due to a large number of gamers and game dev studios in Poland.
Thai, Polish, Korean, and Japanese became the fastest growing game localization languages in the past four years, followed by Turkish and Vietnamese. Hindi and Simplified Chinese were also ranked.
There were nearly 1000 requests for Nordic languages (Swedish, Finnish, Danish, and Norwegian), and around 500 orders into Dutch, #1 in the EF English Proficiency Index, from MOBA and casino game studios.
These languages (that combined account for 10% of the whole year's orders) are not the first choice for indie developers, nevertheless, Nordic gamers are inclined to splurge more money on games in terms of individual expenses.
More about trends in game localization can be found in LocalizeDirect's 2020 report.
LocalizeDirect is a game localization company providing translation, localization QA and CMS services for the game development industry. Its offices are based in Sweden, the UK, and Vietnam with a number of sales, localization & QA managers working across the globe.
In the last 10 years, LocalizeDirect has translated around 1000 games for more than 500 international game companies.
For more information, please contact Myroslava Zaiets, Marketing Manager: