5 April 2020

The challenges of translating a video game into 17 languages

Andrew Webster, writing at The Verge about the process of translating the Apple Arcade video game Tangle Tower into 17 languages: Apple requires Arcade titles to be available in at least 14 languages. Webster shares great insights on the story behind this huge amount of work:

The process of localizing for so many languages isn’t necessarily a big deal for games that have minimal text, like a simple puzzle game, but it turned out to be a huge undertaking for the two-person team behind the charming detective game Tangle Tower. The game, developed by a four-person team led by brothers Tom and Adam Vian, has more than 40,000 words of in-game text, from character descriptions to the copious dialogue. The brothers had originally planned to localize the game into only a handful of languages — including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Japanese — but, due to Apple’s requirements, Tangle Tower ended up launching in 17 languages.

Very interesting, insightful article about my favourite Apple Arcade game to date and about the overall translation process.

The two or three hours I spent playing Tangle Tower were fantastic entertainment: funny, beautiful story, smart, and extremely well produced. The soundtrack was very good too.

I’ve been a subscriber of Apple Arcade since the launch, even if I only play on average one hour per week. But I have to say, Arcade might be the most underrated Apple success from the last couple of months, at least in terms of quality. The games I played were all excellent: Pilgrims, Stela, LEGO Builder’s Journey, INMOST, and of course, Tangle Tower. Considering that the subscription costs only 5 euros per month, it is certainly one hell of a bargain.


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