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Subtitles are Enough and Other Stories - Research Report

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This is a summary of the research project completed by All Correct staff in April-June 2015 and presented at Game QA & Localisation Forum Barcelona.
Do players skip a lot of text when playing? Do they prefer voiceovers over subtitles? What’s their attitude to swear-words and memes? What localization errors are most irritating to the gamers? Can they name the best and worst voice overs? Are female players more sensitive to gender-neutral address? A survey published on a major gaming portal contained several dozen structured questions, and gathered a massive 1,800+responses. We also applied qualitative methods to a narrower focus group for deeper insights.

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Subtitles are Enough and Other Stories - Research Report

  1. 1. What Russian players think makes a good localization: research report Anastasia Kosareva, Demid Tishin Barcelona 2015
  2. 2. Session outline Presentation • Research background, goals and design • Overview of survey respondents • Summary of responses • Focus group: hypotheses and key findings • Summary • Lessons learned • Future steps Discussion • Application scenarios
  3. 3. Why research? • Establish communication with end-users • Identify bottlenecks in localization production • Improve workflows on dev side and loc side • Improve image of localization vendors in gaming community
  4. 4. Objectives • Publish research summary for all stakeholders as widely as possible • Involve publishers in discussion • Update own work instructions and loc specification defaults
  5. 5. Design • Open survey on a major gaming portal – www.riotpixels.ru – 1800+ responses – 95% responses gathered over 1 week • Representative focus-group – 100 respondents matching publicly available player distribution reports (gender, age and platforms) – Respondents with more detailed answers were preferred – Inductive analysis – Hypotheses testing
  6. 6. The respondents
  7. 7. Do they care?
  8. 8. Localization depth
  9. 9. Voiceover
  10. 10. RU voiceovers they love
  11. 11. Best voiceovers, 100 respondents
  12. 12. RU voiceovers they hate
  13. 13. Worst voiceovers, 100 respondents
  14. 14. And the winners are…
  15. 15. Best voiceovers (net score) 100 respondents
  16. 16. Text localization – fluency
  17. 17. Text localization – accuracy
  18. 18. Text localization – design
  19. 19. Fan or official?
  20. 20. Focus group research
  21. 21. Pains
  22. 22. Mentions of localization issues, 100 respondents
  23. 23. Gains
  24. 24. Mentions of localization merits, 100 respondents
  25. 25. Some hypotheses we checked • Gamers with a higher proficiency in English prefer to play games in their original language – confirmed • Women are more sensitive to gender-neutral address – not confirmed: both men and women dislike it • Mobile gamers are more tolerant of errors than PC gamers – controversial: close-type answers show that language fluency is equally important in the two groups, but mobile gamers were 4 times less active naming loc issues in open answers. Could be explained by less text in mobile games • Hardcore gamers are more tolerant of gaming slang – confirmed • RPG gamers are less sensitive to abbreviations – not confirmed. Most sensitive: simulation / tycoon players, least sensitive – arcade & puzzle players • Hardcore gamers are less sensitive to memes – the opposite correlation shows. Could be explained by bigger immersion of hardcore gamers
  26. 26. Summary • Good localization is important for UX, but it’s not the decisive factor in player's loyalty • Voiceover is appreciated – provided there’s a language switch, and voices sound natural and match characters • Subtitles are crucial, and should match video • The majority of Russian players read all in-game text • Mistranslations are common and irritating • Bad fonts, truncations, abbreviations and gender-neutral address all spoil UX • Russian players pay attention to text fluency, spelling and grammar • Realisitic speech registers are crucial for UX • Swearings are generally appreciated, while gaming slang and memes are a thumbs-down • Players lack means to give feedback on loc dtishin@allcorrectgames.com
  27. 27. Lessons learned • There’s little or no correlation between age / gender / language proficiency and core responses • Focus on correlations between platforms / genres / time spent on gaming and localization preferences instead • Double-check questions for clarity • Use rubrics instead of open-type questions • Sampling – use multiple / general survey platforms (Facebook?) dtishin@allcorrectgames.com
  28. 28. Future steps  Involve publishers in discussion • Create a mailing list • Distribute research summary for all stakeholders as widely as possible July 2015 • Update own work instructions and loc specification defaults • Initiate a wider-scale research • Project facilitation meeting: Las Vegas QA & Loc Forum Dec 2015 • Prepare and circulate a best practices paper dtishin@allcorrectgames.com
  29. 29. What can we change? • Give loc vendors more time • Give loc vendors more context (builds, please :) • Enable efficient communication between dev and loc • Develop common requirements to localization quality experts • Dev: go deep with loc engineering – language switch, fonts, text resizing and grammatical tokens • Loop back to loc vendor for overall check before release dtishin@allcorrectgames.com

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