Are you a translator thinking about specializing in game translation and localization? Below you will find are a few resources that will guide you through the process. The resources are organized according to the skill they develop. Most
game translators learn these skills on the job, since the number of formal education bodies
that include game localization in their curriculum seems very low. Although there are several private online courses and
workshops, I have not took or attend any of them, and therefore the list will contain none.

From a work perspective, game localization is broadly similar to software localization, since in both, translators have to work with fragmented and space-restricted strings. Moreover, most projects have tight deadlines, and need frequent updates and long-term support. This is perfectly understandable, because in many ways, games ares a type of software. Content-wise, however, game localization is an overlap of literary translation, AVT, and technical translation (with its own distinctive aspects, of course). This unique combination means that game localizers have to wear different hats at different times, and makes the task of comprehending video games text and producing a high-quality localization impossible unless they focused on developing a wide range of skills.

The first skill is familiarity with video games, game culture, and the game industry. This includes history of video games, the numerous game genres, gaming terminology, industry leaders, the different gaming platforms, and the major franchises. Additionally, it pays to study about game development and QA, since this enables you to clearly see where localization fits in the development process, and understand the limitations imposed by this medium.

Games, like movies and books, are cultural products, and therefore, being knowledgeable about the source culture is vital for making sense of all the references that might appear in them. Additionally, many games today includes allusions to items that belongs to the global pop culture, making it necessary to familiarize oneself with them too.

The previous skills had to do with the comprehension part of the localization process. The production part, on the other hand, calls for additional set of skills. Obviously, good writing ability is crucial for all types of translations. However, it plays a far more significant role in game localization. Similar to literary translators, game localizers have to write in different
styles and voices, in order to immerse the player in the game world and elevate the experience. In comparison, style is of secondary value when translating medical or technical texts, and sometimes not
important at all, since comprehensibility and clarity takes precedence over it.

connected to the previous skill is creativity. Honestly, I do not know if creativity could be learned. You have to try for yourself. What I know for sure is that being creative is a requirement for successfully creating lively texts and adapting names, humor,
cultural references, and so on. Some programs might include creative writing in their training, but again, how effective this is
could be disputed. This does not mean that practice is unecessary.
Top-class athletes trains for hours every day, but this fact does not mean that the ordinary person can become a one with enough training.

Last but not least, game localizers will benefit greatly from familiarity with audiovisual translation and the
challenges that accompany both dubbing and subtitling. Among them are
subtitling standards, segmenting and condensing subtitling, lip-syncing, and others.

The following list could be used as an inspiration for a self-study plan,
or as a blueprint for those designing educational courses, and will be
regularly updated. Moreover, I avoided including highly popular resources, such as IGN, since most people interested in game will have probably heard of them already. Instead, I attempted to focus on the resources that are less popular but still valuable.




  • Game Localization: Translating for the Digital Entertainment Industry (review)
    • It offers an overview on how game localization started, reviewing the process, and how it developed over time. It also features some interesting case studies.
  • Literary Translation: A Practical Guide (review)


  • فن الترجمة (The Art of Translation) by محمد عناني
  • مرشد المترجمين (Translators’ Guide) by محمد عناني
  • الترجمة الأدبية (Literary Translation) by محمد عناني


There’s no shortage of game recommendation lists on the internet, so I am not going to create another one. When it comes to learning about the history of a certain field, I prefer to read books, since they usually offer a good mix of depth and width, compared to documentaries or articles.


  • Game On!: Video Game History from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft, and More (amazon
  • Professional Techniques for Video Game Writing (amazon)
  • Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design (amazon)
  • Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation (amazon)
  • The Game Console 2.0: A Photographic History from Atari to Xbox (amazon)
  • The Ultimate History of Video Games, Vol. 1 (amazon)
  • Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made (amazon)
  • What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (amazon)

YouTube Channels



  • The Making of a Story – A Norton Guide to Creative Writing (amazon)
  • Writing Fiction, by Gotham Writers’ Workshop (amazon)


I intend to include some novels that demonstrates complex and creative use of Arabic.

Audiovisual Translation

Subtle Association maintains a list of useful resources for subtitlers.


  • (Multi) Media Translation (amazon)

Cultural Awareness

Clearly, visiting a country and staying in is the best way to experience its culture, regardless if whether achieving true biculturalisim is possible or not. Nevertheless, movies, books, and music are cultural products, and could be used to speed up your learning or when traveling is not possible.

Global Pop Culture


United States Culture


  • Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People (amazon)
  • A People’s History of the United States (amazon)


TV Series



Joystick image by Andrzej Rembowski from Pixabay.