The Top 7 Game Translation Tools


Featured Big 2

Table of Contents

Video game translation is an essential part of game development. It can help you massively expand your reach and, more importantly, your revenue.

But unlike other forms of translation, gaming translation can be very challenging.

After all, video games include video, text, dialogues, sound effects, and images. On top of that, the type of text, video, and audio a gaming company deals with can vary a lot. A triple-A game includes hundreds, if not thousands, of lines of dialogue. This type of text is like a movie script or a comic. They come with a unique tone and delivery style.

Games also come with a laundry list of names. From characters to cities, each name needs to be “translated” consistently. You’ll have to also translate menus, skill trees, and all the UI. Then, of course, you have audio. Dubbing costs are higher, and can need many different actors to cover all your characters.

Finally, you may also need to deal with graphic design and video editing. After all, you may need to change your character design to fit your target markets. It’s a daunting task.

Game translation tools to the rescue

Due to the many moving parts of a game translation project, relying on a manual approach is not a good idea. Excel files and human translation alone are slow and inefficient.
This method results in many small tasks that create translation bottlenecks. Especially when updating frequent content like new items or side-quests.

Thankfully, nowadays, we can rely on video game translation tools to match the pace of the gaming industry. These tools help us reduce costs, improve our output, and maintain quality with the right tool.
In this article, we will compare the top 5 gaming translation tools. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge to pick the one that fits you best. Whether you need them for internal use or to understand your partners’ workflow.


Game translation tools can improve efficiency, accuracy, consistency, adaptability, collaboration, scalability, and centralization.

  1. Efficiency: The old-school method is to rely on email. You’d send the strings in an Excel file to a PM, which then emails it to a translator, etc. The entire process is manual, time-consuming, and often susceptible to human error. With game translation software, teams can translate and update the game almost instantly. This automates the localization process, saving everyone time and effort.
  2. Consistency: A translation tool can store translated terms in a translation memory (TMs). As a result, we can translate repeated terms and phrases consistently. It helps create a consistent and cohesive gaming experience.
  3. Centralization: With a translation tool, everything is centralized in one location. It allows us to track and manage the translation process seamlessly. As such, we can catch mistakes early on.
  4. Collaboration: Large teams can work on a project at the same time. They improve collaboration without dealing with long email chains. You can assign tasks and oversee them from the platform.
  5. Cost-effective: These tools reduce the amount of manual work needed. By doing so, they can reduce your costs. In other words, you can now consider translating your game into more languages, which leads to higher potential revenue.
  6. Flexibility and adaptability: Even after you launch your game, you can still make changes. As you roll out new patches, translators have access to the strings and can translate them.
  7. Accuracy: These tools come equipped with AIs, MTs, style guides, and glossaries. All these solutions can help improve accuracy.

How will we compare the 7 game translation tools?

To compare them, we will translate a game called “Tanks of Freedom.” It’s an open-source strategy game. We will translate it from English to Simplified Chinese.
Tanks of Freedom The Top 7 Game Translation Tools
Tanks of Freedom
We will use 7 different tools through this multi-step process.
We picked these platforms based on popularity, ease of use, and features. Whether you are in the localization industry or intend to translate your own game, these 7 platforms are the ones you’ll run into—Trados, Phrase, Lokalise, Starling, Weblate, Gridly, and Crowdin.

The game translation begins!

This project will have three steps:
  • The pre-localization phase.
  • The translation phase.
  • The post-localization phase.
Feel free to look at the chart below to get a good sense of the steps.

Game Translation Process 3 stages: Pre-localization, translation, post-localization
The 3 stages of game translation

The pre-localization phase

As its name suggests, the pre-localization phase prepares the game for translation.
In this stage, we need to change the code and game content to simplify the translation process. This stage usually has 5 sub-stages.

1. Internationalization
Internationalization means making a game that we can easily change to fit different languages and cultures. The most important aspect of internationalization is externalizing hard-coded strings.
If you’d like to learn more about internationalization, check out this article. It’s a step-by-step dive into the process.
2. Remote repository hosting

One of the key elements that make localization easy is a centralized location for the game’s code. Although there are other options, we will rely on GitHub to host the code for a few reasons: 

  • It allows for version control. In other words, we can track changes made during the localization easily.
  • It’s a safe and organized platform for sharing code, assets, and documentation.  
  • It facilitates collaboration between the development and localization teams.

By using GitHub, implementing continuous localization in your workflow is easier.

3. A localization kit
A video game localization kit is a document that you need to prepare and give to the localization team.
Its purpose is to help them understand the project, your game, and its context. Equipped with that document, the localization team can adapt your video game effectively. The translation kit should include the following:
  1. Specific translation instructions.
  2. A detailed list of assets.
  3. Internal deadlines for the project with specific milestones.
    1. It should include deadlines for different assets and the review process.
  4. The contact information of your team’s designated representative.
  5. Game specific information.
    1. The plot
    2. Characters, areas, etc.
    3. A walkthrough guide that outlines the steps and levels to complete.
  1. Glossaries and style guides:
You need to provide a list of game-specific words and platform-specific standards. For example, a “tank” in your game may mean a character that soaks up damage for his team. But without a glossary, a translator may assume you refer to the actual “war vehicle.”
A good example you can look at is the Microsoft Terminology for the Xbox. You can find it in the Microsoft Language Portal.
  1. Software programs and computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools:
You need to list and explain which tools you expect the translators to use. Whether your company relies on translation management systems, CAT tools, or simple Excel files.
  1. Source code:
By providing the code and setup files required, the localization team can put the translated strings into the game directly.
  1. Assets to translate:
Include all the text, images, scripts, audio, and other assets the team needs to work on. By giving the team this complete package of resources, you can make their job easier. They will be able to maintain consistency across all their work. And by supporting them well, the team’s output will improve.
  1. A copy of the game.
Ideally, translators should play the game a bit. By playing, they can think like gamers and understand the game. As a result, they can create the best possible translation. If that’s not possible, watching and reading game-related content can be an alternative.
You can make the localization process easier by following these steps before starting. It helps the localization teams adapt the game’s content and code effectively. It also ensures smooth teamwork and project management.

The video game translation phase

This is where the actual translation starts. We can start using the game translation tools and test them out. In this phase, we will use Lokalise.


What is Lokalise? The Lokalise app is a cloud-based localization platform intended to increase localization efficiency. It includes essential features such as:
  • A translation management system (TMS) that provides glossary management, translation memories, and QA.
  • Collaboration tools that facilitate real-time communication with internal and external members.
  • Integration capabilities with third-party tools (GitHub, Slack, etc.).
  • Automated workflows, including the import/export process, updates, etc.
  • Machine translation (MTs) integration (DeepL, Google Translate).
If you’d like to learn more, feel free to read the Lokalise documentation here.

Now, let’s get practical with our Lokalise demo.

1. Open the Lokalise app and create a project.

Once created, you can add team members to the project (translators, reviewers, managers, etc.). You can also assign specific roles and responsibilities at this stage.

Creating a project on the Lokalise app to translate a game using game translation tools
Creating a project on the Lokalise app

2. Connect the project to GitHub.

GitHub is a code storage space (repository) where you can store different versions of your code. This way, the changes you make in the translations can match up correctly with the coding work.

Here’s how you do it:

There’s a page named “Apps.” Go there and add the details about where your code is. This way, you can easily see, control, manage, and implement the translation.

Connecting Lokalise to Github. Translating a game using game translation software 1
Connecting Lokalise to Github.

This step is where platforms start to differ a bit.

Gridly and Starling are not compatible with Github. To use them, we built an internal continuous localization server to connect our repository to the Starling TMS. If you’d like to do so as well, you can use this article as a tutorial.

Translation App In-built integration with VCS
Weblate ✔️
Lokalise ✔️
Phrase ✔️
CrowdIn ✔️

3. Group translation keys using tags.

To effectively manage a large number of strings, we organized the translation keys using tags. Tags are labels or categories assigned to specific strings, allowing for easy grouping and filtering. This helps streamline the translation process, making it more efficient and organized.

a. You may do this by selecting the keys to tag and selecting “Tags: add/remove…” on the dropdown.

Adding Tags Lokalise Github
Adding Tags
An example of how a tagged translation key looks like.
A tagged translation key

4. Add visual context through screenshots.

By uploading images of the game interface, you can give visual context to the translators. The great thing about the Lokalise TMS is that it identifies and marks most keys directly on the images. This way, translators can understand the context of each individual string.

You can find this feature on the screenshot page.

Marking translation keys from screenshots
Marking translation keys from screenshots

Lokalise and Crowdin can automatically detect strings from the screenshots. This feature is an incredible time-saver. Having to do it manually is both time-consuming and mentally draining.

5. Create and assign translation & review tasks.

You can now create translation tasks and assign them to the translators of your team.
After that, you can create review tasks and assign them to the reviewers of your team. This collaborative approach helps maintain consistency and linguistic integrity throughout the translation process.

To do this, navigate to “tasks” and set up the corresponding tasks (like in the screenshot below).

Create a translation task.
Create a translation task.
Create and assign a review task.
Create and assign a review task.
A translation task
Create and assign a translation task.

6. Publish verified translations.

Once the reviewers finish checking the translations, you can publish them on the “Download” page.
Feel free to edit the settings to fit your needs. You can change the formats, language variations, and export options.

The publishing settings, including format, language variations and export options.
The settings

Once published, Lokalise pushes the strings back to the repository. It ensures that the translated content is integrated into the existing code. This will create an automatic pull request on the repository’s side (GitHub).

Finally, the pull request should be merged if there are no issues with the translations.

Pull request for the localized strings
Pull request for the localized strings
Although we used the Lokalise app for this process, you can use any of the Lokalise alternatives. The process is largely the same across all these translation management systems.

Post-Localization Phase

Once the translation process is complete, it’s time to tackle the post-localization phase. This step focuses on two core aspects:

  • Integrating the freshly translated strings into the code.
  • Performing quality assurance testing.

1. Merging & building the translated game.

In this stage, you can merge the updated translations with the original code. To do so, you must pull the code from GitHub (or your favorite repository).

Unlike Tanks of Freedom, some games may need specific scripts or some complex extra steps. In our case, we used the Godot game engine to build the localized version of the game. It’s a straight-forward process once you run a simple Python script.

You can read the Godot documentation to learn more, and you can download the Godot engine here.

Building the localized game in Godot
Building the localized game in Godot
As you can see, the localized version was successful. Granted, it still has some bugs; for example, the missing characters on the menu (see image below). That’s precisely why we need the next step in this process.

Missing text on the menu - Translation Bugs with Lokalise. The 7 Game Translation Software
Missing text on the menu
Translation errors in the UI
Translation errors in the UI

2. Quality assurance (QA) testing.

It’s time to do three types of tests:

  • Linguistic testing involves reviewing the translations for linguistic accuracy, coherence, and cultural appropriateness.
  • Functional testing ensures that all game features, mechanics, and localized elements are working as expected without technical issues.
  • Compliance testing ensures that the localized version adheres to platform-specific guidelines, rating requirements, and any legal or cultural regulations.

This stage takes time, and you must tackle it with care. By completing it, you can ensure that the localized version of the game is of high quality, free from errors, and culturally appropriate, providing an immersive and enjoyable gaming experience to players worldwide.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article, where we dive into the other apps.


Propel Your Brand into

the Global Stage

At Transphere, we believe that the true measure of our success is the growth of our long-term partners. Reach out to our passionate members and start growing today!

Fill out the form to learn how we can help you grow.