For your game to be enjoyed worldwide, game localization isn’t an option. It not only ensures a great gaming experience, but the downloads are immense, and the revenues generated are huge. And the biggest trick to game expansion is game localization and game translation.
The top languages in games that will expand your game include Indonesian, Simplified Chinese, English, Japanese, Spanish, French, and Brazilian. With the Philippines and Vietnam now emerging among the top gamers in the world, consider translating your game into Tagalog and Vietnamese.
According to Exploding Topics, the biggest gaming markets to aim for your game expansion should be China, the United States, Japan, France, South Korea, Germany, and Britain.
Keep reading to learn more potential localized languages that will expand your game faster worldwide and realize better returns on investment.
What is Video Game Localization?
What is video game localization? Video game localization refers to translating a video game’s texts, dialog, and other written content and then culturally adapting the game elements to culturally and legally meet a target region’s legal requirements.
Making your game relevant and creating a great gaming experience for your target players through game localization will certainly make the game to reach more gamers across the globe.
A successful video game localization process involves first creating a video game localization plan, creating a localization kit, running the game content analysis, and then translating texts and non-text formats. Hiring a game localization expert is key to growing your game’s fun base.
Top 19 Localized Languages for Your Game Expansion
In deciding which are the top localized languages for your game expansion, we relied on several factors. First, we researched the countries and regions with the highest number of video game players currently. Then we’ve got emerging countries with promising markets for new gamers and also the most widely spoken language.
Statistically, we analyzed game download trends over the past few years and clearly, investing in languages such as Tagalog won’t be in vain.
From the chart below, it’s evident that game downloads on all operating systems will keep increasing, especially now we’re seeing many new gamers from countries no one expected.
To decide on the best language to translate your game to, you should consider the number of native speakers, the income likely to be generated by the active game layers in that particular language, and the respective active game players. Another factor worth considering is video game user penetration.
Think of the game localization strategy used in the game – Assassin’s Creed. Initially, the game was developed in English and French. To tap the Arabic language speakers, which is a promising video game market, the game was translated into Arabic. FIFA22 is another video game that has used language to expand to markets with the highest language native speakers.
From our research, here are the top languages for game localization. And at the end, we will list all of them in one table for a convenient check.
It’s a fact, that some languages with the highest native speakers with a higher possibility of faster game expansion have got a low number of active video game users. In such a case, take advantage of the below top languages to translate and localize your game.
19. Czech Language
With the video game user penetration rate in Czechia expected to grow by 28.1% in 2023 and a further increase by 2027, translating your game to Czech will result in spontaneous game expansion. The number of native Czech speakers may not be that huge compared to other languages like Japanese and Vietnamese but the number of video game downloads will be high.
We therefore recommend you take advantage of the Czech language to expand and generate more revenue in the already growing Czech video game market.
18. Italian Language
Not far from today (2027), 49% of the Italian population will be playing video games. And, with an estimated 14.2 million active video game players today being Italian native speakers, localizing your video game to Italian will grow your game user base by a great margin. In general, Italy has an average of 26.2 million video game players. Taking into account the country’s video game user penetration rate of 44.1%, there’s a potential market for your game. Since the majority of the game players in Italy are women, translate your game into the Italian language and it’ll go viral.
17. Polish Language
20 million people in Poland are active video game players. With 50 million of the population being Polish native speakers, there’s a potential video game market of 30 million people. This is among the languages most video game developers are using to localize their games.
If Poland’s video game user penetration rate averages 29.4% this year, about 10 million Polish people will join the already active video game players. This gives you a concrete reason to translate your game into Polish. Even though Polish has scooped the 18th position, others rank it between position 9 and 10 of the most popular language of game localization.
16. Thai Language
The 32 million online video game players from Thailand who speak Thai are worth considering when strategizing on how to expand your game and increase game downloads. The current Thailand population stands at 71.8 million, out of whom 61 are Thai native speakers. This leaves a big margin between non-players and the active players.
The gap between non-game player native speakers and active native players amounts to almost 30 million. Also taking the amount of revenue generated by the active players, it’s time you start thinking of Thai when localizing your game.
Imagine localizing your game into a language with over 321 million speakers! French is among the most spoken languages in the world and lays the ground for faster game expansion. The disparity between the current French native speakers and the active video game players is the user base you should aim for when translating your game.
According to Wikipedia, France is the 7th largest video game market based on the 2021 generated video game revenues. Another reason to localize games to French is the large number of countries and states that use French as their national language. Besides France, 27 other countries largely in Africa have native French speakers.
PC gaming in Russia alone hit $1.6 billion in 2021. Again, Russia which speaks Russian as the native language has the largest video player base in Europe. Two factors here should provoke you to have Russian as your preferred language for game localization: the revenue you’ll generate and the availability of a huge user base to expand your game.
So, if you’re targeting to expand your game user base to Europe, there are 260 million Russian speakers waiting for you. And with the video game download market standing above 2.73 billion in Russia, start translating games into Russian.
Approximately, 47.3 million people across the world speak Tagalog as their native language. 96% of the Philippines speak Tagalog in their households. Translating games to Tagalog will mean a reasonable percentage of the Philippines video game players downloading your game.
Search esports video game players and Philippine esports players will be the majority. Would you imagine a country whose 43 million people are active video game players? That’s how the Philippines is.
74.4 percent of South Koreans, which translates to 35 million people are active video game players. Game localization to the Korean language will add a significant number of players to your already existing user base. With the video game user penetration rate in South Korea projected to hit 58.3% in 2023, expect the number of gamers to increase and subsequently game downloads.
Using the 81.7 million Korean speakers as our base value, the fraction of active gamers in this country will definitely increase in the coming years, thus laying a fertile ground for game expansion.
11. Turkish Language
Turkish language speakers amount to 87 million, and the number of active gamers surpasses Korean gamers by 8 million people. According to All Correct Games, Turkey was the 18th largest gaming market in the world in 2021 which highlights why we recommend localizing your game to Turkish.
Since the majority of Turkey gamers use mobile phones, game localization should incline more towards making the game mobile-friendly and culturally relevant to the Turkish people.
25 countries across the globe have Arabic speakers 6 of whom it’s the official language and the total number of Arabic speakers in the world is 109 million. While localizing every aspect of your game to be relevant in all 25 countries may be a challenge. Instead, translate your games to Arabic and the game will expand to all these countries.
Given that the current estimated gamers account for less than 50% of the total Arabic speakers, use the Modern Standard Arabic language to grow your game.
The games Arena of Valor, Football Manager, Genshit Impact, and World of Warcraft are among the popular games translated into Spanish. Spanish game localization is a widely sought-after service in the world due to the huge population that speaks Spanish. Currently, there are 486 million Spanish speakers, and it’s the current language you should leverage to expand your game.
Why does it make sense to translate games into Spanish? Besides Spain, Spanish is spoken in other 19 countries and the game market is flourishing among Spanish speakers especially those living in Barcelona.
Nearly all the world’s leading video games have Japanese as one of their localized language. FarmVille 2 and 3 is a perfect example. Out of the 125.4 million Japanese speakers, 75.6 are active video game players and 54.4% percent of Japan plays video games.
With Global Data having affirmed Japan to be the third-largest video game market, Japanese is a recommended video game localization language.
It’s unimaginable how far and wide your game will expand if localized into the Indonesian language which has 300 million speakers in the world. By translating games into Indonesian you expand them to Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands besides Indonesia which takes pride in its 198 million Indonesian speakers.
Considering that video game user penetration in Indonesia stands at 39.8%, the opportunity for you to have a big pie of the Indonesian game market is real if you localize games to Indonesia.
Go to India, the United States, Nepal, Mauritius, Fiji, and South Africa you’ll find Hindi speakers. Hindi is said to be the 3rd most spoken language in the world with the majority living in India. There are approximately 609 million Hindi speakers across the world making it among the most popular languages to translate your game into.
Given the number of Hindi speakers, it’s not a surprise active video gamers in India are estimated to reach 444 million in 2023. With this figure projected to increase to 641.2 million by 2027, start localizing your games to Hindi and your game’s user base will grow immensely.
The number of German speakers isn’t as high as the number of Hindi speakers but the active video game players and game-generated revenue are figures to admire and worth forcing you to localize games to Germany. Video game user penetration in 2023 is 39.4%.
With 42 countries having German-speaking people, translating games into German will expand them to all 42 countries. German video game players alone account for more than 49 million.
Brazil alone has 211.2 million Portuguese speakers, and the total number of speakers across the world is about 490 million. These numbers aside, translating games to Portuguese will expand your game outreach to 10 countries whose official language is Portuguese.
Brazil’s population now stands at 216, 442,446 out of whom 74.5% play electronic games. If you analyze these Brazilian game trades, Portuguese is the best language to translate video games to if you aim for gamers in South America.
In 2022, Vietnam ranked 3rd based on the number of mobile gamers in Southeast Asia and featured top five countries in the world in the apps download section. If smartphone users are 93.5 million people in Vietnam, how many Vietnamese speakers are likely to download Vietnamese localized games?
Another reason to localize games to Vietnamese is the number of mobile phone gamers. The chart above shows that 88.4% of the Vietnamese population play games using mobile phones.
2. Standard Chinese
Out of the 1.426 billion Chinese population, 955 million speak Mandarin which is the standard speech in China. An authoritative source reveals that the standard Chinese speakers represent 92% of the population. All the game localization market trends list Standard Chinese as the most used language in game localization besides English. And again, Reuters, an international TV news station, stated that the number of Chinese video game players did rise to a record high in June 2023.
Chinese game localization will without any doubt expand your game to not only the China residents but to also people living in Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Malaysia. Localize your game to the Standard Chinese language and your game will be among those played by the 685 million video game players in China.
Here are the 86 countries you’ll expand your games to if you translate them into English. English speakers amount to 2 billion and are spread over all the continents. If you’re planning on game localization, English is the most popular and common language used in video games followed by Standard Chinese.
Since the aim of game expansion is to generate more revenue, the United States ranks among the first biggest video game markets in the world with an estimated revenue of over $96.68 billion. Because the US has the majority of English speakers -227 million, start by localizing your games into English.
Here is the collection of all top 19 trending game localization languages in the world.
|#||Languages in Descending Order||No. of Active Game Players||No. of Language Speakers||Revenue Generated|
|19.||Czech||10 million||10 Million||$178 million|
|18.||Italian||14.2 million||67 million||$5.2 billion|
|17.||Polish||20 million||50 million||$1.37 billion|
|16.||Thai||32 million||61 million||$47 million|
|15.||French||42.03 million||321 million||$4,733 million|
|14.||Russian||62.5 million||260 million||$2,896 million|
|13.||Tagalog||43 million||83 million||$1,944 million|
|12.||Korean||35 million||81.7 million||$15 billion|
|11.||Turkish||43 million||87 million||$1.22 billion|
|10.||Arabic||40 million||109 million||$670 billion|
|9.||Spanish||31.7 million Spain + (other 19 countries)||486 million||$1,803 million|
|8||Japanese||75.6 million||125.4 million||$42.10 billion|
|7.||Indonesian||185 million||300 million||$1,538 million|
|6.||Hindi||444 million||609 million||$196 billion|
|5.||Germany||1,125 million||134.6 million||$490.06 billion|
|4.||Portuguese(Portugal + Brazil)||2.37 million + 72.1 million||272 million + 211.2 million||$209.7m + $2.7 billion|
|3.||Vietnamese||54.6 million||85 million||$847.16 million|
|2.||Standard Chinese||685 million||955 million||$45.5 billion|
|1.||English||212 million US +|
(Other 85 countries)
|2 billion||$96.68 billion US +|
Which are the Top Languages in the World for Game Localization?
Video game localization is the best strategy for enhancing game user experience and increasing video game downloads. Therefore, whether you’re thinking of game localization or game translation to expand your game to new markets, English, Standard Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish should be your top priority.
As you aim for the most spoken languages to translate games into, don’t forget the fastest-growing languages like Arabic, French, Korean, and Hindi. And as said before, game user penetration rate is a critical factor when analyzing game localization market trends to choose the most suitable language to localize your game.
Wordspath Can Help
Founded in 2002, Wordspath is a top-rated and industry-leading game localization agency that provides professional game localization services, including text translation, cultural adaptation, quality assurance testing, and project management to game developers worldwide.
Wordspath has a well-trained and veteran team of skilled and well-rounded video game translators and game localizers who are experts in different languages and cultures with high attention to detail. They have an extensive network of thousands of video game translators who are fluent in 150+ languages, and ready to convey your game’s story in any chosen language.
Wordspath offers a wide range of game localization services specifically for various game genres ranging from action games and role-playing games to adventure games and strategy games. One game perfectly localized at a time, with quality and speed.
Wordspath offers a complete range of game localization services, including:
- In-context Game Localization
- User Interface Localization
- User Manual Localization
- Graphics Localization
- Multilingual Voiceover & Dubbing
- Game Audio & Subtitle Translation
- Video Game Consoles Translation
- Legal Document Translation
- Linguistic Testing for Games
- Marketing Content Transcreation
- Video Game Website Localization
- Game Script Localization