Casino localization

After seven years of casino localization, we can confidently claim that we have learned the secrets of success. A quick look at these testimonials from our casino localization clients is sure proof of that.
But we’ve learned the hard way. We have not, as the Swedes describe something that comes too easily; ‘slid in on a shrimp sandwich’. It’s been hard work and sleepless nights for years.
shrimp sandwhich
This is the story of how we learned the secrets of casino localization. So if you read only one article on this subject in your life, this should be the one if your aim is to learn as much in as little time as possible. The words of our Swedish Language Manager Per Hertz might be good motivation:

Casino localization secret number 1

If something seems too good to be true, there is a good chance it is not true. This is the feeling I had when I was sitting in a basement in Greece, trying to figure out how to fix distorted Estonian special characters from a month’s work of translated words.

We had successfully agreed to provide Playtech, one of the biggest online casino operators in the world, with casino localization. The pilot project was a massive English-to-Estonian localization project, and if Playtech were happy with our work, they would make us their number one localization provider. Considering the amount of games, and the number of languages available, on the Playtech platform, this was the chance of a lifetime.

In other words, failure was not an option, but the deadline was drawing close and the Estonian special characters still looked like something Donald Duck would say when swearing.

So how did the characters get distorted?

The source files were in HTML format, and we instructed our translators to use Notepad to edit them and insert their translation between the coding, so that the translated file would look the same – only with the text in Estonian instead of English. We should have asked them to use the more sophisticated, but also free, Notepad++, which might have saved us the trouble altogether, and we most definitely should have instructed them to ensure that UTF-8 was used for encoding instead of the default setting which is ANSI. Once saved with ANSI as encoding, the files could not be converted without distorting the special characters.

Nowadays, we are using even more sophisticated tools when dealing with file formats such as HTML, and this is no longer even considered difficult, but the point is that we have become experts along the way.

As a localization provider we learned that special characters, accentuation and diacritics are to be handled with care when used in pretty much any format related to casino localization. We also learned that clients love it when we offer to localize their casino texts directly within all sorts of formats, including HTML and Photoshop.

As a service provider, we learned that the word ‘no’ does not exist in our vocabulary. The only way to create and maintain a good word-of-mouth reputation is to deliver whatever the client requests, to go the extra mile, and to stay until the job is done.
It turned out it was not too good to be true, it was in fact very real, and All-In Translations have now been providing casino localization for Playtech in 28 languages for several years. We are very thankful for their continued business, and their Projects Team Leader Jonathan Chamma had this to say about our casino localization service:

Casino localization secret number 2

Provide context! The reason why there is rarely any re-work needed for projects delivered by All-In Translations is that we encourage the client to provide as much context as possible before we start the localization work.
When context is provided, misunderstandings are avoided and the casino localization becomes much more precise and attractive. The end result? Your customers are happy, you are happy, and we do not have to spend extra time on free editing.
Contact one of our project managers today so that they can explain the best way of providing context. You would be surprised by the mistakes that can occur when context is not provided. A classic example is when Norwegian Skype users get a notification saying one of their contact has turned one year older. The direct Norwegian translation of ‘turned’ is “snudde”, but “snudde” means “turned around”. So Heidi did not turn 26, she turned around 26. One would think innovative and successful companies like Skype would do better than this, but no.
localization fail

Casino localization secret number 3

Be thorough! Providing context is important, but the best way to make sure that a casino localization is precise in all languages is to proof-read it after it has been uploaded to its natural habitat, e.g. to a website or to the interface of a slot machine. We call this post-editing, and you can read all about it here. The example below is not related to casino localization.
frisyre (1)
What happened here? A hairdressing saloon in Norway wanted to say “haircuts for everyone”. What is the problem then? “FRISYRE” means hair cut, but there was no space for the full word in the first line. So the word was split in two: FRI AND SYRE. With a hyphen after FRI it would still be correct, but FRI SYRE means FREE ACID. That might be good for some some, but not for everyone.
Hopefully you are not too worried now, as that was not the intention. We can even offer some reassurance, because a talented localization professional would probably never make a mistake like this. At All-In Translations, we have the privilege of having hired only the best casino localization professionals, so even if you do not provide any context at all, your projects are in good hands. If we are unsure of something, we’ll ask. Something tells me that was not the case for the person who provided the Swedish translation below, where ‘safe’ is translated as “the locker you put your money in”.
Have a safe day!