Boedefeld1990

Why not available in many languages?

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Hello,

It is simply not possible that the game can only be played in English.
Even the console version does not yet have a German language! 
If you release a console version and want to reach new players who have never played KSP before and don't know much about space travel, then you don't know English well and are overwhelmed with technical terms in a foreign language, then a excrementsstorm can be triggered very quickly. Especially if the game still has bugs that you have to find before the release. 

Why doesn't Squad get a German or other language into the game? Even Stardew Valley, developed by a developer, is available in many languages. Even in German! 

KSP has been around for five years and the most important languages are still not in play! This is just embarrassing! 

I strongly assumed that the console versions are finally playable in German. In the Developer Blog this was announced also largely. 

I'm just disappointed about this development at Squad. 

That's why I didn't buy the game on PS4. Only if it will include the German language.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

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Currently the PC version is available in English, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese. These languages, and the ability to add more, were added in version 1.3. They have announced that they are working to add German, French, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese to the PC versions.

The console versions are built from version 1.2.2, and as such lack the support for the languages of version 1.3. The console versions are currently only available in English. I have not seen any information regarding whether or not additional languages will be added to console versions.

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I am also interested and would like to buy the game for ps4.
I ask here hoping for a certain (or almost) answer, is the project of translating the game into other languages including Italian? And will it be available in the future also for consoles? Thank you!

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On 1/17/2018 at 8:22 AM, Boedefeld1990 said:

Why doesn't Squad get a German or other language into the game? Even Stardew Valley, developed by a developer, is available in many languages. Even in German! 

KSP has been around for five years and the most important languages are still not in play! This is just embarrassing! 

(Mandatory disclaimer to the explanation below:  I don't work for Squad or T2, and don't have any more access to their internal data and decision-making process than you do.  My speculation here is simply based on a couple of decades working in the software industry for a living.  In other words, my comments here are just "here's my informed understanding how things work in general", and not any specific knowledge of Squad.)

I understand and can sympathize with your frustration.  However, in general there are good business reasons why things are the way they are.

Warning:  Giant wall of text incoming.  :)  But the TL;DR for "why don't they do German?" boils down to:  because math.  Specifically, because it's (presumably) not worth their while yet, financially speaking.

 

It's important to understand that this isn't personal.  It's business.  It has to be that way-- a business exists only to make a profit, so any decision they make needs to follow the money.

Everything a business does is a trade-off and a risk.  Nothing is free-- every new potentially profit-making course of action comes at an up-front cost to develop it.  Not just the actual monetary cost of developing it, but also the opportunity cost of not developing something else instead.

When Squad is trying to decide whether or not to localize into a particular language-- say, German, for example-- their thinking is presumably going to run something along these lines:

  1. How much is it going to cost us (in money, and in lost engineer-hours that could have been spent elsewhere) to localize it?
  2. How much money will we make from additional sales of the game as a result?  (i.e. people who will buy the game if it's available in German, who wouldn't have bought the game otherwise?)
  3. How much money would we make if we spent that engineering effort on something else instead, such as adding a new feature to the game?

And the answer's only going to be "yes, go implement German now" if the numbers work out showing that it's a good idea from a business perspective.  In other words, only if the benefit from #2 is big enough to offset the costs from #1 and #3.

In my experience, the two main factors that feed into localization decisions are:

  • Demographics:  How many people speak the language? More to the point, how many people speak that language who don't also speak English?
  • Market scale:  How big a footprint does our product have in the market?  Cost is constant; benefit scales with market size.

More on these below:

 

Demographics

For example, I'm not at all surprised that they chose Chinese to localize, because, first, the Chinese market is huge, and, second, a large percentage of Chinese people don't speak English at all and can't/won't buy the game if it's only in English.  So localizing to Chinese  unlocks a giant source of potential new revenue that they wouldn't otherwise have access to, making it well worth the effort of doing the localization job.

Compare that, on the other hand, to German.  I can't speak to the size of the German market, since I don't have access to Squad's marketing and sales numbers, but I'd guess that it's considerably smaller than China, probably by at least an order of magnitude.  Also, my experience has been that a large percentage of Germans can speak English.  I'm sure they would like the game better if it were available in German... but they can play it in English.  It's not obvious to me that lack-of-German-KSP is stopping large numbers of Germans from buying the game.  If they localized it to German, I'm sure they would pick up a few new sales... but how many?  Would it be enough to justify the cost of localizing to German?  And would it be enough to justify spending the money and time there, instead of spending it to develop new features?  I assume the answer is no, it's not worth it (yet)... because if it were, they would have done it already.

Not to put too fine a point on it:  you, yourself, speak English.  You're posting here in the forums, in English.  I'm guessing you've already bought KSP.  So from Squad's perspective, if they get zero additional dollars from you if they localize into German, then you're giving them zero additional incentive to localize.

There are a lot fewer Germans than Chinese, and the proportion of English-fluent Germans is a lot higher than the proportion of English-fluent Chinese, which is a double whammy.  Therefore, it's not surprising to me that they would prioritize Chinese over German, from a business perspective.

 

Market scale

Some products have giant markets that sell to hundreds of millions or even billions of people.  Other products have much smaller target audiences, and may have sales measured in thousands rather than millions.  This is really, really important from a business perspective, because the cost of localizing is the same regardless of market size, but the profit from it varies directly with market size.  This means that the more widely a product sells, the better the economics look for localizing.  Tiny products with small markets have a lot less incentive to localize.

At one end of the scale, consider Microsoft Windows.  The Windows language packs page offers 106 (!!!) different languages, if I've counted them correctly.  That includes a fair number of languages that most people probably haven't even heard of.  Why is that?  It's because the market for Windows is gargantuan.  It makes sense for them to localize it into virtually every language on the planet with more than a million speakers, because Windows is ubiquitous.  It sells so many copies everywhere that it's worth their spending the money to localize into Obscure Language X if it will sell another million copies of Windows.  From Microsoft's perspective, the cost of dedicating a few translators to spend the time to localize is just a drop in the bucket, compared to the additional profits they can make from doing it.

At the opposite end of the scale, consider KSP.   Compared with Windows, KSP is vanishingly tiny.  Squad doesn't release sales numbers, so this is guesswork, but I'd guess that the total number of copies of KSP ever sold is probably a lot closer to 1 million than it is to 10 million.  So, any feature implementation (localization, or anything else) is going to be a lot more constrained by market forces:  the development cost is going to loom a lot larger, relative to potential profits, so they're going to have to be a lot more ruthless about whom they choose to cater to.  It's not personal, it's just the numbers.

Microsoft can localize into Wolof and Maori and Quechua and such, because even in those (relatively speaking) "obscure" languages, they can anticipate sales figures with a lot of zeroes after them, so it's worth their while to spend a few hundred thousand dollars or more to localize into them.  Whereas I'm not expecting to see KSP localized by Squad into Wolof or Maori or Quechua in my lifetime, because I seriously doubt they'd pick up enough sales in those languages to justify the expense of doing it.  Heck, until KSP 1.3, they didn't have any language other than English!

Here's how to look at it, from a business perspective.  Say you're a software company (such as Squad) and you're considering which languages, if any, to localize into.  Essentially your decision matrix is going to look like this:  Make a list of all the languages in the world.  Sort them in descending order of "effective market size".  (I'm defining that as "how many people speak that language, who will buy the product if it's available in their language, and who won't buy it if it isn't.)

  • English will likely be solidly at the top of that list.  My guess would be that Mandarin would come second.  And then there will be other languages going on down the list, with a long tail of "small" languages like Wolof and Maori and Quechua.
  • The list has profit numbers.  Next to each one of those languages is a dollar amount.  "How much extra profit will we make if we localize into this language?"
  • Now, you have a cost number.  This consists of implementation cost ("how many dollars does it take for us to localize into this language") plus opportunity cost ("how many dollars profit would we have made if we spent this money developing some other feature instead").
  • So.  Start at the top of the list, and keep going down it until you get to a language whose profit number is lower than your cost number.
  • Draw a big red line above that language.
  • Nothing below that line is going to get localized.

The bigger the target market of a product, the farther down that list the line will be.  Microsoft Windows is huge, so its line is way, way down the list-- there are 106 languages above it.  KSP, on the other hand, is (relatively speaking) tiny, so its line is a lot higher.

And, thus far... German just happens to be below that line.  Which sucks for you, personally-- I totally get your frustration.  But them's the breaks.  It's not personal, it's just math.

The only way to get a German-localized version will be for it to be above the "big red line" described above.  Either German has to move up, or the line has to move down.

  • The former seems unlikely (since it would require either the population of Germans to get a lot bigger, or a lot fewer Germans to speak English, neither of which seems likely any time soon).
  • The latter would require that KSP's market size grows, i.e. if KSP becomes more successful and starts selling a lot more copies.  That may or may not happen, since it depends entirely on how successful KSP will be.

The good news, for the latter case, is that at least it seems to be heading in the right direction.  After all, for the first several years of KSP's existence, the "big red line" stopped immediately under English and nobody got a localized version.  Now the line has moved down a few notches and included several other languages.  As KSP players, I'm sure we all hope for its continued success-- and I anticipate that if that happens, they may be able to move the line a few notches further down.  Hopefully, at some point in the not too distant future, including German ... but there's no way to know for now.

Time (and market forces) will tell.

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A couple points of order for Snark's post: I think they are adding German, it is above the red line, it's just been a time issue. I also think the OP does not speak English, and instead used a translation service.

There are also some more subtle factors making KSP less favorable to translate than other software. The game targets a fairly educated audience that is enriched for English speakers, and it involves a lot of very technical jargon that can be hard to translate. "Specific impulse" and "patched conics" are only everyday terms for a very small number of people.

Edited by Starman4308
Mobile is an unwieldy tool

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The game is still in development, at least to a degree. Translating takes a lot of work, and if something is changed during development, then all the translated versions need to be changed as well, multiplying the work needed. So KSP was only recently deemed finalized enough to even begin offering it in other languages, and although they plan to add more in time, it's not going to happen right away. 

Also, this discussion of the game's development has been moved to Development Discussions. 

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On 17/01/2018 at 6:22 PM, Boedefeld1990 said:

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

 

On 19/01/2018 at 6:34 PM, Snark said:

Not to put too fine a point on it:  you, yourself, speak English.  You're posting here in the forums, in English. 

Apparently he isn't. Great post though. 

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What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that computer games take lots of work to code.  Saying it's impossible for a german localization to not have been added yet isn't fair.  They don't have a magic box that automatically re-writes the entire game into a given language on demand, they have a bunch of guys in cubicles who are working on a number of different projects.

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sorry if this sounds somewhat arrogant.. but i can't really understand the problem here.

in my humble opinion, a basic level of english should by mandatory in this day and age! especially in a first world country like germany. english is the agreed language for worldwide information exchange and everybody who neglects this will encounter problems sooner or later in life.
yes, there are some difficult technical terms i this game. but thats nothing googe couldn't solve.and with every new vocabulary you learn something valuable for your future.

btw.. i am not a native speaker myself, but at least i try :wink:

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Give Squad some time to do work on their DLC. Remember, they are people too and don't have superpowers that can create a language pack in 30 seconds, it takes alot of time, effort and research.

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26 minutes ago, Umlüx said:

sorry if this sounds somewhat arrogant.. but i can't really understand the problem here.

in my humble opinion, a basic level of english should by mandatory in this day and age! especially in a first world country like germany. english is the agreed language for worldwide information exchange and everybody who neglects this will encounter problems sooner or later in life.
yes, there are some difficult technical terms i this game. but thats nothing googe couldn't solve.and with every new vocabulary you learn something valuable for your future.

btw.. i am not a native speaker myself, but at least i try :wink:

^^ Agreed. Im not a native English speaker either but once you know the English language, there is a whole new world you can explore.

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