Games Localization: Questions and answers from our panel experts
In this panel, experienced professionals working in the field of Game Localization came together to discuss their best practices, share information about Game Localization projects & workflows and other valuable industry-related insights.
Since some questions remained unanswered during the discussion, the panelists kindly provided us with their expert opinion on the following topics.
1. What challenges do you have integrating LQA into your CMS and/or translation tools?
Arthur: The biggest challenge I face is “political”. We have plenty of stakeholders with different needs. It’s difficult to decide which tools we should use, when, and who should be the owner of the process.
2. I am an applied linguistics graduate, translator, and a gamer. How do I get into game localization? What’s the fastest way?
Sarah: Not sure if there is a “right” way to get there. Most of our freelancers send a speculative application as translator.
Best would be to start with small projects, maybe help some Indi-Developers (via LinkedIN maybe) to get their game running in your language as well, and after that apply to bigger companies.
Also there are a lot of language vendors that are specialized in gaming and always in need of new translators to help with the projects that get bigger and bigger each time.
This way you build up your portfolio and experience on different types of games and this way get more and more interesting also for other people.
Aline: Every year, usually in the spring, you can join the LocJAM, a Non-Profit Game Localization competition held by IGDA, as a professional or amateur game translator. Among the jurors are professionals from gaming companies and localization vendors.
So entering with a good translation in the contest can help to get the food in the door of potential new employers. At a minimum, you can get some practice and valuable feedback.
3. Can you recommend a bibliography that contains theory as well as practical examples on game localization for someone who is a beginner in the field?
Daniel: I honestly can’t recommend any academic literature about the subject matter of game localization simply because there hasn’t been any profound work written about it that I know of.
The only title that usually is mentioned is “The Game Localization Handbook” - which indeed goes into some pretty thorough discussions about proper localization workflows, but its latest edition is from 2012 and with the steep rise in demand of continuous translation/localization since then, it must be as far from actual localization reality as it gets. That said, I think for a beginner it offers a good theoretical introduction to what video-localization is (or at least should be).
4. Do you know any good terminology or glossary that is specific for the video game industry?
Daniel: There are quite a few lists for common terminology used in the making and publishing of games, but I recommend this one: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson28.htm
It explains a nice chunk of business terms, that I certainly was clueless about back in the day. Project owners, producers, and other stakeholders driving game publishing processes frequently refer to them, and since they assign one critical aspect of that process to localization managers speaking their language can go a long way.
5. Could you talk about the challenges specific to transcreation and how those challenges impact your workflows?
Sarah: At Gameforge we try to avoid transcreation to make it easier for everybody. We try to keep our games as broad (and in the fantasy world) as possible to not be in the need of transcreation, this way it does also not influence our workflow that much.
We give the translator a more or less free hand to use transcreation in those cases it is really needed but also ask them to not exaggerate with it.
The only documents where we really ask for transcreation is in PR and Marketing assets, and there we have our specialized people, some of them are the same as our translators, some are not.
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