Games localization reporting panel discussion key takeaways

by | Jan 22, 2019

We had a really great games localization panel discussion with Jasmin Jelača (Localization Lead at Nordeus), Sarah Prasad (Localization Producer at Gaea Mobile), Leonie Aoki (Senior Localization Manager at Wooga), and Concepción González (Senior Localization Project Manager at Ubisoft).

View the video here.

My personal takeaways are the following:

 

Games localization is excellence right now

 

It struck me that with the exception of Ubisoft, the panelists pretty much don’t report unless something is very wrong, and that seems to happen very rarely. Sarah Prasad was like, nah, the loc team always delivers on-time. We had a question from the audience about how to report things when they are going very, very badly, and Jasmin was like, we had that once, a delay of a couple days.

A couple of days! That’s it?!?!

Moreover, this is our second games panel, and in both cases it seems like loc departments at gaming companies have made major inroads with the rest of the company. Getting “buy-in” from developers or the rest of the company or dealing with unreal expectations is just not the thing anymore. The industry is seems to be pretty much past that. Can’t help but think that this is partly due to the games localization solutions offered by Wordbee!

This actually has the Wordbee marcom team wondering what the heck we’re going to talk about in our next panel discussion for games. I think we’ll have to try to get deeper into technology, integrations, characters, voiceovers, etc., because at this point, all the basics are running pretty smoothly.

 

Onboarding is so important

 

It was a pleasure to hear Jasmin talk about onboarding in their small gaming company, and how the localization team gets a chance with every new hire, no matter what they do, to explain to them how the localization team works.

Onboarding processes for team members may be a finished thing at Nordeus, but that’s not the case in all SMBs. Despite “onboarding” being a constant buzzword over the last few years, lots of companies still struggle with it.

One of the advantages a small gaming company has (like any small company) is the ability to be fast and agile, and have strong communication. So it follows naturally that with a small team, you can make a really killer onboarding process.

 

Reporting is not that important

 

The panel discussion was ostensibly about reporting to stakeholders, but it ended up being more about processes than anything. That’s because it was mostly just Concepción González of Ubisoft who had serious reporting to do. As Ubisoft is a much larger company (with a much larger localization burden), it’s probably no surprise to anyone.

This continues a trend that we’ve had on all the panels to date that really demonstrates scaling in localization. We usually have a mixture of experts from super big companies and SMBs, and during the course of these panels, little dotted lines between them usually start to appear, and next to them it says, “We had to start scaling here.”

I think that’s useful for viewers/listeners on both sides of the fence, as it provides a little window into the strengths and weaknesses of others. Large companies struggle with agility. Small companies struggle with resources. How can one try to acquire the strengths of the other?

 

Controlling expectations

 

Everyone seemed to agree that the rule for a small, short-deadline project is two days. Everyone had a good laugh when it came out that they can do it faster than that, but only when it’s really necessary. And you can tell that they had all drawn lines in the sand about what their department should and shouldn’t be asked to do.

I think that’s super great for organizations as a whole, because if you know what you can and can’t ask for from a colleague, then you know how to prepare your work so that you can work with the system you have.

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