Welcome back to our Orient Team blog series! In case you’re just joining us, this series has been a unique opportunity for our team members to share their individual perspectives, experiences, and insights on various topics that matter to us. Through these posts, we hope to provide you with a deeper understanding of who we are, what drives us, and how we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of our industry. The fourth installment comes from our Vendor Manager, who is responsible for finding the valuable game localization vendors for our company. Happy reading!
Game localization is a kind of art where you can play with words. It goes beyond mere translation and requires adapting and recreating the entire context according to the target culture, requiring significant effort and attention. Even the smallest mistakes can adversely affect the quality of the game and player experience. Therefore, game localization should be conducted by professional game localization experts, also known as game localization vendors.
In the Vendor Management department, our ultimate goal is to find the perfect vendor team to handle game localization projects. So, how can we find and select these vendors? First and foremost, every customer and project has unique requirements that should be considered when seeking an ideal vendor. Additionally, certain criteria apply to every vendor selection. Let’s explore these criteria in detail.
Being a Native Speaker
Game localization involves not only translation but also adapting the jargon, atmosphere, and overall context to the target market. The final product should feel as if it was made specifically for that market. Achieving this level of quality requires a clear understanding of the source language, but most importantly, it demands a perfect transfer of the game context into the target language. You have to be creative in doing this. In other words, you should be able to play with words. You can only do this in your native language. Therefore, all our game localization vendors must be native speakers of the target language. This criterion stands as the most crucial factor in selecting an ideal vendor for our game localization projects.
Almost everyone in the localization industry speaks a second language. But who can claim that we are as proficient in our second language as we are in our native language? Does this sound reasonable? Even if someone has a high level of proficiency in their second language, the likelihood of making mistakes is still significant. Furthermore, conveying cultural elements and idioms is best achieved by a native speaker.
In The Art of Game Localization, we’ve emphasized that game localization differs from software and app localization in various aspects. It requires experience and specialty. For this reason, we are seeking vendors with a minimum of 2 years of solid game localization experience, either in a game localization agency or a game development company. Sometimes experience can be specific depending on the genre of the game to be localized. If your resource database is rich enough, you can look for a vendor who has experience in the localization of that specific genre. For example, for an RPG (role-playing game) project, we aim to find a vendor with experience in RPG localization.
This criterion may disappoint inexperienced translators or students who want to start their careers in the game localization industry, but there’s no need to panic or give up hope. You can search for intern or junior translator positions in game localization companies. There are great opportunities out there and you can gain experience by taking part in these beginner positions.
Another essential criterion for vendor selection is whether or not the vendor graduated from a translation-related department. At least a language and literature department would be advantageous.
Every translation and localization project is carried out in a CAT (Computer Aided Translation) Tool. These tools share similar operating logic and interfaces, making it relatively easy for users familiar with one tool to adapt to the other ones. Therefore, we attach great importance to CAT tool knowledge in vendor selection both for game localization and other areas. After all, the days when we used to translate in a blank MS Word page are gone 🙂 Some of the most commonly used CAT tools in the translation industry include SDL Trados, MemoQ, Phrase, and Across, and an ideal vendor should be familiar with at least two of these tools.
Communication and Self-Representation
Communication plays a crucial role in every aspect of our lives. This is especially true when applying for a job, whether it’s a freelance opportunity or a full-time position, first impressions and communication skills are important. Unfortunately, some vendors make critical mistakes when presenting themselves. For instance, they may send their resumes without a subject, an introduction, or even a simple greeting. Additionally, some vendors include multiple localization companies in the BCC field and mass-email their resumes. It is essential to emphasize that such practices significantly impact vendor selection and are viewed as negative signs. Considering that game localization is basically a communication-based job, we expect an ideal game translator to have strong communication skills.
As in all other fields, collaborating with a professional team in game localization makes the process much smoother. For this reason, vendor selection holds a crucial place in game localization, and game localization companies should have a specialized vendor management team for this purpose.
Looking for getting tailored solutions for your game localization projects? Let’s open up a whole new world together!