The gaming industry and the localization sector continue to expand

These industries are projected to keep growing at a pace of 8-9% in the upcoming years. New technologies such as cloud gaming and virtual and augmented reality may have an impact on the industry in the near future, making the number of gamers and games skyrocket. What if the Netflix of videogames is around the corner? Can you imagine a similar revolution in the gaming industry? Are we ready to escalate localization operations fast and efficiently?

Talent acquisition remains a challenge for LSP

One of the key elements to succeed in growing quickly and still delivering quality is having a great pool of trustworthy and qualified professionals. According to the 2020 Nimdzi 100 report on the language service providers industry, talent acquisition is a major challenge that is being faced by many Language Service Providers (LSP). This not only applies to translators, interpreters, and voice actors but also to project managers and other in-house roles. This is where proper and hands-on training can help the game localization industry succeed.

Unfortunately, there are not so many specialized training programs for game localization professionals. This is mainly due to two factors:

1) Confidentiality

2) Lack of communication between educational institutions and gaming and localization companies

We all know that confidentiality in this industry is very important for different reasons (who hasn’t signed an NDA?). However, strict measures are sometimes an obstacle for proper game localization education because it can be hard for trainers to find real and updated localization assets to prepare a course. For other types of audiovisual products, the process is easier.

Netflix and YouTube are full of content that you can share with students. However, even if we have access to videogames, we hardly ever have access to those beautiful, multilingual spreadsheets, full of columns and contextual information that are the real deal in our industry. Or, we don’t have access to build where we can test a localized version. At the same time, gaming companies or localization agencies are not always open to talk and collaborate with educational institutions and researchers. The reasons are again confidentiality on one side, and lack of time and motivation on the other side. Besides, professionals who have both the experience of working in a gaming company or a specialized LSP and an interest in training are a very rare combination.

The result is a lack of specialized training for the game localization industry

There are a few specialized courses for game localization (mainly in Europe, and more in particular, Spain) and also a few modules that are part of BA or MA translation programs in different universities around the world (mainly Europe and the US). The current programs are largely focused on translation and the linguistic aspects of localization.

However, other skills are necessary to work in this industry. Or at least an understanding of the industry from a broader perspective, including internationalization, project management, language technology such as CAT tools or MT, voice-over production, testing, and so on. Soft skills are sometimes taken for granted in university training, but those skills are certainly some of the most relevant and not so common in the localization industry. Many can properly translate a text, but it’s not so easy to find professionals who understand the implications of their work and properly communicate with a project manager.

So, what do we need to do to successfully educate the future professionals of our industry?

  • Gaming and localization companies should be open to collaborating with educational institutions. How?
    • Establish a partnership with different educational institutions around the world, talk to trainers, and explain your company’s needs: what are you looking for when you hire someone new?
    • Promote internships and mentorship programs within your organization.
    • Co-organize workshops and professional talks together with educational institutions.
    • Share materials with trainers so that they can use them in courses.
    • Participate in conferences, articles, webinars, podcasts, etc. Share your wisdom!
  • Educational institutions should promote courses that are realistic and updated, taking into account the industry’s needs.
  • Educational programs for game localization should include different aspects of the industry including project management, translation technologies, voice-over production, or testing, not just the linguistic ones.
  • It’s important to bring game localization programs to other countries such as those located in Latin America and Asia as well.

Finally, promoting professional specialized conferences such as the Game Global Summit among students is a great way to keep them updated regarding the latest trends in the industry.

There’s still a long way to go with improving training offers for the game localization industry, but it’s worth it because the future depends on how we educate today’s professionals. So, how are you going to contribute?

About the Author
Belén Agulló García
Multimedia Localization Researcher at Nimdzi Insights

With a BA in Translation and Interpreting Studies and an MA in Audiovisual Translation, Belén started her career back in 2011 at a game localization company. She was soon promoted to PM, training specialist, marketing strategist and copywriter, and, finally, translation manager. She has since co-started a game localization company, embarked on the adventure of a Ph.D. in Translation Studies, and has become a professional learner, researcher, and academic writer.

She teaches game localization and subtitling technologies in several MA programs in Spain and France. Now, she contributes to Nimdzi Insights as a multimedia localization researcher with her hands-on experience and research skills.