In December 2020 we organized our first focus webinar choosing a topic that is near and dear to everyone’s heart: how to train and recruit the future professionals of the video game localization and quality assurance (QA) industry. A recurring discussion that began in 2017 at our last Game Localization Round Table at LocWorld Barcelona (the last one before we officially started Game Global) and a topic that was later analyzed in a blog article by Belén Agulló García (Nidmzi).
The objective of our webinar was to consult experts and share experiences. We invited speakers from both the academia and the video game industries, to give our attendees a broader overview of the different paths that can lead to a career in video game localization and QA. As well as share what types of companies are offering opportunities nowadays.
We had representatives from Roehampton University in London, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Nimdzi Learning, publishers such as Electronic Arts, Square Enix, and Ubisoft, and service providers such as Keywords Studios and Testronic.
Round table discussion
Together with our panelists, we saw how the industry has evolved from the “wild west of recruitment”, where anyone with a basic knowledge of a foreign language could be recruited to a more professionalized and standardized industry offering not only translation or testing roles but a host of new roles such as localization PM, audio PM, localization engineer, team leader, technical specialist, data analyst, and vendor management. Although, as Charles Ulbig from Electronic Arts and Stephen Laverick from Testronic explained, linguistic skills are still critical, and new testers always have to pass a language test in order to enter the recruitment process. In some cases, not only translation skills are assessed, but also creative writing skills, as Federica Lusardi from Square Enix explained.
Currently, the collaboration between academia and industry is not where we would like it to be, but the Universidat Autónoma de Barcelona and Keywords Studios are already able to name a few examples of successful collaborations, which in some cases has resulted in interns being hired with permanent contracts, as Carme Mangiron and Nathalie Duret shared us. This is great for new starters as many of us veterans still remember a time when the only time contact between academia and industry was possible, was during events like Game Global.
In terms of training, Belén Agulló García from Nimdzi explains that students come out of university with undoubtedly good translation skills, but they are often lacking project management and, in general, more practical knowledge about the industry that would allow them to apply more effectively for internships, jobs or thrive as freelancers. However, our panelists from EA and Testronic explained that many job-related skills are very specific to each company and cannot be trained in advance. In fact, they have extensive training programs for new starters that have been adapted to webinar and micro-training formats in times of Covid-19.
So what are the takeaways for beginners in the video game localization industry? First of all, do not expect to land your dream job straight away, but be open to other opportunities! Anca Marica from Ubisoft is a great example of how most of our panelists started in the industry as localization testers and were able to climb the corporate ladder. If you want to know more about testing for the video game industry, check out our blog articles on the LQA lead role and on learning and development for QA professionals.
Additionally, academia and training institutions should have a more “user-centric” approach and tailor their programs to the industry needs, while companies should be more accessible and help trainers also in terms of assets: having access to glossaries, databases and builds, even of legacy games, would be absolutely priceless for most students and teachers.
Lastly, take advantage of industry events such as Game Global and mentorship programs offered by associations such as Women in Localization. Don’t forget that Game Global is also offering a 50% discount on registrations for teachers and students with credentials.
We want to continue the conversation!
Game Global wants to continue trying to bridge the gap between industry and academia: join us at Game Global Digital Summit on March 2, 2 pm CET to continue the discussion moderated by Miguel Bernal-Merino from Roehampton University.