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How to Kickstart Your Career in Game Localization

7 September 2023

How to Kickstart Your Career in Game Localization

The gaming industry is expanding at an unprecedented pace, and with it, there’s a growing demand for professionals skilled in the art of game localization. As games aim to connect with a global audience, bridging cultural gaps becomes pivotal. If you’re passionate about both languages and gaming, then game localization might just be your dream job.

1. Understand the Basics of Game Localization

Game localization is not just about simple translation; it involves adapting a game’s content to fit the cultural nuances and linguistic intricacies of a target market. This ensures that the gaming experience is just as engaging and relatable for a player in Tokyo as it is for one in Paris.

Tip: Dive into the world of game design to understand how narratives and characters are created. This will give you an edge when localizing, as you’ll have a sense of the game’s soul and intent.

2. Build a Strong Linguistic Foundation

While a love for gaming is essential, game localization jobs primarily require impeccable linguistic skills. Proficiency in at least two languages is often a must.

Tip: Opt for formal training in languages. Not only will this solidify your linguistic prowess, but it also gives your resume a substantial boost.

3. Specialize in a Niche

The world of gaming is vast, from RPGs to MOBAs, and each genre has its unique localization challenges. By specializing in a specific genre or a set of languages, you become a more attractive candidate for studios looking for precision.

Tip: Engage in online forums and communities for your chosen niche. This helps you network and understand the unique challenges and trends within your specialization.

4. Build a Portfolio

Just like any other profession, having a portfolio is crucial. It demonstrates your skills and gives potential employers a tangible sense of what you can bring to the table.

Tip: Start by offering freelance game localization services on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. Not only will this help you build your portfolio, but it’ll also give you invaluable experience.

5. Stay Updated with Gaming Trends

Gaming, as an industry, is continuously evolving. By keeping your finger on the pulse of the latest trends, you ensure that your localization skills are always relevant.

Tip: Subscribe to gaming magazines, join online gaming communities, and participate in game developer conferences. This will keep you informed and also offer networking opportunities.

6. Network, Network, Network!

The gaming industry, much like others, thrives on connections. Engaging with professionals in the field, attending conferences, and being part of online communities can open doors to unadvertised job opportunities.

Tip: Consider joining professional organizations like the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) which offer resources and networking opportunities specifically for those in the gaming industry.

7. Understand the Technical Side

Localization isn’t purely linguistic. There are technical elements involved, like understanding game engines, software, and sometimes even coding. While you don’t need to be a developer, having a basic understanding will go a long way.

Tip: Take online courses in game development basics or familiarize yourself with popular game engines like Unity or Unreal.

8. Don’t Neglect Soft Skills

Patience, cultural sensitivity, and strong communication skills are just as vital as your linguistic abilities. These soft skills ensure that you can work seamlessly within a team and adapt to unexpected challenges.

Tip: Participate in workshops or online courses that focus on enhancing soft skills, particularly those geared towards the gaming industry.

9. Keep an Eye on Job Boards

While networking is crucial, sometimes the perfect opportunity is just a click away. Regularly checking game-specific job boards or websites of game development studios can unveil potential game localization jobs.

Tip: Bookmark sites like Game Developer job board or the IGDA job board for frequent checks.

You will find more tips on how to work with job boards in our article: Portals and platforms: 3 rules for language professionals

10. Stay Persistent

Like any other career, breaking into game localization can be challenging. There will be competition and roadblocks, but persistence and passion will see you through.

Tip: Even if you face rejection, seek feedback, refine your skills, and keep pushing forward.

In conclusion, a career in game localization is a thrilling intersection of language and gaming. It offers the chance to be a part of creating global gaming experiences. By honing your skills, networking, and staying updated, you’ll be well on your way to making an indelible mark in this exciting field.

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