2014 Game Localization Advisory Board
Co-chair: Miguel Á. Bernal-Merino (Roehampton University)
Co-chair: Simone Crosignani (Binari Sonori)
Michaela Bartelt (Electronic Arts Europe)
Margherita Martella (Spil Games)
Stephanie O'Malley Deming (XLOC, Inc)
Vanessa Wood (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe)
Overview: This full-day round table consists of several distinct sessions presented by experts in game localization. This round table series is open to clients (game developers and game publishers) and to qualifying vendors (game localization specialists). We aim to provide the best possible venue to enable a fruitful and balanced debate, so we will do our best to maintain a balanced group of participants. The day will end with an open discussion based on information and questions from the day's presentations.
8.00-9.00: Registration and Coffee
9.00-9.15: Welcome and Introductions
9.15-10.00: Localization Then and Now
Speaker: Robert Herzog (Travian Games)
Synopsis: In this session, we will show how the game Travian grew from a small side project to a game that has over 50 million users around the world and is available in 40 languages. It was so successful that an entire company was built around it to support, market and develop the game, and those resources were used for new projects. The focus of this presentation will be on how the translation of the game helped to increase its renown across the world with only the help of volunteers and nonprofessional translators. We will clarify why this past system and workflow doesn’t work for Travian’s new games and how Travian adjusted to keep volunteers aboard without neglecting the standards that have been set by the translation industry.
10.00-10.45: The Cultural Dimension in Game Localization
Speaker: Silvia Ferrero (MediaLoc)
Synopsis: As translators and interpreters know, it is important to bridge the gap between cultures. In certain disciplines, the meaning and effect that the text has on the reader is far more important than the words. This is especially true of localization, which has been defined as the adaptation of a product, application or document content to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market. In game localization, this adaptation goes well beyond the words. Different cultures perceive things in different ways so if a product is to be successful, it’s important to make sure that it adapts to the target markets. During this session, we will explain the importance of cultural issues and why developers should be aware of them in order to achieve the desired success across different markets. We will also show how to go beyond the role of the translator and become a cultural advisor to clients, watching for anything that might be problematic and attempting to provide solutions. The localizer needs to be familiar with cultural and linguistic conventions to ensure that the localized version achieves the same effect on the audience as its original, from the use of adapted cultural references to different accents, registers and assessing the appropriateness of rude language.
11.00-11.45: Quality Monitoring: A Dynamic Approach
11.45-12.30: Insights into Outsourced Localization Testing
Speaker: Margherita Martella (Spil Games) Kat Poole (Capita Translation and Interpreting)
Synopsis:In this session, we will talk about how Spil Games and Capita Translation and Interpreting have developed a localization quality monitoring process that is both dynamic and transparent. They have been working together for more than two years, building a relationship based on mutual cooperation for success that has been key in the development of their quality-monitoring model. Spil Games deals with a wide range of content including games from independent developers, games from their in-house studio, large social games, promotional e-mails, public relations material, website text and so on. All of these content types have different purposes and different audiences. They also require different levels of quality. Rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach, they mapped the return on investment of each content type to three quality tiers. Through the use of a customizable score card that focuses on aspects such as style and engagement, Spil Games has been able to monitor quality in a quantifiable way. They produce monthly reports that show the pain points and help find suitable solutions quickly and easily.
Speaker: Marina Kisilenko (All Correct Language Solutions)
Synopsis: In this session we will touch on the challenges of forming and maintaining a successful team of freelance localization testers. Key points of discussion will address the following topics:
- The main advantages of outsourced localization testing
- Finding a suitable localization tester and keeping him motivated
- Mixing language-aware specialists with the testers of high technical competence
- Keeping the team enthusiastic during peaks and valleys
- Keeping localization testing as close to the other localization processes as possible and making the testers understand the whole workflow
14.00-14.45: Watch_Dogs™ Localization Testing
Speaker: Noémi Rouleau (Ubisoft Montreal)
Synopsis: AAA game developers have many options when it comes to getting their game localized and tested in today’s world, but what if it were possible to use different options to better meet the challenges at various stages of a game’s development cycle? What benefits and challenges would this bring to a production? This is the reality of localization at Ubisoft Montreal, one of the world’s largest game development studios. In this sessoin, we will present the different types of localization testing used on Watch_Dogs™ and will discuss how, why and when they were used to increase the localization quality. We will also talk about the principal challenges that this testing approach brings when it comes to managing tasks, databases, bug fixes, working styles and locations. This approach to localization testing is now the standard at Ubisoft Montreal and we’d like to share our best practices as well as the challenges encountered and lessons learned. Finally, we will discuss how the process of localization testing on AAA titles continues to evolve alongside the industry’s transition to the powerful new generation of consoles.
14.45-15.30: Cloud Localization — A Game Changer
Speaker: Dominick Kelly (XTM International)
Synopsis: XTM is the world's first cloud-based computer-assisted translation and translation management system tool developer, working with companies such as Zynga and Babel Media. In this session, XTM will demonstrate the difference between cloud and desktop technologies and the effect this has on the localization of game content. Focus will be on collaborative or agile aspects of cloud technologies and what this means for game developers and their localization partners.
16.00-16.45: Localization of the Xbox Platform
Speaker: Gregor Kneitz (Microsoft Xbox)
Synopsis: Servicing an agile development organization with localization has many challenges. When multiple form factors such as user interfaces, help files, voice commands, websites and online services are added, it starts to get interesting. Then, aligning all of these from an eight-year product cycle to monthly releases is truly fun! In this session, we will share experiences and a localization model for localizing Xbox One, 360 platform and applications.