Guest blog post: “Videogame translators: 4 simple tips for a great LocJAM competition” by Alain Dellepiane, team GLOC Reply

Today’s guest post is written by Alain Dellepiane of team GLOC in preparation for an upcoming event in videogame localization called LocJAM 2014. In this post, Alain shares some tips on how videogame translators can use their time to stay up-to-date about what’s going on in the industry. 


As you might have heard, LocJAM 2014, the first global game translation contest is ready to start this 5th of April 2014.

Anyone with a computer and internet access to the website will be able to participate in order to translate a small open-source game from English into French, German, Italian, Japanese, European Spanish or South American Spanish.

It doesn’t matter if you are still studying, you have little experience or you are a long time professional: everyone is free to join and there are no entrance fees.

15+ of the largest game localization agencies in the world will then nominate their favorite and everyone will have a chance to win yearly licenses for translation tools, which is always nice.

Of course, your language skills are better than ever, but did you have the chance to prepare specifically for games?

The videogame industry is remarkably fast moving and, in order to be competitive, you need to dedicate part of your time to keep updated on the latest trends and developments. Here are a couple of recommendations: you might not be able to do all of them in these last few days, but you might discover that training for videogame localization is easier (and more fun) than you imagined.

3 minutes per day: online news sites

A long time ago, gaming websites used to be amateurish and unreliable. Not anymore. Online magazines have gradually taken the role once reserved to their paper counterparts, and can now boast the same level of professionalism and support from publishers.

With online readership constantly on the rise, websites tend to multiply and diversify. On one end of the spectrum, we have official sites like the PlayStation blog with obvious promotional aims. On the other, trade websites like Develop geared towards professionals. Anything in the middle will have a different balance between hype and information.

With time, you will probably find your favorite news source but, as a translator, you should try and read a bit of everything. After all, the vapid copy of some promotional websites could prove a goldmine the next time you need to translate some packaging, while the jargon in trade pages could allow you to decode the latest puzzling instructions from the developers!

10 minutes per week: let’s play videos

Let’s play videos are an increasingly popular form of playthrough. Very dedicated fans with screen recording systems play one game from start to finish and offer their running commentary while doing it. The result is then split into small episodes and uploaded on Youtube. Nowadays it’s fairly easy to find videos for all major titles, even in their localized versions. All you need is a quick Google search like “call of duty” ”let’s play” ITA or ”pokemon” ”gameplay” german. If you are feeling courageous after that, you can jump into the maelstrom of Good luck!

I will not hide that some of these videos are absolutely cringeworthy, but the benefits still manage to outweigh it.

    • While they can’t replace playing a bit on your own (more on this later) these videos are the easiest and fastest way to know a title, especially if you aren’t very skilled with its genre
    • You will have an insight on how the game is played and enjoyed by its audience
    • If you are (un)lucky enough to find a title you have localized, the video can turn into a focus group of sorts, with your solutions constantly tested (and commented) by real and unaware targets.

Obviously, the opinions in these videos belong to a dedicated minority but, taken with a pinch of salt, they can help you to build a better text for everyone (and will allow you to say, with a pained sigh, that you really do listen to your audience).

Note: if you feel that hearing one more whiny teenager voice might sink you into madness, try watching professional videos like Unskippable or Eurogamer’s previews instead.

2 hours per month: playing demos

As a videogame translator, your text is not only meant to be read, but to be used. Your words will become cogs of the game mechanics and it is your duty to have at least a basic understanding of how they work.

Playing a large number of complete game is not always feasible for a full time translator, but with an Xbox360 or a PlayStation 3 and an internet line you can simply download hundreds of localized demos for free, from all makers and genres. Each takes at most two hours to finish, and will give you a clear insight on the mechanics and terminology of that genre.

One day per year: attend a game show

Freelance translators tend to have busy and hectic lives. Making it even more hectic just to attend a game show seems hardly worth it.

We know; every year we make an effort to attend our local shows and every time our quality of life plummets.

Why do it, then? To be part of the industry. For the whole year you will be just a tiny speck in the far borders of gaming. For one day, go to the core and soak up the culture. It will make the rest of the year much much easier!

Thanks for reading and see you all at the LocJAM 2014 competition!


Thanks to Alain for sharing this guest blog post with us. For more information about LocJAM2014, you can visit the event’s website at

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