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How To Become A Video Game Translator

This article is part of the Quest for Your Career series. We focus on each specific job in the video game industry by interviewing an expert in the field. Learn what they do, how they got started, and whether it's a good job for you.
Damien Yoccoz, video game translator/localizer at Level Up Translation

Damien Yoccoz: “Speaking two languages doesn’t make you a translator any more than having two hands makes you a pianist.”

Hundreds of new video games are created every year, but unfortunately, most are made by developers who speak a language you don’t. That means unless you learn Japanese, French, Mandarin, and a dozen other languages, you’ll miss out on thousands of awesome game experiences in your lifetime.

That is, unless the developers translate their game into a language you understand, using a painstaking process called localization.

Before the 1990s, if you didn’t speak the language, you simply couldn’t play the game. Some players learned a second language like Japanese, solely so they could play rare unofficial imports. Others took matters into their own hands and made “fan translations” to distribute to other players using dial-in bulletin-board systems (BBS).

Fortunately, game localization has become so affordable that publishers release each game in multiple languages so players around the world can enjoy their creations.

Today I’m speaking with Damien Yoccoz, the founder of Level Up Translation in Basse-Normandie, France. He explains what a translator does, how he got started in the job, and what it takes to succeed as a game localizer. Read more ›

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How can I get a job as a video game translator or localizer?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Paulo, who asks, “In terms of the gaming industry, the topic that matters to me the most is video game localization. I’m a Brazilian translator and I would love to translate games as well. I don’t know if you have already written anything about that, but I would love to know more if possible.”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The difference between game translation and game localization
  • Some of the biggest challenges of localization
  • How you can get started as a video game localizer

Read more ›

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