Game translators are genius folks. They help game publishers and developers attract a worldwide audience. It’s due to their excellent abilities that gamers around the world can play games in their mother tongue.

If we talk about the gaming industry, it’s a billion-dollar business. Its current market size is USD 281.77 billion with an expected growth reaching USD 665.77 billion by 2030. As the gaming market becomes truly global, the need for gaming translation services is evident. Consequently, the interest in game translation careers is also growing accordingly.

Many game lovers out there are looking for advice on how they can make a living out of their hobby.  So, we have decided to detail the three most important skills you may need to enter the field of game translation and localization.

What will I do as a game translator?

As a game translator, you will be converting a game from the source language to the target one. When we say games, it means everything involved in the game experience. 

That said, you would be working on game stories, characters, dialogue, etc. Plus, if the game is accompanied by some marketing content such as websites, then your job will include rendering website localization services for that game as well. Similarly, you may need to localize the marketplace descriptions and packaging text.  

Simply put, you would be doing more than just language conversion. Your role could be better described as rewriting a game for another audience speaking a different language. 

Hence, you will be building a whole new universe for your target users. The intended receivers of your work should get a feel that the game isn’t a translated version but was originally created in their first language.

So that’s the degree of expertise you would need if you’ve to succeed in this incredibly creative, fiercely competitive, and sometimes unappreciated career.

What skills do I need to become an excellent gaming translator?

If you want to become a game translator, the following are the most essential skills you should have or work on. Having these skills in your arsenal shall allow you to get hired by a translation agency or get started with a freelance role.

Linguistic proficiency

Talk about any professional game translator, they would be bilingual at the very least. Therefore, at a minimum level, you should be fluent in two languages. If you know or can learn more languages, it would also play a vital role in shaping your career. Especially if those languages belong to the same family. 

But pay close attention to the following point. Just like having two hands doesn’t make you a pianist, speaking two languages won’t qualify you as a localization specialist. Instead, it demands fluency in one or more languages you translate from. Plus, perfect authority in your mother language. 

Another great aspect related to language proficiency is to have a broad general knowledge. This is because modern games are getting highly mature with the passage of time. They contain themes that are very delicate and sophisticated.

As a result, you should make a daily habit of consuming common phrases, idioms, history, pop culture, and even politics in several languages. This would give you in-depth knowledge of the languages and countries you wish to provide your linguistic services from and for. 

Passion for gaming

Being passionate about gaming and having played various games is one of the key prerequisites to becoming a game translator. You should be familiar with lots of games and know the specific terms, jargon, and concepts within the gaming world.

It’s okay to have a preference for certain game types. You can capitalize on your favorite genre and become a specialist in it.

If you can take the time to research what translation companies or game studios want from their game translators, you will acknowledge that having a strong love and passion for gaming is right at the top. However, they don’t look for casual, recreational gamers.

Rather, they seek individuals with similar interests. The game localization companies you’d apply will want to know about things like your first console. They might ask you about games you would play daily, going to bed and dreaming about them. If your passion aligns with their passion, building the necessary rapport will be a lot easier.  

This is also possible that you might find it challenging to find time for playing your much-loved games. But it will be part of your job to stay current on the latest releases, any new game terminology, or concepts from the industry. 

The right methodology

You can’t become a successful game translator unless you have a highly well-oiled methodology to carry out the tasks. 

Being a gaming translator, it’s common to localize a game you haven’t even seen before. This poses a great challenge of tackling the lack of context on an almost daily basis. 

Even if you work for top translation companies, your job will include this struggle. The reason is that not all game localization services or companies ask game developers and publishers about the provision of reference material. Without this reference material, you as a game translator will find it hard to contextualize things and have a thorough understanding of the game. 

For this reason, you must ask developers to provide you with as much game information as possible.

Moreover, you should be an excellent researcher. But this comes with time and practice as you try to find out the exact meanings of different words and phrases. The next thing on the list is the ability to exercise excellent attention to detail. This is crucial because you will have to proofread your work against any grammar, spelling mistakes, etc.

Additionally, you should be capable of following the style guide the client provides. Character restrictions should not hinder your way of delivering the best outcomes. Last but not least, your ability to finish things before deadlines. Keeping yourself ahead of schedule means your clients will be happy with you. Thus, you will be getting more projects.

Concluding remarks

In this blog, we discussed the role of being a game translator. Then we mentioned the top three skills you must have if you want to find your feet in the game translation career. But these skills just provide you with a good starting point. Other skills such as creative writing, working in teams, and being flexible are also crucial to stand out from an extensive pool of translators out there.