Today, Natasha Potekhina, our current production director who previously spent five whole years as a localization project manager, will talk about the first steps a project takes when it comes to us.
Step 1. Gathering materials and getting things straight
Right after a client sends a project for localization, the manager calculates the cost and timeframe, then sends them to the client for approval. This requires some initial information. Most often, it’s one or several files containing the entire text of the game. There may also be marketing materials, store blurbs, trailer subtitles, and so on.
Among other things, the PM asks for:
- the build;
- character descriptions;
- location and character images;
- a completed work statement with the client’s requirements and wishes.
This last item contains important information like “how formally should the player be addressed”, “what is the game’s age rating”, “what letters/characters does the game support or not support”.
Step 2. Assembling the team
The manager then gets the team together. This includes translators, editors, and, if necessary, experts in specific areas (for example, if the game is about yachting, we might need an expert sailor). The team is given points of reference and they get familiar with the game materials, then put together a translation glossary, which the manager will send to the client for approval.
Step 3. Localization
Clarifying questions always come up during the translation process, so the manager keeps a list of these, discusses them with the client, then provides answers to the team. As soon as the translation is ready, the editors and QA people get to work. Our next article will tell you more about what editors and translators do.
Step 4. The final check
The golden rule of a PM is “be trusting, but always double-check”. So before the project is handed in to the client, the project manager personally goes over the client’s requirements and the final product one more time.
The manager runs a series of automatic tests, such as a glossary term check, and only after everything has been verified they return the finished localization to the client. Ideally, the client then integrates the translated texts into the game and sends us the build for testing, because a high-quality translation with no errors still doesn’t guarantee that everything will instantly look perfect in-game.
Nota Bene: We’re describing this process from the point of view of a brand-new project. If we’re working with a repeat client, all we need from them to put together an estimate and deadline is:
- the materials to be localized;
- a list of language pairs;
- and the date by which they would like to receive the translation.
But project managers cry, too
As you can see, PMs always have plenty to think about, and we’ve included this next paragraph at the tearful request of our PMs. This is what makes INLINGO project managers sad:
- when clients check translations using Google Translate;
- when clients ask us to translate several words separately, and then make them into sentences themselves (spoiler: it’s never a correct sentence);
- when clients skip the testing stage and then the game doesn’t get featured because the fonts turned out weird;
- when clients don’t provide necessary background information and don’t answer clarifying questions, then halfway through the project it turns out that the main character is a girl, not a boy.
Of course, in any of these situations, we’re always ready to help out and do everything possible to ensure that the localization is absolutely perfect. So write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers — we’ll talk about it 😉