Greater than 8 minutes, my friend!
So, let’s start out by looking at what I said this time last year.
Indie Games – I decided to focus more on working independent developers over the course of 2015. All I can say is that they kept me pretty busy. We even managed a Chinese translation for one game! I think that this is still a good strategy for 2016, though I think our platforms might change a little.
Social/Casual Games – I’m happy to say that I was a little off in this particular area. We did notice a big increase in indie games being released, but there was a healthy balance between many different genres.
Indie Developer challenges – I also took a look at how indie developers made money and how we could help them afford proper translations. Just to give some numbers:
Kickstarter launched 21,279 gaming projects so far in 2015, raising a total of 434 million dollars. They currently have another 510 active gaming projects and a success rate of 32.85% (https://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats), as compared to 1,980 total projects and $89 million in 2014 (https://www.kickstarter.com/year/2014/data).
I didn’t participate in any royalty deals with any game developers, so I can’t give any further insight in the manner. I still think it might be a viable option, though.
I did start up a video game review blog! I haven’t been nearly as active there as I would like, but it’s something that I will continue working on. I have the blog set up through Blogger and I make gameplay videos on YouTube. It’s been a lot of fun so far, though I’m nowhere near PewDiePie levels.
Things I wouldn’t do – So, I swore off AAA accounts for 2015. I did participate in a few alpha and beta tests for some major developers, but that was it.
Ok, now let’s look at 2016!
How to Gain Video Game Translation Experience in 2016
We hear this a lot, you need experience to translate a game, but you need to translate a game in order to get experience. Aside from collaborating with indie developers on platforms like Curseforge.com, another interesting opportunity that has recently come to light is to gain that experience through YouTube.
Don’t forget aboutLocJAM, which will take place in February. Visit their Facebook page for more information.
Mobile Gaming in 2016
New translation platforms
Another thing that you might have noticed is that a lot of new translator platforms are starting to appear. My friend Dmitry launched the Open Mic Project which provides a platform for translators to write and share blogs, as well as gain some publicity. The translator profiles also give the necessary information for any outsourcers or direct clients to contact and hire the freelancers.
I’ve been trying to do something similar here, though I want to house video game translation jobs and create a searchable database of translators for game developers to use. I guess you could think of this as the Proz.com for video game translation.
There are a few others from younger translators that are trying to make a difference. Low rates and bad payment practices seem to be everywhere and they want to do something about it. I personally think that our dependence on translation agencies is to blame. We’ve let middlemen dictate how much we charge, how long we have to wait to be paid, how much work we do each day, and just about everything else. I’ve ranted about this before, so I’ll stop now before I lose focus. The important thing is that there are new tools out there to help you build up your client base and forces within the industry are beginning to shift. Hopefully we can make a difference.
In order to facilitate this shift, we have to develop more business skills. Like I mentioned in my last post, we need to understand that we are business owners and we must act as such. That means that we need to learn more about marketing, client relations, rates, adding value, networking, taxes, and all those other fun things that come with owning a business.
Again, I believe that it is failure on our part in this matter that has caused the discontent that we suffer now as an industry.
Continued Growth in Indie Development
Things I’m going to do differently in 2016
This site is going to be one of my main projects this year. I have a lot of content to add and training to provide. Like, how I’m using YouTube to find new translation clients, and not just through the subtitle translation thing that I mentioned before.I’m also really excited about the translator database. That will take some time to develop, which means that I might need to charge something to sign up as I won’t be translating as much, but I can see it becoming a valuable tool for translators and developers alike.
There are some other things that I would like to add to this site, like a gift shop! T-shirts!! I mean, I already have the giant microbe guys on here. I come across a lot of neat stuff online and there are a lot of companies that offer discounts and coupons for sites like this one. Heck, I even found a site that gives big discounts on major video games (like Fallout 4!), so I might add some of their content here as well.
Aside from giving my own webinars, I also intend to attend as many webinars as I can. They’re great ways to learn and develop new skills. If you’re interested in translating video games, look for webinars for developers, or marketing, or copy writing, or art design, or any of the other dozen things that you can find. Apply those skills to your own portfolio – add a cool logo from a Photoshop webinar; improve the SEO of your website from a digital marketing or optimization webinar; or sign up for my YouTube webinar and attract local clients! There is so much information available, for free, that not taking advantage of it is insane.Use game mods to provide translations
This is something that someone suggested a long time ago – create mods that are essentially localized versions of a game, and sell it! With Fallout 4 console players getting access to mods, I think that we’ll see more games that are able to do the same. FYI – Minecraft’s localized versions started off as mods and addons. I remember reviewing the Spanish one during the game’s early alpha stages on Curse Forge.
If you don’t know how to make a mod, start a Kickstarter campaign and hire someone once you have the funding.
Improve terminology and language skills
This one might sound a little strange, but I don’t really play games in my source languages, I just prefer them in English. One of my goals for this year is to go back and play some of my favorite games in a new language. I started playing Pokemon Fire Red in Spanish not too long ago, and was blown away by the number of new words I learned (how often do you translate the word “tackle” or “hyperbeam”?). I would really like to add a third language to my skill set, German, and I think that this will be a great way to do it. I might go Leaf Green this time.
Finally, my side job
Ok, the last thing that I’m going to do a little differently this year. I’m going to put more time and energy into my side job as a web developer and SEO. There are a couple of reasons for this. First off, it pays better! And second, because I will need those skills and resources to build this site and do the things that I want to do. I have a new website that I’m building right now, UtahSEO.Ninja, that will house that information and hopefully serve as another resource for all of you. In case you guys haven’t noticed, I want to make the video game translation world better. I want to help you all gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed with a job that you love. This is just another way for me to do that. I will be building that site up over the next few weeks, but come check it out if you get a chance. I have a Facebook page ^_^
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqfXO-HsScpF2IZCTbG-_ug – My gaming channel