I worked on...
Localization companies represent an ‘all-in-one’ solution that may be a valid choice if you need a complete localization chain (translation, recording, DTP, playtesting) for a large number of languages. However, if you only need translation and/or a limited number of target languages, then working with one or several freelance translators offers very interesting advantages. Let’s say you need a text translated from French to English. You send your files to your loc company’s PM, who forwards them to their partner company in the UK, who in turn sends them to the lead linguist; who externalizes the files to a freelance translator, who has too much on his hands to take care of it and subcontracts it to another, cheaper freelancer… At the end of the day, four people received and forwarded your files without bringing any added value to them – quite the contrary: your budget feeds a disproportionate chain where each link further reduces the amount that is effectively paying for the actual translation and ensuring its quality. Furthermore, the delivery process has to trace back that chain – and the more links in the chain, the higher chances are you will run into a problem delaying delivery: incorrect mail routing, misinterpretation of your translation instructions, misunderstanding about the delivery deadline… By sending contracting to a freelance translator, you only pay for the activity effectively carried out on your files. Not only do you realize substantial savings on your localization budget, you also have one single interlocutor that is directly concerned by the instructions, deadlines and expectations you set. You know who really takes charge of your projects.
So you want to cut out the middlemen and employ a freelancer for your translation needs? Not just any translator will do. What would you say if in a realistic military simulation, your translation provider rendered “Weapons Free” as “Armes gratuites” (“Weapons for free”)? Or if the splash screen became a “splashing-sound screen”? Sounds like something Babelfish would output, not fully-fledged professionals, right? Well think again – those are all-too-real examples from the myriad translation blunders I got to proofread while working as a lead linguist at a famous localization company. The video game industry is far from being the most financially worthwhile area for translators, freelance and in-house alike, so many work in this field as a mere fallback choice. Under-specialization and quantity over quality account for most underwhelming localizations. My extensive experience in the localization industry means you can trust me to steer clear from such horrible translations. Doesn’t matter whether your characters speak in Cockney rhyming slang or New York black street slang, or how technical your readmes can get – I will never fail to understand the proper meaning.
Who can translate a game script better than a seasoned linguist? A seasoned linguist who also happens to be a seasoned hardcore gamer. As such, I always have a strong connection with the projects I work on. And it certainly shows in my work! For all my clients, all my projects, this passion makes all the difference where other translation providers would translate more literally or even fail to see the subtlety of your project:
- Your script contains a poetry or a song? No problem, it will be translated in rhymes. Did I mention I have won several poetry prizes?
- Some character uses a peculiar accent or dialect? I will use an equivalent idiolect that makes sense both in a French-speaking context and in the context of the game.
- Your project is ripe with puns? They will be just as funny and relevant in my translation.
You will find samples of my methods in the Translation Samples section. I do not satisfy myself with providing accurate translations – I always make sure they will have particular appeal to gamers and will gather positive feedback throughout the gaming community… because I also belong to this community and have their satisfaction at heart just like I have yours.
I have the latest TRC glossaries of all publishers at my disposal and all my translations thoroughly comply with it. I also use CAT tools like SDLX Trados that automatically implement said terminology. Occasionally, during my translation I detect TRC inconsistencies in the source files, which gives you all the more chances to easily obtain milestone approval.
While English is remarkably concise in its formulations, French often needs to use more words to convey the same idea. Translating from English to French therefore implies a certain increase in terms of text length, which translators call theexpansion factor. It is estimated to roughly +20% from English to French, +30% from German to French; thus a 1000-word text in English will be about 1200 words long once translated in French. Some unscrupulous translation providers will invoice you based on the word count of the text they deliver. This means they have every reason to try and make their translations as long as possible, which is obviously a big no-no in the localization industry! No unpleasant surprises with me – you pay for the word count of the source text and I deliver a translation that does not exceed the expansion factor, as I am fully aware of the difficulties caused by too verbose a translation in the localization process (implementation, linguistic testing). I will also duly respect any further length instructions you specify, whether in terms of characters, syllables, etc. Please note however that instructions such as STC and lip-synch require considerably more work to adapt translation to those demanding restrictions and therefore incur extra fees: base price +20% for STC, +40% for lip-synch. Any other length restrictions up to TC will be enforced upon request and for no extra fees. Simply note that I will probably have to make a few stylistic sacrifices to comply with them.
Imagine having to fit into your already tight schedule a gigantic list of questions from translators requesting explanations for each and every single string, a sure sign of their lack of understanding of notions they should grasp… My experience as a localization translator has taught me to streamline Q&As. You can rest assured that all the questions I ask are absolutely necessary to ensure successful translation – no more, no less. Not only do I work efficiently, my efficiency is also beneficial to you.
I am not limited to translation skills! Thanks to my training as a terminology translator and my experience as a lead linguist, I am able to efficiently coordinate a team of translators depending on your needs and expectations. You can either specify the resources you want me to coordinate or let me free to set up a team of native French translators I know to be experienced and reliable; in the latter case, I will provide you with their personal information for total transparency. Other than proofreading all translations, my services as linguistic coordinator include creating and managing an exhaustive glossary that will be handed back to you upon request at the end of the project. Depending on each projet, this glossary may include such elements as:
- source term and translation;
- hyperonymic classification;
- brief definition;
- inflections and other relevant grammatical remarks;
- for VO projects, standardized pronunciations for phonetically ambiguous translations;
- for scripts, a chart listing all forms of address (informal “tu” / formal “vous”) between the various characters.
I will also compile questions from all translators, which includes rewording ambiguous questions and deleting unneeded or duplicate questions.
I systematically perform two proofreading runs for all my translations, which enables me to ensure near-flawless spelling. Unfortunately, to err is human – like all writers and translators, I cannot guarantee perfection; instead, I estimate chances of letting a typo slip to be no more than 1 every 4000 words.
Your projects are processed on a powerful, work-dedicated computer (Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, 4 GB RAM) with up-to-date antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall solutions. Files are stored on a two-disk RAID 1 array to avoid any risk of delay caused by potential disk crash, and are backed up on a daily basis. I am in possession of and proficient with a large variety of software, from the most mainstream like the Office pack up to more specialized software such as Microsoft Localization Studio – for which I wrote a user guide – SDLX Trados andAlchemy Catalyst.
In my line of work, there is nothing I love more than long, complex projects with rich, dense scripts. Consequently, I offer a range of degressive prices based on the per-month volume you send me. High volumes can make my servicesextremely competitive! Please refer to my Services and Fees for more information.
Not quite convinced yet? I will gladly submit to any translation test you send me. In addition, I will automatically charge you the lowest available base price for the first 3000 words of our initial collaboration!