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Víctor Alonso Lion @valion
                                                                Localization Consultant


New Challenges in
Interactive Media
Localization Projects                 New Challenges in
The purpose of this talk is
                                      Interactive Media
to try to explain the
changes localization is              Localization Projects
living nowadays.
We are in an environment
of continuous change.
And these changes are
definitely going to continue   I International Conference on Video Game and Virtual
with, in addition, an                          Worlds Translation and
exponential increase of                             Accessibility
changing speed.
                                                Faculty of Translation and Interpreting
                                                  Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
These changes are in fact, at
least I understand it this way,
a great opportunity to those
willing to reconsider their
processes, those ready to
reconsider what is “the right
way” of doing things today,
and those who are open to
check new ideas and
transform them in new
opportunities.

Those who are open to press
the reset button from time to
time are the ones that will
adapt the better to all
changes.
I strongly believe that
interactive media and new
media localization is the
part of our industry that has
the most potential to enable
research, and change.
This due to the fact that
Interactive Media and Video
Games in particular offer a
framework which is at all
times at the edge of new
technology.

Interactive Media content
localizers could be the ones
that will lead the
“localization revolution”.
So what is going on in our
environment?

What is exactly this strange
ecosystem we are working in
today in new media
localization?

We will first try to describe this
Ecosystem and a few of the
enablers or facilitators of this
change.
Enabler # 1: Global Playground

It is of course no news
anymore that we live in a
global world.

Interactions come and go in
seconds from Beijing to San
Francisco, from Berlin to
Barcelona, or Singapore to
Dublin

This is of course a general
trend in all content related
industries, nothing
specifically particular for
localization professionals or
professionals working on
interactive media.
Still it is radical change
important to note.
Increased access to new technology   Enabler # 2: Global
                                     Increase of technological
                                     access

                                     And we are only at the
                                     beginning of this. A second
                                     enabler we can mention
                                     which is going to facilitate
                                     this "revolution": The raise
                                     of broadband connectivity
                                     will definitively give access
                                     and open collaboration
                                     channels to millions we do
                                     not even consider today.

                                     This will bring not only
                                     significant content
                                     changes, but also new
                                     competition in all areas.
Enabler # 3 (1): Social Media Landscape:

We have given ourselves (developers by creating it and users by adopting it) a layer of
worldwide interactions: social media. We can see this as simply a layer of new
communication channels.
Videogames, social games and Virtual worlds play a crucial part in all this.
Enabler # 3 (2): Social Media Landscape:

Interactions are not preprogrammed (they can be designed however), and can be triggered by the
community itself.
In addition, a new layer is coming. It's basically a gaming layer (ref. Jesse Schell : Carnegie Mellon’s
Entertainment Technology Center); or as I prefer to call it, an "interactive layer". This new upcoming layer
is here to stay and will influence many other areas. I believe education and eLearning will be the first ones
to join “this game”.
The challenges
CHALLENGE -1-
Challenge #1: Preparation

Localization cannot be an
afterthought: “Got my
English/Japanese stuff and
now let's try to sell this
somewhere else. Lets make it
French, Spanish .... Germany
is a pretty big market too... “

The bad news is that you will
not make it on time anymore.

Costumers do not really wait,
and the most common
situation today is that a new
thing will come out while you
are working on making your
media international and you
will lose you buzz timeframe
for making your project a
success.
Localizers and developers have to work together in order to produce a set of products that
will please the different markets. Localizers need to be proactive and propose changes,
while developers need to code with a conscience that their game will need local
adaptations.

As mentioned Code and content internationalization has to be considered since the very
beginning. Awareness of international requirements needs to be present at an early stage
of the game creation in order to facilitate a smooth internationalization process.

 GAME DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
                                       Pre-                                Post-
    Concept         Design                           Production                         Launch
                                    Production                          Production

 INTERNATIONALIZATION AND LOCALIZATION PROCESS


                         Localization related Engineering & Technical



 Procurement         Internationalization


                                                  Localization      Testing          International
                                                                                        Launch
CHALLENGE -2-
Challenge #2: Flexibility

Not many projects come as a big bunch
of files that you have to deal with and
organize the translation from there.
Your process has to be ready for
working in iterations.
If you allow the project management
analogy, no waterfall project will work,
but an agile approach will suit the
process better.

You have to be ready to process your
files on a batch basis.
Still of course, it is crucial to offer a solid
ground: process to handle style,
glossaries, etc...


No matter if you are a freelance
translator, a team, or a company.
Your structure and way of working has
to be flexible.
                                                  © Disney
CHALLENGE -3-
Challenge #3: No static content

This is the most important trend we
have seen lately.

Games can be internationalized and
even ready for localization, with even
an early involvement of localization
teams (no matter if internal or
external); the new challenge of
continues change is here.
Not even AAAs with years of previous
development are static anymore.
NextGen consoles allow for DLC
content.
And we are not talking only about
MMOs who by themselves are really
virtual worlds....
Those changes evolve and create
new content everyday.
CHALLENGE -4-
Challenge #4: Community
owned content

But how is this interactive
media changing? The
community is starting to have
influence in the content:
Source and Translation.

Do you know what is the 2nd
biggest wiki in the world? WOW
wiki, just after wikipedia, with 80k
articles (June 2010) Which is kind
of amazing. Think of it. People
creating content and more
content on information of a world
that is not real.

                                       The input of the final user reaches much easily the clients,
Community owns the content             the developers. The community somehow decides what the
today. Not the technicians.            next expansion will look like, what developers will create,
Community owns the content             what kind of characters are more popular and which ones
but is even influencing the            will not be attractive. This input comes from this social
way we localize it.                    network layer we have created ( and we all have somehow
                                       created it: even if only by our participation).
CHALLENGE -5-
Challenge #5: Massive content
                    In the early days of interactive media,
                    there was not much content to localize.
                    The idea of a game was that a game
                    needed to be simple and global since its
                    more basic design. You needed to please
                    everybody with a few basic concepts.
                    The amount of content that needs to be
                    localized has increased significantly.
                    Developers and distributors need to
                    consider alternative approaches for
                    different types of content. Wikis, forums
                    and online guides can even be managed
Images copyright:   by the players themselves. But those who
     Lego©          consider Crowdsourcing as a cost saving
     Microsoft ©
                    approach, are failing. Those who enable
     CDC Games©
     NetGame ©      fan participation and use this approach to
     Blizzard©      create a sense of community are creating
     CCP Games©     solid networks of contributors and buyers.
CONTENT
 is what WE CARE ABOUT

                                                      • Big RPGs and MMOs
                                                          + 1 Mio. Words
                                                              Mio.
                              • AAA Game
                                About 500k words to translate
                                300k words to dub.
                                               dub.
                                   (20 blockbuster movies).
                                                   movies).
                                50 dubbing actors per language
             • Social games        (250 studio hours)
                                               hours)
                1k words
• Basic games
   No l10n
CHALLENGE -6-
Challenge #6: Security

In the past, to secure the
assets trusted by the client
you had or had to have a
locked room, or to heavily trust
your external and internal
team.

There were unavoidable licks
in security. This forced many
developers to bring production
in-house, with all the cost that
generated by having a
complete international
localization team internally.
Today technology has brought us what we were strongly looking for... virtualization. Today
we can ensure files will never ever go out of our network and still enable an external
collaborator to access them with the rights we need to give them.

Basically, with virtualization you can ensure no assets, tools, content ever, never, leaves
your server. Being able to work with this technology will increase your chances of clients
trusting you their content assets.
CHALLENGE -7-
Challenge #7: Collaboration

You need to have buddies. You won’t
be able to do it alone.

Massive content leads to
increased process control.

You will need to share glossaries,
discuss terminology and share your
style guides.

Collaboration tools like wikis,
discussion forums, tools to share
files are absolutely mandatory
nowadays.

And if your clients are still not using
these tools at the moment... they will.
CHALLENGE -8-
Challenge #8: Technology

One important thing I say to people that wants
to enter the loc field is... you need to be up to
date on technology, you need to be friends
with it.
Technology is your essential everyday tool.

You need to master not only related
technology, but also be a master in the use of
this social layer mentioned before.

You simply will not perform right if you work on
an industry , supposed to be at the edge of
new tech, without being yourself open to test,
try and invest time in researching new
approaches everyday.
Its challenging, but definitely worth the effort.

You will need to understand how your content
is built, understand automated language
strings, on-the –fly messages at least a few
basics of language engineering.

Even if it is only to explain to your clients
engineers, what they can and cannot do with
the content if it is supposed to be localized.
CHALLENGE -9-
Challenge #9: Transparency

Of course localization approaches vary depending on the
specific needs and the global ambition of the developer.

New online project management and collaboration tools,
combined with an easier outsourcing, makes the creation
of global teams possible for companies of all sizes.

An interesting and challenging consequence of this is
that you wont be able to hide the way you are working,
who your collaborators or outsourcers are... who your
partners are.

Its very clear if you are a MLV, your local partners will
probably need to work with local PR and Marketing
teams of the final client.

The same can happen if you are a team of translators:
you may need to work together at client premises to test
the game, .. or clients will require each contributor to
sign a personal NDA...

We should better work on this, specially companies.
Control will not work anymore in such a connected world.
CHALLENGE -10-
           10-
Challenge #10: Engagement
If you want to engage your players you will need to
understand them. You will need to know them deeply
and know the tricks that will make them love your
work.
For translators you need to be awesome writers
/copywriters. Know when to use an expression closer
to marketing and when to use a more creative and
literature like style.

Direct translation is not valid anymore to engage
costumers. Players need to feel they are taken into
consideration in the games they chose to play. You
will need to adapt to your local and culture     not
because of legislation, but because a crowd of game
players is scrutinizing every single detail of your
output.
The more popular the game, the more critics you will
have. And today, they can use social media as “loud
speakers” to spread their message (positive or
negative).

Users are fans and emotionally bound to the product.
They could really feel spoiled and disappointed if a
game translation, voice over or functionality in a
specific language is not working properly.
Conclusion:

So how can we deal with this environment of continuous change?
I personally believe Project Management is a strategic competency essential not only for companies
working on localization but even for the freelance working on smaller projects or on a specific tasks.

Project management as the disciplineof addressing and navigating change, risk and opportunity.

The technician cannot work in his own silo anymore, and needs to understand the overall needs of
the client, understand the “why” of this continuously changing environment. We need to adapt, we need
to be connected, we need continuous communication and be open to change the way we work.

We all better be adaptable to change.
www.pinknoise.es



      Víctor Alonso Lion


          Twitter:
          Twitter:
          @valion

       Personal blog:
www.globalcontentstrategy.com

         Find me on:
                  on:
           Linkedin

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New challenges in interactive media & video game localization projects

  • 1. Víctor Alonso Lion @valion Localization Consultant New Challenges in Interactive Media Localization Projects New Challenges in The purpose of this talk is Interactive Media to try to explain the changes localization is Localization Projects living nowadays. We are in an environment of continuous change. And these changes are definitely going to continue I International Conference on Video Game and Virtual with, in addition, an Worlds Translation and exponential increase of Accessibility changing speed. Faculty of Translation and Interpreting Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • 2. These changes are in fact, at least I understand it this way, a great opportunity to those willing to reconsider their processes, those ready to reconsider what is “the right way” of doing things today, and those who are open to check new ideas and transform them in new opportunities. Those who are open to press the reset button from time to time are the ones that will adapt the better to all changes.
  • 3. I strongly believe that interactive media and new media localization is the part of our industry that has the most potential to enable research, and change. This due to the fact that Interactive Media and Video Games in particular offer a framework which is at all times at the edge of new technology. Interactive Media content localizers could be the ones that will lead the “localization revolution”.
  • 4. So what is going on in our environment? What is exactly this strange ecosystem we are working in today in new media localization? We will first try to describe this Ecosystem and a few of the enablers or facilitators of this change.
  • 5. Enabler # 1: Global Playground It is of course no news anymore that we live in a global world. Interactions come and go in seconds from Beijing to San Francisco, from Berlin to Barcelona, or Singapore to Dublin This is of course a general trend in all content related industries, nothing specifically particular for localization professionals or professionals working on interactive media. Still it is radical change important to note.
  • 6. Increased access to new technology Enabler # 2: Global Increase of technological access And we are only at the beginning of this. A second enabler we can mention which is going to facilitate this "revolution": The raise of broadband connectivity will definitively give access and open collaboration channels to millions we do not even consider today. This will bring not only significant content changes, but also new competition in all areas.
  • 7. Enabler # 3 (1): Social Media Landscape: We have given ourselves (developers by creating it and users by adopting it) a layer of worldwide interactions: social media. We can see this as simply a layer of new communication channels. Videogames, social games and Virtual worlds play a crucial part in all this.
  • 8. Enabler # 3 (2): Social Media Landscape: Interactions are not preprogrammed (they can be designed however), and can be triggered by the community itself. In addition, a new layer is coming. It's basically a gaming layer (ref. Jesse Schell : Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center); or as I prefer to call it, an "interactive layer". This new upcoming layer is here to stay and will influence many other areas. I believe education and eLearning will be the first ones to join “this game”.
  • 11. Challenge #1: Preparation Localization cannot be an afterthought: “Got my English/Japanese stuff and now let's try to sell this somewhere else. Lets make it French, Spanish .... Germany is a pretty big market too... “ The bad news is that you will not make it on time anymore. Costumers do not really wait, and the most common situation today is that a new thing will come out while you are working on making your media international and you will lose you buzz timeframe for making your project a success.
  • 12. Localizers and developers have to work together in order to produce a set of products that will please the different markets. Localizers need to be proactive and propose changes, while developers need to code with a conscience that their game will need local adaptations. As mentioned Code and content internationalization has to be considered since the very beginning. Awareness of international requirements needs to be present at an early stage of the game creation in order to facilitate a smooth internationalization process. GAME DEVELOPMENT PROCESS Pre- Post- Concept Design Production Launch Production Production INTERNATIONALIZATION AND LOCALIZATION PROCESS Localization related Engineering & Technical Procurement Internationalization Localization Testing International Launch
  • 14. Challenge #2: Flexibility Not many projects come as a big bunch of files that you have to deal with and organize the translation from there. Your process has to be ready for working in iterations. If you allow the project management analogy, no waterfall project will work, but an agile approach will suit the process better. You have to be ready to process your files on a batch basis. Still of course, it is crucial to offer a solid ground: process to handle style, glossaries, etc... No matter if you are a freelance translator, a team, or a company. Your structure and way of working has to be flexible. © Disney
  • 16. Challenge #3: No static content This is the most important trend we have seen lately. Games can be internationalized and even ready for localization, with even an early involvement of localization teams (no matter if internal or external); the new challenge of continues change is here. Not even AAAs with years of previous development are static anymore. NextGen consoles allow for DLC content. And we are not talking only about MMOs who by themselves are really virtual worlds.... Those changes evolve and create new content everyday.
  • 18. Challenge #4: Community owned content But how is this interactive media changing? The community is starting to have influence in the content: Source and Translation. Do you know what is the 2nd biggest wiki in the world? WOW wiki, just after wikipedia, with 80k articles (June 2010) Which is kind of amazing. Think of it. People creating content and more content on information of a world that is not real. The input of the final user reaches much easily the clients, Community owns the content the developers. The community somehow decides what the today. Not the technicians. next expansion will look like, what developers will create, Community owns the content what kind of characters are more popular and which ones but is even influencing the will not be attractive. This input comes from this social way we localize it. network layer we have created ( and we all have somehow created it: even if only by our participation).
  • 20. Challenge #5: Massive content In the early days of interactive media, there was not much content to localize. The idea of a game was that a game needed to be simple and global since its more basic design. You needed to please everybody with a few basic concepts. The amount of content that needs to be localized has increased significantly. Developers and distributors need to consider alternative approaches for different types of content. Wikis, forums and online guides can even be managed Images copyright: by the players themselves. But those who Lego© consider Crowdsourcing as a cost saving Microsoft © approach, are failing. Those who enable CDC Games© NetGame © fan participation and use this approach to Blizzard© create a sense of community are creating CCP Games© solid networks of contributors and buyers.
  • 21. CONTENT is what WE CARE ABOUT • Big RPGs and MMOs + 1 Mio. Words Mio. • AAA Game About 500k words to translate 300k words to dub. dub. (20 blockbuster movies). movies). 50 dubbing actors per language • Social games (250 studio hours) hours) 1k words • Basic games No l10n
  • 23. Challenge #6: Security In the past, to secure the assets trusted by the client you had or had to have a locked room, or to heavily trust your external and internal team. There were unavoidable licks in security. This forced many developers to bring production in-house, with all the cost that generated by having a complete international localization team internally.
  • 24. Today technology has brought us what we were strongly looking for... virtualization. Today we can ensure files will never ever go out of our network and still enable an external collaborator to access them with the rights we need to give them. Basically, with virtualization you can ensure no assets, tools, content ever, never, leaves your server. Being able to work with this technology will increase your chances of clients trusting you their content assets.
  • 26. Challenge #7: Collaboration You need to have buddies. You won’t be able to do it alone. Massive content leads to increased process control. You will need to share glossaries, discuss terminology and share your style guides. Collaboration tools like wikis, discussion forums, tools to share files are absolutely mandatory nowadays. And if your clients are still not using these tools at the moment... they will.
  • 28. Challenge #8: Technology One important thing I say to people that wants to enter the loc field is... you need to be up to date on technology, you need to be friends with it. Technology is your essential everyday tool. You need to master not only related technology, but also be a master in the use of this social layer mentioned before. You simply will not perform right if you work on an industry , supposed to be at the edge of new tech, without being yourself open to test, try and invest time in researching new approaches everyday. Its challenging, but definitely worth the effort. You will need to understand how your content is built, understand automated language strings, on-the –fly messages at least a few basics of language engineering. Even if it is only to explain to your clients engineers, what they can and cannot do with the content if it is supposed to be localized.
  • 30. Challenge #9: Transparency Of course localization approaches vary depending on the specific needs and the global ambition of the developer. New online project management and collaboration tools, combined with an easier outsourcing, makes the creation of global teams possible for companies of all sizes. An interesting and challenging consequence of this is that you wont be able to hide the way you are working, who your collaborators or outsourcers are... who your partners are. Its very clear if you are a MLV, your local partners will probably need to work with local PR and Marketing teams of the final client. The same can happen if you are a team of translators: you may need to work together at client premises to test the game, .. or clients will require each contributor to sign a personal NDA... We should better work on this, specially companies. Control will not work anymore in such a connected world.
  • 32. Challenge #10: Engagement If you want to engage your players you will need to understand them. You will need to know them deeply and know the tricks that will make them love your work. For translators you need to be awesome writers /copywriters. Know when to use an expression closer to marketing and when to use a more creative and literature like style. Direct translation is not valid anymore to engage costumers. Players need to feel they are taken into consideration in the games they chose to play. You will need to adapt to your local and culture not because of legislation, but because a crowd of game players is scrutinizing every single detail of your output. The more popular the game, the more critics you will have. And today, they can use social media as “loud speakers” to spread their message (positive or negative). Users are fans and emotionally bound to the product. They could really feel spoiled and disappointed if a game translation, voice over or functionality in a specific language is not working properly.
  • 33. Conclusion: So how can we deal with this environment of continuous change? I personally believe Project Management is a strategic competency essential not only for companies working on localization but even for the freelance working on smaller projects or on a specific tasks. Project management as the disciplineof addressing and navigating change, risk and opportunity. The technician cannot work in his own silo anymore, and needs to understand the overall needs of the client, understand the “why” of this continuously changing environment. We need to adapt, we need to be connected, we need continuous communication and be open to change the way we work. We all better be adaptable to change.
  • 34. www.pinknoise.es Víctor Alonso Lion Twitter: Twitter: @valion Personal blog: www.globalcontentstrategy.com Find me on: on: Linkedin