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  • Emanuela Di Rosa

Give Credit Where Credit is Due: The Importance of Naming Translators in your Game Credits

Give Credit Where Credit is Due: The Importance of Naming Translators in your Game Credits

There is nothing better than the feeling of holding a copy of a newly released game you have been waiting for years. The excitement of starting a new game and immersing yourself in a new story will be made even more enjoyable by an accurate localization.

That is why when someone says that players don’t pay attention to the game’s localization, they couldn’t be more wrong. Not only do they notice, but it is not as rare as someone would think for players to look for the names of the translators in the credits. What if these are not included?

Let us consider why crediting the names of localization staff in your game is a wise choice.

Game Translators Work Magic

How would you feel if, after so much hard work on the coding or art, someone forgot to include your name in the credits? After all, you contributed to bringing the game to life; you deserve some recognition! It works the same for game translators. When you decide to localize your game, it means you want to reach a wider audience and expand your market; without localization, it would be impossible to achieve this goal.

Game translators work magic, especially when a game has a very intricate plot: they make the game’s story and features accessible to foreign players, adapting expressions, names, measurement units, and much more. Crediting game translators’ names is a nice gesture to show you acknowledge their work and it is a good chance for them to stand out and progress in their careers. And you can benefit from it, too.

Customer Loyalty and Trusted Translators: The Perfect Match

The power of translation should never be underestimated: when the localization of a game has been carried out flawlessly, some players want to know to whom they should say “thank you”. And in some cases, players have even bought a game because of a particular translator’s involvement in the project! Why? Because crediting game translators’ names conveys an idea of transparency and reliability.

Raise Awareness: The "TranslatorsInTheCredits" Online Movement

In early 2022, the hashtag #TranslatorsInTheCredits became very popular among game translators on Twitter, starting an online movement that gained consensus over the time and bringing up a matter that has long been in the shadows: the invisibility of the localization staff. Thanks to this movement, many game publishers have started to acknowledge this issue and remedy the situation by adding translators’ names through updates after the games’ release.

And to have better insight from someone who is involved in the situation, we asked Alessandro Chmiel, an experienced professional game translator, a few questions.

Q: Hi Alessandro. Could you tell us how many years of experience you have in game localization?

A: I have 9 years in the business, but I have been studying English to Brazilian Portuguese translation since 2007.

Q: Why including translators’ names in the game’s credits is essential?

A: It’s more than seeing your name as part of the team and exhibitionism – after all, most people don’t usually read the credits after beating a game.

The greatest accomplishment of having your name as one of the translators/testers is that you can have proof of participation, which is highly appreciated by agencies that want to hire you.

Q: Why, in your opinion, game translators are often left out of the credits? Is it because game publishers don’t have time to credit everyone? Or are LSPs the ones to blame for this inconvenient situation?

A: Believe me, they do have time. A simple email requesting the translators’ names is enough to have everyone on a list, and they have time to credit babies and pets in many titles. The main reason is that most translation agencies want secrecy about their team in the hopes they will avoid other agencies getting in touch with their team. This, however, doesn’t make much sense since the translators are the ones who go after other agencies at a regular frequency.

If you’re self-employed, you can’t expect to get your entire income from a single place, so it’s in our interest to go after more partnerships. Having our name in different projects validates our expertise in the field. Unfortunately, we usually just end up mentioning game styles (like ‘experienced in RPG, JRPG, Action, Fighting, and Strategy games’).

Q: Why has the online movement "TranslatorsInTheCredits" spread in 2022? What was the spark that started it?

A: So far, I have worked on more than 300 game projects, but only got my name in 2 of them. This is less than 1% proof of participation. I know for a fact that there are many more translators with other language pairs that still haven’t got the chance to have their names in any credits whatsoever, and I think they just got tired of this. Having the connection with other professionals through Twitter, some profiles started to show up and calling out game producers and agencies altogether to say “hey, nice having your game localized, how about mentioning the people who actually made it happen?’ I’m proud of taking even a small part in this movement, and we’re now seeing it around LinkedIn as well. It’s getting stronger, and it makes me glad to witness the change, even if it’s a slow-paced one.

Q: What can be done to change the situation?

A: I believe that writers, producers, developers, distributors, agencies, project managers etc. need to realize ASAP that language is a key factor in their art. Even if the game doesn’t have many dialogues, we still need someone to localize the menu, the guides, and whatever material we have to bring the player closer.

I spent many years myself not fully enjoying so many games as a child because I didn’t understand English entirely. Thankfully I got the chance to learn it later in life, but not everyone gets the same opportunity (and nobody should have the need of learning any language they don’t want to).

I think this is the first step: that “The Powers That Be” learn it first or even create a proper rule to always credit translators and testers. It could be easily implemented in their contracts. It costs absolutely nothing to them, but it means everything to us. After all, we don’t want to check a game we dedicated so much to having the team’s babies and even pets credited, but not our names as official linguists. Sorry puppets and kitties, but it does feel like we’re being abused and disregarded. We shouldn't be.

We thank Alessandro for sharing his first-hand experience and opinions and we hope that more and more game publishers and LSPs come to realise how important it is to give credit to the hard work of game translators.

At Sunstone Localization, we are passionate about video games and board games, so we are committed to providing the best experience, for both our translators and our clients. If you need to translate your game and you are looking for an LSP with a dedicated team, send us a message: we would love to assist you.

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