Disclaimer: The articles featured on this blog have been translated from Korean and are based on Korean gaming industry standards.
Greetings. We are Latis Global Communications, a localization company specialized in games.
In order to work on our game localization projects more efficiently, we are organized into several teams. Today, we would like to introduce you to the work of a linguist (reviewer) and what qualifications are needed for this kind of work.
# Who are Linguists?
Linguist: 1. A person who is fluent in multiple languages; An expert in language 2. A scholar specialized in language
Lexically, linguist refers to a language expert who is fluent in several languages and utilizes a foreign language with the same proficiency as their native language.
# The main function of a linguist is to review and edit text into language that’s most appropriate for the target location
The linguists of Latis Global perform the reviewing process for the translated game scripts.
As soon as the translator delivers the first translated files the linguist’s reviewing session begins. Linguists examine the scripts, revise and edit incorrect grammar and typos left unchecked. This also includes editing poorly used idioms or expressions that do not fit within the context of the target country.
However, even though the linguists can manage two languages on a native level, they are reviewing based on text scripts only, so if the exact meaning of a given text cannot be inferred, screen shots, videos, etc. might be necessary.
Linguists are also responsible for smoothing out the awkwardness in sentences. In particular, Latis Global’s linguists are experts in localizing games, so they are concerned about adapting expressions into a style most familiar to local game users.
Linguists also try their best to understand the game from the user’s point of view. To accomplish this, linguists will also play the game or search more information about it so they can prepare themselves before the localization project begins. That is one of the reasons why Latis Global is able to deliver high-quality work.
Due to cultural traits, it is also the linguist’s role to change expressions into a familiar ones if the source is difficult for users of other cultures to relate to. For example, proverbs and phrases are a combination of culture and circumstances, so only bilinguals proficient in both source and target languages can make the switch to appropriate expressions.
# The most essential skill for linguists is to have a sense for language
There may be lots of skills and talents required of linguists, yet the most important part would be linguistic abilities. One of our linguist team leaders at Latis Global says that it is important to be sensitive to linguistic particularities.
What does “sensitive to linguistic particularities” mean? If you see a sentence that is grammatically wrong or incorrect, you don’t simply acknowledge it, but you start thinking about how it’s wrong and how to fix it. To become “sensitive”, one has to continue training and constantly explore and revise languages.
It’s advised to read as much as possible. “Reading books is particularly important. There is a habit that came to me as a linguist: whenever I read, I always look for abstract words that we may easily overlook. I investigate it thoroughly, from its origin to its Chinese Characters. I do this to understand the word’s exact meaning and how it should be used.”
# What is time management to a linguist? Just as important as linguistic skills.
Time management skills are equally important for linguists as linguistic skills. If there’s plenty of time to run a project, then linguists can perform their part at ease. But in most of the cases, they have to go through a tremendous amount of workload in a short time.
What if someone agonizes over an hour to find a fitting term for a certain word, and can’t finish a job in time? While efforts to find a good style are certainly necessary, it is important to allocate your time to finish in the given amount of time.
Native speakers (ENG, JPN, CN) with extensive game localization experience work here at Latis Global as linguists and perform reviewing/proofreading sessions.
Not only do they aim to fully adapt a project into the target language, they also check for any deficiencies and discuss them with the customers, taking into account cultural aspects of the translation, which are of the highest quality.
That’s all for now. In our next post, we are going to answer our most frequently asked question: ‘What is required to become a game translator.’ See you next time!