Valentina Ambrogio — professional English to Italian Translator, Localiser and Subtitler

Level Up! ft. Alain Dellepiane (team GLOC)


Level Up! ft. Alain Dellepiane (team GLOC)

Posted by Valentina Ambrogio in Interviews, Level Up! 20 Jan 2016

Welcome back, everybody! Has 2016 been treating you well so far? Yes? Good! My Level Up! series is back with a true powerhouse of the industry, Alain Dellepiane. If you’re interested in game localisation, I am sure you already know him and his team GLOC, but if you don’t, don’t worry :) Just keep on reading this post! 

Please, introduce yourself and tell us about your skills as if you were a video game character.

Welcome dear… uh, “Hero”. (Well, that’s just lazy… Wait, my name is just “Village shopkeeper”?! My hairstyle wasn’t crazy enough for a real name?!)

Uhm, you can call me Alain if you want… but I don’t really mind either way, because this is your adventure, not mine. Yep, you’re the one that will go exploring that scary cave (yes, the cave half of the village endlessly tells you to stay away from, surprise!) in order to find the seven holy thingamajigs and so on. I will be the one that will be here to help you out.

Because you will suddenly discover that the amulet you needed last week actually requires a red ruby blessed by the power of the full moon. And I will help you out.

And you will need a rare concoction to be brewed, but half the ingredients on the recipe will be either missing or unreadable. And I will help you out.

And you will ask me twice as many arrows as planned and you will need them in half of the time. And I will still help you out.

Why? Because I admire what you do: I know how hard is it to go exploring these wild lands, and I understand how many dangers and pitfalls and setbacks you will be facing.

You will never be safe out there, but you can always count on us here in the shop. We have no magic powers, but elbow grease and lots of preparation will still get us through.

So, what can I do for you, adventurer?

Team GLOC is one of my go-to websites when it comes to game localisation. The contents you post are always top notch. What is the story behind team GLOC? Why did you decide to join forces with other people?

Thank you for the kind words!

Most modern games tend to be large, and so are most translation requests. Few clients have the time and patience to wait for a single translator to trundle along, making teamwork pretty much indispensable.

Our goal setting up team GLOC was to make that process efficient. And partnering with the same people year after year, documenting each project choice and reviewing carefully every single word, I believe that the quality is higher than when I worked alone and, most importantly, more constant with time.

When I think about team GLOC, LocJAM immediately comes to my mind. Can you please tell us how you came up with this idea? Why did you feel the need to organise such a contest?

First of all, LocJAM is meant to help young translators. We receive applications all the time and it’s heartbreaking, as they are all full of enthusiasm and raw talent, but we simply cannot collaborate with someone who isn’t already very experienced. So, as a member of the Localization Group at IGDA (and now Chair), I thought that running a tiny contest for aspiring translators could be a good answer to their Catch-22 situation.

Also, I wanted to explore a bit this weird job of ours. Videogame translation is very fragmented and pretty much each company, department and even single translator has a slightly different approach.

LocJAM makes all these approaches converge on the same text, and then has multiple jurors pick their favourite. As they rarely agree with each other, it becomes more a debate (with contrasting perspectives and opinions) than a simple awards ceremony.

Admittedly, having a contest that doesn’t clearly declare a single winner gets pretty much everyone confused. But the response has been incredibly positive, so I guess there is enough interest to counter-balance the oddity.

LocJAM 3 is just around the corner (February/March 2016). Is there any practical piece of advice you would like to give to the contestants of the upcoming edition?

Take the games from the previous editions, translate them, play them and then compare them with the winning versions. It’s amazing how even little touches can radically change the feel of a game.

List five things any game localiser should have/do to master this profession:

1. “Writing for videogames” by Steve InceAn amazing little introduction to the business of videogames. Nice to read and cheap too!

2Apsic Xbench Once I discovered the super-human possibilities of automated QA, I never looked back. (Give it a try for free)

3Archivarius 3000 Makes a local index of all your reference files (no matter the format), so that you can check them as easily as you do a Google search.

4. Text-to-voice tools in general Hearing a text makes it much easier to review and improve. (Free version here)

5The IGDA Localization groupYour daily source for videogame translation tips, contest and events ™


Name: Alain Dellepiane
Bio: Videogame translator, editor and project manager (Naruto the Broken Bond, Fist of the North Star – Ken’s Rage 2, Pro Evolution Soccer 2015…), founder of the LocJAM non-profit videogame translation contest, chair of the IGDA Localization Group, unicycle rider, ukulele player
Business name: team GLOC
Favourite game characters: the Narrator (Stanley Parable), Hiravias (Pillars of Eternity), Joker (Batman Arkham City), Saya (Saya no uta)
Favourite game title(s): Civilization 1-3 (PC), Ridge Racer 64 (N64), Walking Dead (PC)
Game(s) you are currently playing: Framed (Android), Cities Skylines (PC), Dead or Alive 5 (Xbox 360)

You probably noticed a slightly different set of questions in this month’s interview, only reason being that Alain has already been asked “my usual questions” in another interview by Marta Chereshnovska, which you can read here >> Alain Dellepiane interview – ATA Chronicle February 2015


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