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

Level Up! ft. Dorota Pawlak


Level Up! ft. Dorota Pawlak

Posted by Valentina Ambrogio in Interviews, Level Up! 09 Dec 2015

Meet the last interviewee of 2015: Dorota Pawlak! Her blog is a goldmine of contents on localisation (if you’re not following her already, you should). She is always willing to share her expertise, and I am very happy she agreed to answer my questions. Enjoy the interview!

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

Hi, I’m a guardian of a forgotten province, dwelled by elves, dwarves and humans. Equipped with special powers I’m fighting to save my residents from communication pitfalls and language obstacles. To complete my tasks I’m often faced with surreal challenges and have to deal with powerful enemies from the farthest reaches of the planet. With the right mix of technology, culture and language related skills I can accomplish my tasks, restoring harmony and improving mutual understanding.

How did you step into the video game and/or localisation industry? Was it something you always wanted to do or did it “just happen”?

I was always torn between languages and computer science – from the choice of university courses to my future career. While studying translation I did a little market research to find out what subject areas are in demand and what skills a future translator may need. I stumbled upon a job posting for a software translator and had my eyes opened to the world of localisation. It inspired me to learn more about localisation and to pave the way towards a career that would combine my technical and linguistic skills. I always wanted to run my own business, so translation and localisation industry turned out to be a perfect place for me.

What do you enjoy the most of your job?

Each day brings new challenges and new adventures. No two localisation projects are the same and each game, website or software requires a different approach. It also gives me a sense of satisfaction, especially when an application, game or website that I’ve worked on is finally published and receives good reviews.

You also offer online localisation courses. When and why did you decide to start training others and helping them take the first steps in localisation?

I launched a blog on localisation and then ran a series of posts on website localisation for translators. It turned out to be quite successful so I decided to share my knowledge in form of a course and help other translators make their first steps in website localisation.

What is the best piece of advice you have for aspiring video game translators/localisers?

Get away from your computer or console. The real life and great opportunities begin once you exit the game. Go to networking events where you can meet other gamers or game developers. You’ll surely learn a great deal and maybe some of your new contacts will become your future customers.

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

1. Be a proficient user of localisation tools – each game localisation project is different, but in most cases you’ll have to use tools such as MemoQ, SDL Trados Studio, Passolo or Alchemy Catalyst to translate and localise the in-game texts. That’s why you’ll need know how to use such tools efficiently.
2. Be passionate about games – localisation of games requires a lot of creativity and as a translator or localiser you’ll have to be able to look at the game from a gamer’s perspective. The localised version should be as entertaining as the original, so make sure no language or cultural hiccups prevent from achieving this goal.
3. Talk to other gamers, follow their forums – gamers are the best critics of any localised version. Try to read their comments to find out what usually distracts them in a localised game to avoid similar mistakes in your future localisation projects.
4. Visit gaming events – try to visit at least one gaming event per year. It could be a large international conference such as Casual Connect or Gamescom, or a small local meet-up. Such events will not only help you stay abreast of the gaming industry, but also meet other gamers, and more importantly, game developers that might be your potential clients.
5. Read articles and books on game localisation – there are not many books on this topic, but each is a must read for everyone who wants to master game translation and localisation. The list includes: “The Game Localization Handbook”, “Game Localization: Translating for the global digital entertainment industry” and “Translation and Localisation in Video Games: Making Entertainment Software Global”.


DorotaPawlak-bio picName: Dorota Pawlak
Bio: Dorota is an entrepreneur, English/German into Polish translator and localiser. She runs online courses and face-to-face workshops on website localisation, and enjoys her journey through cultures and languages, both in the real and virtual world.
Company/Business name: DP Translation Services
Favourite game character(s):  Ellie, Gordon Freeman
Favourite game title(s): 
Need for Speed, Warcraft, Last of Us
Game you are currently playing: No Man’s Sky


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