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MultiLingual is the leading source of information for the language industry and businesses with global communication needs. Published eight times a year plus an annual Resource Directory, it is read by more than 13,000 people in 82 countries.

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June 2016

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A new model for moderator-translator teams | Chloe Swain
Multilingual June 2016

When you boil it all down to essentials, community is about communication. The reason that teams of people exist to take care of your online presence is so that the customers who use your product (and the potential customers you’d like to gain) are given the chance to hear and be heard.

In order to feel that connection to your brand, there must be give and take. But what happens when your community speaks and isn’t heard? Do you simply assume that since the voice isn’t in English that you can’t hear it? What happens when you speak to your community, but they don’t understand you? Do you shout louder in your own language?...

An approach to risk management in the language industry | Enrique Cavalitto
Multilingual June 2016

Consider the scenario where a professional translator reports being scammed by a client. Known contact information on the client turns out to be false. Money is hopelessly lost.

In a second scenario, a translation company owner complains that a translator just recruited for a critical job failed to deliver, and as a result the agency lost a good client.

In a third scenario, a dispute between a translator and an agency arises after a project is delivered, when it is discovered that the payment method used by the agency is not available in the translator's country of residence.

What do these situations have in common?

Columns and Commentary

Post Editing | Katie Botkin
Multilingual June 2016

Boredom has spurred more creativity than any other medium, or at least this is true of the games I invented in childhood. I grew up in the country, with almost no media to speak of, electronic games included. I did, however, have a stack of old business cards, scraps of cardboard, markers....

Off the Map: Emerging game industries | Kate Edwards
Multilingual June 2016

My various trips often take me to emerging market countries, where I’m usually invited to visit and speak on a wide range of topics, from the state of the game industry to diversity and inclusion to my own culturalization work on video games. While as a geographer I love traveling literally anywhere, it is these trips to emerging markets that are by far the most interesting and enlightening to me, as I’m given the opportunity to see how game developers are striving to follow their passion and express their art via the games medium....

Localization Business School: It's about people and relationships | Andrew Lawlwess
Multilingual June 2016

Translation technology is over-hyped. As excited as I am about new technologies, approaches and startups, localization is a personal business. Yes, it’s about processes and hand-offs, for sure. It is also true that people and their relationships matter more. My German-born and bred engineering brain does not always get that easily. But with the conference season in full swing — it’s now time to rewire it....

Community Lives: Red T | Jeannette Stewart
Multilingual June 2016

Communication is a critical component in modern warfare. Neither intelligence gathering nor logistics nor multinational armed forces can operate unless lines of communication are functioning reliably and safely. Telephony and computers enable signal intelligence and strategic operations, but what about the human element? What about the interpreters and translators who perform a critical function in modern theaters of war, often in life-threatening situations?...

Core Focus

Entering mobile gaming markets in Southeast Asia | Rebecca Ray
Multilingual June 2016

In contrast to other countries in the rest of Asia, Southeast Asian nations can be easier targets for mobile gaming companies. With ongoing expansion of high-bandwidth access and smartphones priced at affordable levels, the region’s young and internet-savvy demographic offers a segment worthy of attention. Add the facility — and even preference — for English in markets such as the Philippines and Malaysia, along with the same distribution channels as in the West, and the region appears even more attractive....

TV screens and internet memes | Oleg Semerikov, Simon Hodkinson
Multilingual June 2016

For the uninitiated, the word meme  (when used by gamers) usually refers to running jokes that are eternally reused and remixed, often finding a new life quite separate from their original source. Aside from the innate sense of humor behind them — which does, of course, get a little more tired with every repetition — they are also used to affirm membership of the gamer subculture. In other words, making an “all your base” joke online is both an attempt to be funny and a way of telling anyone who sees your message, “I’m a gamer, and if you know what I’m talking about, you’re a gamer too. We’re in the same club.” Like most subcultures, of course, gaming culture changes and evolves rapidly, and as such, referencing Zero Wing doesn’t carry quite the cachet that it would have done a few years ago. Nevertheless, the legend lives on even in its now slightly diminished form: the webcomic XKCD, for example, has a character who pines for the day when these references will be old enough to be considered “retro.”...

Mobile-first development and localization | Jasmin Jelača, Konstantin Dranch
Multilingual June 2016

The principle of mobile first means that the app is designed primarily from the point of view of a player with a mobile phone. Phones offer a vastly different experience than laptops and desktops. Mobile devices have small screens and come in a variety of sizes. Players touch the screens with their fingers instead of a mouse cursor, and they need large buttons that are easy to tap. Text has to grab attention and provide clear instructions with just a few lines.

To optimize interfaces, developers for mobile apps usually test and update their games often. For localization, this approach means that the text has to be brief and easy to change in all language versions....

The price of infinite choice | Rolf Klischewski
Multilingual June 2016

Since the days of Pong video games, all games have been about skill and luck and choice. Games require their players to act, employ certain skills and make choices. Inertia and inactivity won’t take you very far in any game. And players have to choose their path, making decisions as the game takes its course. Such decisions come in many flavors, ranging from a (more or less) trivial choice of colors at the start of chess or pachisi to epic decisions that may seal the fate of entire galaxies. And while you could argue that each game of chess has a narrative, a storyline of its own, games with a strong focus on narrative are literally a game of their own....

Character corruption in video games | Adolfo Gómez-Urda Montijano
Multilingual June 2016

Character corruption has always been a major issue in video game localization. So far, the video game industry has taken a mostly passive approach to solving this problem. Instead of proactively tackling the issues at the source and eradicating them completely, most companies rely on testers to flag individual issues as they are encountered during play tests.

This reliance on human testing makes for an extremely error-prone and risky approach, especially considering the sheer number of string updates most games go through with each build iteration; the number of languages video games are localized into nowadays; and the difficulty of triggering every single game string through a normal playthrough....

The double whammy of game localization | Jacob Stempniewicz
Multilingual June 2016

Games are software, so it should come as no surprise that widely-known software localization issues also apply to game localization. Most of them could be avoided or mitigated if the game development team had someone with game localization awareness or with knowledge of foreign languages, but that is rarely the case. Some of the most common are:...

MMOs: A strategy for world domination | Patrick Gardiner
Multilingual June 2016

There was a time, not so long ago, when devotees of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) such as World of Warcraft were seen as ghostly pale, socially dysfunctional uber-geeks, clicking away in basements and attics, industriously building, leveling up and fighting their way around the virtual world. The games they played were ones the rest of us were only dimly aware of. We knew they existed — in the same way that we know foreign sports exist in faraway lands — but that was as far as it went.

All that has changed in recent years. MMOs, and particularly MMO strategy games, have gone mainstream in a big way....


Passwords to Paradise | Katie Botkin
Multilingual June 2016

Several years ago, I intently tried to find someone who could accurately localize a specific Ancient Greek phrase found in the New Testament. The phrase, in traditional English, is “wives, be subject to your husbands.” However, I was trying to find out if a more accurate modern English version would be something like “wives, do not fall back when things get tough, because your husbands need you then.”...


Game, Set and Match | Adam Jacot de Boinod
Multilingual June 2016

For children historically there have been some interesting inventions born from boredom, such as way-zaltin (Somerset dialect) in which two persons standing back to back interlace each other’s arms and by bending forward alternately raise each other from the ground;...

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