Five Mistakes We Paid Dearly for

Way back in 2010. Newbie mistake.

On the other end of the line, the manager in charge of the client’s office in Germany politely explains that we will no longer be working together. The localization isn’t just awful; it has them rethinking their entire plan to release the Russian version of their product in the next two years. While we’re going to be paid, they will never work with us again under any circumstances.

History repeats itself that Monday: the office phone rings. But that time, the tone is different, and we’re thanked and promised more work. The localization, at least according to the automated review, is flawless.

2013. Newbie mistake 2.

Our payment system is far from ideal, and quite a bit of time goes by before we notice something strange: one of our regular French translators — we’ll call him Paul Dubois — actually has a name that doesn’t look French at all. His location looks suspicious too. He turns out to be Palestinian.

But this is what gave us the kick in the pants we needed to create a quality assurance system. Yes, this was the mistake we paid dearly for. On the other hand, it was a key growth point for us too since it laid the foundation for our quality assurance system and the detailed vetting process we now have in place for all linguists who work with us.

2018. Professional mistake: next level.

Looking back, we just subcontracted the project out with a few formal reviews before passing the work on to the client.

That kicked off a multi-step process to figure out what happened and fix the mistake: R&D sessions, in-game testing, and lots of calls with the client.

2018. Organizational mistake. Also professional, just the other side of the coin.

We didn’t have a system for managing the load placed on project managers at this point.

That forces us to introduce a new requirement: we always ask the client what their workflow is for localization files.

2021. Fresh mistake.

The pre-translation analysis doesn’t flag up any problem areas since the texts are easy enough (“Mr. X lives in the green house, and Mr. Y lives in the blue house”). We get on a call with the client too early, not yet aware of the risks involved.

The feedback from the client didn’t take long to arrive. The puzzles built on word play didn’t work, the translation simply not conveying the key meaning. Since the linguists didn’t have the pictures for each puzzle, they were missing a key element telling them what was going on. Important character names were just transliterated in some places, losing the player in the process. To take one example, Spot, the name of an animal, was transliterated, which meant the player wasn’t able to answer a question about the spots all over it.

Needless to say, we fixed everything. We tested the game for free and edited all the texts. Still, the added expense made the project a net negative, and that was compounded by the hit to our morale and reputation. The upside was that our juniors matured in record time, and we added some important steps to our workflow for logic games. Since then, we’ve avoided taking games built on logic unless we have linguistic testing as part of the deal in addition to plenty of time.

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Allcorrect Blog

Allcorrect Blog

Allcorrect is a gaming service company. We help game developers free their time from routine processes in order to focus on key tasks. L10N, LQA, Game art.