Translation services and the video game industry

Today we’re featuring a guest post by Natalie Jones, who works at the marketing team of Quick Lingo, a translation services company. In her article, she discusses video game translation as one avenue for aspiring translators, and talks a bit about what companies like hers look for in their potential employees.

Working within the translation industry can be an incredibly exciting and diverse career. With the multitude of languages spoken in our ever-changing world, the opportunities for translators to pursue new and complex challenges are omnipresent. For any bilingual person, the opportunity to work as a translator exists and can provide great flexibility as well as the stability that comes with any other job. Within translation there are specific fields that can be specialised in, such as website translation, medical translation and legal translation, to name a few. One of the most specialised and intricate of these fields has to be video game translation.

Video game translation is something that has a particularly huge presence when it comes to Japanese to English translation services. The gaming industry in Japan is a multi-billion dollar business that increases in revenue year on year. At the current rate of growth it will soon be worth over $30 billion a year. The past four decades have spanned the introduction and rapid development of video games and things certainly don’t look set to slow down. It seems every few months there is new technology being developed that is targeted at gamers. Also, video games are constantly being created, tested and released to the public who are more than happy to spend a fortune on them.

I work for Quick Lingo, one of many companies who offer fast and efficient video game translation for corporate clients. They regularly receive requests from game companies who would like their instruction manuals translated into English or another popular language. Quick Lingo is able to translate Japanese into at least 300 other languages so the possibilities for the game companies are extensive. All Quick Lingo translation projects, in the video game industry or any other field, are always completed by a native speaker of the language to which the document is to be translated, therefore ensuring complete accuracy. So if a Japanese game is being translated into English, a native English speaker will be used.

When Quick Lingo hires people onto one of our translation projects we typically look for individuals who are not only well qualified but who also have some experience. We of course understand that as a translator, you must be able to acquire work in order to get this experience and will always consider candidates who can demonstrate their expertise in other ways. First time translators are always going to have a tough time breaking in to the industry, but if you can effectively demonstrate other relevant projects then you will never be overlooked.

Due to the large volume of projects that are constantly on the go, if game translation was the only area in which you wished to be involved with, then as a translator for Quick Lingo, this could be possible. The time in between projects would of course vary depending on demand and the opportunity for you to be involved in other areas would always exist. When it comes to the qualifications that will be required of you a degree is usually essential, whether this degree is in your chosen language or industry is up to you but it will be invaluable. Postgraduate qualifications are extremely desirable but by no means essential.

If you are a bilingual Japanese or English native speaker, and the video game industry is something you personally have a passion for, then this could be a great career for you. In addition to enjoying games themselves it is also best if you are an avid reader as this will obviously make up the majority of your work. If you bore or distract easily then this probably isn’t the profession for you! It is also desirable that you have a large vocabulary as having to stop and check something in the dictionary will obviously slow you down and make you a less effective translator.

If after reading this you’re still keen to pursue a career in game translation then Quick Lingo wishes you all the best for the future. If this is your employment goal then keep your ambitions in mind as you build on your qualifications and experience, with determination and perseverance you will inevitably end up where you want to be!

Natalie Jones is a recent graduate of Creative Writing and Journalism from London Metropolitan University. She is working on the marketing team at, where she is currently discovering the complex world of SEO and Social Media Management. She has also worked as a freelance writer for a variety of online publications. You can follow her blog and her world travels at

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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3 Responses to Translation services and the video game industry

  1. Pingback: Translation services and the video game industry | Video Game Localization |

  2. Pingback: Resource: Translation Workshops | What can I do with a B.A. in Japanese Studies?

  3. Pingback: Resources: Translation and Interpretation | What can I do with a B.A. in Japanese Studies?

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