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  • Translation as a career

    Posted on September 9th, 2009 keving 3 comments


    Hooray! The entry I did about ROM messages got linked from a lot of places, including Make Magazine’s blog, which cheers me because I love that magazine to bits.

    A new reader from that link wrote in with an unrelated question:

    I’m writing to ask you if you have any tips as to how to break into commercial translation.  I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Japanese language from a local university and I’m working at a Japanese company but the translation work in the company is very low-demand.

    I would like to get into contract work in any field, (video games preferred of course but that’s pie in the sky).  Can you give me any tips?

    Also, I’m planning on taking the JLPT this season, Level 2, mostly for experience.  I know I could pass Level 3 but the next level is much harder overall.  Did you take the test, or do you know if it’s even relevant in the field?

    I contributed to a great big article all about this subject for issue 2 or 3 of PiQ which I oughta scan in (what, is ADV gonna sue me?!!), but it’s not all that different from getting a job in game PR, or game media, or game creatin’. First you prove you can do things, and then you pass that around to people, and then those people let other people know about you, and eventually that leads to some sort of a job. No real secret to it other than that.

    In terms of more concrete advice I’d say that the $100/yr I spend on American Translators Association dues and being present in their database has, so far, gotten me a lot more than $100/yr worth of work. There’s also ProZ, but I have to admit I’ve never hardcore-used that site.

    As for the JLPT, it’s another line to fill the resume with but if I was the hiring editor my preoccupation would be with two things:

    – Your translation samples
    – Your references telling me that you submit decent work on time and are generally congenial

    Some time waaaay back in 2000 I had both of those things and I am still able to afford fancy $4 beer so It Really Works!

    (2000 was the year I passed level 1 of the JLPT, which is a good test of non-technical Japanese comprehension on a pretty native level. The JLPT is wonderful as a signpost for Japanese language study, but if you’re aiming for a career involving the Japanese language, you better at least comprehend enough to pass level 1. I don’t know if it’s true now like it was in 2000, but what I found was that if you think you can ace level 2, you can put in just a bit more work and probably pass level 1.)

  • Silent Hill Homecomin’

    Posted on September 9th, 2009 keving 23 comments

    Konami has finally gotten around to  officially canceling a Japanese release for this game.

    cd476905[1]“Due to assorted issues, the Japanese release has been canceled.
    We deeply apologize.
    Please look forward to future games in the series.

    * This page will be removed on 10/30/2009.”

    The game was released nearly a year ago in the US. Konami had the game playable at TGS ’08 and floated a June ’09 release to retailers at one point, but summer passed on by without any news. A Japanese blogger sent Konami some mail about the game on September 4, nearly 10 months after the last update to the Japan homepage, and got a reply that the game was “still under development.”

    The good-but-not-great response Homecoming got in America likely has nothing to do with this. The most direct culprit would likely be CERO, which would never in a million years give even a Z rating to a game with non-optional scenes like this (warning: gory). Indirectly I suppose you could also blame Konami for (a) allowing Double Helix to not worry about CERO (b) not seeing the point in spending money censoring the game for Japan.

    Silent Hill hasn’t had a Japan-developed entry since 2004, long after SH1 director Keiichiro Toyama and scriptwriter Naoko Sato moved to Sony and kicked off the SIREN series. You could argue that it was one of the first victims of the game industry’s globalization and Japan’s difficulties dealing with it.