Localization is the highly involved process of preparing a game developed in one part of the world, to be released in another; it entails enacting linguistic changes, as well as augmentations concerning culture, hardware, and software.
The localization producer is responsible for supervising all aspects of localization and release of a game, to include overseeing voice dubbing for alternate languages, adherence to government-mandated rating systems, software and hardware compatibility, and marketing. He or she will collaborate with game developers in the studio, as well as with the local publisher in the designated country for release. Most often, a localization producer will be assigned a specific region or nation to supervise and should be familiar with the language and culture of that country. This person will establish a production schedule for all elements related to localization and is tasked with monitoring the budget, personnel, and deadlines toward project completion.
As a project manager, the localization producer is a liaison between all vested parties working on the product and is expected to keep the department director informed of progress or potential issues with delivery. He or she actively communicates with the legal department to identify licensing and copyright requirements and maintains the project documentation that outlines all necessary procedures for localization. Some examples of specific localization tasks include re-mapping hotkeys, replacing game music, redesigning characters, or making story and environment modifications. Based on consumer research and popular trends within the intended region for the game’s release, the localization producer collaborates with game developers to make the product more culturally relevant and appealing. Take into consideration the fact that some languages are not read left to right, thus menus and game text must be re-written in the different language, as well as reformatted to the screen. All of these concerns require the producer to understand all phases of game design and development.
Skills & Education
A college degree in game design, game development, or entertainment business is encouraged for this role. Other applicable areas of study include business administration, marketing, communications, and computer science. A diverse course load that prepares you for project management with an emphasis on video game development is necessary. The localization producer must be multi-lingual and fluent in the languages of the home developer and release country. This position demands that the individual understands the development and publishing process and is familiar with government regulations concerning software and hardware compatibility, consumer ratings, and copyright.
What to Expect
This is a senior-level position that requires at least two years of prior experience in project management within a game company. Specifically, employment history as an assistant game producer, associate game producer, game designer, or similar role is applicable. This position may require substantial travel between the home headquarters of the game publisher and the foreign office that will oversee the release of the game. Further, you can expect to be active during irregular hours, as you attend a meeting on the east coast and take a conference call from a time zone six hours ahead. The most challenging task is to keep all parties on the same page, working efficiently toward the common goal, while monitoring the operations of developers and managers on separate continents. As such, the localization producer must be a highly organized and meticulous person.
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