This is the second article in our series about the hidden inefficiencies in the game localization workflow. Our last article discussed 5 ways that email might be slowing things down in your game translation process.One of the points we mentioned there was the issues caused by sending files back and forth by email. And that brings us to this article, where we’ll look at file management practices—and how they might be causing a bottleneck in your company’s workflow.
Small improvements in efficiency can make a big difference
In video game localization, managing, organizing, processing, and assigning the localization files makes up a big part of the workload for the localization team. For each file, several different steps need to be completed and, with most games, there are many different files.
That means that a small improvement in file-handling efficiency has the potential to reap great rewards. So let’s take a look at some of the areas where file handling could be creating a bottleneck for your company.
A typical file-handling workflow for video game localization
A typical file-handling workflow for a video game localization project has a lot of manual touchpoints. From the moment the files arrive at the game translation agency, they will be saved, uploaded to a file repository, analyzed, prepared for translation… and the work continues as the project is created in the translation software and assigned to the individual translators. If the client needs to update a file or add files to the project, many of those steps will be repeated.
There’s also the matter of project management. That will typically involve a separate software system, where the project will be set up and its progress updated separately. Whenever the client wants to check in on their project, they’ll email the responsible PM and wait for a manual reply. It’s business as usual, but is it optimal? Not quite.
What inefficiencies do we encounter in this process?
You’ll notice a lot of back-and-forth manual work in the file-handling workflow above.
- Files are edited, saved, and uploaded to a file repository.
- They are separately uploaded into the translation software.
- When updates arrive, the original files are downloaded from the file repository and compared to the new files. A new quote is created and the new files are uploaded to the repository.
- In a separate step, the new files are uploaded to the translation software.
What we see here is that storing files in a repository is a good step towards making them centrally available (and avoiding emailing them back and forth!). However, it still creates avoidable, repetitive steps in the localization workflow.
How can we make file management in game localization more efficient?
Ideally, we would want a translation management system (TMS) that allows you to centrally store and process the files right inside the translation software. In a perfect world, this might even include built-in project management capabilities. An all-in-one solution like this would eliminate many of the repetitive steps in the typical file-handling workflow.
By consolidating and centralizing the files within the translation software, repetitive uploading / downloading to a repository would be eliminated. No matter who needs to access or work on the files, they could do it right within the TMS. Files would be received, uploaded once to the translation management system, and stored there for the duration of the project.
This setup would also make assigning files to the game’s translation team more efficient. The initial step of uploading the files to the TMS would simultaneously create the translation project. There would be no need to create a separate project in a separate translation software program. That means the files could be assigned to the translators without any redundant in-between work.
What would the ultimate game translation management system include?
In the translation management system of our dreams, the TMS’ file management system would be able to prepare the Excel or other file types for translation without complicated Excel macros or—even worse—manual file processing. It would also make it easy to update files or add new files to an existing project. Updated files could be compared to the originals right within the system, eliminating much of the laborious work that usually comes with mid-project updates.
Last, but not least, the perfect translation management system would allow translation costs and progress to be easily tracked, even across multi-lingual projects, without using additional business management tools. The icing on the cake would be a system that allows the end client to view this data on their own—without contacting the project manager for an update.
What we’ve described above doesn’t exist yet as a single piece of software, but the ideas we’ve discussed can serve as a good starting point for examining your company’s workflow. Even fixing one or two of the pain points can make a difference in overall efficiency. The more you can eliminate redundancy and reduce overhead, the more profitable (and pleasant) your game localization workflow will be.