People at Gameforge - Martin / Translator

Introduce yourself: What do you do at Gameforge and how long have you been part of the Gameforge team?

My name is Martin and I’m Gameforge’s internal translator for American English to German. That means any text which has to be translated from English into German lands on my desk. It’s my responsibility to either translate it myself, or organise and assign the work to external translators when I can’t handle the load myself, e.g. with larger game updates/patches. I’ve been working at Gameforge since December 2015, so almost 3 years.

Describe your typical working day.

JIRA is our most important tool. It lists all the jobs which currently need to be completed, including all of the deadlines, giving us an overview of exactly what needs to be done and when. That allows us to see at a glance what jobs need doing right now, and what’s upcoming, and plan the working day accordingly. And not just regarding deadlines, but also according to priority. Sometimes we get special rush jobs in which need to be completed as quickly as possible. Dealing with the translation jobs in JIRA constitutes the majority of my work time.
Of course, there are also periods when don’t have any game updates, marketing texts or emails which need translating, but that doesn’t mean the work stops. We also keep documentation, compiling style guides and sundry information for each of the various games we have. These are really helpful for new and external translators in particular. They include everything which the translator needs to pay attention to while translating, so as to minimise the risk of mistakes and inconsistencies. We always need to keep the guides in mind and ensure they are up to date.
Of course, we’re only human, and we occasionally make mistakes. Our QA department and the gaming community can report any bugs they find back to us using certain tools, and we check these on a weekly basis and quickly correct any textual errors.

What are your three most common tasks at work?

Translating would be number one. Otherwise I correct errors and am responsible for the aforementioned documentation. In addition, I also help our proofreaders in checking the translation work.

What is the most enjoyable thing about being a Translator?

The most enjoyable thing is definitely the ability to be creative in what I do. Sure, there are certain guidelines in how we should approach our translation work, but within those boundaries I can let my imagination run riot. Take Wizard101 for example. The game is targeted foremost at younger players, which means we need to avoid using coarse language, sexual innuendoes and the like, but we also need to find ways to convey the humorous puns into German. The incentive of creating well-written texts for the players is my motivation.

What makes you and your position indispensable for Gameforge?

My translations into German form the basis for further translation into other languages such as French, Italian, Spanish and so on. That means I need to deliver a clean and error-free translation, supporting my colleagues in their work. Any mistakes or mistranslations I make can lead to the errors propagating through all the other languages. My colleagues need to be able to rely on me, so doing my job well is absolutely paramount.

What made you decide to become a Translator?

Whenever I play games – in whichever field, be it computer games, board games, role-playing games etc. – then I always put great store in a decent and coherent translation. Even at school I found the subject fascinating. At the beginning I really struggled with English. So I sat down with my dictionaries and translated numerous song lyrics, because I wanted to know what they were all about. Eventually I found myself doing a course in Translation and Interpreting at the ESO Sprachenschule in Bamberg. My passion for language and high-quality German text in games finally lead me to the gaming industry. I basically turned my hobby into a profession. It sounds like a cliché, but that’s what happened.

Which three words describe the collaboration in your team?

Trust, reliability and helpfulness. Everyone in the team is ready to lend their colleagues a helping hand when things get tough. The translators, proofreaders and localisation managers work together like a well-oiled machine, where we can all rely on one another.

What qualities does an applicant need to have to be successful in your department, both in terms of the job and in terms of the team?

In terms of skill set, it is of course indispensable for an English-German translator to have an excellent command of both English and the native language. You also need to be familiar with gaming and at least have a certain handle on gaming slang. That’s not an absolute prerequisite, but it certainly helps. You also need to be dependable and able to work independently. That means showing initiative and finding work which needs to be done when there aren’t a lot of ongoing tasks. There’s always something which can be corrected or improved, or a guide which needs revising. And it never goes amiss to play a little, that makes the job even more enjoyable. It isn’t obligatory, but it’s certainly a boon when you’re working in this industry.

In your opinion, what makes Gameforge special as an employer?

Off the top of my head I’d have to say the collegial atmosphere at the company. And that you’re given every freedom to express yourself and deliver results. How you set up your working space and plan your working hours is up to you. The main thing is that you do a good job. I can dress how I want, and we’re provided with free food and drink.
The sense of solidarity at the company is exceptional. You can see how everyone is working towards the same goals, trying to create something great for the players.

What do you wish for Gameforge’s future?

Only the greatest success, since I want to work here for many more years to come! And the ability to thrill players with new, cool games and updates to existing titles.

What games are you privately interested in most?

I enjoy playing turn-based strategy games. Lots of JRPG titles, that is Japanese tactical RPGs. Otherwise I’m big into digital card games like Hearthstone, role-playing games and action adventures. I also tend to play a lot of ‘analogue’ games, i.e. board games and table-top RPGs. When time allows, I happily don my costume and get involved in live action role-playing. Gaming is my main hobby and consumes a large amount of my free time. There’s a nice quote from Schiller: ‘Man is only fully a human being when he plays.’ That’s definitely my motto in life.

And now for an inside story. What is your personal highlight at Gameforge?

My personal highlight was the Gamescom 2016, when we presented the closed beta of Dropzone complete with an amazing booth. I always wanted to experience the Gamescom, so I volunteered to offer demonstrations and help present the game. Having direct contact to the players and receiving instant feedback about the game made the Gamescom an amazing experience for me. Another highlight was when I started working here in December, and went to the Christmas party the very next week. That simply blew me away – it was staggering what was on offer and what the company gives back to its employees. I’d never experienced anything like that before.

Why do you like working in Karlsruhe and what’s your favourite location here?

I enjoy cycling and Karlsruhe’s just perfect for that, being so flat. We’ve got an excellent games shop called the Spielepyramide where I spend a lot of time. Apart from that, Karlsruhe’s a very green city, something you don’t see very often. My favourite place is the Waldstadt, where I lived until recently. We have a small dog, and the Waldstadt’s tree-lined streets and nearby Hardtwald forest were perfect for walking around.

What are you interested in outside of work?

Gaming, my hobby, which might have become obvious by now, haha. Apart from that, music is another one of my passions. Or simply spending time with my friends, usually culminating in a games evening 😉.

What do you still want to achieve in life?

I’d like to do more travelling. I’ve seen a fair bit in my life, but there are still a lot of places I’d like to visit. Next up is a holiday in Canada, and Iceland and New Zealand are also at the top of my list.

Imagine Gameforge were a party. What would your responsibilities be before, during and/or after the party?

Hmm… that’s a tough one. Before the party I’d probably get together with my colleagues and try to put together something from all the different languages and make sure our multinational team feels at home. Maybe hang up a few cool multilingual posters. Then of course we’d need to translate the invitations. During the party proper, I’d offer my services as an interpreter, should the need arise.

On a scale of 1 to 10 – how crazy are you?

Let’s say about a 6 – you wouldn’t catch me doing a parachute or bungee jump, I’m too afraid of heights, but otherwise I’m pretty much up for anything 😊.


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