Game Localization - English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Dutch and other languages
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"My Dutch translations of press releases are often published in their original, unedited form in national newspapers."

Recent projects

  • Dota 2 (Japanese)
  • Moonlighter (Japanese and Chinese)
  • Beat Cop (Japanese and Chinese)
  • Motorsport Manager (Dutch)
  • SEGA's official website (Dutch)
  • Multiple AAA titles for Electronic Arts (Dutch)
  • Gremlins Inc. (Japanese and Chinese)
  • Punch Club (Japanese)
  • Arma 3 and Argo (Japanese)
  • Satellite Reign (6 languages)
  • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Dutch)

  • Main Dutch language consultant for Electronic Arts 2010-2018.
  • Translation of all press releases, game packagings and national TV commercials for SEGA.
  • Localization of help files for Valve Corporation.
  • Localization of games for Bohemia Interactive.
  • Localization of games for Charlie Oscar.
  • Translation of all press releases and game manuals for Bigben Interactive (Square Enix/Turtle Beach).
  • Localization of websites, games and Xbox LIVE for Microsoft.
  • Translation of websites, games and national TV commercials for Electronic Arts.
  • Translation of package texts for Nordic Games.
  • Translation of website texts for Codemasters.
  • Translation of all game cards for NCSoft.
Why our government is rotten to the core

(This article led to a half-page interview on page 4 of the biggest Dutch newspaper - see below)

There are many ways to divide translators into categories, but one way to divide them is certification versus non-certification. Certified translators, also called sworn translators, are translators who have taken an oath at the court, promising the judge that from now on, they will translate texts to the best of their knowledge and ability. To be allowed to take such an oath, you need a letter of recommendation from your professor at the university, and you have to pay a few hundred euros.

As you can see, certification has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of translations. Nonetheless, Dutch courts and the immigration service only work with translators who are certified. That said, the Dutch government is greedy and has not indexed the translator rates they unilaterally offer for more than 25 years.

This of course meant that good translators found greener pastures elsewhere, and that only the worst of the worst or real idealists like me kept working for the government, often resulting in severe quality issues.

The Dutch government too found out that the quality of their translators and interpreters was detoriating, and instead of raising the rates to attract better people, they decided to make the lives of those left even more miserable by introducing obligatory courses, each course granting so-called PE (Permanent Education) points to the translator in question. To be able to keep their certification, translators now had to scramble together 80 points every 5 years, investing both time and money in courses related to the field they worked in.

When it comes to Japanese, you can make a few thousand euros per year with certified translations (in my case mostly pertaining to extracts from family registers proving that someone is a Japanese citizen and is not married). Guess how much these courses cost, if you take into account the fact that you can't take up any jobs during the time you study? A few thousand euros per year. This is not a very good deal.

But fortunately, these courses make us smarter and are totally related to the field we work in, or aren't they? Dream on. Not a single course is related to the Japanese language, the problem being that no one is able to judge someone like me, with 25 years of experience under his belt. So none of the courses available will ever make me a better Japanese-Dutch translator.

Meanwhile I have invested hundreds if not thousands of hours in the development of the most advanced CAT tool in the world with specific functionality for the Japanese language, the biggest Japanese language portal in the Benelux and the biggest modern Japanese-Dutch dictionary in the Benelux developed without any government grant or whatsoever, currently containing 20,000 words, but none of these give any PE points, even though these are all activities directly related to the Japanese language.

So what does give you PE points? Standing bell therapy (slamming on standing bells to find your inner self), mindfulness courses, yoga courses, how to work in Excel, Russian for beginners... all of these are government-certified courses that give you points. So a 35-hour bell slamming course gives me 35 points, but developing a 20,000-word dictionary gives me 0 points.

The Dutch government recognizes translator courses from Avila Coaching
Following Avila Coaching's mindfulness courses gives you 30 PE points, because "The healing power of your emotions" makes you a better translator

How come? Because this industry is regulated by totally incompetent government officials who either have been bribed by educational institutions, or who know nothing about translation in the first place, let alone Japanese. Indeed, everything the government touches, instantly turns into shit. Which explains why I'd rather work in an industry that is not and will hopefully never be regulated by anyone: the game industry. Developers are smarter than government officials and recognize quality when they see it.

Good translators according to the government

ActivityPoints
Mindfulness I / Mindful Energy Training7.5 points
Mindfulness II / Mindful Energy Training7.5 points
Mindfulness II / Mindful Energy Training15 points
TELL! / Telling stories and captivating your audience6 points
Feel good / The healing power of your emotions2 points
The healing power of your emotions / Trisket6 points
Learning HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, Bash and Linux to develop the most advanced CAT-tool in the world supporting local adaptive machine translation0 points
Developing a 20,000 word Japanese-Dutch dictionary0 points
Programming and maintaining the biggest Japanese language portal in the Benelux0 points

Of course I will keep using the title I earned at the university and which I paid for at the court, even though I will no longer be legally allowed to redeem it by delivering certified translations.

So guess who will do your certified translations from now on? The people who have ample time for bell slamming therapy. Not the succesful translators who are busy doing other things, like actual translation.

You may think this is not your problem. That's okay. Just remember this is how the government uses your tax money.

Loek van Kooten
Your no-longer-certified English/Japanese-Dutch game translator

P.S.: Bureau Wbtv, the organization responsible for the above, loves to receive fan mail.

I used to be on top of the list of certified translators on the website of the Dutch embassy in Japan (this was merely a coincidence). Still, the Japanese embassy in The Netherlands too referred all Japanese citizens to my company. Now they've lost their "top" translator.

This news (magnified) made De Telegraaf, the biggest newspaper of The Netherlands.

 

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