Feature: 'Working In Japanese Game Dev: Part 2'

Following his previous article on getting a job in the Japanese game industry, JC Barnett, a Western developer in an Eastern world,
August 20, 2007
Following his previous article on getting a job in the Japanese game industry, JC Barnett, a Western developer in an Eastern world, continues his candid look at the particulars of working in Japan for all development roles -- with insights into salary, cultural differences and more. As one might expect, one area that is particularly well suited for those developers making the trek from the West is localization, as Barnett explains: “Unsurprisingly most foreigners can be found in localization teams. It’s probably the best way in from other industries if you have little or no development experience. The most popular industry providing game development with its localizers seems to be the lucrative English teaching machine. English teachers find themselves with enough time to study Japanese and become really good at it quickly if they put in the effort. It’s also the role where westerners are almost automatically more qualified than their Japanese counterparts, especially as there are fewer Japanese that have mastered English as well as there are westerners that have mastered Japanese. Though there are some “rewriter” roles available, where you’ll correct translated texts, you’ll be in higher demand if you can actually translate from the Japanese yourself. Your best bet is to apply to bigger companies as the smaller ones usually outsource this work or let the publishers handle it. There are some specialized localization companies around too, so you’ll have plenty of avenues to explore. I don’t think I need to comment on the level of Japanese required for this work, but just in case: the better you are, the better your chances of landing that job. A minimum of JLPT1 would seem to be a proper requirement. JLPTs, or Japanese Language Proficiency Tests, are yearly examinations organized by the government where foreigners can get certified for four different levels of Japanese proficiency, with level 1 being the highest. At level 1 you’re not fluent yet, though. Apart maybe for localization roles few game companies actually care about JLPT certification, so it’s not necessarily required, though it may set some worried minds at rest having it on your resume.” You can now read the complete feature, which includes more from Barnett on what Western developers should expected when considering moving to work in Japanese game development (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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