If you’re studying Japanese and/or enjoy translating Japanese stuff into English, then it’s your lucky month! LocJam is a regularly-held game translation/localization contest, organized by team GLOC and the Localization SIG of the IGDA, with the support of the IGDA Foundation. If that’s a lot of acronyms, don’t worry – basically, it’s a fun little contest/event meant for amateurs and professionals alike. The contest begins on December 9, 2016 and ends on December 25, 2016. Check out the official site with all the details and extra resources here!
This time, entrants will get to translate a carefully-selected game that’s fun, offers some challenges, and is short enough to be translated in under a day. I’ve tried it out and I really liked it a lot, so even if you’re not into translation and localization yourself, definitely keep an eye on the contest and try out some of the finished translations. You’ll get real a kick out of it, I think!
Past LocJams have featured different language pairs, so this is the very first time Japanese-to-English has been taken the center stage. If you’d like to hone your skills, add to your portfolio, build your resume, make connections, and all that good stuff, I can’t recommend this contest enough!
A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to make the contest as simple as possible, so entrants will get access to a “translation pack” – a set of easy-to-use files (for multiple platforms) that you can edit and immediately see your work in action.
LocJams also feature real-life study group meetups, and this one is no different. If you happen to be in Japan during the contest, stop by and chat and learn from your fellow translators! You’re bound to learn a lot and meet many like-minded people. The whole contest is meant to be a positive community event rather than a cut-throat competition.
The submitted contest entries will be judged by a bevy of localization veterans, some of whom I know and highly respect. I’m on the judge panel too, actually 😯 I can’t give away any details or anything that might cause a conflict of interest, but I will recommend that you pay close attention, tap into your creativity, and more than anything, have fun with the contest.
Because this is a non-profit activity, there aren’t any prizes of significant value. Instead, the event is focused on increasing visibility – the added experience, connections, and exposure can be invaluable. Man, I seriously wish there had been contests like this when I was first starting out!
There IS a small contest within the contest, though, and you could win some Legends of Localization books! For the details, see here, but it basically involves tweeting photos of your favorite localization treasures/tools/items with the hashtag #locjam before the end of the LocJam.
— IGDA Game Loc SIG (@igdalocsig) November 26, 2016
Update: Oh yeah, I forgot that there is another prize: a Famicom Mini!
If you’re interested in the topic of game localization, LocJams are something to keep an eye on. Even if you’re not involved in translation/localization yourself, you can see the process at work, the human side of game translation, and you can play neat games you probably won’t find anywhere else!
Good luck, and have fun!