Every project is different, and we adapt to the needs of each rather than depending on one monolithic process for every game we do. That said, here are a few steps which are critical to any project—
A solid preproduction pass is the most important part of the process, and can make or break the end product. In addition to determining the client's needs and available materials, we spend time with concept docs and/or an early build of the game to put together a report that outlines story arcs, character profiles and growth through the game, and themes and foreshadowing. We compile a glossary of terms, and scour for any potential content issues. By collecting this information and incorporating client feedback, we can ensure that all translators and writers are on the same page to maintain consistency in project direction and character voice, and to ensure that the client never needs to waste time "fixing" the text after we deliver it.
All translations are done by experienced, professional translators with expertise in games. It's difficult to overstate the importance of translators who are well-versed in the medium--gamers writing for other gamers can make an impact on something as simple as a clear and helpful error message, and they can easily grasp branching paths and other challenges unique to interactive entertainment. For Japanese to English work, the translators are native English speakers who are talented writers in English first and foremost.
Rewrites are done by published writers with long experience in writing for videogames. They approach the content with a fresh eye to polish the writing and differentiate character voice. Character growth and story arcs are clarified and highlighted, and humor is added or modified where appropriate. And by temporarily setting aside the original Japanese content, the writers can focus entirely on creating characters and narratives that American gamers can relate to.
All translations and rewrites are reviewed by a bilingual editor with games experience, to ensure that the translations are not only correct, but appropriate to the context in which they appear. This review pass allows writers to take risks and work with maximum creativity, since any areas where the rewrite pass added a new idea that doesn't work in context can be dialed back here.
Voice casting, recording and production are managed in partnership with Webtone, Northern California's premier audio house for games and software.