GDC 2009 Reveals Localization Summit Specifics

The organizers of the inaugural Localization Summit at the 2009 Game Developers Conference have announced initial speakers and sessions for the innovative two-day localization summit, including a keynote from Electronic Arts VP Jaime Gine and notables from BioWare, Sega, Babel, and more.
The GDC Localization Summit will take place on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco as part of Game Developers Conference 2009. Englobe’s Tom Edwards and Roehampton University’s Miguel A. Bernal-Merino are the Summit’s principal advisors.
The recently confirmed keynote for the Summit will be ‘Localization: The Pathway to Truly Global Game Development’ from Jaime Gine, VP of International Development Services at Electronic Arts.
Gine runs EA’s worldwide localization efforts, including the company’s Multilingual European Development Centre and the Singapore Integration Studio, translating the publisher’s titles into more than 23 languages.


He will talk on “the key decisions and processes that contribute to a successfully localized game title and in turn, a strong return on investment and a more globally-inclusive game development process.”
Another key panel is ‘Localization Tools’, with speakers including BioWare localization producer Jenny McKearney, Babel Media VP Ben Wibberley, XLOC president Stephanie O’Malley and Binari Sonori localization manager Andrea Ballista.
Having been posed the statement that “localization has been a neglected part of development, resulting in a lack of standardized formats, strategies, and tools at every level”, the panel will discuss the ideal localization tools for the job.
Also now confirmed is a ‘Risks and Rewards of New Territories’ panel, with CD Project co-founder Marcin Iwinski and Sega localization producer Rio Hasegawa discussing “the advantages of opening new territories and the challenges associated with localizing game content for [emerging] markets.”
Outlining the importance of these lectures and the others that make up the inaugural GDC Localization Summit, Roehampton’s Bernal-Merino explains: “Localization can preserve or strip the soul of a game. It is easy to mistake similar words, objects, and habits with direct equivalents in other cultures. Think for example of coffee; if you order ‘a cup of coffee’ in the U.S. it is different from what you get in Italy, Spain, or Japan — not only the beverage itself, but the rituals around it, and its impact on language and culture.”
“In order to truly appeal to and capture a particular audience, you cannot simply code a few translated phrases from a glossary. A more robust approach is needed to create the right experience for players in each locale.”
Englobe’s Tom Edwards adds: “As awareness improves, localization efforts are ever-increasing across game companies. This essential step, along with a growing realization of the need for the ‘culturalization’ of content, is the key to pushing global growth strategies and maximizing the revenue stream of your game.”
More information on the full line-up for the Summit is available at the official GDC Localization Summit webpage, with many new details on the entire March 23rd-27th GDC event also now available.