| by Sarah Blackwell

News Stories

Students review translation
Students Mako Yoshida and Sarah Blackwell review the Japanese translation of the game they submitted to the LocJam competition.

Making an online game available in a new language usually takes a big team, a big budget, and months of work.

But a team of eight Middlebury Institute students recently took the challenge of localizing a game from English into Japanese in just four days. They were one of 244 teams participating in LocJam 6, a nonprofit game translation marathon hosted on Itch.io that is open to professional and amateur translators across the world.

“It wasn’t easy to complete everything in such a short time, but the challenge made it very exciting,” said translation student Sarah Blackwell. “I especially enjoyed translating the dialogues between characters. The characters are often pretty flippant with each other, and I wanted to preserve their funny interactions in the translation. I had to be creative with their tones and how they referred to each other.”

This year’s featured game was Not Enough Time, a point-and-click time travel adventure game. In the game, the main character, Ines, is left behind when her Uncle Lee transports only himself to a different timeline. She must travel backward and forward in time to fix the temporal inconsistency and return to the correct timeline.

The Institute team included students from both the translation and localization programs who brought complementary skills. Together they standardized terminology and each character’s way of speaking, localized the title screen and another in-game asset, implemented a new font, and translated the game from English into Japanese.

Blackwell led on translation and assisted on language quality assurance. Meanwhile, localization student Hannah Berke leveraged her desktop publishing skills to create multiple versions of the game’s title screen in Japanese.

“I had a great time working on this project, and enjoyed flexing my Adobe Photoshop skills,” said Berke. “I learned the importance of doing an in-context review before finalizing anything, as the original text was too large to fit on the bus.”

Students found the experience useful preparation for their future careers and also just a lot of fun.

“I’d love to participate again in a future LocJam,” said Blackwell.

The full team included Blackwell, Berke, Hannah Epstein, Ben Mendelsohn, Emilia Primavera, Maddy Sanchez, Lindsay Vail, and Mako Yoshida. Play their submission in Japanese or check out other submissions in over a dozen languages.