Despite the fact that ever since I finished high school I’ve been working in mechanical design (and fabrication as well for a period of time) I had a chance to taste the IT business. Sometime between November last year and February this year I worked for a game testing company. I was employed as a LQA Tester which stands for Localisation Quality Assurance tester. My role was to look for all localisation bugs.
The work itself was quite enjoyable even that I’m not a die-hard gamer (FM doesn’t count). So here are my reflections from that time.
Generally, it’s not a job a professional adult could do for a longer period. At least at the position I was employed on. The reason is simple: wage. I was employed on a project basis meaning that I worked only when there was a project for me. I was able to step into this job because I had saved a bit of funds in my pre-LQA job. But if I had to pay full bills, eat and commute to the office without that backup money it would not have been possible. So in my situation it was like having a break from serious job.
What I enjoyed the most was that geeky-fell in the office. The crew members were mostly youngsters with real passion towards games and they were a bit odd in comparison to the rest of society. At least I had that impression. Thanks to that it you couldn’t feel that you’re working in a big international corporation. Tell me which major company would allow their employees to come to work with vividly coloured hair, ear plugs, tattooed fore-arms not covered with a shirt sleeves and wearing a Pikachu tee.
Now, let me say few words about the job itself. Basically, localisation testing is about finding all language mistakes and error in all localised content (that includes audio and graphics). Games that I was working with were in quite advanced stage so I had not much to do but all had to be double checked so I still needed to complete a game to the very end, exploring all possible options and features (there usually was a debugging tool that allowed to speed up the process, for instance a shortcut to instant kill of an enemy).
The issues I was finding were mostly some minor spelling errors, extra dot or comma. I had maybe on or two major bugs reported.
During my training days a lot of focus was put on cultural context. This means that localisation is not only 1:1 translation but actually porting a game to another culture. For instance, Japanese people are sensitive to issues related to atomic bombs (for instance. Fallout 3 and Megaton case); or it wouldn’t be acceptable to put nudity in Arab version.
To sum things up it was a great experience for me but I didn’t see any future unless progressing to a full-time. But all in all it wasn’t wasted time. I only regret that I didn’t have a chance to work on bigger project and in earlier stage of development.