I love hiring people. I love finding talented, kind-hearted people and raising them up any way I can to help them achieve their dreams. Recently I was faced with a task and the inspiration to see it through - translate Playback Trauma: The Beach into as many languages as possible.
Now I pretty much started from 0 here and built out a list of Translators from scratch. Here's what I did to find people willing to work with my budget of $0.00 - 0.05 USD per word.
I scoured r/gamedevclassifieds and searched specifically for 'translator(s)', as well as specific languages I was looking for to see who was making posts. I found a large number of people looking for work, but ultimately only reached out to a few. Reddit has many subs like this for job seekers, translators, and volunteers. Another similar subreddit is r/indiedev.
Next was itchio. The beauty of itch.io is that there are so many projects, and a large number of them are free or student-made. This made it much easier to find translators who also had credits in the games and in the best case scenarios, links to their individual portfolios. Looking in the itchio classifieds page can also yield some results from translators looking to help. This tool can also be used on any social media site including Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok(?), Facebook, and anywhere else humans generally congregate online.
The reason this is mainly done is to find the people who may soft-advertise themselves as translators on their itch.io profiles as well as searching for hard-typed credits in the game pages. Here is how I scoured the site for translators:
Go to Google
Type this in search bar: site:https://itch.io/ 'game translator'
Sub-note, you can replace and append 'game translator' with any language in particular you want to look for such as 'japanese game translator', 'game translation', 'spanish translator', etc.
3. Results that appear should show the words you put in quotations anywhere on the site, in any game page, or any profile.
If you have a network, ask for recommendations from translators you already know, people you've worked with, other devs willing to share contacts, gamedev/marketing/multilingual gamer communities, or comparable products on Steam. This involves mainly cold-calling on devs you might not know, asking for help. For reference, the 2 developers I reached out to never responded and that's okay! I still got through our translation efforts and you will too.
My next stop was LinkedIn which as we all know is a professional website mostly for biz. There is a job search tool however, and even better is people market exactly what they are and what they do on their profiles, so we can use the itchio search we did earlier. Fair warning, since LinkedIn is primarily for professionals you will find exactly what you need but perhaps not within an indie-friendly budget.
I also used Twitter to search for translators using the same trick I used on Linkedin and itchio. Since Twitter is more of a cool hangout space there are more 'non-professional-ish' translators or bilingual speakers/freelancers who may not work for a corp.
In my research I also came across some firms and companies offering localization services. These firms typically charge on a per-word basis sometimes with a minimum payment no matter how many words they will be taking care of. In general these services were outside of my price range but in case it helps here are the ones I found:
There are additionally volunteer and community translation sites should your budget be small. Here are the resources I found in addition to a large crowd-sourced effort to translate as many 'video game terms' as possible.
If you are looking for something a little more instant albeit with some flaws, here are AI tools and websites I found in my research.
When I came down to the more obscure languages I had a harder time finding freelancers and individuals outside of gig sites. Here are the places to look when you need someone fast, reliable, and easy to work with.
Once you begin finding people and their contact information just be honest and courteous! Mention your budget upfront so as not to waste anyone's time. So long as you and your prospective translator have a discussion about what can and cannot be done everything can remain professional. As a final note, always ask the people you've worked with for anyone they would recommend in their own networks and stay in good graces with as many people as possible. Relationships can pay dividends over the long run and it's nice to have a friend here and there.