Decisions, decisions

I’ve been head-hunted! How exciting! I’ve been asked to apply for a position, and this is the deal: three months in the office of a local translation agency to work on the translation of a new video game; I’d be in charge of liaising with translators, editing their work and ensuring consistency. Then one month in Tokyo, all expenses paid, to implement the translation in the end client’s office.
Obviously, this is not a decision to be made lightly, so I’ve made a pros and cons list:

  • Excellent project management experience
  • Breaking into the video game translation industry


  • The salary offered is less than half what I earn normally, but I’ll try and negotiate
  • Will I lose all my clients by disappearing for four months?
  • Will I actually enjoy this type of work?

I’d love to hear from colleagues who have taken a break from their freelance activity, or who have undertaken similar work, as I have no idea how this might impact my freelance career. What do you think? Fantastic opportunity or dangerous trap?

By | 2016-10-18T15:50:58+00:00 July 13th, 2005|Freelance Translation|7 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. Sonja July 14, 2005 at 11:49 am

    First of all, I think this is an excellent opportunity to expand your knowledge of the world, not just translation. You will see, meet and talk to a lot of people and learn how to work in a “closed environment” where you can’t just postpone some work for tomorrow.
    On the other side, video game translation may be different than what you have done before. Did the client tell you what kind of video game you are supposed to work on (shooter, adventure, role-playing, etc.)? I think that it might be difficult to adapt to the various genre if you don’t enjoy such video games yourself. (That does not mean you can’t translate something that you haven’t tried before, it just means you may not like it.)
    If you haven’t played a game before, try it now. (Especially some of the more popular ones such as World of Warcraft, Half Life, Unreal, etc.)

  2. céline July 14, 2005 at 11:54 am

    I have done game translation before, not a lot, and really enjoyed the creativity it requires. I do love games and don’t own a game console because if I did, I probably would lose my flat, my relationship and my career ; I find gaming highly addictive.
    You’re right, I could learn SO much from this. I’ve stated the minimum salary I’d accept, waiting for an answer now…

  3. floglette July 14, 2005 at 2:01 pm

    Hello Céline,
    I think I know which local translation agency you mean as I worked for them some for a while. They even sent me to one of their clients in the States to work on the final version of a game.
    It was tremendous fun although a lot of hard work. If I were in your position I think that I would definitely accept the job just because it is an exciting opportunity that won’t happen everyday. It could also bring you more work when you go back to your freelance life.
    The only negative aspect that I can see (and it’s quite an important one) is that you won’t be available for your usual clients. On the other hand if you inform them beforehand I don’t think that you will lose them.
    I wish you the best of luck whatever decision you make.

  4. Michael July 15, 2005 at 3:30 pm

    Great opportunity, if you like video games. I think that 4 months away is manageable if your clients hear from you from time to time.
    Having lived in Tokyo for nearly 2 decades, I would suggest you try and get ALL (and I mean all) the details on what they mean by “all expenses paid.” Money just evaporates there. Where will you live? How long will you commute? Hours? Etc. etc. And: Will there be any time left for you to actually experience Tokyo? It’s not unusual to get immersed in a project and not come up for air until weeks later.
    But other than that, if your life situation is flexible and you think you can live with what they pay, why not go for it.

  5. Jean July 19, 2005 at 2:15 pm

    So have you decided about this exciting opportunity, Celine? Your readers are in suspense 🙂 I hope the silence doesn’t mean the agency are humming and ha-ing over the money and hoping the uncertaintly will make you back down (I’m sure you wouldn’t). Whether you take it or now, being head-hunted for something like this is a huge validation of your work and reputation.

  6. céline July 19, 2005 at 2:23 pm

    No news from the recruitment agency… I know everyone thinks I should have gone for it, but my gut feeling, underneath all the excitement, wasn’t too positive. Why give so little value to such a challenging post? It was going to be a very demanding job, and I’m just concerned that by offering so little money, they betrayed their intentions of “exploiting” some unlucky soul, or their lack of respect for the person accepting it.
    Also, I asked for further details regarding sick leave, holidays, what the “all expenses paid” meant exactly, a more detailed description of the job, and didn’t get any answer. That’s just not very professional, is it, which makes me worry even more. I’ve got high standards, you see.
    A reader told me that the job was advertised on Proz, so no doubt it’s been snapped up already. Well, I’ll just have to go to Tokyo on holiday now!

  7. Jean July 19, 2005 at 4:58 pm

    Sounds like you did all the right things and are probably well out of it!

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