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Staff Spotlight: Meet Jacques Heckler, Supercell Linguist at Keywords in Japan

Date Published: 25/05/2022

We had a chat with Jacques Heckler, Supercell Linguist at Keywords in Japan, to discuss his journey into Localisation, diversity in the gaming industry and what it’s like working at Keywords.

What inspired your journey into localisation for video games?

I started playing video games at a very young age on my Sega Mega Drive. Back then, games were not always, if ever, localised and I remember being so frustrated at not being able to understand the plots of my favourite games. Video games were actually the main reason I started learning English and eventually started working in video game localisation.

How has localisation for video games evolved in recent years?

Today, almost every video game is localised, including mobile titles like the ones we work on here in the Supercell team. Localisation has mirrored the rapid evolution of the video game industry itself. Today, we have better tools to work with but there is still so much progress that can be made. Many developers now understand how significant localisation is for the audience and the game itself.

What does a typical day at Keywords entail?

I always start my day trying to catch a glimpse of Fuji-san from our Daitabashi office. After that, I get to work on my tasks. We work on all Supercell content that has to be localised for our clients, including social networks, websites, games and the other super confidential projects Supercell has in store. On such projects, each linguist pairs with another linguist in Dublin, which allows us to share tasks and operate around the clock.

Working as a team is super important for sharing ideas and finding solutions as you’re with people who understand the issues you are facing. Here we have the opportunity to communicate with other linguists from all over the world and work towards our common goals, which is pretty nice!

Keywords in Japan recently participated in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride festival! What did it mean for you to be involved in such an event?

For me, it is important to have a workplace where everyone feels safe and respected, no matter what community they belong to. The Tokyo Rainbow Pride Festival is a great way for communities to celebrate and have their voices heard. I am really proud that Keywords in Tokyo joined the event and was invested in it. It sends a positive message and sets an example for more people and companies to follow.

The video game industry has thankfully evolved to become more diverse and inclusive. How important is diversity to the future of localisation and gaming as a whole?

Gaming was a male-dominated universe, mostly designed and produced by males for males. Fortunately, it has evolved towards a more inclusive space and of course, localisation has a huge role to play. The first step towards diversity is working in an inclusive space, with a team of people from different backgrounds. This really helps broaden your horizons and learn about different cultures and lifestyles.

Diversity and inclusion through language is a topic we often discuss as a team here, to find the best way to handle certain situations that might not be inclusive enough, especially in a language like French that is not always very flexible with genders. We always strive to make everyone feel included and represented through text.

What do you like best about working for Keywords Studios?

Thanks to Keywords, I get the chance to work on some really cool projects. I’m given the opportunity to do a job I love and work with people who laugh at my bad jokes, what an achievement!

I have also met really nice and interesting people from all around the world and lived in different countries which is great for experience and personal development. I never thought I would work in Tokyo but Keywords made this all possible.

Tell us an interesting fact about you!

I started working on video game localisation when I was still in high school! I was playing a MMORPG called Florensia and they were looking for someone to lend a hand. For me, it was the first step into the world of game localisation and I really enjoyed it.

Also, I am obsessed with monkeys!

And finally, what advice would you give to someone considering a career in localisation?

You have to be driven by passion. I have always been passionate about video games, languages and ultimately translation. I have worked hard to do what I love doing. If you don’t have that passion and energy for languages or video games, it’s difficult to do the job properly.

If you are interested in a Localisation role at Keywords Studios, you can find current open positions on our Careers page.