You won’t even believe how many different variations of our name we’ve heard over the years, but, honestly, it’s rather simple, well, at least in Russian.
It should be pronounced as /tolmach/ team. Number 4 in Russian starts with a sound /ch/ and the word “tolmach” itself literally means a “translator” in Old Russian.
Our team was founded in 2009 on a popular Russian portal for gamers, ZoneOfGames, and consisted of only three people. The first couple of years were very calm and quiet, we were just testing the waters, translating a game or two here and there. Up until starting to work on the projects created by Telltale Games, such as Sam & Max and Poker Night, but the most progress was achieved in 2012. That was the year when Telltale Games released the first season of The Walking Dead, then came The Wolf Among Us, Tales from The Borderlands and other major Telltale projects. All of those kept us busy for a while.
The newest chapter of our story was started in 2016, when we began working on mostly just directly with the developers and making official localizations.
At the moment we work with
- and Ukrainian languages.
However, we’re always developing and improving our team including this direction as well.
All our work is governed by three fundamental principles:
— We have a passion for video games and their translation.
We make translations because we love doing them. You won’t find even one person in our team that does “mechanical” translation, using just the dictionary and the rules of grammar. We value creative approach and truly enjoy the process of making the text close and understandable to a Russian-speaking person. In order to achieve that we use a variety of methods including semiotic and semantic instruments, as well as connotation, but, what is even more important, we love video games. From the very beginning our team united people that just wanted to have an opportunity to play games in their native language and that is how we approach a translation – we look at it through the eyes of a regular player who will be using our work. He is that critic that we must constantly win over and keep satisfied.
— Information is the key.
We believe that it is absolutely vital to have as much information about the subject of our work as possible. If the game script with all the character names, gender references, actions descriptions and emotions is not available to us, we translate while playing the game. That way we can be sure that we fully understood everything that’s going on in the game and can capture all the character’s moods and emotions properly.
— Translation all the way through.
We are confident that it’s necessary not only to translate the dialogues, but also textures and fonts, provided that it is technically possible on the developer’s side.
Our team unites professional in a number of different spheres, including the artists among who are able not only translate text from the textures, but also redraw them without changing the original style.
Also, in our opinion, using fonts that are different from the ones developers chose for their game can ruin the whole impression from it. This problem often exists when developer makes a unique font for his game. This font usually won’t support Cyrillic characters and the game just substitutes with the default Arial font. Well, we can work that all out and preserve the original atmosphere of the game just by adding Cyrillic characters to the original font.
There are three main stages and one optional.
Stage 1. Translation.
We get the text from the developer, divide it between our team members and start the translation process. Surprisingly enough, this stage usually doesn’t take up a lot of time. We prefer to translate only after getting to know the context, so usually we ask developers to give us access to the game.
Stage 2. Proofreading.
We proofread at least twice. First time – right after the translation itself is done and the second time – after we’ve completed testing and editing, so we can send our work to the developer in perfect condition.
Stage 3. Testing and editing.
This stage starts right after the first proofreading. We ask developers to provide us with a build of the with our translation implemented in it, that way we can play through the game and find and fix all the possible mistakes. Testing is extremely important; some people will even consider it the most important stage. There are two main reasons for that:
a. Linguistic aspect. This means simply catching all the orthographic, punctuation, grammar and stylistic mistakes. It’s way easier to notice them while playing. Moreover, we often deal with games that involve different choices, so testing our translation allows us to make sure that all the plot variations are translated correctly.
b. Technical aspect. There are a number of issues to watch out for here: Russian fonts often don’t display correctly, or lines get cut off, due to ingame limitations to the number of symbols per line and etc. Those can’t be timely caught unless actually playing the game with the translation.
Stage 4. Fonts and textures.
Not always, but very often (that is why this stage is considered optional) we find ourselves in a situation where we have to redraw fonts and/or game textures. Issues with fonts might arise when a game uses a non-standard font. Such fonts often don’t support Cyrillic symbols, so our experts redraw them, that way the Russian version also works as it was originally intended.
It’s not a big secret that the most efficient way to introduce players to the game in the 21st century is through social networks and YouTube.
We can help you with that! Our group on Vk.com (most popular Russian social network) has reached 39.000 subscribers. Besides that, we can help you reach other Russian communities on platforms such as Steam and Vk.com.
It’s also worth mentioning that over the years of our work, we’ve managed to develop good business and sometimes even friendly relationships with some of the most popular Russian letsplayers. And we can put you in touch with them as well!