There is no question that translating games is fun and translating games is about the coolest way to make a living. But is it good for you? Here are 7 reasons why I think that being a game translator can be an unhealthy career choice.
#1 Translating games makes you fat
Well, maybe not everyone will gain weight as a side-effect of translating games. But we do look up exotic and strange food sometimes. And of course, it's never tomato salad or tofu. And then we want to buy food, or make food, and definitely eat food. A lot.
#2 Translating games make you sick
Depending on what genre is hip this year, you will have to look up diseases, mend flesh wounds, and look at disgusting medical stuff. Not everyone is cut out for looking at inside things; I sure am not. And for hypochondriac translators, death is a constant, imminent threat, always lurking somewhere in your favorite online search engine.
#3 Translating games makes you a know-it-all
Why are you suddenly an expert when it comes to installing generators? What do I care that that the mushrooms of Austroboletus olivaceoglutinosus have a fruity smell? And why, gawd why would I want to know how to treat plantar warts?!? Often enough, you become an accidental expert in areas you couldn't care less for.
#4 Translating games makes you poor
You'll constantly look up things and gadgets you didn't know were out there—and that you didn't know you couldn't live without. Getting lost in the Google vortex is a constant test for your mental strength—and threat for your freelance translator wallet.
#5 Translating games makes you shop games
That's not your fault—you have to stay up to date on what goes on the industry, right? But it's too easy to get lost looking at what's new on Steam. And it's sooo easy to just hit that Buy button, especially with these Steam dumping prices out there. But then you suddenly have a huge to-play list. And since you don't have time to play any of them, this will just be another to-do list.
#6 Translating games makes you want to pack your things
Looking at places on Google Maps or writing about magical fairy lands while you're stuck behind a desk… Doesn't that make you want to pack up your stuff and see what else is out there? I've done my fair share of translating while on the road, and while I love having a semi-permanent home now, I still find myself wanting to just grab my laptop and type away while overlooking a Thai beach.
#7 Translating games makes you question reality
Everything my parents and teachers have told me about being a working adult was a lie. I don't have to decide whether I want to be a leader or subordinate—I'm neither of those. I never meet any of the people who send me money, and I know most of my colleagues only from Q&A sheets or Facebook groups. I can look however I feel like looking. It's ok to have pink dreadlocks and piercings. It's ok to wear cut-up jeans, or no pants at all. I don't even need to shower to go to work.
I don't have to wake up early to be somewhere at the inhumane time of 8 A.M. and eat or relieve my bladder during scheduled breaks like a prisoner. I do have deadlines, but no matter how hard I try, I'm never late for work. Working is not as hard as you said it would be. I do have to use my brain—but my translation work never feels draining or boring. While most of my friends hate their bosses and start feeling unsettled when it's Sunday afternoon and their weekend starts fading away, I can't wait to know what my next project will be. And guess what, Dad, playing games does buy me bread, and a lot of fine cheese, too.
Thank you for sharing <3