Translation & Localization Workshop

Living in tents and teaching video game translation

What’s going on?

Here at Levsha Studio, we have a wonderful tradition. Each summer, we get away to the border of Moscow Oblast and Tver Oblast, set up our tents, and give lectures on the Volga River’s bank. We host our Translation & Localization Workshop at the Summer School, and we always call for brave adventurers to join us under the pine trees for a week to learn how to translate video games. Our tradition has been going strong for five years. Now that preparation for the sixth Translation & Localization Workshop is underway, we might as well tell you how it all began.

How it all began

The idea of hosting a localization workshop struck us in the fall of 2014, in Yekaterinburg. It happened after yet another busy, event-filled day at Translation Forum Russia. “Why ever not?” we asked ourselves. Why don’t we host our very own workshop at the Summer School? After all, there must be many people eager to learn more about what we do.

By that time, one of our employees had already visited the Summer School as a lecturer in sports journalism, so we had a little bit of overwhelmingly positive experience to rely on.

The others were enthusiastic about the idea. In a few months, in summer 2015, our Summer School workshop was finally launched.

The Summer School

The Summer School project was launched all the way back in 2003. Its name has been changed twice. In 2009, the Russian Reporter magazine actively collaborated with the Summer School. As you might guess, the entire project was called “The Russian Reporter Summer School.” In 2013, the project regained its old name, but collaboration with the magazine continued.

Along with the name, the Summer School location has also been changed more than once. Having visited the Smolensk and Tver Oblasts, the Summer School settled down for good in Moscow Oblast. Ever since 2013, the workshops are held at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research’s Volga recreation camp.

Today, the Summer School is a non-profit education project that allows those passionate about their trade gather together on the bank of the Volga River. Over 17 years, it transformed into a popular education space for those whose Monday begins on Saturday—that is, those who are willing to learn regardless of time and age.

In 2019, over 1,200 students and teachers attended the Summer School. They organized some 1,000 workshop sessions, lectures, and all manner of educational and entertaining activities.

What’s going on at the Translation & Localization Workshop

For the first two years, our workshop was known as the Localization Workshop. If the Summer School camp had its own search engine, we’d rank highest by the number of search queries. In 2017, the word “Translation” was added to the workshop’s name, making it that much easier to tell what the workshop is all about.

Each year, we gather a group of students and try to convey the basics of our job—how to translate video games—as clearly as possible. All lectures and discussions are based on localizing English games, the most relevant area of expertise in our experience. That said, we’re planning on expanding the lesson plan to include multilingual projects as well. Stay tuned!

By the way, we don’t pick our students based on their gender, or the religion they choose in games. As long as you’ve successfully passed our test, you’re welcome to join us!

About the numbers

There were a total of 91 participants in the five workshops we hosted. We’ll be honest, not everyone finds their fulfillment in localization after attending the workshop. Some visit the Summer School just to hang out at the camp, others want to give translation a try and then continue their search for their dream job. But there are also those that have stayed with us to this day.

As of now, we work with five translators who were once participants of our workshop. Three participants of different workshops are employed at Levsha. They have different jobs: a project manager, a translator, and a vendor manager.

Who will be teaching?

During the five years we’ve hosted a Summer School workshop, over 15 teachers have joined us in this endeavor. Our guests have included employees of Google, ABBYY, Innova, and ITI. Apart from huge organizations, we try to invite self-employed translators who work in video game localization. More experience means faster progress.

The regular list of teachers who deliver most lectures consists of the employees of Levsha.

Fedor Bonch-Osmolovskiy, the academic director of the workshop. Graduated the Faculty of Philology at Moscow State University. One of our studio’s founding fathers.

Anton Akopov, a participant of the first localization workshop. Holds a master’s degree in philology. Project manager at Levsha, translator.

Anton Gashenko, localization manager, translator, the author of the @gamelocalization page on Instagram.

Stepan Romanov, the managing director of the Translation & Localization Workshop, the author of the Localization Blog That Could.

Want in? Go right ahead and fill out the participant’s form on the Summer School website!