Wizards of the Coast (WotC) is an American publisher of role-playing games, board games and collectible card games. The company popularized the collectible cardgame genre with Magic: The Gathering (MTG) in the mid-1990s and later acquired the popular Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Magic continues to thrive, with approximately 35 million players worldwide.
WotC started working with Alpha Games in June 2008. Alpha Games initially worked on video editing projects, Flash banner ads and website texts, expanding to Manga comics (Japanese > English) and novels (English > Japanese). Over the years, the amount of localization work performed by Alpha Games grew steadily, reaching a transition period at the end of 2011 with the centralization of projects and implementation of a global management system.
From 2011 onwards, the working relationship between WotC and Alpha Games intensified as WotC aimed to centralize the localization process of trading card game (TCG) products, safeguarding consistency by using a centralized translation memory.
WotC contacted Alpha Games to provide increased technical/engineering support and to help streamline the integration into the global management system and related workflow processes.
We started working with the client in 2008, with a total of four projects at the time, offering video editing and translation of their web texts. Shortly after, we began working on the client’s Japanese TV scripts, Flash banner ads, and manga comics and novels, and by 2010 we provided them with full website translation and bug fixing, in addition to pre-release, launch, and customer communications services.
By 2011 we expanded to include AV and DTP services, moved to a global management system (GMS), integrating internal and external stakeholders in the workflow, and set up the translation assets.
During the setup of the GMS, Alpha Games sent an engineer onsite and also had a project manager working on site at WotC’s offices for five weeks, to assist and educate the client’s project management team. Alpha Games soon became one of WotC’s principal localization partners.
In 2013, Alpha Games absorbed WotC subject-matter-expert reviewers and technical editors into the Alpha structure, taking ownership of the language quality assurance and administration of resource management.
From that point onward, we continued supporting WotC with the technology use and set-ups, providing server side admin and updates using the GMS service, which supported the client for their projects, maintenance and clean-ups.
Over the last five years, we’ve been building and maintaining a large ecosystem of resources to support our client even more closely. We have a focused project management set-up which has expanded, and we’re able to provide the client with seamless service.
We’ve established a range of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure our progress. We hold regular business review meetings with the client to monitor and discuss these KPIs and continuously evaluate the business.
This has to grow our relationship with WotC and build a truly collaborative approach to working together. We now work on all translation of MtG tabletop products, web and marketing-related material for that product line. We also expanded heavily into the Dungeons & Dragons franchise, including the Action RPG Dark Alliance.
Magic: The Gathering (MTG) was created in 1993. Several years of legacy texts needed to be incorporated into the TM to ensure future consistency (even today, older cards are reprinted).
Alpha Games PM and Engineering teams worked closely with Wizard’s internal Localization Manager to incorporate legacy text into Translation Memories and Term bases, customized to WotC’s needs.
MTG is a complex and continuously evolving TCG, requiring past, current and future knowledge of the game, its rules and mechanics.
This ever-changing game required a specialized team to be put together. Alpha Games hired specific games experts to deal with MtG’s complex subject matter. Trainings on MtG, game rules and mechanics are constantly ongoing, encouraging the production team to continue to evolve and learn.
Different brands within WotC need to target different audiences for different types of communications. Sometimes the brand needs to communicate with different types or consumer, for example adults vs. kids. At other times, other stakeholders may be targeted, for example storekeepers or business partners. Of course, for each type or audience there may be a wide range of country-specific and cultural differences to take into account, as well as different legal requirements depending on in-country local marketing offices.
The Alpha Games team was put together to include the right specialists in order to deal with these complicated aspects of games adaptation. Experienced linguists were hired to cover the role of language leads, in charge of coordinating the translation teams of the main languages (French, Italian, German, Spanish Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian). Future plans are made to extend the in‐house team with Chinese language leads.
The production team has experience solving language/country specific issues such as:
Complex workflow stages in the global management system (different per project type), as well as those with internal/external stakeholders need careful management to ensure high-quality localization.
The workflow in the global management system was designed to incorporate all stakeholders, customized per project type. The client’s subject matter experts have been incorporated into Alpha’s team and closely liaise with Alpha Games language leads to ensure quality and consistency. Alpha Games project managers also took on the administrative workload, including purchase orders payments.
WotC requested immediate onsite support due to an emergency related to their localization manager.
Alpha Games provided immediate support, sending an experienced project manager to WotC to assist their team onsite for five weeks. The project manager helped to develop the final workflow, educating the in‐house team and assisted with day-to-day localization projects and communications.
In the next stage of WotC‐Alpha Games relations, Alpha Games is taking ownership of intellectual property security.
Increased security measures (cameras, personalized access control) are in place at the Alpha Games production centers to take the protection of clients’ intellectual property one step further.
WotC selected a specific global management system as their localization tool of choice, of which knowledge within the company was limited.
Alpha’s in‐house engineering and IT support provides WotC with assistance on technical issues relating to the global management system.
Built on a collaborative approach, our partnership with WotC has continued to grow and strengthen in our 13 years working together.
We stand out as a close partner of WotC because we are not only able to provide the client with services on digital projects, but we are the exclusive localization partner for all tabletop content.
We have robust systems in place to ensure there are no errors in our localized content, in particular regarding the printed cards. We continually analyze our performance and evaluate our process to ensure we can deliver the best possible service to WotC.
Our teams are highly familiar with WotC and its products; when taking on new team members to work on projects with WotC, they’re either already highly familiar with MtG, or are trained accordingly.
We constantly monitor our whole system at Alpha Games to maintain the highest quality standards at all times and to look for ways we can improve our service to WotC.