Breaking Into The Industry: Julie-Anne LaRochelle, Senior Localization Manager
For EA, thinking globally means thinking in a lot of different languages. Luckily, we have localization experts like Julie-Anne LaRochelle to help make sure we are communicating efficiently with people in all parts of the world. Learn how she went from English teacher to localization manager in today's "Breaking Into The Industry."
What's your name and job title?
My name is Julie-Anne LaRochelle. I’m a Senior Localization Manager.
What does someone in that role do?
There are many things that fit into my localization world. My primary responsibilities include managing the Canadian English and French versions of the ea.com website, Canadian EA Twitter accounts (@EA_Ca and @EA_Ca_fr), game packaging, manuals, and other Canadian assets.
I also provide several EA teams with global localization solutions for various types of external and internal materials.
EA has Twitter accounts just for Canada?
Yes, it’s pretty cool that we’re developing social media specifically for Canada. We get to engage more with Canadian consumers by tailoring our Canadian websites and Twitter accounts to what appeals most to them.
Do you need to speak multiple languages to work in localization?
Speaking other languages certainly helps, especially if you happen to speak the target languages involved in your work. It really depends on the task at hand and the resources available to you. If you’re able to set up a reliable, top-notch review process, the need to speak the target languages becomes less crucial. When localizing text on the marketing side, understanding the target audience’s culture becomes more crucial.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I studied at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada. I got my Bachelor's degree in teaching English as a second language and then continued my studies in Terminology and Translation.
It sounds like you had this type of role in mind even as a student.
I was actually planning on becoming an English teacher—right up to the point where I had to pick a class that was in a different field as part of the Bachelor program. I picked a translation class and I was instantly hooked. I knew I needed to explore this field further.
This was back in 1994 when many of my peers were interested in literary or medical translation. I was very intrigued by this new “Internet” thing and the booming technical field. I specialized in technical translation and, after working for a few software companies back home, I fell upon my dream job at EA and moved to California in 2000.
What was your role back when you first joined EA?
I was hired to lead our efforts to figure out a process for creating bilingual game packaging and manuals for Canada that were 100% compliant with Canadian language requirements. I translated most of these items myself back then.
Was it a goal of yours to move out of Canada and into the states?
No, my only goal was to find the perfect job for me—something that would challenge me and offer true career potential and growth.
Also, as a translator, the idea of touching on many different topics was very appealing to me. I liked the fact that one day I'd be looking up World War II weapon terminology, and the next day I could be working on an NHL manual.
How has your role changed since 2000?
I've taken on many more interesting responsibilities over the years. I’m more involved now in managing and reviewing the translation process and work, making sure it’s up to the standards I've helped establish. My focus now is primarily on improving overall localization efforts and exploring localization opportunities and solutions.
Is it a difficult process to take an English manual and convert it into another language? What are some of the challenges?
The translator needs to make sure they have access to the proper game terminology in the target language, as well as any other official third party terminology required. Their native language should be the target language as they must master the dialect and know how to speak to the audience in accordance with its culture, jargon, etc.
Translating text isn't about replacing one English word with an equivalent word in the target language; it's about conveying the right message to the audience in the right tone. It's also important for the translator to understand all legal rules involved to make sure the final result is legally compliant, among other things.
What advice do you have for someone who is just graduating from high school and wants a role like yours?
The best advice I could give them is this: until you really figure out what you want to do, try not to make choices that will close doors and limit your options. Keep an open mind and seek out opportunities that may be a little off the beaten path.
Last question: Do you play games and, if so, what games do you play?
I'm more of a mobile/handheld gamer, but occasionally I’ll play some horror/action console games. I’m a good sniper.
Alright. I think we're done. Thanks for doing this Julie-Anne!
You're very welcome. À bientôt!
Is there a specific video game job you'd like to know more about? Let us know in the comments! Plus, check out our interview with Outreach and Corporate Giving Manager Julie Wynn for more insight into the industry.