Jan – Head of Translation

1) What is your name and where do you work?
My name is Jan Werkmeister, I am Head of Translation at Synthesis Germany and also a partner. The Synthesis Germany office is based in Hamburg, Northern Germany. I can state that I unlocked the “Go to work on 7 consecutive days with grey sky and no sun” achievement a dozen times 😀!

2) How and when did you enter the game localization industry?
It must have been around 2009, when we did our first recordings for Synthesis (Milan) as Periscope Studio (the studio that became Synthesis Germany’s studio in 2012). Back then I was in audio, dealing with actor casting, audio direction and technical issues in the studio. With Periscope Studio I also have been very much involved in business development (visiting clients and trade shows).


3) What is your primary job at Synthesis?
As Head of Translation I now oversee anything translation related here at Synthesis Germany. I have to make sure the department runs smoothly. Though my job is very broad, I am often the ‘fire fighting guy’ dealing with the complicated stuff.

4) What are you doing today?
Today I have to finalize the latest batch of a soon-to-be-released title (for which I am “content lead”). I have to check out a new technical process (involving new software) we might establish for a recurring project. I need to set up a few invoices and tackle some accounting trouble. And I am sure there will be a lot more daily issues along the way.

5) What was your most demanding project and what made it so interesting?
The most demanding project was by far “Wolfenstein: The New Order”. Besides a dozen million crazy text and audio updates we had this legal issue in Germany. Everything needed to be “sanitized”; a complex process including lots of extra review passes in order to avoid the game being banned in Germany (it had happened with all the Wolfenstein predecessors). I dedicated one year of my life to Wolfenstein and I was very relieved when I realized the game got praising reviews and no further legal issues occured.

6) What is your favourite game and why?
I usually like competitive, fast-paced multiplayer shooters, I played a lot of CoD online. With Skyrim I had my first serious attempt of playing an RPG and it was a success, I was hooked. Around Christmas 2011 I found myself spending hours and hours in this fantastic world, mostly forging some cool armor ;-D. From time to time, I also enjoy some Sunday afternoon thrashing in Diablo3…

7) What do you love about videogames localization?
I was coding demos in assembler on the Commodore Amiga in the early 90s and I was always fond of dealing with language. In videogame localization these two are perfectly combined and that’s something I like very much. And it never gets boring – there are new challenges around the corner each and every day!

8) What do you dislike about videogames localization?
Besides overly tight deadlines and missing context information, it’s probably how localization often gets bashed by players (especially here in Germany). But you can’t blame them; if you are not into localization, you just cannot know how weird and complex projects sometimes are … 😉

9) Final question: what do you do when you’re not sitting in front of your computer?
Currently I spend most of my free time on my mountain bike riding together with my wife. We enjoy biking in the German uplands, visiting bike parks or having the ‘bike & tapas’ experience in beautiful Andalucia 🙂. Apart from sports I enjoy good wine, tasty food and playing videogames (mostly in winter, though).