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Lost in Translation: The Dream to Be a Game Translator

Feature; Feb. 3, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Kyle James Hovanec
Subtypes: Interview
First profile on girls who love gaming

I think it’s a common dream for anyone who has ever played video games to have some part in the video game production process at some point. To make a video game you would want to play and work in an industry where your job is to make products for your lifestyle. It’s a dream many of us wonder about but few of us ever pursue.

Marlee Clark is working toward that dream. Not content to just sit around and watch the industry pass her by, Clark has geared her entire college education toward a future in the gaming industry. 

Clark attends Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She is majoring in Japanese to help her achieve her dreams. “My goal is to eventually become a translator for Japanese games,” Clark said. “If I had a choice, I’d love to work at Atlus. Out of all the companies, I think they do the best translation work.” She also credits Atlus with making some of her favorite games. “I think the RPG market in general has a lot of room for innovation and creativity in both their characters and stories, and Atlus has been one of the leaders in putting out great games.”

Clark first became interested in video games during the last gaming iteration. Her father had purchased a PlayStation 2 and a collection of games. “At first I really wasn’t into it. There weren’t many games which interested me; there were a few bad games, and I remember The Mummy Returns being one of them.” After some on-again, off-again casual playtime, one game finally caught her attention: Final Fantasy X. “I randomly decided to start playing it, and after a few hours playing it, I was hooked. The characters, the setting, and the story were unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.” It was Final Fantasy X which got Clark hooked on gaming, and interested in exploring other Japanese RPGs available.

It was during her time in high school that Clark decided she wanted a career in the gaming industry. “I was a huge fan of JRPGs and wanted to do something that would involve them. “ Once she told her family and friends about her future aspirations, they were surprisingly supportive. “They never really questioned me or doubted my intentions. They allowed me to continue this dream all the way until college."

Once in college, Clark began to take Japanese courses. Despite their high difficulty and workload, she hasn't been deterred her from her eventual goal. “This still remains a goal of mine, and I can’t see it changing anytime soon,” Marlee said. “I’ve met friends who understand what I want to do -- some even want enter the same field. It’s really helped me to stay focused. “

Clark is on schedule to graduate in 2013. That means more Japanese classes and more homework, but it also means more time with a supportive group of friends and family and more games to inspire her to keep working toward her goal. “As long as games like Catherine and the Persona series keep coming out to keep me interested in games, I’ll keep working towards my dream, “ she added. After all, there are other girls -- other people out there -- who want more Atlus titles, and want something different from the norm.

“After all, not everyone likes war games,” Clark said with a laugh.

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