We continue to summarize the results of 2023 with the gaming (or related to the gaming sector) teams. Next up is an interview with Pavel Tokarev, CEO of Inlingo outsourcing studio.

What was the year like for the company? What have you done that I would like to highlight in terms of achievements?

This year, we focused on supporting the current level of the company — we worked from a defensive position. The time for business was difficult, but we persevered. I would like to express special gratitude to the customers who continued to trust us during this difficult year. We value every partnership and try to maintain and strengthen this connection.

One of our key achievements is the preservation of the team. People are the main value. Thanks to everyone for their contribution to the company this year. There are always ambitions in terms of business, but I soberly assessed the market and did not overexert employees. We have focused on saving current resources and optimizing costs.

The internal project "collective CEO" has moved to a new level — we have adjusted the processes in which there is a personnel dependence. A team of like-minded people N-1 was formed, and this allowed me to switch from the red control mode to the green one — it is aimed at integration and training. I use soft techniques: one-to-one meetings and a Telegram channel through which I convey my main thoughts to the team. We have a dashboard that pulls together all the numbers, anomalies and possible growth zones. All this allows me to manage the company on a weekly and monthly basis instead of being involved in the processes on a daily basis.

This year, we have gained an understanding of our global mission — saving the resources of our customers. We act as a support and offer a set of outsourcing services that allow clients to successfully publish their projects and support them with minimal costs.

The internal strategy is aimed at competent recruitment. We train Bizdevs and PMos from scratch through an internal university, but we are looking for specialists in the field of management, IT and finance among already established experts.

How has the game localization market changed over the year?

Neural networks and related technologies have made a big leap over the past year. In this regard, the importance of localization engineers and quality specialists is increasing.

Trend-aware linguists already understand what additional skills to pump in 2024. We entered this stage well prepared, with a number of our own developments and ideas. We are closely monitoring the development of this area, and we receive requests for machine translation editing, mainly from Asian companies. We are open to new technologies and gently introduce them into the process with customers who feel the need and are ready to experiment.

Asian companies have a request for services in the field of narrative design, work with mind maps. We get tasks for writing the dialogue part, Laura and the characters, building the motivation of the main characters and the interaction of the NPC with the player. Asian developers want to open up to the Western player, to hook him with a high-quality study of the game world, which is good news.

Has the practice of working with gaming companies changed? How exactly?

Asian companies have increased their demand for localization of large—scale projects in a short time - of course, without loss in quality. Such tasks do not cause a lot of stress for the team. We continuously select and train linguists, monitor their progress and quality on projects in semi-automatic mode, and also work with clear algorithms for each stage of the technical process.

The quality control unit and receiving feedback from customers has been strengthened. A separate team has been formed that regularly collects feedback analytics, develops comprehensive and systemic solutions to improve and optimize processes.

What are the company's plans for next year?

Our main task is to expand and multiply the capacity in the next three years. We have assembled a team of 40 project managers and thus process 1,200 requests from customers per month. Next year, we will train existing and new specialists even more actively — to prepare PM, business owners, artists, editors. We are focusing on greater automation of processes — both to improve the quality of our services and to reduce routine and "manual" tasks for teachers and linguists. We allocate team resources to solve more complex cases.

I am very glad that my life path has led me into the gaming industry. I've been working in this field for 10 years now, but I still feel like a beginner — thanks in part to the people I learn a lot from. The market constantly throws up food for thought — both small, medium, and large players. Everyone has their own approach to business, negotiations, project management and problem solving. I like to study different experiences — it helps to better understand myself and my business.

Our team constantly communicates with people who are moving the gaming industry forward. These are professionals from a wide variety of game development fields — from development to marketing. This year, one of the tasks was to record all the interviews that we conducted in print. We implemented it and released the book Inlingo Talks. It contains all our interviews over the past three years. We will be happy to share the book at a meeting at conferences or send it on request.

My goal setting has changed this year: on operational issues, I focus on a monthly vision, and on strategic issues — for a period of three to five years. I'm going to stick to the same format in 2024. Right now we are not ambitious enough to plan for growth, but we are also not so pessimistic as to expect an inevitable fall. We have chosen a strategy not to plan for the future, but to be ready for it. Now, on the one hand, we are accumulating reserves to survive a possible fall, and on the other hand, we are expanding capacity at the expense of an internal university.

The future is still vague and uncertain, but there are definitely opportunities there. We are open to them and ready to experience turbulence.