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kamichan

what's the chance of a non-native english speaker to get a game designer job?

10 posts in this topic

hi all! i'm really wondering if i have any chance to shoot on this. I got ideas, some game programming background and art background, as well as sloppy english and poor communication skills. I already have designed and coded two games developed in XNA, a shmup and a tower defense. i believe they do stand out with some dinstinguishing features comparing with other games in the same genre, but is it enough to fill the gap left by english? thanks for giving me any advise!
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Depends on how bad it really is. You'll need to be able to communicate, obviously. If you can't talk to the people you're working with then it's not going to work. But there are tons of non-native english speakers in the game profession in the US. They all speak english very well but with a broad spectrum of heavy accents

There are also plenty of game developers in non-US countries. Ubisoft in Paris. EA in Japan, Korea, UK, France, Montreal. NCSoft in Korea. Nintendo in Japan. etc, etc, etc.

-me
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Don't forget that game development is a team effort. Communication is vital to the development process, no matter the position you take. It is particularly important for designers, however, since we're talking about understanding ideas and concepts. If working on English projects is that important to you, the only option is to get better at the language.

Communication is not a problem if you work for a studio which develops games in your language, however. I'd recommend you look at the options within your native language. English games aren't the only ones out there.
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Something perhaps obvious but worth mentioning: there is zero chance of you working as a game designer remotely. I'm assuming that you don't live in the US, but to work as a game designer for a US game company you'd be required to move there. Since moving people is expensive and getting an H1B work visa is a huge pain in the ass, it also means you have to be significantly better that people that can be found locally (or at least have connections within the company who will lobby for you getting hired).

This is similar for non-US companies. To be hired as a foreign national means you need to pass a much higher "quality" bar because the company will have to jump through bureaucratic hurdles to get you a work permit.

-me
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I work in embedded software development and your english in your post is no worse than some of the people I work with...
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Quote:
Original post by kamichan
I got ... sloppy english and poor communication skills.

That's a problem.
But you can fix it.
I recommend you work to fix it.
Because the question is about getting a job, this is moved to Breaking In.
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thanks for the replies guys.

hmm..i should have put it clearer..
i'm a third year cs student in canada, so visa is not that big a problem to me, and sure i know i cannot work remotely (despite i really wish to get a job of some sort like that)
i think it's not that i cannot communicate, as i dun have very much trouble on simple work talk during coops. problem is i'm not a good talker, not that successful businessman kind of talker, not even close to that. what i can do is only to let people understand what i mean, but my wordings and so may get people misunderstand my attitude and emotion... that is the problem.. and fixing this is just too hard to me..
talking about my native country..err.. let's just say that is not somewhere u can grow you dream..
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Quote:
Original post by kamichan
thanks for the replies guys.

hmm..i should have put it clearer..
i'm a third year cs student in canada, so visa is not that big a problem to me, and sure i know i cannot work remotely (despite i really wish to get a job of some sort like that)
i think it's not that i cannot communicate, as i dun have very much trouble on simple work talk during coops. problem is i'm not a good talker, not that successful businessman kind of talker, not even close to that. what i can do is only to let people understand what i mean, but my wordings and so may get people misunderstand my attitude and emotion... that is the problem.. and fixing this is just too hard to me..
talking about my native country..err.. let's just say that is not somewhere u can grow you dream..


It sounds like you just need some "polish" on your English. I am quite familiar with ESL (English as a Second Language) courses, the skill levels, and where people are placed.

Typically, advanced English speakers who are having problems with misunderstandings and getting people to understand their emotions just need a bit more practice in an advanced class setting. Perhaps if you could find a "Business ESL" class, that would help, as that is a fairly advanced class that teaches you the finer points of avoiding misunderstandings in professional situations.

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I've worked with lots of people, including senior games designers (in Australia) who are from non-English speaking countries (Everywhere from the Netherlands, to Iraq, to Brazil -- everywhere!). They have strong accents, and sometimes use the wrong words and grammar, but they've worked hard enough to become good communicators despite that handicap.
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Quote:
Original post by kamichan
i should have put it clearer..
i dun have very much trouble on simple work talk during coops. problem is i'm not a good talker

Or writer. You CAN fix that. You NEED to fix that.
If you do not fix that, your chances (your original question) are very poor. It's a decision YOU have to make.
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If you want to add some panache to your speaking skills, I recommend Toastmasters. I'm sure they have a chapter where you are... I'm sure you'll be terrified to join and participate. That's normally a sign that you're on the right track!
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