"This year we managed to complete 96,000 tasks, of which 53,000 are urgent — with a deadline in one day," Pavel Tokarev from Inlingo about the main thing for the year

We summed up the results of the year together with Pavel Tokarev, the founder of Inlingo. He talked about moving to Dubai, a new methodology for localization of projects, the work of the art department and much more.

What was the year for you personally, where are you now, were there any things that you finally managed to realize and are proud of?

This year, the key for me was the relocation to Dubai. I found an area that resembles Samara in its structure: an embankment, a boat station and a small number of tourists. Here I can communicate with entrepreneurs and project managers every day. This is the kind of networking that I missed a lot in Samara, but in Dubai it is in abundance. One of the additional advantages is that it is now possible to travel around the world by direct flights. Next year, most likely, I will fly a lot.


In connection with the move, the coworking format has become relevant for me again. I feel that in my case, working from home is psychologically painful. I need a picture change and coworking helps a lot in this.

View from my coworking area a few years ago and now

We have moved away from the FQA direction, as it requires an office. We are moving smoothly towards giving up offices in principle. We already have distributed teams — in the UAE, Kazakhstan, Serbia. Our translators live all over the world. I have introduced a hybrid system for remote work: you can visit coworking or work directly from home — as it is convenient for anyone. We invest the released budget in attracting new personnel and automating business processes.

This year, my team and I attended several conferences. Rediscovered the Korean market after a trip to G-Star. Some of the biggest stands were at the localizers — this greatly impressed me. In general, Korea is an open region and we will monitor it even more closely in the coming year.

Korean vibe from a trip to G-star

A lot of impressions remained from the trip to Tel Aviv on White Nights. Personally, the conference was very warm for me: I met with old acquaintances, visited the offices of development companies. In addition, I was imbued with history, delicious food, expensive taxis and a complex airport. Before departure from Tel Aviv, I sincerely advise you to leave for the airport at least four hours in advance.

What was the year like for the company? What is new implemented? In general, what would I like to highlight in terms of achievements?

We have increased the capacity of localization project managers. The company now has 40 PM’s and each of them processes an average of 200 tasks per month from customers. One task contains from one to 53 language pairs. The expansion of the team has benefited us: this year we managed to complete 96,000 tasks, of which 53,000 are urgent — with a deadline in one day. We support the result thanks to the online school for PM – it is a full—fledged distance learning system that allows you to regularly train new specialists.

Our main task now is to rebuild the system, automate processes and reduce backlash. We have a methodology that allows us to effectively launch projects from 100,000 words, keeping within the tight deadlines of clients without loss in quality.:

  • we select a manager for the client’s time zone;
  • we diagnose the problem;
  • we are assembling a team according to the internal evaluation system;
  • we use the Gantt chart to control all processes on the project.

There are more and more large projects with a period of three months to six months. Stability is very important for such tasks. We provide it primarily due to the competent selection of the team. There are more than 1000 translators in our database who have been evaluated according to key criteria for us. The rating system helps to assemble the best possible team, taking into account the experience on previous projects. We will use the same principle in the art department.

This is what our rating system looks like

Another important point is the reserve of performers in all departments. On long-running projects, we will use two reserve teams at once, which can insure if one of the managers, translators or editors is ill. During the covid period, we had situations when three translators were removed from the project at once. At such moments it is very important to have a reserve.

The art department in 2022 worked on both stylized projects and realistic games. At the end of the year, it was decided to focus on realistic art for the prospect of working with larger clients. For a stylized project from TSG, we did a full cycle of art production: creating concepts, 2D illustrations, animating in Spine, creating 3D models and assembling levels in Unity. For the game Series with a more realistic visual from the company Green Grey Games created a number of characters, hairstyles, clothes and backgrounds in 2D. The team currently has one art director, eight art leads, six project managers, 15 full-time Senior and Middle level artists, as well as more than 200 freelance artists with whom we work on a project basis.

We continue to share the expertise of development studios and industry professionals. This year, we created two joint cases with the Belka Games team at once — about the localization of Bermuda Adventures into eight languages and the translation of Solitaire Cruise for the MENA region. I also recommend an interview with Martin Teichmann, the lead environment artist at Postcard Game Studio.

It is important for me to highlight the experience of not only the founders who are already on the stage, but also non-public professionals. We constantly communicate with people who move the industry forward with their expertise. In my opinion, one of the meanings of doing business is to be able to talk to different specialists, ask interesting questions and better understand your business. An important goal for the next year is to collect this valuable experience, which the heroes of the interview shared with us, in the format of the book Inlingo Talks.

How has the localization market changed over the year?

Now gaming companies are optimizing their costs, reviewing the markets and abandoning everything that does not bring income and may not shoot in the near future. The focus has shifted in favor of short-term planning. We, in turn, help clients decide on further plans and get the maximum exhaust based on the current strategy.

Has the practice of working with gaming companies changed? In what and how exactly?

Now gaming companies increasingly want to have control over the localization process on their side. This applies both to tracking the progress of the transfer and financial control points.

We help our clients to integrate our technical process into their systems. If a client wants to work with terms independently, add and edit them independently, we give such an opportunity — to connect a specialist from the client’s side to our system, while observing the security rules for both teams.

Another example of integration is the most seamless localization. If the client has set up automatic import of texts from their system, we can also set up the process of text delivery to the client’s system to minimize time costs.

What are the main trends in localization would you highlight at the moment?

The main and most noticeable trend is the combination of language pairs. Increasingly, English is no longer the main language for the source language. Requests for translation from Russian directly into all multi languages are becoming more and more popular. Or even from Chinese directly into Thai, Indonesian, Japanese. We have ready-made teams for all these cases and separate quality control processes for such projects are described.

What are the company’s plans for next year?

My forecast for this year in the previous results was optimistic, and I was counting on active growth, but the bet played differently. Despite the difficulties, we continue to make plans. Only the planning horizon has changed: in the soft mode, we look forward for 10 years, on average — for a year, in the hard mode — for a week. We are confident that Inlingo will grow in the next 10 years. However, next year we will focus on fixing our current level. We will reduce the backlash where they are and stabilize.

I was worried about many aspects of business development and in order to reduce the level of anxiety, I used the principle of “paranoids survive”. We had a stable fund prepared and in a critical situation we always had several solutions. Thanks to this, the company skipped all the hard turns, and they did not affect the results of our work. All projects were completed on time, new processes were built competently.

I want to express great respect to my team. We survived thanks to managers who kept their sanity in any situation. As well as professional teams of PM, editors, translators, artists and sales. This year there was a final transformation and it became clear — one in the field is not a warrior. What I used to carry is impossible now. This year I was dragged by the team.

In 2023, I plan to continue to train the team and develop the project “collective CEO”. Change the processes in which there is a person dependency, and build a system from them that works without interruptions, even if one of the elements has fallen out. For me, the company is a single organism. The main organ is the team, the vessels are processes, and oxygen is satisfied customers who want to come back and recommend us.

This year, overcoming the load has become possible, among other things, thanks to the meanings that we create within the team. I want to reflect these meanings in our mission — its prototype has already begun to appear in my head. I want to comprehend and describe: “Why do we exist and earn money?”. Thanks to partial answers to these questions, we have overcome many difficulties this year. In 2023, I will look for new answers, saturate our mission with fresh ideas and continue to develop this concept.

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