Language may be an art, but ranking language fluency is more of a science. This is why the Council of Europe came up with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR or CEF). Basically, it’s a rubric for determining a person’s proficiency in any given language. It is mostly used to standardize language curriculums and exams, but can also be used by translators to easily identify their language skills.
We put our game linguists through a rigorous testing process to not only determine how proficient they are in a given language, but we also test how they can use those language skills when it comes to games. Gaming is essentially it’s own language after all — with terms like “creep score,” “loot,” and “role playing game” that aren’t always easily translated — so translating for games goes beyond simple fluency.
And the CEFR can help distinguish this, especially if you’re looking at using freelance translators or crowd sourced translations to localize your game. It’s one thing to be able to translate from one language to another — it’s a whole other thing to make the translation feel natural, as well as be able to have it extend to game audio and beyond.
All the being said, here are the CEFR rankings:
C2 — Mastery
The capacity to deal with material which is academic or cognitively demanding, and to use language to good effect at a level of performance which may in certain respects be more advanced than that of an average native speaker.
C1 — Effective Operational Proficiency
The ability to communicate with the emphasis on how well it is done, in terms of appropriacy, sensitivity and the capacity to deal with unfamiliar topics.
B2 — Vantage
The capacity to achieve most goals and express oneself on a range of topics.
B1 — Threshold
The ability to express oneself in a limited way in familiar situations and to deal in a general way with nonroutine information.
A2 — Waystage
An ability to deal with simple, straightforward information and begin to express oneself in familiar contexts.
A1 — Breakthrough
A basic ability to communicate and exchange information in a simple way.
To learn more about the CEFR ranking, visit the Council of Europe’s website.