I vary on whether the truly simplistic stuff does any good. I might not throw someone in at the deep end but giving someone a game that is basically a text file to translate, or more space than you will ever need and basic encoding, pointers and font you could stand to alter/expand is of dubious merit.
If you want to take a selection of ROMs and fire a relative search tool against it (I like http://www.romhacking.net/utilities/513/
but there are others), maybe explore what encodings you are allowed (can be a brute force thing, can be a code thing, can be from looking at name/high score input, can be guided by finding the font in a tile editor) and tweak a pointer or three then that will do you well.
Porting games varies as well.
PC, maybe also Amiga, aside then anything 16 bit or older will likely be mostly assembly. To this end you are probably going to be in the straight remake (how much the recent GTA debacle is going to have soured people on things there I don't know. It is also expensive) and emulation overlay territory (it is cheap and effective if done right, not everybody has to be Steam Final Fantasy). Some hacking skills might not hurt -- being able to fish or current text out of RAM, whether to display it more clearly or as an identifier for your overlay (IF text = this then display that from the database sort of thing), being able to make cheats enough to get a handle on variables as it actually shakes out (or simply make trophments if such things are deemed necessary), and at the highest end being able to recreate the feel of a game (a complex interaction of inputs, enemy behaviours and more besides, and something even the unskilled players will pick up on, even if they don't necessarily have the vocabulary or even being in the "You didn't notice, but your brain did" regime. You can do reasonably well with matching acceleration and jump height curves for different levels of button fondling and playtesting/video but he what can do code does well, and might well also do well when you realise that game feel has come on leaps and bounds in the last few decades).
PS1 through early-mid PS2 is going to be C with a bit of assembly, newer will be C++ and also start to mix in serious amounts of engine (Unreal engine today is very much its own thing), might get quirks like the xbox 360 technically doing a version of .net/C# and there likely being a few other languages in the mix as well (lua and possibly python depending upon where you look). Porting might also be a "you had to be there, man" type scenario as one knowing all the libraries from having gone through it* will give you a massive leg up over even a skilled coder unfamiliar with it all, and unlike K and R C or COBOL there are few real avenues to read much about their quirks to replace a greybeard in a company with their back against the wall. This also says nothing of the lost source problems (do a search for sega lost source). When we will see commercial decompilation in action (it is very good now -- I assume you have seen the Mario 64 and Zelda efforts, several more N64 things likely to drop before too terribly long, Diablo was more of a lucky break but still got it done) I don't know.
As far as translation in a professional capacity I would go back to the loekalisation link from earlier as that is probably the best resource I have ever found for how that shakes out. Short version though is it is a professional skill all of its own, though some Japanese and coding knowledge to interface between things (translation and engineering usually get along OK, certainly no art and/or business consultancy and engineering type slugging match, but a bit of knowledge of the general approach of either makes life so much nicer), maybe read 20 year old (possibly in both senses of the term) Japanese programmer comments... good stuff.
*not really the same thing but fascinating and I would be serious money on it paralleling all manner of thingshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMcJ1Jvtef0https://gdcvault.com/play/1023586/8-Bit-8-Bitish-Graphics
GDC in general has a load of good stuff (see if you can find the post mortem series, Diablo being a pretty good one there), Ars technica has a series called war stories that is also good, and actually I might suggest some testers ( https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJdyZRNyk92o2ueUADN6Y6gfQbyGOhlGK
has some good stuff too on n64 era Rare. As I am linking favourites then https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iNSQIyNpVGHeak6isbP6AHdHD50gs8MNXF1GCf08efg/pub?embedded=true
might as well also make an appearance.