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Kudoz, localization and context
Thread poster: Alain Dellepiane

Alain Dellepiane  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:42
English to Italian
Oct 28, 2006

I often get asked for further context in kudoz quesitons.

Unfortunately I work in the peculiar area of game localization.

As everything may change according to the user choice, when a character talks, we often can't say their age or gender or even what they are talking about and with whom!

Try seeing this as a creative challenge: "how can I translate such a sentence without relying on the context?"

Please, let's keep kudoz a fun and useful tool for everyone!

Thank you! Alain


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LuciaC
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:42
English to Italian
+ ...
Fine with me... Oct 28, 2006

as long as you give these same (crucial) explanations when you ask a question.
If there is no context there will be at least a 'situation' in which those words come up, right? Even if the term is in a list with no apparent connection, pasting part of the list can be quite helpful.
We may have been pondering about something the whole day but we cannot expect colleagues to know out of the blue what we are talking about.


Ciao e buon lavoro,
Lucia


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Alain Dellepiane  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:42
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Yep... Oct 28, 2006

Exactly as you say. I wrote this post in order to link it in my queries: write once and quote at will.

Grazie, Alain

[Edited at 2006-10-28 14:46]


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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:42
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
There is always context Oct 28, 2006

I sometimes do ask people for more context myself, as in many cases a suitable translation for a term can only be found if you know in which context it will be used.

But you raise a good point: Sometimes there is hardly any context.

Alain Dellepiane wrote:
As everything may change according to the user choice, when a character talks, we often can't say their age or gender or even what they are talking about and with whom!

Try seeing this as a creative challenge: "how can I translate such a sentence without relying on the context?"


However, if potential answerers know about this, it helps them to provide a better answer. If they know that the string my appear in different contexts, they can think of something which is not restricted to one specific situation. So in a way the information that there is no context, provides some context in itself.

The point is, if there is no context, then say so. If a string may be used in different contexts, say so. This is all information which is important when findíng a good translation.

By the way, not always is context simply "the sentences before and after the term in question". If you tell people what kind of game the string appears in, or whether the text is taken from a tourist brochure or tractor manual, that already provides some context. Sometimes even such basic information is not provided by KudoZ askers, but they surely must know WHAT they are translating and could help answerers by telling them exactly that.


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gad
United States
Local time: 08:42
Member
French to English
Some do not accept that Oct 28, 2006

Thomas Pfann wrote:

The point is, if there is no context, then say so. If a string may be used in different contexts, say so.


I've actually seen and gotten angry responses like "geez, don't you want us to help you?", when I've stated that I didn't have any more context to post. Many just don't believe that. Funny that such a situation has NEVER happened to them.;)


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 14:42
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
If there really isn't any context, why bother asking others? Oct 29, 2006

If an Asker, who supposedly has the entire doc in front of him/her, 'can't' (for some it's more like 'won't) provide any or enough context for others to be able to help without just guessing, then why bother asking at all? If there isn't enough context for the Asker to go on, then what can anyone expect of colleagues who see even less? Imho, such questions simply have to be worked out by Asker.
Fwiw, context can be 'explained', it doesn't have to be copy and pasted. If there really is 'none', then isn't it best to contact the client and find out what the context actually is? How can anyone work in the dark?


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Alain Dellepiane  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:42
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
An example Oct 29, 2006

Hi,

Thanx to all of you, as I would not have been able to explain this with this clarity without you.

Just imagine you now work in game localization and a client hires you for a racing game.

What you receive is a spreadsheet, with an endless list of terms like this:

Falling Tree
Wind Gust
Smoke Cloud
Tesla Coil
Magnet
TestQuarry1
TestQuarry2

Nothing more. If you're lucky there's the japanese translation too.

Now imagine that, for some reason, you can't find what a Tesla Coil is. You post it on proz and they ask you "What's the context"?
Well it comes after smoke cloud and before magnet, but that's pretty much it.
You can't even find out anything about the story because another, unknown, translator, is working on it...
You can try asking to the client, but games developers are know to be very busy and to ignore most of the queries...

Some might think now that, if they ask you to work like that, anything will do, "just put the first thing that comes to your mind!".

But this stuff is printed in millions of copies (up to 20 for a past project of mine) and involves massive budgets and celebrity dubbers. You just can't

To sum up and close the matter: No, I don't have any more context, please don't ask for it. If you feel you can't help without it, alas, you can't help. But that's ok, really.

Thank you, Alain


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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:42
French to English
+ ...
scary Oct 29, 2006

Alain Dellepiane wrote:

u can try asking to the client, but games developers are know to be very busy and to ignore most of the queries...

Some might think now that, if they ask you to work like that, anything will do, "just put the first thing that comes to your mind!".

But this stuff is printed in millions of copies (up to 20 for a past project of mine) and involves massive budgets and celebrity dubbers. You just can't



The stuff is printed on millions of copies and involves massive budgets, but the games developers are just "too busy" to answer your queries to ensure a good translation???
I sure hope you get the help you need from Kudoz, Alain, because I sure wouldn't want to be in your shoes!!
I hope there are some avid gamers out there who can help you solve the puzzles!

[Edited at 2006-10-29 13:08]


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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:42
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Here's your context Oct 29, 2006

Alain Dellepiane wrote:

You post it on proz and they ask you "What's the context"?
Well it comes after smoke cloud and before magnet, but that's pretty much it.


True, that's not much of a context. But hold on, you said it earlier...


Just imagine you now work in game localization and a client hires you for a racing game.


I think that would do for some context to get started.


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:42
Member
French to English
+ ...
Problem often seems to be that Askers don't seem to understand what "context" means Nov 23, 2006

Thomas Pfann wrote:

Alain Dellepiane wrote:

Well it comes after smoke cloud and before magnet, but that's pretty much it.


True, that's not much of a context. But hold on, you said it earlier...


Just imagine you now work in game localization and a client hires you for a racing game.


I think that would do for some context to get started.


Yes, exactly!

Some Askers seem to fail to grasp the basic idea that ANYTHING may count as 'context' if it just gives the slenderest clue that will help to define how the term is being used; like a jigsaw puzzle — once you have all the surrounding pieces, you get a pretty good idea of what shape and colour the single missing piece must be.

The only real 'no context' would be if you found a Post-It note on a pub table saying "What does this word mean?" — and even that, in itself, would be SOME context! In any case, it's debatable whether in that circumstance one ought even to be wasting other ProZ' time with such a pointless question...

So a plea to all Askers: try to put yourself in the place of a prospective Answerer, and figure out what information would be useful / helpful. We all enjoy the challenge of a bit of detective work, but nothing is more irksome than when you do an Agatha Christie on us and say "Ah yes, but your answer's no good, because the lead pipe was in the kitchen all the time, and the gardener has a Kalshnikov..."

[Edited at 2006-11-23 19:54]

[Edited at 2006-11-23 19:55]


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:42
French to English
+ ...
context Feb 10, 2007

Sorry, Alain but you should not accept work if you don't feel qualified.

That may sound harsh but it is the dilemma we are all presented with.

Those terms have a "general" meaning and that is probably what you should assign to them.

When you ask for help, explain that these are terms in a list for a game.

You will get many different options because there is NO "right" answer, as there is NO context.

It will be up to you to say "eenie meenie minie mo" and pick the one that sounds best to you.


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Alain Dellepiane  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:42
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
What kudoz is Feb 10, 2007

Oh, no problem, people are always harsh on Proz, especially when talking about kudos. It's an excellent anger-management training...

I would agree with what you say weren't it for one important element: I just asked if I was in the right direction, not for a full translation.

I was and you gave me a couple of ideas. Nice, I willl now make my Italian translation within the limits this product requires. I would never ask you to come up with a context and gender neutral translation that fits within 25 characters for me. I'll take charge of that...

Thank you for your help, Alain

[Edited at 2007-02-11 15:59]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:42
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Sometimes the 'resume' kind of context is far more useful than the rest of the sentence... Feb 26, 2007

I'm basically saying the same as Tony M.

Sometimes I add a "fictive" sentence or two, taken from a different part of the text or generalised.

Alternatively I describe rather than quote, and it's easier to be sure I don't reveal my client's identity and trade secrets etc.

Or I have this item on a menu, between soup, mashed potatoes, vegetables in season and ice cream for dessert.
Castle wall, or Thames Mud & Barges, for instance.... Favourites at school dinners in the 50s and 60s!

I bet you can't guess what those were!

I translate menus for a company canteen that generally serves good home-style cooking... with the odd pizza or kebab or wok-fried noodles, but on the chef's mother's birthday and occasions like that they serve some traditional Swedish delicacy, and I have to ask the natives on Kudoz what is meant!


* * * * *
Lists of items on a price list... Nuts and bolts or paper and envelopes - and in between quite simple products, some thingummyjig - HELP!

But what industry/trade/profession we are dealing with, which corner of which country, and other clues make it possible to come up with a plausible guess.

(Castle Wall was a mound of mashed potato with minced meat inside and carorts or other veg. arranged round the edge as 'guards'.

I believe Thames Mud & Barges went out when cheesecake came in - it was crisp fingers of shortbread with chocolate blancmange or hot chocolatey custard. )

Those were the days ...

But I'm probably way off topic!


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Alain Dellepiane  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:42
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
[OT] English food names Feb 27, 2007

Names for food in English will never cease to amaze me. What leads a cake with no plums to be named "plum cake"? And why, why, why surf and turf? Is it a codename to go unnoticed, like "Friends of Bill and Bob" for the AA? At least they call it "reef and beef" down under (not that I crave for having some)...

[Edited at 2007-02-27 17:04]


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:42
German to English
+ ...
surf & turf Jul 27, 2007

surf = waves on or near a beach or shore (-> seafood); turf = grass mat in a pasture, meadow or lawn (-> beef). Just shows what you learn as an NES. (I never heard of 'reef and beef').

surf & turf is (originally) intended to be cute (since it requires a bit of imagination). It may well have been invented by a bored waiter.

[Edited at 2007-07-27 15:17]


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