Blog article: Game translation techniques - text levels
Thread poster: Alain Dellepiane

Alain Dellepiane  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:26
English to Italian
Jul 24, 2011

Full article:


Videogames contain a variety of texts, ranging from technical to literary. Each level is built on top of the other and needs to be balanced or the whole game translation may crumble like a poorly built tower. Let’s give them a look!

Foundations: the machine

For all the fun, engagement and even emotion a videogame can create, it remain software, a bit of code running on a CPU.

For the machine, showing Leon decapitated in Resident Evil 4 or displaying last year’s taxes on Excel are one and the same. Load data, process commands, store results.

If we don’t see it this way, it’s because game designers wrap it all in a friendly and engaging way

But the bubble can burst... ›››

Full disclosure:
The article is mine, but I think it provides some good practical tools. Let me know if you have any question or comments!

What about you? Do you have a similar approach to game localization? Or you prefer to see things differently? Which are the best and worst sides of this work for you?

[Edited at 2011-07-24 04:28 GMT]

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Ricardo Gouveia  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:26
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Can't tell from experience Jul 24, 2011

Can't tell from experience since I have never localized a videogame, and it is actually one of my main "professional goals and challenges". Since I have started my career as a freelance translator I have translated many different things but not yet what I would like the most, how ironic. I hope to revert that situation in the near future.

I have read through the article and found it very interesting and appealing, but can't really personally comment since every person has their own strategies, as well as every area of translation has their own challenges, strategies and requirements.

I guess one other great "challenge/problem" in the videogame localization industry would also be the lack of genres in the English/Japanese languages. And since you work with Italian, as a Latin language you should be familiar with that problem. We (as translators) would have to depend on someone to confirm some genres for us, or not - for example, in Final Fantasy IX, I don't really remember who, but there is an hermaphrodite character and in the French translator it was visible that the translator had problems with that.

Once again, congratulations for the interesting and good article.

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Alain Dellepiane  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:26
English to Italian
Thanx Ricardo! Jul 25, 2011

Thank you for the kind words and glad that you enjoyed the post.

About the gender issue: yes, it's one of the little oddities of this job. I'll go even further: some games allow players to pick a male OR a female character, but the code allows only for one message to be displayed.

In that case, your may even translate the whole game with "gender neutral" forms, turning "Benvenuto, valoroso guerriero" into "Il mio benvenuto, combattente indomabile" an so on!

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Blog article: Game translation techniques - text levels

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