Translating a Video Game Is an Enriching Experience of Localization

As a professional translator, translating a video game is an enriching experience of localization. In fact, translate a video game requires greater flexibility, intuition, organization and a deep knowledge of the public, more than any other work, since it includes the translation of instructions, short phrases and segments without the context of a software for the linguistic, cultural and technical requirements of the target audience. Also means making every effort to give the impression that the game was created directly for the adolescents in a given country, while they will realize that the game is available in 23 languages. Find video games is a very delicate job that sometimes causes some trouble respecting the content of games, dialogs and menus, as well as the tutorials themselves. Remember that our young player should be able to play in the best conditions, enjoy the stage (when) and the game world (there is always something at least).

Specific Variables

As with all translation services, the meanings related to the lack of context can be avoided with detailed documentation. In the case of a video game, when the segments to be translated are disparate and isolated, with untouchable codes, any additional documentation is welcome to provide a minimum of context. In addition, should pay close attention to certain socio-linguistic elements (units of measure, senses that can be wrong, digital formats, the format of the addresses, the format of dates and times) and at the technical level (formats Windows sources, the selection of sources by default, cases, character sets, the classification differences) as well as the legality (legal vocabulary existing in each country, methods of payment, currency conversion, and taxes) especially in with regard to the French metropolitan market and the market of francophone Canada, if different. To summarize, the text must be included and must go in the boxes.

For the Game Developer, Is a Nightmare!

Continuous communication with the benchmark for the game to be translated is of utmost importance, since it goes beyond a simple semantic query: according to the law of the market today, most video games are translated during the early phases of construction (during the Beta version for experts) to allow the simultaneous release of the latter in several languages, after an important phase of editing, testing and last minute changes. And here is where the thing is complicated! Not only under the pressure of delivery times, must the video game translator also remain attentive to the records of the extensive regular testing of the user interface by the game designers. There will be many viruses, phrases and words that do not correspond to what is on the screen, ambiguous terms and inaccuracies (therefore I repeat les that it is extremely important to know the background and the game environment). Interface testers ask respectfully (and free) you to retouch some segments, which reformulated that other luggage and, in short, that do all shorter using a new code. It is a titanic work which corresponds to the final phase of the configuration and which I call a “nightmare”, since you need to change almost everything… Warned it yourself: translating a video game is not as easy as the translation of a tale by the Brothers Grimm!

The Translation Patch

What is a patch? It is a language file that is used in the majority of video games. Scholars do not understand any of this, but actually players online are very familiar with the language “patch”, which includes a package of “titles and texts” and/or a “voice” in their preferred language pack to play. Some specialized sites offer an incredible variety of languages for the titles and texts of the game play. The voices of the game are often available on these sites.

From the point of view of a translator, usually only are given you the title and the text of the draft, along with a good localization tool. As for the voice, are provided scripts for audio in another project in an Excel file, to complete without modifying the configuration using a specified number of characters for certain cells and taking care not to erase the codes. In fact, developers often have their own staff with beautiful voices who, once in possession of his translated Excel, inserted your translations in the place of the original text. Prior to this, or in parallel, actor’s record translated sentences so that you can fold the characters.

My advice as a translator: don’t begin to translate a video game without having an anterior view of the same and without possessing an advanced localization tool. This is what allows you to easily overcome the pitfalls of video games thanks to the various automatic test functions, an interface essential main translation memory that provides the ability to use most of the formats of Windows, as well as text files and tagged (XML, HTML) formats.

And, of course, you will never look a video game in the same way as before!

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