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Adapting humor in videogames localization

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Abstract

Humor has always been a relevant element in videogames. However, as games have turned into more complex and narrative-driven products, the use of humor has gained momentum and nowadays parallelisms can be established with the case of films and TV shows, where comical situations are frequently an essential part of the storyline. Therefore, the adaptation of puns, rhymes, riddles and irony is an important component to be addressed in any videogame localization process. Humor is one of the many features included in modern titles, providing a real challenge for translators and localizers and bridging the gap between videogames and audiovisual translation, where the adaptation of jokes has already been approached by academia and the industry alike. Videogame localization is a thrilling sector in which more and more agents are getting engaged in order to develop top quality products that can be effectively adapted and sold into different markets. Although the game industry provides outstanding figures in terms of revenues and growth (according to the Entertainment Software Association, the number of American households playing videogames accounts to 72% and the expenditure in videogames software and hardware exceeded $ 25 billion last year), videogame localization has not called the attention of many researchers and the number of training programs or courses intended to raise professionals in the field is still scarce. Although some issues in game localization have already been addressed by several authors, other elements included in the games -like the use of humor and irony-still have to be explored. Today, videogames have become multimodal and multidimensional products that rely not only on sophisticated technical features with impressive graphics and original soundtracks; indeed, current games are heavily narrative-driven and they are designed on the basis of complex stories and well-developed plots, with round characters and detailed settings. All these elements combined aim to create a seamless product which is appealing and amusing to players from all over the world.
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Adapting humor in videogames localization
Humor has always been a relevant element in videogames. However, as games
have turned into more complex and narrative-driven products, the use of humor
has gained momentum and nowadays parallelisms can be established with the
case of films and TV shows, where comical situations are frequently an
essential part of the storyline. Therefore, the adaptation of puns, rhymes, riddles
and irony is an important component to be addressed in any videogame
localization process. Humor is one of the many features included in modern
titles, providing a real challenge for translators and localizers and bridging the
gap between videogames and audiovisual translation, where the adaptation of
jokes has already been approached by academia and the industry alike.
Videogame localization is a thrilling sector in which more and more agents are
getting engaged in order to develop top quality products that can be effectively
adapted and sold into different markets. Although the game industry provides
outstanding figures in terms of revenues and growth (according to the
Entertainment Software Association, the number of American households
playing videogames accounts to 72% and the expenditure in videogames
software and hardware exceeded $ 25 billion last year), videogame localization
has not called the attention of many researchers and the number of training
programs or courses intended to raise professionals in the field is still scarce.
Although some issues in game localization have already been addressed by
several authors, other elements included in the games -like the use of humor
and irony- still have to be explored.
Today, videogames have become multimodal and multidimensional products
that rely not only on sophisticated technical features with impressive graphics
and original soundtracks; indeed, current games are heavily narrative-driven
and they are designed on the basis of complex stories and well-developed
plots, with round characters and detailed settings. All these elements combined
aim to create a seamless product which is appealing and amusing to players
from all over the world.
As more emphasis has been put on the stories being told in the games,
elements such as irony and humor have turned into a key element in many of
the titles since they are intended to produce a certain effect in the target
audience. Obviously, the tremendous development of the game industry and its
global scope implies that humor has to be adapted to the different locales where
the videogame is going to be marketed. Although the two main poles in the
development of videogames are clearly located in the US and Japan, the
number of destination locales has far outreached the so-called FIGS languages
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(French, Italian, German and Spanish) and many more targets have been
added to the list. Hence, the adaptation of humor turns into one of the most
difficult tasks to be performed by localizers and translators due to the
tremendous complexity of trespassing cultural barriers and bringing laughter
into a foreign audience.
In this framework, we need to answer a key question: is it really important that
humor is adapted into different cultures in videogames localization? Clearly, the
translation of humor has to be addressed in any localization project since it will
contribute to create a coherent story which is consistent and works in the target
market. Meeting users’ expectations with adapted jokes or puns will support the
deliverance of the message into the destination culture and will allow players to
interact with the game to a higher extent. In other words, the translation of
humor can definitely underpin and reinforce the engagement and involvement of
players in the story and will contribute to the development of empathy with the
characters of the title; in addition, the adaptation of comical situations will add
some value to the game and will definitely support the creation of a high quality
product.
Modern videogames include a huge array of technical and technological
expertise and know-how. But beyond the graphic interface, the audiovisual
components and the special effects, users demand something more from
today’s titles: players want to get involved in the story and, consequently, they
expect videogames to produce different kinds of emotions on them. Survival
horror games are intended to provoke fear or at least suspense, while first
person shooters are normally designed to trigger adrenaline in the person
controlling the gamepad.
Clearly, humor is a key component in role playing games like Dragon Age,
where there are plenty of jokes and funny dialogues between the main
characters of the story. One of the most acclaimed sentences of the game is
when Morrigan says “we now have a dog and Alistair is still the dumbest one in
the party” (which was translated into Spanish as “bien, ahora tenemos un perro
y Alistair sigue siendo el miembro más estúpido del grupo”). The Grand Theft
Auto series provides a more adult-like style with many different jokes and
threats being directed towards the “player”, like when Gordon says “so you're in,
big guy? or are we gonna have to kill ya?” to which Niko Bellic answers “well,
since you put it that way... I'm in”. The conversation was successfully translated
into Spanish as “entonces, ¿te apuntas, muchachote? ¿o tenemos que
matarte? / bueno, si vas a poner así... me apunto”. Finally, graphic adventures
like The Secret of Monkey Island are a rich field for the study of humor in
videogames thanks to the constant flow of comic and hilarious situations the
pirate apprentice Guybrush Threepwood experiences. In The Curse of Monkey
Island, the famous insult sword fighting is a real challenge for translators, with
plenty of tongue-twists and rhymes that were occasionally even improved in the
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target version: in one of this rhetorical battles a pirate says “you're as repulsive
as a monkey pig” and Threepwood answers “is that so much I look like your
sister?. This was adapted into Spanish as “eres tan repulsivo como una mona
marrana /¿es que tanto me parezco a tu hermana?” where by using the
feminine (“mona marrana” instead of “mono marrano”) the translator created a
rhyme in the translated version.
Although some genres like social simulators (e.g. The Sims) may seem to
display a bigger amount of humor, this element can be spotted in all types of
games. In some cases, humor has been used as the main resource to recreate
stories and scenarios like in the old graphic adventures (e.g. Sam and Max, The
Day of the Tentacle), whereas in some other occasions it has been employed in
the development of archetypal characters like Duke Nukem or Wario. Also,
different types of humor can be observed in more adult contexts like Deadrising
2, in the gore-style Mortal Kombat series or in literature and comic based titles
like Alice in Wonderland or Batman Arkham Asylum. In a nutshell, humor is a
cross element that can be found in all kinds of videogames.
Broadly speaking, the adaptation of humor in videogames does not differ that
much from other fields such as theatre or literature, although due to the
technical features of the games, it is much closer to the case of films and
audiovisual translation. Humor is transmitted through different channels in
videogames and beyond textual elements it can also be conveyed through
music and sounds, visual elements and paralinguistic and semiotic
components. As it happens in software localization, a huge array of different
issues has to be considered and approached by translators working with
videogames: this may include colors, dates and number formats, icons, images,
audio and so on. This implies that in some cases the (hardcoded) contents of
the game cannot be adapted by the localizer: for instance, the gestures or facial
expressions of the character of a game may include some comical elements but
they would require re-writing the game code, a task which is not in the checklist
of localizers and translators (e.g. the facial expressions on GTA IV have been
design to fit the English lip-sync). On the contrary, it is the duty of the game
studio to make sure that the title is designed in such a way that it can be
subsequently localized into different markets.
Arguably, internationalization plays a key role in videogames design and
development, as most titles are currently sold in different markets and sim-ship
has become a standard practice in the industry; however, even when the use of
slang, acronyms, colloquialisms, etc. should be avoided according to the
specialized literature, these elements are on the very basis of many
videogames in order to create appealing settings, realistic scenarios and
charismatic characters. A good example can be spotted in Gears of War where
the main characters -like Marcus Fenix- utter different expressions when picking
up new ammunition: "don't mind if I do", "sweet!", "I'll take that", "good to go",
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"got 'em" or "got it!". In the Spanish version, we listen sentences like “con tu
permiso”, “genial”, “me llevaré esto” or “qué detalle”.
It is the task of translators and localizers to be able to select the most suitable
and appropriate strategies with the aim of making the title fit the local taste in
the target language; in some cases, the adaptation of the message into a given
culture will not be possible while in other situations localizers will have to rely on
creative and imaginative solutions to work out how to keep the user experience
and the ‘look and feel’ of the game in a specific locale.
Lost in translation?
The adaptation of puns, rhymes, idioms or even irony can be extremely difficult
to achieve in some games; it may be even impossible to transfer the message
to certain locales without suffering a loss in meaning or leaving some nuance or
shade in the source language. The main reason is that humor is frequently so
intimately linked to the cultural parameters of a given society that it can hardly
be adapted or extrapolated to other contexts (even when they are similar or
related). A good example of this may be seen in the no-dubbing strategy of the
blockbuster Grand Theft Auto IV: although the game was translated into several
languages, the original voices of the actors playing the in-game dialogues were
not dubbed. The reason for this choice was the rich and complete array of
dialects, accents and colloquialisms used to depict the personalities and the
backgrounds of the characters of the game (some of them were gangsters
coming from Eastern Europe while others represented typical features of people
from Latin America, Italy, Jamaica or different parts of the States). Humor is a
wide concept and it can be generated not only by means of the textual
discourse but also by using other paralinguistic features such as regional
accents or the particular ways of speaking of the characters appearing in the
game.
In many cases, it is not possible to effectively adapt the humoristic features from
the source into the target culture. As long as puns or word plays are used, it
may be eventually impossible to transfer the second meaning or intention in a
given sentence. In Max Payne, for instance, there are several jokes made with
the word “pain” with a clear reference to the surname of the character; all these
hints have been lost in the French and Spanish versions, as it is not possible to
find a word which is semantically and phonetically similar to “pain” (“dolor”, and
“herir” where used in the Spanish translation”).
Similarly, cross-references to other titles can be problematic for translators: in
Duke Nukem Forever, some other titles of the same genre are mentioned in
different moments: the sentence “I ain't afraid of no quake" was a conspiratorial
wink to the rival first-person-shooter “Quake”; in the translation to Spanish (“no
tengo miedo de los temblores”) this hint is lost. A similar case can be found in
the sentence “Hm, that's one doomed space marine” with a clear reference to
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the famous Doom, which was translated as “Hmm, ese es un marine espacial
condenado” with a loss of meaning regarding the original dialogue.
Also, many videogames developed in the States include plenty of slang or
simply shortenings, abbreviations and colloquialisms widely used by regular
users such as “gonna”, “watcha” or “wanna” (e.g. Guybrush Threepwood initial
statement in Monkey Island 2: “I wanna be a pirate!”). This register is
irremissible lost when adapting the games into Spanish, as there are no clear
equivalents and the possibility of using local varieties or regional expressions is
normally avoided. Then, in some occasions all these nuances that contribute to
create a character’s personality are lost in the translated version. This is quite
notable in many of the typical sentences of Duke Nukem like for instance "let's
rock" (“juguemos”), “that’s gotta hurt” (“eso tiene que doler”) or “you wanna
dance?” (“¿bailas?”).
In any case, translators must be able to select the appropriate strategy in order
to keep the essence of the game in the destination locale while fitting the local
taste: although non-translation strategies may be occasionally selected, the
adaptation of the message normally proves to be the best solution since it
promotes the involvement (and amusement) of final users. Hence,
compensation strategies may be required. To this regard, the translation of
humor in videogames seems to be strictly linked to the concept of localization,
as the main objective is to adapt the message to the local parameters and
achieve a certain effect into a particular audience. In this sense, it could be
stated that no additional skills are required in order to adapt jokes or irony, as
long as translators and localizers are appropriately trained and they command
the destination culture. However, it is noteworthy to mention that mastering the
target locale and being a proficient translator may not be enough in this case;
an extra skill or competence may be needed when trying to convey humor in
videogames: a great deal of creativity.
Transcreation
Some scholars like Minako O’Hagan and Carmen Mangiron have used the term
‘transcreation’ to refer to the carte blanche or the unlimited freedom of localizers
working in the field of videogames. Indeed, this characteristic may be clearly
observed in some narrative-driven genres like role playing games, where the
adaptation of complex stories also includes transferring a great amount of exotic
and fantastic names of characters, places, magic items, armor and weaponry.
In this context, localizers will be allowed to modify all these words and
expressions in the final version and they will even create new names from
scratch.
While in more technical titles, like driving o flight simulators, translators can rely
on “official” equivalences for many of the information strings appearing in the
game -with a literal or word-for-word translation approach-, it is true that in
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many other types of videogames creativity is required to guarantee that the user
experience is preserved across different locales.
Although Nintendo videogames tend to be optimally internationalized, with
names and characters thought to fit different languages and cultures (e.g. Mario
and Luigi, Kirby, etc.), there is still room for some creativity as the names of
characters and settings are intended to be tremendously original and catchy. A
fairly good example of transcreation can be found in Mario Kart Wii, where
certain names are “recreated rather than translated in a literal way: “Dry
Bones” and “Dry Bowser” are adapted into Spanish as “Huesitos” and
“Bowsitos”, respectively. Also, vehicles like the “Wild wing”, the “Magikruiser”
and the “Dolphin dasher” are adapted as “Alerón Chiflado”, “Magiciclo” and
“Velocidelfín”, keeping the comic touch in the target version. Similar examples
are can be observed in Smash Brosh Brawl, where plenty of special moves and
attacks of the playable characters contain some comic shade. For instance,
Diddy Kong’s “Peanut Popgun” has been rendered as “cacahuetola” and the
“monkey flip” as “cabriola simiesca”. In all these cases the translator has kept
the comic element by creating new words in the target language.
The recreation of humor in other culture seems to fit particularly well with the
concept of transcreation, as localizers will also create parts of the story in the
target culture undertaking an -even more- active role in the process. Obviously,
this “freedom of action” has to comply with the standards and regulations that
apply to any localization process: for instance, in the case of videogames,
localizers have to stick to the tight space restrictions imposed by the Graphic
User Interface (which become even more problematic in videogames for mobile
phones and other handheld devices).
Transcreation is not a must in videogame localization and it is localizers -
together with game studios and developers- the ones who have to assess the
effect the game is intended to produce in the target audience; accordingly, they
will have to select among different possible strategies. While in some cases
creativity will be the main guideline to be followed, in some other localization
processes, more faithful or loyal approaches may be required. Nevertheless, it
will be the duty of localizers to analyze every particular case and make a
decision in order to get the best possible product.
New challenges in localization
The use of humor in videogames has been supported by technical progress that
led to the creation of more complex and rich stories relying on narrative
techniques such as cinematic sequences. Besides the new possibilities
provided by the technological development of videogames, we have to take into
account other trends and tendencies that have broken into the game panorama
in the last years. The emergence of casual gaming has contributed to enlarge
the standard age for playing games (the average age of the player has reached
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37 according to the Entertainment Software Association www.theesa.com) and
this new fashion has reinforced and promoted the social aspect of videogames
in the last years. More and more people play games collectively (not only online
but also locally) and in casual gaming, humor is also a core component of the
titles that are being developed, as these games aim to be essentially funny.
‘Casual’ titles exploit the social aspect of videogames and cultural features can
clearly contribute to promote and foster interaction among players.
If we assume that humor is a relevant part in videogames and its use will keep
growth in the long term, we should be concerned about the training
professionals will receive in order to tackle the adaptation of this element into
different locales and contribute to bring some more culture into the games.
As we know, localizers have to face a complex process when adapting a
videogame. Beyond language issues, a good number of elements have to be
taken into account (numbers, dates, currencies, etc.); also, besides textual
strings, all non-verbal elements must be tailored. In addition to the usual
components that are normally found in any software application, videogames
also contain extra features such as cultural references and humor. In order to
tackle these two elements, localizers have to command the destination locale
and they must be provided with a well-developed sense of creativity.
Currently, professional localizers command technical issues and are highly
skilled when dealing with typical localization challenges such as space
restrictions. However, how can they learn to be creative? Or putting it into the
other way, can universities, companies or training institutions teach creativity?
Obviously, this is not a skill to be acquired in a one-week course and translators
and localizers have to develop this competence throughout their professional
career.
Creativity is a feature that can be associated to the professional practice of
translation and localization and it is clearly required to convey humor in
videogames. Localizers should not only be able to adapt the message but also
to contribute to the final product with their own suggestions and proposals. In
this sense, an even more active role is undertaken by localizers when adapting
a videogame and some kind of authorship can be attributed to them.
In this framework, the demand of this skill is good news for professionals
working in videogame localization, as some of them are currently facing the
threat of optimized machine translation systems and the emergence of
amateurs engaged in collaborative or fan translation. The ingenuity and
audacity of human translators is still required and it will be a must in the future
of the game industry: localizers are still the ones who are able to adapt humor
and its subtle and sharp nuances into different cultures.
... En concreto, durante los primeros años del siglo XXI ha adquirido más relevancia la interpretación en el ámbito de los videojuegos, un crecimiento que no deja de ser un reflejo de cómo el propio ámbito y su público han ido ganando importancia, aunque no así en el ámbito académico. Si bien empiezan a abundar los trabajos sobre localización de videojuegos (Bernal Merino 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011Calvo-Ferrer 2012;Chandler 2005;Dunne 2006;Fernández Costales 2011Gros Salvat 2008;Lepre 2015;Méndez González 2012, 2014a, 2014b, 2014c, 2017O'Hagan y Chandler 2016;O'Hagan 2009O'Hagan , 2015Seljan y Katalinić 2017;Yuste Frías 2012; entre muchos otros), de la interpretación en el ámbito de los videojuegos tan solo se están empezando a vislumbrar las primeras ideas (Méndez González 2014a, 2014b, 2017Casanova Gómez 2014). ...
... En concreto, durante los primeros años del siglo XXI ha adquirido más relevancia la interpretación en el ámbito de los videojuegos, un crecimiento que no deja de ser un reflejo de cómo el propio ámbito y su público han ido ganando importancia, aunque no así en el ámbito académico. Si bien empiezan a abundar los trabajos sobre localización de videojuegos (Bernal Merino 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011Calvo-Ferrer 2012;Chandler 2005;Dunne 2006;Fernández Costales 2011Gros Salvat 2008;Lepre 2015;Méndez González 2012, 2014a, 2014b, 2014c, 2017O'Hagan y Chandler 2016;O'Hagan 2009O'Hagan , 2015Seljan y Katalinić 2017;Yuste Frías 2012; entre muchos otros), de la interpretación en el ámbito de los videojuegos tan solo se están empezando a vislumbrar las primeras ideas (Méndez González 2014a, 2014b, 2017Casanova Gómez 2014). ...
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... The adaptation of video games into different cultures has been addressed by several researchers who have analysed this process in detail: papers have been devoted to the study of the management process and different elements of locali-sation workflows (Chandler 2005;Chandler and Deming 2011), the main challenges and components of video game localisation (Bernal 2007;Dietz 2006;Mangiron 2007), the connection between games and literature (Bernal 2009 Besides the work devoted to analysing localisation theory and practice, research has also been conducted into related areas such as romhacking (Muñoz Sánchez 2008), amateur video game translation (Díaz Montón 2011), game accessibility (Mangiron 2011), the translation of humour in video games (Fernández Costales 2011;Mangiron 2010), teaching video game localisation as part of audiovisual translation courses (Granell 2011;Vela 2011), subtitles in and translation strategies in the adaptation of video games (Di Marco 2007;Fernández Costales 2012). ...
... Humour is one of the many features included in modern titles, presenting a real challenge for translators and bridging the gap between video games and audio-visual translation where the adaptation of jokes has already been attempted (Mangiron 2010, Zabalbeascoa 2001. Beyond the use of colloquialisms, slang and idiomatic expressions which abound in the discourse of video games, some titles also provide examples of puns that prove to be extremely difficult to adapt into other locales due to the intimate relation between humour and culture (Fernández Costales 2011). In the case of Batman Arkham Asylum, players have to overcome a series of interrelated challenges and missions in order to advance in the game. ...
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This article addresses the main translation strategies for the localisation of superhero video games into a different culture. This specific genre relies on narrative-driven plots, as the games are based on original scripts from comic books. The adaptation of superhero games therefore presents a series of additional challenges, since the so-called ‘transcreation’ is sometimes restricted by the need to consider editorial policies and user expectations when re-creating comic-based universes. Hence transcreation is confronted with the need to be faithful to the original source inspiring the title. Besides assessing the balance between loyalty to the comic books and the freedom allowed in game localisation, this paper also approaches the translation of humour and the difficulty of adapting puns and jokes into different languages, which can seriously challenge translators’ skills and creativity. In order to shed some light on these issues, this paper presents the results of a case study of the localisation into Spanish of one of the most acclaimed superhero games: Batman Arkham Asylum.
... Sobre todo, el ámbito de la traducción audiovisual y multimedia (TAM) 1 posee en la actualidad una dimensión multisemiótica en la que infinidad de factores componen el mensaje. Este ámbito ha sido estudiado por números académicos a lo largo de los últimos años (Bernal Merino, 2007Calvo-Ferrer, 2012;Chandler, 2005;Dunne, 2006;Fernández Costales, 2011Gros Salvat 2008;Lepre 2015;Mejías-Climent, 2019;Méndez González, 2012, 2014a, 2014b, 2014c, 2017O'Hagan y Chandler, 2016;O'Hagan, 2009O'Hagan, , 2015Seljan y Katalinić, 2017;Yuste Frías, 2012Zabalbeascoa, 2008; entre muchos otros), con estudios que ofrecen diversos enfoques de la cuestión que dejan patente que aún queda mucho trabajo por delante en este ámbito. 1 En este sentido, recomendamos la revisión terminológica que lleva a cabo Chaume en 2013. En ella el autor comenta que en la actualidad parece que el término más aceptado en Europa es el de audiovisual translation (traducción audiovisual), aunque hace un repaso histórico a otras posibles denominaciones. ...
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... Even less developed -apart from a small number of studies carried out by Mangiron (2010) and Fernández Costales (2011; -is the research on how video game humor is translated. Therefore, subscribing to the theoretical framework provided by Descriptive Translation Studies, which see translation as a process governed by 'norms' that reflect a set of constantly evolving socio- cultural constraints (Hermans, 1991;Toury, 2012Toury, /1995, this thesis will investigate how translators deal with the transfer of humor in video games, from English into Italian. ...
Thesis
Over the last thirty years, the practice of game localization has become more and more widespread and has started to attract a growing academic interest. However, the translation of humor in games has received little scholarly attention, despite the fact that humor is a fundamental component of games and can be a difficult area to translate. In this view, the thesis is aimed at identifying and classifying the main types of humor in games and the way in which their translation from English into Italian has been tackled, highlighting how the interactive nature of games may affect translation. As the audiovisual features of games are incredibly varied and cannot always be assimilated to the established categories of audiovisual translation, the thesis also discusses how the various audiovisual modalities of games can have an impact on localization. Then, it examines three popular games that are particularly suitable for this analysis, as they feature plenty of humorous dialogues and situations: The Secret of Monkey Island (1990), Day of the Tentacle (1993) and Discworld (1995). The thesis pays particular attention to instances of humor based on cultural elements, as they are especially likely to cause disruptions in a translated text. The research looks at how often humor is intrinsically based on culture-specific references and analyses how translators deal with them. This issue appears particularly relevant in the case of games, as unfamiliar references can most easily damage the user’s experience. The final part of the thesis discusses the retranslation of games. By comparing the old and new translations of two games in the corpus, the thesis aims at seeing if and how translation choices have changed across time. As one of the retranslations was made by fans of the game, the thesis also aims at giving insight into the phenomenon of fan translation.
Book
This book explores the impact of a video game’s degree of realism or fictionality on its linguistic dimensions, investigating the challenges and strategies for translating realia and irrealia, the interface of the real world and the game world where culture-specificity manifests itself. The volume outlines the key elements in the translation of video games, such as textual non-linearity, multitextuality, and playability, and introduces the theoretical framework used to determine a game’s respective degree of realism or fictionality. Pettini applies an interdisciplinary approach drawing on video game research and Descriptive Translation Studies to the linguistic and translational analysis of in-game dialogues in English-Italian and English-Spanish language pairs from a corpus of three war video games. This approach allows for an in-depth look at the localization challenges posed by the varying degree of realism and fictionality across video games and the different strategies translators employ in response to these challenges. A final chapter offers a comparative analysis of the three games and subsequently avenues for further research on the role of culture-specificity in game localization. This book is key reading for students and scholars interested in game localization, audiovisual translation studies, and video game research.
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From the perspective of Game Localization (Bernal-Merino 2015, O’Hagan and Mangiron 2013), this paper presents a descriptive corpus-assisted study on the language of personality in The Sims 4 (Electronic Arts 2014), as the psychological dimension of this real-life simulation game represents its distinctive feature (Franklin 2014, Electronic Arts 2014a). The elaborate nature of The Sims 4 personality trait system has received academic attention, since its mechanics seem to be based on trait theory (Sloan 2015, 209), “a major approach to the study [and assessment] of human personality” in psychology (Villanueva 2010, vii). Accordingly, this paper analyzes how psychological simulation is worded in game texts and examines the features of The Sims 4 cross-linguistic personality lexicon. The original English trait system is thus compared with the Italian translation in order to explore the linguistic challenges and issues psychological customization poses to localization professionals.
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