Translatable hero names

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Should hero names be translated?

No. We have to know if we're talking about the same person, and who would know that Ludwig and Konrad are the same?
11
28%
Yes. Some of the names are silly in specific languages. Konrad is too medieval in German.
0
No votes
Yes. It is necessary to be able to decline the names in several languages.
5
13%
Yes. For both of the above reasons.
3
8%
Yes and no. Declension is necessary, but the names should stay as close to the originals as feasible.
20
51%
 
Total votes: 39

mpolo
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Translatable hero names

Post by mpolo »

There is a discussion of this problem in the "Ideas" forum, but discussion has pretty much died out, with a wide range of opinions, it seems.

I'm working on the Latin translation and am translating the names in the dialogues, because otherwise it's not very intelligible. I imagine that the Slavic languages and Finnish would have the same problem. Further, some German translators want to rename Konrad, because the name is too medieval-sounding.

Would such a change be feasible? Are the developers willing to do it?

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Jetrel
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Post by Jetrel »

I do agree with the move, however, I gotta ask something:

I understand that you might not be a native english speaker, and that medieval might have very different connotations for you, but, so far as I understand the term to mean, I think that Konrad's name SHOULD be medieval.

It is done with the same ideology that gives a japanese anime show (Naruto!) a character named "Jiraiya" (lit. "Young Thunder"). It would be a completely whack name to give a real person these days, but for a fictional ninja of legendary skill, it works fine, in fact, it is more appropriate than a contemporary name. The name is quite archaic, and may have been used several hundred years ago, but has definitely fallen out of use long outside of living memory, and to name someone born today with it would seem silly.


The only names that would seem silly are ones that are modern. Had we named him "Brett," "Ted," "Otto," "Alexis," or "Hans," or "Kolja," he would seem somewhat silly, because we know people with such names. By using an exotic/different set of names than is normal, we translate ourselves to an exotic/different place. If it seems funny because no has such names these days, well, THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE AWKWARD/STRANGE NAMES NO ONE USES ANYMORE.

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Jetrel
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Post by Jetrel »

:roll: It's also possible that I just don't like the name Ludwig, mostly on account of the wig.

mpolo
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Post by mpolo »

I agree with you, that Konrad sounding medieval is desirable. I was just summarizing the opinions expressed in the previous thread. For that matter, I don't know what alternative the German translator has (had) for Konrad... Ludwig was off the top of my head.

Another curve will be when we get a Japanese translator who wants to call him コンラド . But that may be a long way away...

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Post by torangan »

mpolo wrote:For that matter, I don't know what alternative the German translator has (had) for Konrad... Ludwig was off the top of my head.
In german it's a very small problem. Konrad is a absolutely acceptable name here. Maybe it sounds a little strange to some people but it's easy understood and that's most important.
mpolo wrote:Another curve will be when we get a Japanese translator who wants to call him コンラド . But that may be a long way away...
I think those translations are the main reason to allow it. Using latin characters would look completely stupid in a translation using Cyrillic, Kanji or similar different character sets. Additionally the names can not even be pronounced and thereby understood in many languages. Your Katakana string would translate back into Konrado which a japanese might understand but Konrad without a trailing o makes no sense in japanese.

pstradomski
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Names with meaning

Post by pstradomski »

Translating Konrad as Luwig is not a good idea. If you were translating a book, would you change the name? No, you probably wouldn't.

But consider hero names like King Haldric, Lady Outlaw and so on.
If someone doesn't speak English, he would treat King as a first name, while it is a title. I would be pleased if I could translate it as "Król Haldric" (or even "Król Haldryk", so it would sound like other german names).

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Jetrel
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Post by Jetrel »

Frankly, I think hero names should be translated just for that - for any generic nouns in them. So that we have Koenig, Rey, Roi, rather than king. Doña rather than lady, etc.

--------

On an offhand note, doggonit, I really do wish we could get a Japanese/Korean/Chinese translator. I'll bet I know of a few people who would be willing to do it, if we could get support for the darn thing.

Why?

Those people over there like videogames, a lot. And in japan alone, there are over 100 million of them - that's a full third of the population of the US. We could get some pretty nice contributors from there, methinks.

ahwayakchih
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I voted no

Post by ahwayakchih »

IMHO names (human names, places, etc..) shouldn't be translated at all.
People usually "change" them anyway by trying to pronounce them, but it's not a reason to start using such mutations "officially".

I don't know how it is in other countries, but in Poland books most of the times have untranslated names. Only in some fantasy books names are translated, but only if name was ment to mean something, like with indian-like names ("RunningBull" or something), and i think it's still wrong (if translator wants to let reader know what does name mean, it should be translated on margin, or at the end in some kind of "dictionary", like it is done with fantasy languages).

Remember that ALL names had their meaning some time ago. "Sophia" is about wisdom IIRC, "Konrad" probably also ment something (though maybe written a bit different). It's because of translating (and forgetting language in which name originated) names loose their meaning.

Another thing is that translated names loose their "exotic feeling". I don't know about You, but i like to see different ("alien") names, even if i have no idea how to speak them. Would You like to play Wesnoth in greyscale all the time? Different names are like colors :).

pstradomski
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Post by pstradomski »

So, ahwayakchih, you think i should leave "Bay of Pearls" untraslated, instead changing it to "Zatoka Pereł"? Same with "Muff Malal's Penisula" and so on? In my opinion, generic nouns and adjectives in ALL names (places, people names ...) should be translated. Therefore we need to be able to change at least Prince Haldric to Książe Haldric. Perhaps even to Książe Haldryk, because it should, in my opinion, follow the way Eric is Eryk in Polish. So I opt for allowing translation of hero's names, but only to do two things - translate generic words, and change them to become pronouncable.

ahwayakchih
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Post by ahwayakchih »

pstradomski wrote:So, ahwayakchih, you think i should leave "Bay of Pearls" untraslated, instead changing it to "Zatoka Pereł"? Same with "Muff Malal's Penisula" and so on? In my opinion, generic nouns and adjectives in ALL names (places, people names ...) should be translated. Therefore we need to be able to change at least Prince Haldric to Książe Haldric. Perhaps even to Książe Haldryk, because it should, in my opinion, follow the way Eric is Eryk in Polish. So I opt for allowing translation of hero's names, but only to do two things - translate generic words, and change them to become pronouncable.
Well.. things like "Bay of Pearls" are more or less ok to translate (though it would be much better if there was a way to nicely show up original name, and translation in small caps, ro something like that), because we'll not loose any meaning (i don't have exact example, but if it was "Bay of something" where "something" could mean two or more things, and not all of them would stay after translation, then it should be left in original form. maybe with additional explanation somewhere). It's ok to have "Książe Haldric", but not "Haldryk". So i don't think translating "Eric" to "Eryk" is good.
Also if it wasn't "Prince" but some other title/rank, which didn't have exactly the same meaning in other language, then it also should be left (and added explanation, somewhere, if possible). That way we'll not loose meaning, and with additional info available, people will have possibility to learn something new :).

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Viliam
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Post by Viliam »

The names should be possible to change in traslation files, but it should be recommended, not to change the names too much, or when not necessary.

Good reasons to change name:
* using non-Latin charset (Cyrilic, Greek, Katakana,...); please note that Russian translation (Cyrilic) already exists, so we are not talking about something that may happen in the unspecified future;
* changing the letters to preserve the sound of the name; if the language has different pronounciation rules than English (more or less, any other language), it could be a good decision in situations where the pronounciation of the English name according to local rules would be silly or unpronouncable.


My opinion, as a translator, is that the most important aspect of translation is giving the reader feeling of smooth, natural text. The text should be as pleasant to read for the speaker of target language, as it is for the speaker of the original languages. Ideally, the speaker of target language should not notice that the game was translated! When reading text, they should think "What a nice story", not "Oh, obviously this game was translated from English, that's why such character combinations as 'sh' are present, and I should correctly use the English pronounciation when reading them...".

To say it less politely, people should not be expected to speak English to be able to fully enjoy playing Wesnoth.

mpolo
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Post by mpolo »

It seems like the consensus is to permit these translations, but frown on them if they are not necessary for the grammar or the character set. So the question for the developers would be, "Can this be added?" I would appreciate it a lot for Latin -- often the ending is the only thing that tells you what the function of the word is in the sentence (word order is completely arbitrary)...

silene
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Post by silene »

mpolo wrote:So the question for the developers would be, "Can this be added?" I would appreciate it a lot for Latin -- often the ending is the only thing that tells you what the function of the word is in the sentence (word order is completely arbitrary)...
Hmm... no, sorry. But I may be misunderstanding something in you request, so let's try to rephrase it and tell me if it's what you are requesting. I guess you are not talking about a string like "blablabla Konrad blablabla", since you can already translate it with the correct grammar. You are not speaking about isolated words (the name below a portrait) either, since there is no sentence and as such there is no need for a particular grammar.

So the remaining case is: an unknown name in a sentence. Something like (imaginary WML syntax) "Wtf?! I have been slaughtered by ${thekiller.name}!". And the translation would then be "Blargh?! Blablabla ${thekiller.name|use the fourth desinence form of the language, and don't forget about $thekiller.gender, please} blablabla!". I think it is completely out of reach, it would at least require each translation team to start putting its own new code in Wesnoth.

So I would say that expecting Wesnoth to automatically deal with grammar is illusory. Looking at the thread, I see that some translators would like to be able to translate names, grammar notwithstanding. I don't agree with the idea of completely adapting the names, just because "Konrad" seems dumb is no reason enough to replace it with "Bobby". But I understand the need of translating name prefices/suffices, like "King Aethyr" -> "Kraal Aethyr".

It would require a substantial amount of work (units are identified by their name, so it means rewriting a part of Wesnoth engine, if the names were to be translated), but at least it is feasible.

PS: and don't misunderstand me, I don't have anything against translators (I have a translated a non-negligible part of Wesnoth into french).

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Post by Invisible Philosopher »

silene wrote:It would require a substantial amount of work (units are identified by their name, so it means rewriting a part of Wesnoth engine, if the names were to be translated)
That is not necessary.

Code: Select all

[unit]
description=Prince Haldric
user_description=_"Prince Haldric"
#etc...
[/unit]
Play a Silver Mage in the Wesvoid campaign.

silene
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Post by silene »

Invisible Philosopher wrote:That is not necessary.
Great. So I must clearly be missing the point if it was already possible.

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