Thesis on video game localization

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vCore
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Joined: April 16th, 2013, 6:25 am

Thesis on video game localization

Post by vCore »

Hi

I study translation at University College Ghent. As a passionate gamer I chose to write my thesis on video game localization.
I chose to discuss Battle for Wesnoth and have just finished my analysis of the Dutch and German translations of the campaign chapter “Heir to the Throne”. There are some things I would like to ask the translators directly.
I would greatly appreciate it if some people could help me out. There are a bunch of questions but feel free to write anything you think may be useful.

Thank you very much in advance.

(1) I noticed that sometimes the German and Dutch translations are very similar. Why? Did the translator speak both German and Dutch perhaps?

Example:
(ENG) Let them come. We will fight them with all we have!
(GER) Kommt nur, verruchtes Söldnerpack. Wir werden Euch schon zeigen, aus welchem Holz die Elfen geschnitzt sind.
(DUTCH) Laat ze maar komen. We zullen ze eens laten zien uit welk hout de elfen gesneden zijn!

(2) The German translation constantly uses “ihr-euch-etc.” (i.e. second person plural form) instead of “du-dich-etc.” (i.e. second person singular). Why?
(3) Are there strict space restrictions when translating?
(4) Do you work with deadlines?
(5) How do you divide the work?
(6) How does the “quality assurance” (i.e. revision) work?
(7) How many people work on these translations? Are there any figures available?
(8) Are there specific guidelines that are not available on the site?
(9) The game in general: how many people play/played Wesnoth?
(10) How many people actually play the translated versions?

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GunChleoc
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Re: Thesis on video game localization

Post by GunChleoc »

I'm not working on the German translation, but I can answer some of your questions
vCore wrote:(2) The German translation constantly uses “ihr-euch-etc.” (i.e. second person plural form) instead of “du-dich-etc.” (i.e. second person singular). Why?
That's the mediaeval polite form of address. "Sie" did not exist in that time period as a form of address. So, using “ihr-euch-etc.” gived the game a mediaeval feel, which is more appropriate for the setting of the campaign.

vCore wrote:(3) Are there strict space restrictions when translating?
For the dialogues, no. For the buttons, space restrictions are the graphical button size. For example, in the Gaelic translation I had trouble with "End scenario" and had to shorten my translation. I also had some space problems with names and removed people's titles in Gaelic language campaigns for the unit names. E.g. "Am Ministear Taidhleas" for "Minister Hylas" did not fit. In the dialogues, unit's titles are still used where appropriate.

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Drakefriend
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Re: Thesis on video game localization

Post by Drakefriend »

vCore wrote:Hi

I study translation at University College Ghent. As a passionate gamer I chose to write my thesis on video game localization.
I chose to discuss Battle for Wesnoth and have just finished my analysis of the Dutch and German translations of the campaign chapter “Heir to the Throne”. There are some things I would like to ask the translators directly.
I would greatly appreciate it if some people could help me out. There are a bunch of questions but feel free to write anything you think may be useful.

Thank you very much in advance.

(1) I noticed that sometimes the German and Dutch translations are very similar. Why? Did the translator speak both German and Dutch perhaps?

Example:
(ENG) Let them come. We will fight them with all we have!
(GER) Kommt nur, verruchtes Söldnerpack. Wir werden Euch schon zeigen, aus welchem Holz die Elfen geschnitzt sind.
(DUTCH) Laat ze maar komen. We zullen ze eens laten zien uit welk hout de elfen gesneden zijn!

(2) The German translation constantly uses “ihr-euch-etc.” (i.e. second person plural form) instead of “du-dich-etc.” (i.e. second person singular). Why?
(3) Are there strict space restrictions when translating?
(4) Do you work with deadlines?
(5) How do you divide the work?
(6) How does the “quality assurance” (i.e. revision) work?
(7) How many people work on these translations? Are there any figures available?
(8) Are there specific guidelines that are not available on the site?
(9) The game in general: how many people play/played Wesnoth?
(10) How many people actually play the translated versions?
1: I think it is because German and Dutch are very closely related. (Indeed, Dutch did originally mean German -see the Pensilvania Dutch-, and as far as I know, all other languages, including German, the cognate is used for German.)
2: vCore is correct.
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ivanovic
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Re: Thesis on video game localization

Post by ivanovic »

vCore wrote: (1) I noticed that sometimes the German and Dutch translations are very similar. Why? Did the translator speak both German and Dutch perhaps?

Example:
(ENG) Let them come. We will fight them with all we have!
(GER) Kommt nur, verruchtes Söldnerpack. Wir werden Euch schon zeigen, aus welchem Holz die Elfen geschnitzt sind.
(DUTCH) Laat ze maar komen. We zullen ze eens laten zien uit welk hout de elfen gesneden zijn!
No idea if the dutch translator also spoke German, but that is not too unlikely. Though the languages are quite similar in several aspects.
vCore wrote:(2) The German translation constantly uses “ihr-euch-etc.” (i.e. second person plural form) instead of “du-dich-etc.” (i.e. second person singular). Why?
As GunChleoc already mentioned, it is all a style question. Using "du-dich-etc" would be very informal in German language. It would be even worse for medieval terms where High Lords talk among themselves. Plus the German translation is a special case there. We intentionally use "wrong" grammar for capitalization. We use different capitalization when talking to the player in front of the screen and when characters talk among themselves.
vCore wrote:(3) Are there strict space restrictions when translating?
As GunChleoc already mentioned, we are quite flexible for dialogs but very limited for buttons, menus, ...
vCore wrote:(4) Do you work with deadlines?
The only deadline is "will it be in release A or the following release B". That is the only deadline.
vCore wrote:(5) How do you divide the work?
Everyone working on Wesnoth is doing so in their free time. So everybody also just does what they like to do. This is the main part which determines the division. For the German translation though we tried to have one translator responsible for a complete campaign to make it easier possible to keep the same style throughout the campaign. Other languages might handle things differently depending on the number of people working on it.
vCore wrote:(6) How does the “quality assurance” (i.e. revision) work?
What is this strange word? "Quality assurance"? The only thing in this direction we have is people reading over things done by others if they have the time and want to.
vCore wrote:(7) How many people work on these translations? Are there any figures available?
No real figures available besides the Credits. But keep in mind that those people listed don't have been active anymore. And just having a name in there does not say how much they contributed. It might have been 100 words or 100,000 words.
vCore wrote:(8) Are there specific guidelines that are not available on the site?
There might be specific things which some teams handle internally. But this always depends on the translation teams and might even be documented in the respective translations wiki page.
vCore wrote:(9) The game in general: how many people play/played Wesnoth?
Not possible to say. We had several million downloads over time, but those were many different versions. The only possible thing to look up are the numbers of players on the multiplayer server(s). But those do not say anything about the number of players using Wesnoth without going online.
vCore wrote:(10) How many people actually play the translated versions?
There is no way to get statistics about this at all.


I hope this answers your questions. In case you want more details, feel free to ask.

vCore
Posts: 2
Joined: April 16th, 2013, 6:25 am

Re: Thesis on video game localization

Post by vCore »

Thank you very much for your responses. This has been very helpful!

@ivanovic
We use different capitalization when talking to the player in front of the screen and when characters talk among themselves.
Could you give an example and explain why exactly? This is very interesting.
What is this strange word? "Quality assurance"? The only thing in this direction we have is people reading over things done by others if they have the time and want to.
What I meant is if there is a certain system in place that makes sure translations are always revised/reread by another translator.

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ivanovic
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Re: Thesis on video game localization

Post by ivanovic »

vCore wrote:Thank you very much for your responses. This has been very helpful!

@ivanovic
We use different capitalization when talking to the player in front of the screen and when characters talk among themselves.
Could you give an example and explain why exactly? This is very interesting.
Sorry, the last time I worked on the translation is quite a while ago no and I really don't remember the exact details anymore. Just as said, capitalization of things like "Euer", "Euch", "Ihr", ... depends on the context.
vCore wrote:
What is this strange word? "Quality assurance"? The only thing in this direction we have is people reading over things done by others if they have the time and want to.
What I meant is if there is a certain system in place that makes sure translations are always revised/reread by another translator.
There is nothing enforcing any policy there. It is all left to the translation teams and translators how they handle things.

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