Hi ho everybody, Jennifer here. For anybody who didn’t make it to October 2nd’s meeting and wishes they had, or for those who did and want to relive it all over again, we have this handy-dandy recording.  And if that’s not enough, there are slides too! We had a great time talking about translation, rebranding, redubbing, and all the other things that happen when a game is repackaged for the great wide yonder of foreign markets. It can be tough for the motherland to cut the apron strings, but she knows it’s a necessary sacrifice if her baby is to grow up strong, happy, and internationally profitable.

"Früher war ich auch ein Abenteuerer, aber dann habe ich ein Pfeil ins Knie bekommen."

“Früher war ich auch ein Abenteuerer, aber dann habe ich ein Pfeil ins Knie bekommen.”

In the process of researching for the talk, I turned up oodles of links, way too much information to cram into the discussion, so allow me to upend my collection onto your metaphorical desk. Enjoy the mess.


Legends of Localization (side-by-side comparisons of select retro Japanese games with their English counterparts)
A similar analysis of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

Voice comparisons: Half-Life, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 4, Mass Effect 2 in French (go to 5:37), German (3:41), English (3:53), and Italian (1:26)

Audio Atrocities, an ever-expanding compendium of the worst voice acting games have to offer. Consider yourself warned.

Kotaku: The Surprising Ways Japanese Games Are Changed for Americans and companion article Found in Translation

And proof it’s not just me who finds Pokemon names oddly pharmaceutical: Sporcle: Drug or Pokemon?

Professionals on the Process

An Inside Look at Video Game Localization (Thaís Castanheira, Gengo Translation Services). In Part I, she talks about assisting with the Portuguese version of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. In Part II, she gives tips to developers on how not to muck up the localization process.
Generations and Game Localization (interview with pro localizers/translators Alexander O. Smith, Steven Anderson, and Matthew Alt in Eludamos)
Official blog of LAI (Language Automation, Inc.)
PAX East 2011 localization panel
22 Tips for Better Game Localization (Epic Sound Audio Production)
Localization for Game Development (Joseph Stankowicz)

Academic articles

The big cheese in the world of localization studies is arguably Miguel Bernal-Merino, professor of media translation at the University of Roehampton in London. Seriously, he shows up everywhere: A Brief History of Game Localization, On the Translation of Video Games, Localization and the Cultural Concept of Play, Challenges in the Translation of Video Games

Things by people who are not Señor Bernal-Merino:

Creating Cross-Cultural Appeal in Digital Games (Mark Chen et al., slides of a presentation given by UW’s Digital Games Research Group)
Unleashing Imagination with Restricted Translation (Carmen Mangiron and Minako O’Hagan, The Journal of Specialized Translation)
Game Localization Management: Balancing Linguistic Quality and Financial Efficiency, (Michaela Bartelt-Kranz, Trans)
Cultural Localization: Orientation and Disorientation in Japanese Video Games (Francesca di Marco, Revista Tradumàtica)
Videogame Localization and Thing Theory (Jon Corliss, Columbia University)
Localization of Digital Games: The Process of Blending for the Global Games Market (Alexander Thayer and Beth E. Kolko, Technical Communication)
Pokemon, Localization, and Cultural Odor (Chris Bubb, Post Bubble Culture, a College of William & Mary blog on contemporary Japanese culture)


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