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December 15, 2019, 06:18:43 PM

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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperDesignImportance of translations
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Daid
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« on: November 21, 2019, 02:14:20 AM »

Something that has always been bothering me. How important is it to have your game translated to different languages?

I'm not native English (I am Dutch). But I always set every piece of software to English, and hate it if things default to Dutch. Because translations are generally badly done, but also many concepts just do not translate well. Also English is generally shorter and quicker to read, and you can clearly see that things where originally done in English.

So, why do so many games offer other language options? Even smaller games? I always found it a waste of effort... and potentially harming if the translation is done badly. (Unless it is so bad that it becomes a cult thing, see "Zero Wing")


Would you not play a game if it does not offer your native language?
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2019, 11:01:11 AM »

i think people underestimate how many folks out there don't speak english.

Just for anecdote, i watch korean streamers and a lot of them do not understand english and often will only play games with korean translation.
With games that aren't conventional , i've seen a few streamers getting stuck or having trouble going through tutorials.

most of my Irl french friends can't even navigate an english operation system...
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Daid
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2019, 12:45:33 AM »

i think people underestimate how many folks out there don't speak english.

Just for anecdote, i watch korean streamers and a lot of them do not understand english and often will only play games with korean translation.
With games that aren't conventional , i've seen a few streamers getting stuck or having trouble going through tutorials.
That feels so alien for me. I don't know anyone who doesn't have a basic understanding of English, except for my grand parents (who all passed away the last few years)
Then again, thinking about it. We have very few "voice over" translations on TV, mostly just subtitles. So I think that helps a lot to learn English quick for dutch people.

Quote
most of my Irl french friends can't even navigate an English operation system...
At what percentage would you put that? How many can or cannot grasp some English?
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2019, 04:09:58 AM »

Dutch is also very close to English to begin with, so it's a huge head start for picking it up easily. But it's cultural too, as your neighbouring Germans are a lot more used to getting localised stuff. The Romance speakers even more so. And then you get outside of western Europe.

In Scandinavia we're similarly proficient in English and rarely get translations of films and games not aimed at children, but if the effort is put in I think it can be done very well; it's just that unfortunately people don't seem to care a lot and we get literal half-translations from English with robotic dubbing creating a vicious cycle of the perception that translations are awkward (because they often are, but they really don't have to be; translations were usually pretty good over here a couple of decades ago before English proficiency was as widespread but people seem to have stopped bothering).

Translations into languages whose speakers expect them tend to be done with a lot more care, Spanish live action dubs for instance usually reusing the same voice actors to dub the same English-speaking big name actors for consistency. I remember watching one in Spanish class that I actually thought was an original Spanish film before learning later that it actually was a dub of a Hollywood flick, that's how well done it was!

FWIW, even in this culture most Scandinavians would still use their OS and supported software (not including games) in their native language and not in English AFAIK (if the OS is not set to English in the first place, supported software usually boots up in the same language by default too). We'll buy a PC or a smartphone and it'll be set to the local language already and we just keep it that way. Might be the case in NL as well if you ask around. Tongue

I also think localisation is very important to provide for minority languages under pressure as they usually don't have a lot of media going for them. Given that you're Dutch: a good game with a Frisian option (or several) would be really cool!
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2019, 04:40:54 AM »

Quote
most of my Irl french friends can't even navigate an English operation system...
At what percentage would you put that? How many can or cannot grasp some English?
it's probably like 70% of them do have notions of english, but it's important to point out that while they do have a grasp of english, it's by necessity and they won't bother putting the effort to dwelve deeper into english if it's for leisure or practical activities.



Quote
We have very few "voice over" translations on TV, mostly just subtitles. So I think that helps a lot to learn English quick for dutch people.
the majority of movies/tv shows are dubbed in France (+ dub from french canadian), and there's french movies and series produced at a big scale, so english isn't like a necessity there.

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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2019, 09:17:08 AM »

In Italy dubing is an art and it has the same quality as being an actor for cinema (we have Cinecittà famous expecially in the past. I have never experienced dubbing outside of Italy, I thought dubbing was present in every country, only recently I discovered the curious Russian dub or that in the Netherlands all movies are in their original language.
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2019, 12:20:22 AM »

that in the Netherlands all movies are in their original language.
Movies/series aimed at kids get dubs. But those are usually pretty badly done. It always feels "off" when I see something dubbed in dutch.


Anyhow, seems like my tendency to ignore translation options has a higher impact then I would have expected...
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2019, 02:12:17 AM »

On top of that: various people over the internet said that [Chinese, Korean, Japanese] translations made nearly halve of their sales. My own game came in Spanish and Portuguese, among others, and yet I got requests for a Brazilian Spanish version. What the heck? I didn't even know there's a difference.

All just text, though - voices are English only. I can't afford voice recordings, let alone in 7 languages.

I personally switch games to English in case I suspect a shitty voice recordings. Earlier Mass Effect titles or Witcher were prone to these. Other than that I prefer German, because it's my rare leisure time. Some titles don't profit from switching to English - Skyrim, for example, was shitty in all languages - and nowadays most AAA titles are translated and recorded very well, so I'm fine.
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