Translation and Localisation in Video Games
Making Entertainment Software Global
This book is a multidisciplinary study of the translation and localisation of video games. It offers a descriptive analysis of the industry – understood as a global phenomenon in entertainment – and aims to explain the norms governing present industry practices, as well as game localisation processes. Additionally, it discusses particular translation issues that are unique to the multichannel nature of video games, in which verbal and nonverbal signs must be cohesively combined with interactivity to achieve maximum playability and immerse players in the game’s virtual world. Although positioned within the theoretical framework of descriptive translation studies, Bernal-Merino incorporates research from audiovisual translation, software localisation, computer assisted translation, comparative literature, and video game production. Moving beyond this framework, Translation and Localisation in Video Games challenges some of the basic tenets of translation studies and proposes changes to established and unsatisfactory processes in the video game and language services industries.
Table of Contents
1. A New Area within Translation Studies 2. Games, Markets and Translation 3. The Translation of Multichannel Texts 4. The Translation of Video Games 5. The Industrial Process of Game Localisation 6. Training 7. Conclusion and Way Forward
Miguel Á. Bernal-Merino, PhD in the localisation of multimedia interactive entertainment software at Imperial College, is a localisation researcher and writer who lectures at the University of Roehampton, UK and several other universities across Europe. He is the co-founder and elected chair of the ‘IGDA Localization SIG’. He has coordinated the ‘Game Localization Round Table’ (for Localization World), as well as the ‘Localization Summit’ (for GDC) from their conception.
'Translation and Localisation in Video Games: Making Entertainment Software Global is an excellent analysis of a specialist area within the digital entertainment field. The book gives an accurate description of how localization happens within the industry, and at the same time provides background and context for students so they can understand how the industry has evolved over the past 30 years. An informative read for students, academics and professionals alike who are already involved or who are interested in entering the video game/digital entertainment translation space.'—Flavia Timiani, Director, International Production, Disney Interactive
'While game localisation accounts for significant percentage of global game industry revenue, very few texts have explored not only the process but the sheer impact of this discipline. Dr. Bernal-Merino provides us with arguably one of the most insightful commentaries on the inner workings of game localisation, particularly from a translator's perspective, and clearly demonstrates his years of expertise. His detailed exploration of the topic is much needed and appreciated, and I can easily see this work becoming standard, required reading for anyone aspiring to simply understand game localisation and/or work in this field.'—Kate Edwards, Executive Director, International Game Developers Association
'Miguel Bernal-Merino’s book Translation and Localisation in Video Games provides a comprehensive picture of the relatively young field of video game localisation. In this snapshot of the current localisation practices in an incredibly fast-moving industry, he outlines what sets video game localisation apart from other areas of the localisation industry and draws attention to the complexities that need to be dealt with as well as the pressure on timing, cost and confidentiality. Bernal-Merino presents the scientific nature of localization that he argues calls for the need for more investment into academic education supported by industry professionals. He highlights the need to introduce standard practices and terminology for video game localization to professionalise the field and create the next generation of localization professionals that are better prepared for the multiple challenges of this area.'—Michaela Bartelt, Sr. Director, Worldwide Localization, Electronic Arts
'It is not uncommon for dynamic industries to lack of a structured representation of their practices. After two decades of stunning evolution video games publishing is becoming a widespread and mature industry. A reference text was definitely needed to analyse and contextualise the translation activities that form the basis of global interactive entertainment. Translation and Localisation in Video Games is the first book to connect translation studies for the media and the video games industry. This text sets a standard as it provides a systematic description of the principles, activities and issues involved in translating for video games. Thanks to the author's unique experience in the academic as well as business environments the book contains theoretical background from translation studies, examples from published games and proposals for improving translations processes in the video game industry. A must-have in your personal, departmental or company bookshelf.'—Fabio Minazzi, Director, Binari Sonori. GDC Localization Summit Advisor
'Dr. Bernal-Merino has conducted relevant research in translation studies by analysing the adaptation of cultural products (specifically video games) and their reception by final users. Some of the papers published by him on video game localization can be regarded as seminal works in the field and they have clearly provided new insights and opened new research lines in translation studies. Translation and Localisation in Video Games is a breakthrough in audiovisual translation, as it is one of the few pieces of research published from an academic viewpoint on the adaptation of video games and multichannel cultural products.'—Dr. Alberto Fernández Costales, University of Oviedo, Spain
'Here comes the book many of us who have been teaching on translation, localisation and related areas have been waiting for. A pioneer of research in game localisation, Dr. Bernal-Merino weaves together descriptive translation studies and video game production to offer the best tool now available to present in a coherent and clear way this intricate and rapidly evolving field. A must-have in all Translation departments, Translation and Localisation in Video Games will be an eye opener for all those eager to explore the exciting world of entertainment software from a cross-linguistic, cross-cultural perspective. Readers will find themselves drawn to the challenges and the rewards of an activity that calls for both technical know-how and a creative spark.'—Dr. Ignacio Garcia, University of Western Sydney, Australia
'This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the localization of digital media, and specifically professionals in the gaming industry from game producers to translators. Dr. Bernal-Merino has done an excellent job of showing the critical issues involved in localizing video games. I was fascinated to learn about the wide array of video game localization issues such as the adaptation of game content, textures, characters, art, gestures, colors, and other aspects of translation and UI elements. What makes the book even more engaging are the number of examples from a wide variety of game contexts. I think that a lot of this knowledge can be easily leveraged across a variety of digital media entertainment products.'—Dr. Nitish Singh, Associate Professor, Boeing Institute of International Business, St. Louis University, USA