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Monday, April 27, 2015

Industry Focus

Localizing the whole living story

Ben Bateman

In one of the games I worked on, there's a section where the main character examines a ladder several times. In Japanese, he makes a number of jokes that play on the word hashigo, which means both ladder and bar-hopping in Japanese. Specifically, he makes a series of jokes about going out drinking with someone who gets progressively more and more sloshed.

In English, obviously, this would seem like absolute nonsense if translated literally. I did what any other editor likely would have done, and wrote up a series of jokes in English that had to do with ladders, such as “Ladder? I don't even know her!"

Admittedly, this is something of an extreme example, but I've chosen it because it illustrates what I feel is one of the core precepts of quality video game localization: entertainment is more important than literal accuracy. A translation that captured what was being said literally in Japanese would have been, at best, humor of the absurd, and at worst, complete nonsense. . .

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Above excerpt taken from the June 2012 issue of MultiLingual published by MultiLingual Computing, Inc., 319 North First Avenue, Suite 2, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864-1495 USA, 208-263-8178, Fax: 208-263-6310. Subscribe

June, 2012