With the release of more and more full-scale projects in the game industry, translators are trying not just to translate the game, but to localize it. It may seem to the consumer that this is absolutely the same thing - the meaning of the game character's lines in English is translated into Russian word for word, and that's it. This is where the misunderstanding of the difference between localization and translation lies.
Why is it now that this is becoming more and more in demand? Weren't there any localizations of games from, say, the "zero" or "ten" era? And what kind of process is localization?
Let's start with the difference between translation and localization. If the first is the replacement of English words with Russian, the second is the adaptation of the text for the Russian-speaking audience. The fundamental difference lies in the fact that in the second case, the game situation, the dialogue, and the joke will be understandable to the player in the context of his country and culture.
There were, a seasoned gamer will tell you. But how many were there? It is unlikely that each released game was translated by experienced linguists and dubbed by professional actors. There were pirate studios - Akella, Fargus, for example, which became the official 1 - C SoftClub, and amateur machine translations by enthusiasts. Their activities have not gone unnoticed - it's not for nothing that the Russian gaming community took apart the GTA San Andreas voiceover of "carbon fiber", "sidoji" and "spent" into memes and quotes, and Dude's requests from Postal 2 to "sign the petition". The "I won't give a stone" quest from Cursed Lands, which has become a joke in the Russian segment of YouTube, is an example of the people's love for the translators of that era, despite all its flaws. But how would players have reacted if the Mass Effect, Far Cry, GTA, and The Witcher series had such translations? AAA-projects are developed to cover as wide a range of audience in different countries as possible. Therefore, you can't do without localization, which, combined with the story and gameplay, can interest the potential player.
What nuances should be considered when localizing games?
As the product is aimed at the audience, the localization is aimed at it. Of course, the age and gender limits of the players are not limited by anything, so when translating and dubbing the localizers are counting on the most extended scope of the players, but to introduce the terms of popular subculture, relevant at this time memes or jokes is not the right decision. Part of the players simply will not understand the reference to the above-mentioned cultural phenomena.
- Actors of dubbing
Familiar voices will definitely make the player happy, and it doesn't matter if this actor has voiced movies or computer game characters in the past. The important thing here is that the original and dubbed voices reflect the character's intonation, vocabulary, and humor as accurately as possible.
The specifics of the English and Russian languages imply a change not only in the semantic load of the dialogue, but also in the emotional one. The difference in military ranks, for example, "awarded" Shepard from Mass Effect the rank of captain, although in the American system his rank is "commander - lieutenant", which is comparable to our "major". In the original voiceover we hear "Commander Shepard. An example of an adapted localization.
And those who have been through The Last Of Us may remember the dialogue between Joel and Tess about the request to "be careful" - the translation was not localized, as a consequence, the hint of flirting between the characters was lost. Translating verbatim:
- "Be careful."
- "And if not?"
- "Trick question?"
- Cultural Adaptation
Why do players of the CIS love "The Witcher" series? It is close to the Slavic peoples with a common cultural code. Similar legends, beliefs, omens, situations as if united the gamers of Eastern Europe. Yes, and the players of Europe and the U.S. are not left out, because many of the characters are the embodiment of multiculturalism - witches and werewolves in the legends are all the same. And the Russian localization is also emotionally strong words are not squeamish, according to the situation. And speaking of online - projects, Overwatch celebrates two New Years - the European and Chinese. Both markets bring in a lot of revenue and both markets value their national traditions.
How to choose the right contractor for the game?
The easiest way to do this is through the Web. When browsing the site, you should consider the completeness of the information provided by the company, whether it has a price list for various projects - from indie games to AAA projects; what awards this company has received and what it does, in addition to localization and voice-over. The very communication with the manager can show how serious the company is - detailed answers to your questions, his questions about the project, its features, the speed of response. It is even possible for a company to perform test tasks to show their professionalism in practice.
To conclude the article, it is worth quoting Dmitry Puchkov, aka "Goblin": "...the game should not only be translated, but also adapted so that it is naturally perceived by native Russian speakers. And we are counting on the average person, for whom the entire perception of the game will be entirely made up of the Russian version.
KLS-agency is one of the few in Ukraine who takes on translation and localization of modern software: games, programs and applications.
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