Video Game Translation Challenges: How They Impact Game Play

Video game translation challenges abound for translators who must try to sort out the cultural differences and language variances in video game play. Therefore, working as a translator in this field can seem, at times, somewhat daunting.

Video Game Translation Challenges

Video Game Translation Challenges

However, the work must continue for translators as video games have become a phenomenon in the marketplace. You can find video games on dedicated game systems and on smart phones, computers, and tablets. Plus, the games come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Video Game Translation Challenges Extend the World Over

Unlike a good many mediums, you can find video games all over the world. That is why it is important to take note of video game translation challenges in the field. Japan has dominated the market in this respect as older video games, such as “Game Boy” or “Nintendo” are now household words.

Nevertheless, the popularity of these games still does not reduce the complexity of translation. One of the types of games that underscores the challenge involved in translation are role-playing games. Role-playing video games place a greater focus on character and narration than other genres. As a result, they offer more with which to work culturally.

What Sets Video Games Apart

Video game translation challenges must take into consideration, as well, certain elements. These elements include audiovisual translation, theatrical or literary text, subtitling, and even programming code. These important factors set video games apart from other translated forms of entertainment. Plus, the games are interactive, particularly role-playing games.

While some translators may translate a play or story without too much difficulty, they must consider the gamer’s engagement when translating games. A player normally controls the major characters in a game. As a result, he or she must feel closely aligned with the characters and their environment.

As a result, the immersive experience that is part of a video game can be disrupted by a poor translation, an unclear menu, or poor voice acting. Also, mistakes, such as grammatical errors, can ruin this type of escape for the gamer.

Video game translation challenges also consider the cultural approach that is used in the gaming experience. Translators must learn to balance the communications in this respect. In turn, translators must pay special attention to foreign elements as players need to empathize with the situations and characters.

For instance, one game combined contradicting elements. While the game is supposed to take place in the US, its subtitles suggest that the game originates from Japan. Therefore, players listen to the characters talk about American cuisine while reading dialogue that refers to Japanese tempura.

Clear and Confusion-free Entertainment

Needless to say, this type of discourse can lead to player confusion. Although most video games that are edited do not showcase these types of mistakes, they still need to be noted. You need to make sure the gamer and game are both on the same page.

Therefore, to overcome translation challenges, the total game experience needs to be considered. That way, the player can savor a more immersive type of play. While translations for scripts or plays need to place an emphasis on performance, video game translation must regard playability. Therefore, the major challenges in translation associated with video games deal with the creation of an enjoyably interactive product.

Before a translator provides his or her input, the developer must decide how best to integrate game play with the story line. If you feel like you are an actual participant in the story, the translator has succeeded in his or her goal of producing an immersive experience. The whole idea is to encourage players to continue with game play.

Not only that, players should be able to understand how to interact with a game as well as its mechanics. To this end, help messages and tutorials must also be clearly translated, thereby keeping communications clear and confusion-free.



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Encyclopedia Britannica