[New publication] The Journal of Internationalization and Localization: Volume 4, Issue 2, 2017

The Journal of Internationalization and Localization: Volume 4, Issue 2, 2017

Edited by Xiaochun Zhang and Samuel Strong



Xiaochun Zhang and Samuel Strong


Research in Game Localisation: An overview

Carmen Mangiron

Abstract: Game localisation is an emerging field in Translation Studies that initially began attracting attention in the late 1990s, when the first studies analysing this new translation phenomenon were published by professionals working in the field. In the last decade, research on game localisation has gained impetus. Particularly, in recent years, the number of books, journal articles, book chapters, undergraduate, masters and doctoral dissertations aiming to shed light on this relatively young area of study have increased considerably. This paper examines existing research on game localisation, focusing on published papers (articles and book chapters) and books. It presents a diachronic view of game localisation research, describing the main topics and methods used, as well as the issue of research materials. Finally, it explores potential future research avenues and calls for reception studies, which are necessary to consolidate game localisation as an established research domain within Translation Studies.


Translating Literature into Playability: The case of Dante’s Inferno

Silvia Pettini

Abstract: From the perspective of Game Localisation (O’Hagan and Mangiron 2013 , Bernal-Merino 2015), this paper examines the translation of (Electronic Arts 2010) from English into Italian. Parallel excerpts from in-game dialogues are compared in order to analyse the relationship between the source and the target texts, while exploring the influence Dante’s masterpiece exerts on the Italian localisation. The objective is to show that, when a game is based on the target culture literature, the latter seems to constrain translation to ensure a successful local impact. As findings suggest, by means of quotations together with lexical, syntactic and stylistic choices, the Italian game is more literarily expressive than its English source, thus providing players with a multimedia interactive Dantesque experience.


On the Sociolinguistics of Video Games Localisation: Localising games into minority languages in Spain

Alberto Fernández-Costales



Abstract: This paper addresses the localization of video games into minority languages by presenting a qualitative study which reports on interviews with professional game localizers and translation scholars from bilingual territories in Spain: the Balearic Islands, the Basque Country, Catalonia, Galicia, and the Valencian Community. The article argues that sociolinguistics has been largely ignored within the emerging field of video game translation, and the implications of and the need to adapt video games into minority languages deserves further investigation. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were held with 5 experts aiming to recall their perceptions and views of the current situation of game localisation in Spain. The analysis of the interviews suggests there is a mismatch between the current reality of video game localisation, which is clearly market-driven, and the scenario for language diversity developed in the European Union and in Spain in the last few decades.


Targeted Translation: How game translations are used to meet market expectations

Aiden Ranford

Abstract: Japanese popular culture in the form of anime, manga, and videogames, enjoys significant popularity with diehard international fan groups, who have often become acquainted with aspects of Japanese culture through fan-translated media. However, this base of knowledgeable fans stands unique amongst standard translation practice, which seeks to iron out cultural specificities to create a text that reads flawlessly for a mass audience. This article therefore sets out to explain how videogame translators adopt targeted translation strategies to make their products more marketable to either a mass audience, the members of which may be ignorant, ambivalent, or even hostile to Japanese pop culture products, or to dedicated niche fan groups whose interest in Japan has been stoked by unofficial translations that frequently position themselves as the only avenue for accessing an “authentic” text. The final releases for eight pairs of Japanese games from the Role-Playing Game genre will be analysed to illustrate how far-reaching translation decisions have been used to make individual games more marketable to either group.


Fallacies of Game Localization: Censorship and #TorrentialDownpour

Stephen Mandiberg

Abstract: Using the Twitter hashtag #TorrentialDownpour, a vocal group of disgruntled, English-speaking gamers launched an attack in early 2016 protesting the localization changes made to the game . While dismissible as the latest “toxic technoculture” (Massanari 2015), the #TorrentialDownpour campaign’s claims are not unfounded; there are links between localization and censorship, in that both practices adapt texts moving between markets and cultures. This article draws from translation theory and observations of localization practice to problematize #TorrentialDownpour’s claims, and in the process address some of the most prevalent fallacies involving game localization: localization is not censorship; there is no better version; and one person is not ruining gamers’ fun.


Seeking Delocalization: Fan community and game localization in the age of user empowerment

Minako O’Hagan

Abstract: The continuing development of the Internet and broader technologization have made the presence of game fans and the diverse fan community highly visible, shaping part of contemporary global game culture. The influences of such user empowerment have been debated, notably along the lines of the emergence of participatory culture (Jenkins 2006). Increased fan participation in translation facilitated by technological environments is highlighting the need to pay attention to the role played by such highly engaged users in the localization industry. Yet, to date the topic has not been explored fully in game localization research. To fill this gap, this article considers the significance for game localization of the dynamically evolving status and influence of international game fan communities. Taking the case of a controversy that erupted during 2015 and 2016 over localization of a Japanese tactical RPG (Role Playing Game) title, the article investigates how user empowerment is impacting on game localization. This article demonstrates the importance – for game publishers and developers alike – of recognizing the increasingly significant presence of global game fan communities. In particular, game publishers and developers must be prepared to have clear and consistent localization policies and strategies in place in order to face the scrutiny of increasingly knowledgeable and empowered fan communities.