16 May 2013

Let's translate a videogame step by step (video tutorial)

It's hard to explain what happens behind the scenes of a game translation. Most contents are bound by NDA and cannot be shown, and many tools and procedures are obscure even for translators.

Therefore, I decided to take the plunge and translate a small flash game, recording and explaining each step in order to build a video tutorial. For this task I will mostly use the memoQ translation environment, but also some other tools (links provided)

Note for LocJAM candidates: this tutorial was written almost one year before the competition and thus doesn't fully match its workflow. We chose to share it anyway as it should provide some useful guidance even when using Excel instead of memoQ.

The game

Republia times In order to play, click on the picture above or click here.

As explained on Kotaku:

Like something out of the book 1984, The Republia Times is a small flash game that forces the player to become complicit in a government's attempt to increase public loyalty. You are a news editor tasked with choosing stories that best function as propaganda. You need to assure the world that Everything Is Okay in the country of Republia. And just to make sure you do as you're told, your wife and kids are being kept in a "safe location." So don't you go getting any funny ideas, now. Stories taking up more space on the paper will gain more attention, and the trick is finding a balance between frivolous stories the public is interested in, and political stories that highlight positive things about Republia and its government. A good mix will give the public what they want while also raising confidence in Republia's disastrous regime. Despite being a somewhat simple game, The Republia Times is easy to pick up and provocative—especially once you get to the twist.*

Step 1: Planning with the style guide

How is the game? What people expect from it? What are its main hooks and how we can serve them well? A little bit of preparation always goes a long way!

Step 2: Importing inside memoQ

How do you get from a bunch of XLS files to a memoQ project? Let's do it together!

Step 3: Crafting the terminology

Glossaries are vital for giving flavor to the text and keeping consistency across files and translators. Let's automate it with terminology extraction!

Step 4: Sharing and assigning

Let's check wordcounts, share files and team work with memoQ, Louandu* and Dropbox*.

(*No content is stored on Louandu itself. Dropbox transfers files through SSL with military-grade AES-256 encryption. We use it specifically because it's safer than the plain emails or unsecured ftp most of the industry uses**)

Step 5: Translation!

Translating through memoQ, Dragon naturally speaking, Dizionari Zanichelli and IntelliWebSearch

Step 6: review!

Merging translations and reviewing them with the help of the DSpeech text reader.

Step 7: Quality Assurance and delivery

Let's hunt down any possible mistake with memoQ, Xbench and Word before the final delivery.

The localised game

Republia ita

In order to play... come back in a couple of weeks! Now that the translation is over, we are ready to play! Well, almost.. The game runs great, but I need a bit of time for tweaking (adapting video elements, replacing one of the fonts, testing...). But work needs me! Please come back later on and I will add a little coda about this, the translated game and -Why not?- even a little kit so that you can make your own localised version! See you soon!

UPDATE: said translation and loc kit never appeared on this website, because they became the base for the LocJAM instead :)

(cover credits)