3 min read

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, a few years ago I decided to take the plunge and translate a small flash game, recording and explaining each step in order to build a video tutorial.

This series of videos captured a certain interest, which in turn led to creating the first LocJAM contest, based on this very same game.

While the memoQ translation environment has been substantially updated since, and it has become hard to play the game now that Flash support has been all but removed from modern browsers, the core concepts still remain valid.

With a little bit of effort, this could still be a useful introduction to the art and craft to translating videogames. Best of luck!

The game

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‚ÄĒespecially 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.

Try it yourself!

As mentioned at the beginning, we ended up using this very game for the first "LocJAM" videogame translation contest, with the kind help and support of the game creator himself.

While you can relieve the contest through its archived page and even download the original localization kit, it's somewhat complex to run the game on modern browsers.

If you don't know how to get around the technical hurdles, an interesting alternative would be to apply the concepts in the videos to any of the following LocJAM games.

After all, Xbench 2.9 is freeware and memoQ has a 30 days free trial. Best of luck!