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How's the German translation?


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Keeping myself busy through pandemic times (now overlapping with Lent, wherein I foolishly gave up video streaming, so now I have tons of free time) by learning a new language, and I chose German. I've been thinking that an interesting way to exercise the skill--once I have enough basic competency--is to try playing Deadfire in German. But I've heard that the i18n isn't great, but I also heard that JE Sawyer (who knows German) checked some of the German translation.

 

Basically - will playing Deadfire in German be effective, or will it actually make my German worse?

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If you want to play it in German, I recommend to install the German translation mod which fixes a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes. It also corrects bad or incorrect translations.

I'm not sure if playing Pillars is a good way to learn German and how good your German skills are now.

Maybe try something easier like LucasArts Adventures?

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As a professional translator, I would be hesitant to try this method, even if the idea does sound very good. If you need a mod, that is already a warning sign about the quality. And if you're only learning German, you can't tell when the translation is faulty or odd, and you may well find that your early German learning contains stuff you wouldn't have wanted to learn, given the choice.

How about subscribing to a newspaper? The context will help you a lot, and the language is going to be professional.

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The translation is not very good - but imo if you are not a native speaker it's not that bad.

I guess for some German gamers with no academic background it's even fine.
Sure, there are mistakes and some weird translations - but will it matter much? Imo it will not. You'll also find that translated in books and movies (the Simpsons saw some really bad translations into German for example but not many noticed).

If your goal is to read and grab up some German while also having fun: go for it I say.

I learned Russian by simply talking to my janitor and friend Hasanhodja (Uzbek), my cook Irina (Russian) and the local merchants on the bazaar. I guess their Russian wasn't flawless, too (Irina said it was outright awful, ha 😄 ) - but it got me started and it was fun.  So it was easier keep on with it and build a foundation (even if a bit faulty) that at least made it possible to understand and explain basic stuff. This is motivating. I stopped there so my Russion was still pretty rough - but you don't have to.

Imo it's easier to dive into the depths of grammar and sublime language if the basic vocabulary and a basic understanding of semantics etc. came to you "naturally" by reading and speaking in a fun environment.

The hickups of the German translation of deadfire won't change that I think.

And if you install the mod that fixes most of the translation errors: 

noch_besser.png?dl=1 

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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12 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

Imo it's easier to dive into the depths of grammar and sublime language if the basic vocabulary and a basic understanding of semantics etc. came to you "naturally" by reading and speaking in a fun environment.

There's a fairly big difference between reading and speaking, especially when you're speaking with a number of people. I.e. when learning a language by speaking, you are quite right that the occasional oddities don't normally matter that much, especially if you also get feedback from the people you're speaking with.

When you only read and do not interact, the relationship is different. You are likely to remember stuff very precisely, and if that stuff is wrong or just very weird, that may not serve you very well in the future, especially if it takes a long time before you learn that you have picked up something that is wrong or very weird.

I don't think playing Deadfire in German is going to make thelee's German worse (as he puts in in his OP), and it's almost certainly going to improve it at least in some ways, but he may also pick up stuff that's just extraordinarily strange, and he won't know it.

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Maybe - and wrong gender etc. is pretty bad. But if there's a good mod (done by Spanish native speakers I presume) I guess it would be totally fine?


Somwhat unrelated but I think Obsidian should drive to the translation company they used for Deadfire and casually kick them in the nuts a bit*. ;) German, Spanish and also Russion translations seem to be quite bad out of the box. Reading about Spanish and Russion I think the German one was the best of the lot.  

)*I'm not serious of course. But maybe kick their butts? ;)

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Reading a good book where you are familiar with the story might help. Teenage books, maybe something by Enid Blyton.

Reading a good book, where you are familiar with the story, could help. Teenager books, maybe something from Enid Blyton.

Or watch Sesame Street, Die Sendung mit der Maus ( The show with the mouse).

But to really learn the language, you need a teacher and a way to speak the language regularly.

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27 minutes ago, xzar_monty said:

I don't think playing Deadfire in German is going to make thelee's German worse (as he puts in in his OP), and it's almost certainly going to improve it at least in some ways, but he may also pick up stuff that's just extraordinarily strange, and he won't know it.

Right. But the German mod is pretty good (by the way: for PoE1, too). I studied "Germanistik" (German philology) before I became a computer scientist so I'm not totally clueless when it comes to stuff like that.

You can support your lessons with books, movies and also with Deadfire if you want to. I think it only will help and not hurt. But I would def. install those mods to avoid some of the pretty strange parts. 

And besides my lessons in school I only practiced English with articles, books, games and movies (and audiobooks but very rarely). I don't play/read/listen to German versions (if the original is English). Imo that improved my colloquial English tremendously. Not that it's flawless of course, but I feel comfortable using it.
 

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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How it is written can make a big difference. I have books where I read half a page and forgot what I read or didn't understand.... Stanislaw Lem: Fiasco is one of those books.

Terry Goodking: The Sword of Truth books, on the other hand, are easy to read. My brother usually took months to read books. Theses ones he read in less than a week.

 

I have been working on the German translation mods :)

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Well, newspapers or professional articles can be hard. Stanisław Lem is a philosopher. Those are not known to write texts that are easy to read. ;)  But I guess Deadfire is more on the easy side (if you take all those names of creatures and metaphysics stuff etc. away).

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

 But I guess Deadfire is more on the easy side (if you take all those names of creatures and metaphysics stuff etc. away).

Actually, it's not. The dialogue can be easy, this is true, but there is a definite literary bent to pretty much all of the narration: the vocabulary is varied, and I remember some people even calling it too complicated for its own good (which I don't think it is).

For example, in the very first scene of the game, in your meeting with Berath, the "aged" (not "old") dwarf is said to have a "rictus" (not "grin" or "fixed grin"). This is not easy stuff. If the translation is faithful to the tone, it's probably going to look quite hard for a beginner, because much of the vocabulary is intentionally stylized.

Lem is hard, not recommended for novice learning. If you want to read high quality literature where the vocabulary is easy, try either Albert Camus or Ernest Hemingway. I'm almost certain the German translations are good. Comic books are good, too; Asterix is brilliant, and I have used it for French and Swedish myself.

I'm currently learning Spanish on the Duolingo application, which is pretty good. I can't read books yet, even detective stories, but one day, one day...

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1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

You can support your lessons with books, movies and also with Deadfire if you want to. I think it only will help and not hurt. But I would def. install those mods to avoid some of the pretty strange parts.

By and large, you are probably correct here. If Deadfire is one of the tools, it's unlikely to cause much harm -- but it might give you some very strange ideas about some things. Not sure about this. Anyway, having seen a fair amount of really poor translations, I personally wouldn't try learning via a medium where the translation is apparently not very good. thelee does what he does, of course.

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2 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

Actually, it's not. The dialogue can be easy, this is true, but there is a definite literary bent to pretty much all of the narration: the vocabulary is varied, and I remember some people even calling it too complicated for its own good (which I don't think it is).

For example, in the very first scene of the game, in your meeting with Berath, the "aged" (not "old") dwarf is said to have a "rictus" (not "grin" or "fixed grin"). This is not easy stuff. If the translation is faithful to the tone, it's probably going to look quite hard for a beginner, because much of the vocabulary is intentionally stylized.

I don't know. I find Deadfire is pretty easy to follow in English. Sure, there's some vocabulary that the average reader might need to look up - but that's a good thing imo. Like I find it nice to look up new words while I read an English novel. I can guess what some words mean but am not 100% sure - then I look them up and learn something new. :)

Otherwise I think Deadfire is not too complicated. It doesn't have those awful multi-cause sentences like German humanities scholars like to write them. And if the average German middle schooler can read it then @theleecan, too.

2 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

Lem is hard, not recommended for novice learning. If you want to read high quality literature where the vocabulary is easy, try either Albert Camus or Ernest Hemingway. I'm almost certain the German translations are good. Comic books are good, too; Asterix is brilliant, and I have used it for French and Swedish myself.

I once tried to read Victor Hugo's "L'Homme qui rit" (The Man Who Laughs) in french, miserably failed - then in English, also failed - then looked at the German version and tossed it all aside. 😄
I also didn't like "The Name of the Rose" in English at all. Josh might hate me for it - but that's how it is. ;)
What I really liked was Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe". I guess the German version could be equally fun to read?

Another great piece is Gottfried Keller's "Kleider machen Leute" (Clothes Make the Man). I loved in when I was in school. Obviously the language used is a bit old but I think it's fairly easy - at least compared to some other contemporary stuff.

I know that the Brandon Sanderson novels are very easy to read for me in English - so I assume the same is true for the German ones. I read the first two books of the Stormlight Chronicles in German while I ws sitting in planes and cars, travelling. The rest I read in English. Not to say it's high qulity literature - but Sanderson's later novels feel rel. well written and entertaining to me. So maybe that's also something to look into. Usually German traslations of such books are well done. 

I also enjoyed reading "IT" (King) back in the day to improve my English while I was in school. Most of King's books were easy reads imo. Not all were equally entertaining, but some I liked a lot.

3 hours ago, xzar_monty said:

I'm currently learning Spanish on the Duolingo application, which is pretty good. I can't read books yet, even detective stories, but one day, one day...

Just so that we're on the same page: I wouldn't advocate to learn German with Deadfire alone. Eh no.
I just think it would be a good addon. If you're playing it anyway then why not use it to read even more German text?
Of course - if you want to learn a language in earnest you want to take some form of proper lessons, too. Before, later, at the same time or whatever works. 

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

I also enjoyed reading "IT" (King) back in the day to improve my English while I was in school. Most of King's books were easy reads imo. Not all were equally entertaining, but some I liked a lot.

King is a good example, yes. He is fairly easy to read, and at his best he's also really good. Of all the ridiculously successful writers King is probably the best, in literary terms. He's surely not Shakespeare, but he's really good.

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Speaking of successful mystery/fantasy writers (maybe not ridiculously successful, but still): What do you think about The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear by P. Rothfuss? I enjoyed reading them and it wasn't difficult -  but I can't really judge the quality of writing. It felt quite good (to me as a non-native speaker) though.

 

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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reading the responses I think what I'll do is work up enough competency to read some german newspapers first, and if I'm getting comfortable with that, move on to Deadfire. It definitely would not be my primary learning resource (currently just duolingo + a textbook + barking bilingual commands at the kids) but it seems like I should probably establish a good baseline in case Deadfire gets too weird even with a translation mod.

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24 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

Imo German newspapers are Starker Tobak hard if you know what I mean. ;) 

If it's not the BILD Zeitung (which is just awful so please don't read that).

well lol the textbook I'm using focuses on "practical vocabulary" and its definition of "practical" appears to be "college-educated people talking about research and needing to get around the city" because I still don't know the months of the year and only learned yesterday [sitzen] but I do know assorted academic and statistical terms. I took a quick glance at a german newspaper, forgot which; definitely not ready for that level yet, but while I couldn't understand most of the headlines I did understand all the covid stats.

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4 minutes ago, thelee said:

well lol the textbook I'm using focuses on "practical vocabulary" and its definition of "practical" appears to be "college-educated people talking about research and needing to get around the city" because I still don't know the months of the year and only learned yesterday [sitzen] but I do know assorted academic and statistical terms.

Yeah, this very often happens with textbooks. I don't know how the problem could be solved -- people's definitions of "practical" seem to be so different. I seem to remember that when I was learning English, it took me quite a while to learn the word for "scissors", for example. (Come to think of it, I've no idea what scissors are in Spanish.)

@Boeroer: I haven't read P. Rothfuss, sorry. There are so many books compared to what anyone has time for.

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  • 4 months later...

I've been using the mod. I can't vouch for how idiomatic or correct it is, but it appears to be working well enough for me (and i'm learning an awfully specific domain of vocabulary in the process). It certainly seems better than the base translation - i forget some of the original translations, but some of them seem wildly off after seeing what the mod used.

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  • 4 months later...

@theleeWie sieht es aus mit der deutschen Sprache, hat es dir etwas gebracht ?

I've learned English in school but I could really speak and understand after I looked some films and played games in english. It's far from perfect but I'm fine with that.

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Auch spiele ich "Wrath of the Righteous" mit der deutschen Sprache. Das Komische ist, dass ich Klasse auf Lingoda nehme, mein Hören und Sprechen zu verbessern. Dort haben die Lehrer mir gesagt, dass mein Wortschatz überraschend und beeindruckend ist. Aber weil meist mein Wortschatz von Videospielen kommen, vergesse ich manchmal etwas Einfaches, zum Beispiel wie man einige Buchstaben des Alphabets aussprachen kann, aber ich könnte sprechen über komplizierte aber seltsame Themen, z.B. das Entweihen eines Heiligen Orts oder ein Komplott des Schurcks.

 

The best part of playing with German is simply just having the opportunity for regular practice with something I'm keen on. Sometimes it can be exhausting when I get a wall of text and I don't know half the words/expressions, and I find it a little odd that Deadfire and WotR (despite being both similarly fantasy RPGs) having different "domains" of words that they use (at least with the german mod, some very similar concepts get translated differently between the two games), but it is rewarding the umpteenth time I see a word and I no longer need to look it up without having to do flashcards, (which I did a lot of at first, ~2000 words over a few months), even if I can't ever foresee needing to use those words in a future trip to central europe. (edit: Unless something geopolitically terrible happens and I get to use all those Kreuzzug, Kreuzfahrer, etc words)

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