Jump to content

Accents and languages in game VO


J.E. Sawyer

Recommended Posts

There's some marketing talent going on there.

"My hovercraft is full of eels!" - Hungarian tourist
I am Dan Quayle of the Romans.
I want to tattoo a map of the Netherlands on my nether lands.
Heja Sverige!!
Everyone should cuffawkle more.
The wrench is your friend. :bat:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess there's a perception that the United States market is very intolerant of subtitles in the cinema, as indeed are the British. I don't know if that necessarily applies to games, though, but perhaps the industry assumes it would. What do our US forumites think of that? On the other hand, many Japanese dislike going to see English movies dubbed, or at least most I know do, and prefer subtitles. So ideally, local tastes would also be considered before making a decision over which language to use and whether and how to 'localise'.

 

There's a lot of discussion of 'immersion' in video games. Nothing destroys immersion for me like hearing a fake accent (unless it's supposed to fake as part of the story), and I can usually hear them in languages that I speak, even just a little. There was a character (the Abbe) in Gabriel Knight 3 who spoke in such an appalling French accent I can't bear to hear it when I replay the game. On the other hand, reading online I discovered that many of the German accents in Gabriel Knight 2 were equally bad, I just didn't notice, because I don't speak German and have never lived in Germany. I can only hope the Saudi Arabic accents in Alpha Protocol are okay.

 

I'd like to see fictional languages more in sci-fi and fantasy settings, but it has to be done better than Bioware's KotOR, with just the four or so recordings per language. That was painful.

"An electric puddle is not what I need right now." (Nina Kalenkov)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess there's a perception that the United States market is very intolerant of subtitles in the cinema, as indeed are the British. I don't know if that necessarily applies to games, though, but perhaps the industry assumes it would. What do our US forumites think of that? On the other hand, many Japanese dislike going to see English movies dubbed, or at least most I know do, and prefer subtitles. So ideally, local tastes would also be considered before making a decision over which language to use and whether and how to 'localise'.

 

There's a lot of discussion of 'immersion' in video games. Nothing destroys immersion for me like hearing a fake accent (unless it's supposed to fake as part of the story), and I can usually hear them in languages that I speak, even just a little. There was a character (the Abbe) in Gabriel Knight 3 who spoke in such an appalling French accent I can't bear to hear it when I replay the game. On the other hand, reading online I discovered that many of the German accents in Gabriel Knight 2 were equally bad, I just didn't notice, because I don't speak German and have never lived in Germany. I can only hope the Saudi Arabic accents in Alpha Protocol are okay.

 

I'd like to see fictional languages more in sci-fi and fantasy settings, but it has to be done better than Bioware's KotOR, with just the four or so recordings per language. That was painful.

 

 

Most Americans hate foreign movies, black and white movies and movies with subtitles.

 

As an American, I find it totally embarrassing that the movie Wild Hogs, a completely tedious film starring a bunch of washed up American actors makes hundreds of millions of dollars, while Hot Fuzz, a pretty non-threatening foreign film, released about the same time, makes a handful of pennies and some pocket lint.

 

SO as much as I would like to see a much greater diveristy of languages in video games, the truth is that most Americans would be happiest if everybody in the world spoke with a middle American twang.

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I can honestly say that I prefer subtitles, but I don't think that makes me somehow superior to folks who prefer dubbed dialogue.

 

Please, can we avoid a typical US bashing discussion in this regard. See, I'm restrained. I'm not answering with a long pointed posted regarding the perception that Americans are such bad folks because they like to hear the dialogue in English.

 

Having lived overseas, I can tell you that ethnocentrism and nationalism are not peculiar to the United States. Furthermore, American arrogance in regards to entertainment and titles, while unwelcome, makes a lot more sense than, say, eastern European. We have a fairly important market, don't we?

 

Yes, I would like to see greater diversity in games, and I said in agreement with Crashgirl earlier. However, I don't think developers should include diversity in the spirit of moral superiority or dicacting purposes. Use it in ways that enrich the game, not to beat on Americans who have become accustomed to the rest of the world Accomodating English.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

*ahem*I liked Wild Hogs

 

Some movies do overcome subtitles in the States. City of God and Pan's Labrinth being two that come to mind.

 

But I don't think you can really compare a family friendly comedy with a bunch of famous actors like Wild Hogs to a witty comedy like Hot Fuzz. Hot Fuzz is better off being compared to something like Pineapple Express (which I haven't seen and have no opinion on, it just seems to fit the adult action comedy mould.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

*ahem*I liked Wild Hogs

 

 

I wouldn't criticize the fact that people liked it. In fact, I woudl expect it to do better being a domestic release that probably speaks more closely to AMericans. I was just appalled at the enormous difference in box office success between the two. Hot Fuzz is a good accessible film and the fact that it did almost zero business in the States was really crazy. It just shows how difficult a road non-US films have to travel in the US

 

Some movies do overcome subtitles in the States. City of God and Pan's Labrinth being two that come to mind.

 

Subtitles are not the kiss of death in the states true, but they are close.

 

But I don't think you can really compare a family friendly comedy with a bunch of famous actors like Wild Hogs to a witty comedy like Hot Fuzz. Hot Fuzz is better off being compared to something like Pineapple Express (which I haven't seen and have no opinion on, it just seems to fit the adult action comedy mould.)

 

If Hot Fuzz had been a US-made film it would have done much much better. That was the gist of my point really.

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dubbing is only all too familiar in Europe (France, Germany), altough most gamers I meet online rather would have original versions with subs. But they are the minority.

 

However here in Holland dubbing of anything but childrenstuff is frowned upon (and even then there is OV and dubbed versions in all theaters, not just one of the two), especially with games, like Lionhead noticed when it shipped Black&White dubbed in Dutch, gaining some major critics.

 

If Hot Fuzz had been a US-made film it would have done much much better. That was the gist of my point really.

But then it wouldn't have been so funny :D.

How did the Monthy Python movies do in the US, btw?

Edited by Hassat Hunter

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

TSLRCM Official Forum || TSLRCM Moddb || My other KOTOR2 mods || TSLRCM (English version) on Steam || [M4-78EP on Steam

Formerly known as BattleWookiee/BattleCookiee

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as I know, And Now For Something Completely Different was done with the explicit purpose of introducing Americans to Monty Python, but failed in that regard.

"My hovercraft is full of eels!" - Hungarian tourist
I am Dan Quayle of the Romans.
I want to tattoo a map of the Netherlands on my nether lands.
Heja Sverige!!
Everyone should cuffawkle more.
The wrench is your friend. :bat:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dubbing is only all too familiar in Europe (France, Germany), altough most gamers I meet online rather would have original versions with subs. But they are the minority.

 

However here in Holland dubbing of anything but childrenstuff is frowned upon (and even then there is OV and dubbed versions in all theaters, not just one of the two), especially with games, like Lionhead noticed when it shipped Black&White dubbed in Dutch, gaining some major critics.

 

If Hot Fuzz had been a US-made film it would have done much much better. That was the gist of my point really.

But then it wouldn't have been so funny :D.

How did the Monthy Python movies do in the US, btw?

 

 

Monty Python is niche. Both the TV series and the movies. It has a lot of really passionate fans and a lot of Americans (such as myself lol) can quote entire skits word for word, but still its pretty way out of mainstream US.

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I prefer to play games in English (if made by English-speaking country internally) first and foremost. There are also quite a few (Gothic series, Thief series, BG2 (!)) that sound much better and with more personal investement in German. But I guess it depends on the translation team.

What I find hideous however are English-native speaking VO actors that try to imitate a foreigner. Say an American that tries (too hard) to speak a German accent. Awful.

Edited by Morgoth
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me, using spoken language to add to the international flavor of a game, where appropriate, just makes a gameworld more interesting.

 

Obviously, if the game is entirely set in the US, then having everybody speak American English is perfectly fine, but this need to export Americanese into every world environment is pretty boring.

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ANother one of my pet peeves at the moment is the domestic US movie Quarantine. WHich is a remake of a film called REC, a Spanish horror film from a couple years ago. REC is supposed to be a really excellent little horror movie, but I wouldn't know, becuse as an American I haven't been able to see it. Why not? Because it will not be available in the States until after Quarantine has finished its domestic theatre, dvd and possibly pay per view run. WHy? Well because if people can go see REC, they might not go see Quarantine! Because REC is apparently a far better film. AS usual with US remakes of foriegn films

 

So instead of being able to see a movie that I really would like to see, subtitles and all, I have to wait until our totally pointless US remake circulates through its markets.

 

The sad fact is that the US market is pretty unfriendly to non-US entertainment products.

 

And it really irritates me. And I don't think it has anything to do with "moral superiority" either. :p

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually agree with that. There's something compelling about hearing foreign languages in places that make sense. It would even be nice to have American accents transcending base prejudice. For example, maybe we could have a southern scientist who isn't a dumb yokel. After all, I've known some pretty smart southerners who spoke with an accent. One thing I have to say, however, is that the accent to which I'm most accustomed seems to be pretty widespread across the country. I've lived as far easy as Virginia, went to school in Indiana, lived briefly in Alabama, and have spent a lot of time in Nevada and California. My west coast accent blends into the woodwork in most of those places, even where there is a significant number of folks who speak with an accent, such as Alabama. Hell, there are probably more folks with the flat west coast accent in VA than southern.

 

Really, I think it comes down to money. It's probably just harder to find voice over actors to do exotic accents for these games. Since VO work doesn't seem to be a priority, we'll probably be looking at more of the same for a long time. However, I also dream of a game where the dialogue switches between different languages easily and the only localization is in crafting subtitles! That would be great!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really, I think it comes down to money.

 

 

I'm sure money is an issue, but I also think that if a US developer went to their pulisher and said that they wanted to make a game that was mostly set outside the US and almost none of the game characters would speak English in their dialogues (dialogs?), the publisher would laugh them right out of the room.

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember seeing people complain about Sheena Easton's Scottish accent in Torment.

That's because she wasn't a dwarf. Everybody knows that dwarves are the ones with Scottish accents.

 

dwarves is scottish? we always imagine 'em with a brooklyn accent.

Maybe brooklynsque descended from scottish?

 

I couldn't tell you, since I've never been to Brooklyn. I have no idea if they speak "dwarven" or not :(

 

At least the Scots have dwarf tossing as one of their national oddities (together with whiskey swilling and caber tossing), so that might be why I made that connection first :)

 

So instead of being able to see a movie that I really would like to see, subtitles and all, I have to wait until our totally pointless US remake circulates through its markets.

Pointless US remakes... *shiver*

 

I had the misfortune of watching an episode of Stephen Kings version of "Kingdom Hospital". It was a great little Danish miniseries that should have remained dead and buried after 1994 >_

 

There are some things that just doesn't translate well to other languages, because the entire cultural and social context is missing for the reader/listener.

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are some things that just doesn't translate well to other languages, because the entire cultural and social context is missing for the reader/listener.

 

 

AGreed. If you remove the non-US part of the film or the game, sometimes you lose what made the film or gane interesting in the first place.

 

 

Besides if Spain has already made a really good horror film or if Denmark has made a good minseries, does it really need to be totally US-ified to make it palatable to an American market?

 

The unfortunate answer is yes.

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many American song hits were adaptations of French songs. My Way, for example.

"My hovercraft is full of eels!" - Hungarian tourist
I am Dan Quayle of the Romans.
I want to tattoo a map of the Netherlands on my nether lands.
Heja Sverige!!
Everyone should cuffawkle more.
The wrench is your friend. :bat:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I made a game Id cast John DiMaggio and Mighty rasta for every role.. except that of the hawt chick which would be that totally hawt chick from the game where she does the voiceovers to the hawt chick. I would also naturally have Jennifer Hale do the tighter, more dominatrix type hawt chick >_<

DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.

 

Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.

 

"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Notice, still holding my [native] tongue in regards to the idea that US audiences/readers/viewers are peculiar in preferring their language. OMG! Those terrible Americans! Run for the hills, Amerification is coming!

 

Sometimes things don't translate well. However, sometimes Amerificating something (haha what a term) is the best way to expose citizens of the United States to a different idea or story. It's not bad and I'd think that most folks overseas would appreciate the fact that someone in the US regarded their product highly enough to emulate it.

 

Moreover, some of the best works of literature or the stage are prime candidates for telling and retelling in different settings. I've seen French, Russian, English, etc works in both the original and the same works done as retold as a variation of setting retaining the same themes. Hell, isn't that why so many people use Shakespeare's plays in wildly different times, backdrops, and settings?

 

If the point is that using a diversity of languages would be good, I'll agree. If the point is to castigate us arrogant Americans, then I'll politely, meaning no offense, and in the best possible way tell you to go to hell. hahaha

 

And Europeans are accusing the Americans of cultural arrogance? Good Lord, how can you even do that without laughing?

 

EDIT: Wait, I didn't hold my tongue as well as I thought! >_<

Edited by Aristes
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Notice, still holding my [native] tongue in regards to the idea that US audiences/readers/viewers are peculiar in preferring their language. OMG! Those terrible Americans! Run for the hills, Amerification is coming!

 

I'd agree that Americans are probably not singularly evil in that respect. But from living in this country I know that America has a tendency to want to remake things into shapes it finds more appealing. I'm sure other countries are similar in this respect, but I don't live in other countries so I can't comment on them. Others should feel free to so so.

 

Sometimes things don't translate well. However, sometimes Amerificating something (haha what a term) is the best way to expose citizens of the United States to a different idea or story. It's not bad and I'd think that most folks overseas would appreciate the fact that someone in the US regarded their product highly enough to emulate it.!

 

How does changing something created in another country and then presenting that expose anyone to anything different. We've just changed what was different.

 

Moreover, some of the best works of literature or the stage are prime candidates for telling and retelling in different settings. I've seen French, Russian, English, etc works in both the original and the same works done as retold as a variation of setting retaining the same themes. Hell, isn't that why so many people use Shakespeare's plays in wildly different times, backdrops, and settings?

 

 

Of course. I'm not going to sit here and say that re-imagining something is bad. Re-imaginations are often totally awesome in their own right. The Magnificent Seven, for example. Or A Fistful of Dollars. (I've watched a lot of westerns). But re-imaginations should not always be neccessary for getting people to watch something created in a different country. Shakespeare has been re-magined many many times. But it has also been produced faithfully many times as well.

 

If the point is that using a diversity of languages would be good, I'll agree. If the point is to castigate us arrogant Americans, then I'll politely, meaning no offense, and in the best possible way tell you to go to hell. hahaha

 

What am I castigating exactly? All I've basically said is that non-domestic entertainment products seem to have a difficult time appealing to the american market, and that one solution to this is to apparently Americanize non-US entertainment concepts and present them to the US market in a re palatable though often inferior form. I think your personal offense in telling me to go to hell is a pretty excessive reaction to such a minor commentary on American entertainment tastes.

 

 

And Europeans are accusing the Americans of cultural arrogance? Good Lord, how can you even do that without laughing?

 

 

Um. You do realize I'm American, right?

Notice how I can belittle your beliefs without calling you names. It's a useful skill to have particularly where you aren't allowed to call people names. It's a mistake to get too drawn in/worked up. I mean it's not life or death, it's just two guys posting their thoughts on a message board. If it were personal or face to face all the usual restraints would be in place, and we would never have reached this place in the first place. Try to remember that.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And Europeans are accusing the Americans of cultural arrogance? Good Lord, how can you even do that without laughing?

 

 

Um. You do realize I'm American, right?

You are apparantly not "American" enough. Prepare to have your voting privileges revoked :(

 

There are countries whose culture, ideas, humour etc. that you "get" and there some that you don't. I can e.g. usually relate to British humour but not to American humour. Not because one is necessarily better, but as a Dane I have more in common with a next door neighbour and can relate to the things being poked fun at much easier than something that has the gulf of an ocean between us. Sometimes it is as simple as that. As another example, no matter how hard I try, I'll never understand Anime, that is just too alien for me. Hundreds of millions of people disagree though, so I'll just consider it *my* loss, because I don't understand it... and so on and on >_

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And Europeans are accusing the Americans of cultural arrogance? Good Lord, how can you even do that without laughing?

 

 

Um. You do realize I'm American, right?

 

 

Um. You do realize that you're not the only person in the thread, right?

 

I was somewhat thinking of Gorth when I made my comment, but since he's thinking of revoking your voting rights, I'll withdraw my comment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>_< Same as Gorth here (except Holland is closer to Britain than Australia/Danmark (whatever the one is I need to pick ;P)).

 

Best example of using other languages is probably German (WO II games). I think european devs (Commandos etc.) are far more likely to throw in German speaking Germans than US developers (do the Call of Duty Germans speak German?)

Edited by Hassat Hunter

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

TSLRCM Official Forum || TSLRCM Moddb || My other KOTOR2 mods || TSLRCM (English version) on Steam || [M4-78EP on Steam

Formerly known as BattleWookiee/BattleCookiee

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, and I'm a big fan of certain Russian Novelists. I've seen their works told as written and retold in different ways. I like that. I think it does expose Americans to different ideas. In virtually all cases, I prefer the orginal, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the retelling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And Europeans are accusing the Americans of cultural arrogance? Good Lord, how can you even do that without laughing?

 

 

Um. You do realize I'm American, right?

 

 

Um. You do realize that you're not the only person in the thread, right?

 

I was somewhat thinking of Gorth when I made my comment, but since he's thinking of revoking your voting rights, I'll withdraw my comment.

You've piqued my curiosity... where did I accuse Americans of cultural arrogance? By calling a remake inferior to the original?

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...