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better localization ... please


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There is one thing that I hated really, really much about PoE1. It didn't even concern me personally, as I prefer to play the game in english, but that I wanted to see done right anyway. The localization was terrible. The whole text sounded like it was translated by google. The names of all stats, spells, attacks and so on where confusing and dumb. The proper names (I hope that means what I think it means) were silly and loveless. "Trutzbucht" for Defiance Bay would have been cool in a cliché medieval setting (With princesses and golden knights), but here it felt awkward. And there were far more terrible examples. The text parts, which sounded just great in the original lost all the literature-like feeling. Sometimes they were not even understandable. And seriously: Characters like Aloth need a little bit more intuition and sensitivity towards language than google translate has to offer.

 

I think this is an important point, as this is some thing, early games (At least the kind that I played), Text Adventures and Adventure Books did way better and that helped not only to build immersion but to establish video gaming as something more than just pointing and clicking.

 

Parts of PoE where written better than some books I know. Do you really want to destroy that for your foreign customers? I think lots of young people here didn't even notice how good this game was (As I read only mild complaints about that topic, I fear people already got used to that kind of translation, but I assure you: It IS terrible). You invest very much effort into writing and language. All that is destroyed by incompetent, lazy idiots.

 

My wish: Please do something about it. Just for the sake of keeping your creation intact. If the budget does not allow hiring better companies for translation, at least keep the proper names in english. Early games and adventure books did the same and this at least helped to maintain the vibe of the original. (Plus: For a kid in the 90s these english words sounded very cool. I still remember names like "Port Blacksand". "Defiance Bay" is totally OK. At least in Germany. I dont know, how other countries think about that)

 

P.S.: Sorry for my bad english. But I think, as you read these lines, you probably get a good idea of what I'm talking about. :)

 

P.P.S.: If you are not convinced, I can give you examples. Lots of examples.

Edited by Lord_Mord

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As someone who is working as a translator, I'd just like to say a few words in defense of them:

 

The sad fact of the matter is: It's never going to sound quite as good as the original language. What's a literary masterpiece in one language will probably always sounded pretty mediocre translated into a second. There's lots of reasons for this. For one, some things just don't translate well. (Jokes, idioms, expressions, names etc.) For another, professional translators sometimes need to walk a fine line between literal and creative translation. Maybe you want to tweak something a little so it sounds more natural, but then your customer/boss might be pissed off because you're not translating accurately. 

 

I don't know. Basically, if it really sounds like it was done by google translate (grammatical errors/incomprehensible etc.), then shame on them. But if it's a matter of taste, like you think "Trutzbucht" doesn't sound quite right for the setting (I have no idea), or its not quite Shakespeare, then I think cut them some slack.

 

And good for you playing in the original language, even though its not your first language.

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I don't know. Basically, if it really sounds like it was done by google translate (grammatical errors/incomprehensible etc.), then shame on them. But if it's a matter of taste, like you think "Trutzbucht" doesn't sound quite right for the setting (I have no idea), or its not quite Shakespeare, then I think cut them some slack.

 

And good for you playing in the original language, even though its not your first language.

 

Precisely. I had a post about this regarding the Polish translation some time ago and Heijoushin sums up all nicely. And good for you Lord_Mord for playing the original, and observing such strange things in your localization. It means you really are into English.

 

Let's say I speak English (do I?) and see "DYRWOOD". I switch to Polish and I see "JELENIOBORZE". My reaction is "OMG MY EYES BLEED"

 

Now let's say my English sucks: I see "JELENIOBORZE" and have no knowledge about "DYRWOOD". My reaction is "WHOAA COOL"

Edited by Messier-31
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It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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OK, forget that Trutzbucht-Thing. I can already smell those guys, that will soon come here and tell me that this is a great translation. They are wrong, but this is not they point. As I said, those games, fantasy books and stuff were translated way, way better in the past.

 

All that considerations that you are talking about. Those people either don't even make them anymore, or they are totally incompetent. This game is crippled in german. My wife plays it in german and I can't bear looking on her screen. It really makes me sad and angry. I saw people on the internet defending that translation. I just can't imagine how worse game translations must have become (Last game I played was BG2), if people are defending that crap.

 

I remember there was a great controversity about BG being to creatively translated (Voiceovers had funny Austrian Accents :) That kind of stuff. I liked it, but it depended on taste). That  was a great deal at that times. Nowadays people seem to be happy, if they are somehow able to understand whats going on and there are some medieval-ish words in the text to add some "flavour".

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I have no idea, how JELENIOBORZE sounds for your ears, but I totally know, what you are talking about.

 

Edit: I just looked up a few areas.

 

Dyrwood is Dyrwald (???Why???)

Gilded Vale is Goldtal wich literally translates back to Golden Valley and sounds even more silly in german than it does in english.

White March is Weißmark which probably should remind you to LotR, but in reality sound stupid as ****. Japanese comic book authors have that habit of using german words. That often sounds the same way. Does anyone here know Weißkreuz?

Edited by Lord_Mord
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I have no idea, how JELENIOBORZE sounds for your ears, but I totally know, what you are talking about.

 

 

I get ya ;) Oh, and here's my original post, maybe it will shed more light: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/91408-french-voice-over/?do=findComment&comment=1880649

 

 

Some loose thoughts regarding the topic. I really prefer playing PoE in English, because I find it more suitable for this setting. It's great that there is/will be a Polish version of both games, but I still rather read and listen to the original. Most of the names translated to Polish irk me:

  • Dyrwood is Jelenioborze, it sounds like Deero-forest
  • Dyrford is Jeleni Bród, it sounds like Ford of the Deer
  • Stalwart is Krzepa, it sounds like Sturdiness

Yuck. So most of it is annoying, but I must admit that there are some really good ones:

  • First Fires is Zarzewie, it sounds like a one word combination of two: Embers and Source

So yeah, them good ones are in minority. But I also must admit that playing the Polish versions of the Infinity Engine games was fantastic. Both, the translation and professional actors taken for the roles were top notch and set the stage for any future Polish localizations. And this is why Enhanced Editions of BG and IwD are better to play in English, because new content has no official localization. Sure, some good people translated the text out of charity, but no new actors provided the voice overs. So I played the EE's in English, and it is/was a funny and intersting experience for me.

 

Torment: Tides of Numenera got about $5 milion in total, and so it will be soon released with a Polish localization with professional voice overs - and the great comeback of Piotr Fronczewski, the legendary narrator from the Polish versions of the BG saga. I am sure to play this game in Polish only because of this, because it gives me both text and voices. As for Pillars - English all the way.

It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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I agree with translating names of locations.

 

Another example for me is "King's Landing" in Game of Thrones. It's translated to Königsmund in German... OUCH MY EYES AND EARS!

 

I generally hate it when names are translated. It feels and sounds so wrong somehow. The translation can even be literally correct, or maybe it is a more free translation

but it seems never to capture that feeling and meaning that the name has in the original language.

 

That said I usually play in English anyway, because translation can never beat original for me.

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"Loyal Servant of His Most Fluffyness, Lord Kerfluffleupogus, Devourer of the Faithful!"

 

ringoffireresistance.gif *wearing the Ring of Fire Resistance* (gift from JFSOCC)

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The german traslation was terrible when the game was released. For example, several item types have been called like stat modyfiers, so shortbows were called "intellect+2". Not only weapon types, also some other items such as some letters you found had completely nonsense names.

I am happy that some people started a localisation mod. I installed it at once and reported them everything I found and they fixed all errors very fast. This improved the game a lot. At some point the official localisation has been updated, but the fan mod is still better.

 

Tyranny in german was much better. I reported only 2 things where something in the text box was wrong. There were more people who found some english errors, but most of those were minor things like a missing comma. (Sorry, I am not an expert for english grammar.)

 

@ any tranlator who reads this: Do you actually play the game or do you get only tons of text files you have to translate?

Often the context is very importent. Voice actors for a movie talk while they watch the movie. If you translate a book you have the original book in front of you. But in a computer game the text is distributed over lots of files and it is hard to see which text belongs to which situation in the game.

 

@obsidian: If fans improve the localisation of the game and document every changes they make (as it has been done for the german mod of PoE1), can you just copy their texts into the official game when the next patch comes and add their names to the credits. Those people did a great job and the company who did the original translation has been payed anyway.

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That said I usually play in English anyway, because translation can never beat original for me.

 

There are people that are not able or confident enough to do that. I want those people to have the same experience I had, when I was 12/13/14. Those are important impressions. I don't want to live in a country/world, where people are used to bad writing only.

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I have no idea, how JELENIOBORZE sounds for your ears, but I totally know, what you are talking about.

 

Edit: I just looked up a few areas.

 

Dyrwood is Dyrwald (???Why???)

Gilded Vale is Goldtal wich literally translates back to Golden Valley and sounds even more silly in german than it does in english.

White March is Weißmark which probably should remind you to LotR, but in reality sound stupid as ****. Japanese comic book authors have that habit of using german words. That often sounds the same way. Does anyone here know Weißkreuz?

I have played several JRPG (in english and german, sorry, I do not speak japanese) and it looks like japanese RPG makers are obsessed with germany.

 

In Xenosaga (very good trilogy) they used german names as title even in the english and japanese version ("Der Wille zur Macht", "Jenseits von Gut und Böse" and "Also sprach Zarathustra", all books from Nietsche). There were tons of german names for places, items and space ships and I was surprized they used the correct Ä,Ö,Ü,ß in the english version.

 

Legend of heroes, Trails in the sky is another great game. There you can see what happens when japanese guy use german words and this is translated to english. Sometimes the result sounds really funny. My favourite character name is "Claudia von Auslese".

Edited by Madscientist
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Sorry for offtopic.

I am no German speaker, I barely know how to count, but this reminds me what happened to me on a trip to Wien, Osterreich:

 

- Ein Wurst mit Frankfurt, bitte.

- Am Mein oder Oder?

 

:dancing:

Edited by Messier-31
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Claudia von Auslese

 

:)

 

Once I read a description for a japanese game, that had a planet called Blumentopf which means flower pot in german. As far as I understood, this was no joke. It was a serious game. The main character, a woman, had a german name. Schneider or something. They love the name Schneider. I heard it very often.

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French translation was awful.  Not even talking about "not sounding quite as good", I'm saying plain mistakes because some sentences were taken completely out of context.

I wish translators could play the game they're translating so they could get a better feel for the world.

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:)

Once I read a description for a japanese game, that had a planet called Blumentopf which means flower pot in german. As far as I understood, this was no joke. It was a serious game. The main character, a woman, had a german name. Schneider or something. They love the name Schneider. I heard it very often.

 

Japanese authors often use words from other languages... very very badly. But they're not the only guilty ones. Things just sounds cooler in a foreign language (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GratuitousForeignLanguage). But that's kind of the opposite issue to what we were discussing ;)

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didn‘t Josh Sawyer come up with a fantasy language for PoE? Perhaps naming places and people will derive from it and sound like fantasy. Something like Athkatla in SoA, you can‘t translate that in any known language so it‘ll stay and probably would have a meaning in the fantasy language of the game‘s world. Deadfire can stay‚ ‚Totenfeuer‘ in german, sounds cool, in other languages as well probably and it stands for something.

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Japanese authors often use words from other languages... very very badly. But they're not the only guilty ones. Things just sounds cooler in a foreign language (http://tvtropes.org/...ForeignLanguage). But that's kind of the opposite issue to what we were discussing ;)

 

Yes, but it's fun talking about it. Personally, I like this habit. At least the authors not the translators are ****ing with the content.

Edited by Lord_Mord
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Totenfeuer is also a matter of taste. It's not bad, I could live with it. But in my opinion it does not have that piraty touch. Sounds too serious, almost catholic.

 

The point is: If they want to save money for the translations: Why not keep the original names of everything? Less work and less probability of cheese.

Edited by Lord_Mord
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I have no idea, how JELENIOBORZE sounds for your ears, but I totally know, what you are talking about.

 

Edit: I just looked up a few areas.

 

Dyrwood is Dyrwald (???Why???)

Gilded Vale is Goldtal wich literally translates back to Golden Valley and sounds even more silly in german than it does in english.

White March is Weißmark which probably should remind you to LotR, but in reality sound stupid as ****. Japanese comic book authors have that habit of using german words. That often sounds the same way. Does anyone here know Weißkreuz?

 

Look I agree that names translated to German don't sound ideal but unless you can come up with better ones you should understand that these are just the hazards of translation. Any translation of names will sound more or less bad, the only thing you often can do to avoid this is to make up completely new ones. Only then it isn't a translation anymore and others will complain about that. To your specific examples...

 

Dyrwald, ok I honestly don't see what you think is so wrong about that. Dyr is a made up word in English as well so they decided to just leave it and only translate the 'wood' part. It loses the connection to 'deer' but since it's supposed to be in a fantasy language anyway, that doesn't trouble me too much. What would you have liked better? Rehwald?

 

Goldtal doesn't sound ideal to me, but again, have a better idea that still might pass as a translation? Gilded would translate to vergoldet, so does Vergoldetes Tal sound better to you? Or maybe Güldental? Both seem much worse to me. Or is it the 'Tal' bit that you're objecting to? Well, a vale is type of valley, a wide one with a river running through. There is no directly equivalent word for that particular type in German. So what would you suggest? In any case there are several real world examples of "Goldtal", so why do you think it sounds so incredibly stupid?

 

Weißmark, this is just the most literal translation of White March possible and I don't see at all what's wrong with it. It is a Mark, or a march, a borderland, and if you think the white/weiß part is maybe a bit unoriginal, an argument that can be made imo, then it's still not the fault of the translators, who, you know, just translate it. edit: actually thinking about it again, "die Weiße Mark" would have been better than Weißmark, I feel. Anyway, that's a totally subjective judgement, there's nothing wrong with Weißmark.

 

In general I agree with you, translations, localizations almost never sound quite right but that's hardly, or not necessarily, the fault of the translators. That's just the obvious tension that something that sounds elegant in one language may sound quite clumsy in another but change it too much you're losing the original meaning. So there often has to be a compromise. Translators who can avoid that, convey the full meaning of the original while still making it sound good are few and far between, it's an art in itself. Only way out is to read, watch, play things in the original wherever possible. 

Edited by mumbogumshoe
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If you read a name in any language, that is going to evoke a certain emotion or image in you. It is of absolutely no importance whether you understand that name, pronounce it correctly, or whatever. Just by looking at the letters, and pronouncing it in your head. This is inevitable. It's even stronger when you (partially) understand the name.

A translation (regardless into what language) will never give you that same emotion. Never.

But that is not the goal of a translation. A translation is there for someone who doesn not speak the original language to experience the game as intended (at least as closely as possible). That includes names.

If the creator choose a very mundane and plain name (like, "Snow" ;)), that will sound plain and mundane to native speakers. It will sound somewhat exotic and cool to everyone else, even if you understand what the word means. Translating it to "Schnee" will make it suddenly very plain and non-impressive - which is the original intention but not the one you got first by hearing the English version. And that often is the actual problem with translated names: People expect something completely different. They want a native word that evokes the same foreign impression while retaining the meaning as closely as possible (or no one would complain about Königsmund). That is simply impossible, and the best a translator can do is coming close to the sentiment the creator tried to evoke in the original language. That is also why simply retaining names often is not an option in fantasy. (As opposed to real life texts.)

Now, we could argue a lot about ASoIaF and so on, but generally: Translating is waaaay more complicated than it seems, if you want to do better than a fan dub that is basically content with getting the meaning across.

 

Also, it seems you haven't used Google Translate in a while. ;)

 

P.S. Don't really understand what's the issue with Goldtal and Weißmark, either.

Edited by Varana
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Χριστός ἀνέστη!

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Look I agree that names translated to German don't sound ideal but unless you can come up with better ones you should understand that these are just the hazards of translation. Any translation of names will sound more or less bad, the only thing you often can do to avoid this is to make up completely new ones. Only then it isn't a translation anymore and others will complain about that. To your specific examples...

 

Dyrwald, ok I honestly don't see what you think is so wrong about that. Dyr is a made up word in English as well so they decided to just leave it and only translate the 'wood' part. It loses the connection to 'deer' but since it's supposed to be in a fantasy language anyway, that doesn't trouble me too much. What would you have liked better? Rehwald?

 

Goldtal doesn't sound ideal to me, but again, have a better idea that still might pass as a translation? Gilded would translate to vergoldet, so does Vergoldetes Tal sound better to you? Or maybe Güldental? Both seem much worse to me. Or is it the 'Tal' bit that you're objecting to? Well, a vale is type of valley, a wide one with a river running through. There is no directly equivalent word for that particular type in German. So what would you suggest? In any case there are several real world examples of "Goldtal", so why do you think it sounds so incredibly stupid?

 

Weißmark, this is just the most literal translation of White March possible and I don't see at all what's wrong with it. It is a Mark, or a march, a borderland, and if you think the white/weiß part is maybe a bit unoriginal, an argument that can be made imo, then it's still not the fault of the translators, who, you know, just translate it. edit: actually thinking about it again, "die Weiße Mark" would have been better than Weißmark, I feel. Anyway, that's a totally subjective judgement, there's nothing wrong with Weißmark.

 

In general I agree with you, translations, localizations almost never sound quite right but that's hardly, or not necessarily, the fault of the translators. That's just the obvious tension that something that sounds elegant in one language may sound quite clumsy in another but change it too much you're losing the original meaning. So there often has to be a compromise. Translators who can avoid that, convey the full meaning of the original while still making it sound good are few and far between, it's an art in itself. Only way out is to read, watch, play things in the original wherever possible.

 

"Die weiße Mark" would be better for example. But as I said: I wouldn't have translated it anyway. The language of the Dyrwood is very specific and it's partly fantasy. You just can't do it right without loosing something. Take Gilded Vale for example. It has that settler vibe to it (I even think it has a double meaning, like guilded). Somehow the name itself sounds a bit ironic. Goldtal, or any other translation with gold in it sounds like a name from a fairy tale or medieval high fantasy bull****. I expect to find elves there.

 

And I'm not talking about the names only. Or about the fact, that they didn't even bother trying to get the accents right. Almost every sentence sounded idiotic, out of context and straight from the translator.

 

How come that my stupid adventure books for children had better translations?

Edited by Lord_Mord

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That is simply impossible, and the best a translator can do is coming close to the sentiment the creator tried to evoke in the original language.

 

Which they didn't even try.

 

 

Also, it seems you haven't used Google Translate in a while.

 

This translations obviously came from the machine. Someone looked over it, of course, but not very closely.

 

 

Don't really understand what's the issue with Goldtal and Weißmark, either.

 

I new this kind of comment would come. That you don't see the problem, does not mean, that it's not there. I just can repeat myself. This is not a problem that cannot be solved. Just read books and games from the 80s. Not perfect, but good enough that I wouldn't complain.

 

 

Translating is waaaay more complicated than it seems, if you want to do better than a fan dub that is basically content with getting the meaning across.

 

I know. I already did some translations for the BG1 NPC project. I don't wanna be a loudmouth, but I could do it better than it was done for PoE. And I don't believe that there are no companies that could do it way better.

Edited by Lord_Mord

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Just wanted to throw in my five cents on the matter of translating names and terms: it's always a sore point for translator. Literal translation usually sounds silly, so you have to either detach from original meaning to make it sound (somewhat) acceptable or just transliterate it. And even if you want to do the former, coming up with cool names doesn't always work out as well as you'd like, sometimes ending up silly and inaccurate at the same time (especially if you're dealing with Japanese and their habit of making words up from random kanji on the spot). I've seen a few cases where people had to resort to Latin and Greek in translation where there was none in the original just to make words sound good and preserve the meaning. Kinda dirty move, though, and certainly frowned at amongst professionals.

 

That said, I have no idea how bad PoE1's German localzation really is as I don't speak German, and I definitely can understand your feelings, but please cut some slack to translators as well.

...Not if they really used machine translation in your case, though. That's just lazy.

 

Come to think of it, Russian localization of PoE1 was surprisingly (VERY much so) well done. Guys transliterated some names (Dyrwood=Дирвуд) and localized the others (Defiance Bay = Бухта Непокорности), and they definetely haven't even seen the game they were translating, let alone play it, but overall it was... readable. Which is rare for our official game translations, so... Yeah.

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Not if they really used machine translation in your case, though. That's just lazy.

 

Which I'm pretty shure they did. No matter what they others here say. I smell it.

 

My wife speaks russian. I think I will ask her to play the russian version for a while, than compare them for me. :) But what you told sounds good. That mix is very oldschool.

 

Edit: What's the name of Gilded Vale in russian?

Edited by Lord_Mord

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