“Professional” localization of games

Dec
21
2009

This article was meant to be published back in February 2009 along with its Czech counterpart, but for some reason I didn’t finish it back then and now it’s almost a year later. It really should’ve been done a long time ago, so sorry about that, but I figure late is still better than never. So the games mentioned here are somehow old by now, but that doesn’t make the translations less painful. And there’s one small bonus from November 2009, so it’s not like it’s ALL out of date…;)

This is supposed to show the English speaking world how awful and quite often nonsensical our localized games are (and you’re even for the most part spared the terrible word order these translations quite often use). First there’s an original English version, then there’s my attempt to translate the actual meaning of the localized text back to English. The “Czech” version is also in italics.

Mirror’s Edge:

Higher difficulty – More difficult difficulty
Activates the antialiasing which smoothes out the edges – Activation of the antialiasing which makes the edges more straight
Postprocessing effects – Afterprocess effects (note that it’s most unusual to translate the word “postprocess” at all in Czech language, we’re pretty much used to just using the original English term)
Hold left shift during the jump to make yourself smaller – Hold left shift during the jump, you’ll wrap yourself in and then you’ll shrink
You have 1 star on Edge – You have 1 stars to the Edge (note that “Edge” is the name of the level here)
Heat – Hot air (note that the name of this level does have nothing to do with temperature, instead it’s the first level cops try to get the heroine of the game)
Flight – Flying up (note that once again, this level is named thusly because of the manic getaway you experience in that level, no actual flying involved)
The Shard – The Shell (note that The Shard is by far the highest building in the City, it’s very tall and resembles a glass spike)

Burnout Paradise:

Boost – Glow (as in “so hot it glows”)
Burning route – Red-hot track
Metallic paint – Paint of metal (note that there’s an actual one-word term for “metallic paint” and until now I never ever thought it possible that someone who ever saw or heard of a car with metallic paint could even think about not using it, let alone create an entirely new and nonsensical term…it’s really VERY common knowledge)
Smash(es) – Outthrust
Road rage – Furious driving
Marked man – With a target on your back (really, quite literally – it’s even this long in Czech)
Starting point – The point of origin
Destination – The point of destination (note that those last two are not actually THAT wrong, it’s just that the choice of wording is very poor, especially in the racing context)
Drive thru – Passage (note that the term “drive thru” doesn’t really have an equivalent in Czech, so we’re pretty much used to the original English word – if we need to use it at all, which doesn’t happen very often)
Big air – At a glance (note that this is probably meant to be “creative”, because although the original Czech idiom “letem světem” means basically “at a glance”, the word “letem” is derived from the word “let”, which means “flight” – so, in a twisted kind of way, it makes at least SOME sense in Czech, though really not that much)
Tailing – Behind his rear
??? – Head to the nearest junk yard and start driving on your rear wheel (note that this sentence from the notes to the bike datadisk actually doesn’t even have its English counterpart, it’s completely made up for the Czech localization)
Loading data, do not switch off the power – Loading data, do not interrupt the supply of electricity

And now the most fun part – the car specifications:

Racing 500 GT – If you thought the 500 GT was fast, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. The Carson Racing 500 GT is the full GT racing package with even more blistering boost power! – If 500 GT seemed too fast to you, you didn’t really see anything. The Carson Racing 500 GT is a pumped up gift-wrapped racing GT present with even more killer glow-power.

500 GT – A true blood racer’s car. Low-tech, tricky to master, but devilishly quick if you’re good enough. Are you good enough? – A car for naturally born racers. Old, hard to control, but devilishly quick if you’ve got what it takes.

BRT Oval Champ – The Burnout Race Team bring their own special brand of performance enhancement to the Hunter Oval Champ. And you know what that means. More boost! – Burnout Race Team bring to you their own way of boosting power – the Hunter Oval Champ. And you know what that means. More glow!

GT Concept – The new generation of American muscle car is here, and they’ve finally put the MUSCLE back in. What’s more, it might even make it round the occasional corner. – The new generation of the awesome american car is coming right now and this time it’ll really be something! What’s more – you may be able to negotiate even some really wild corners.

Hunter Citizen – Paradise City’s idea of law enforcement. It’s more like a battle cruiser than a police cruiser. It takes an age to turn, but you’d need a torpedo to stop it! – Long (and firm) hand of justice in Paradise City. It’s more like a steamroller than a polica car. It takes an age to get moving, but the only way to stop it then is by using a torpedo!

Hunter Civilian – This is the Hunter Citizen on its day off, with less armor plating and more boost. If the Citizen’s too much of a tank for you, this could be exactly what you’re looking for. – This is Hunter Citizen on holidays, the not-so-armored and with greater glowing. If Citizen is too much like a tank to you, this could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Hunter Dirt Racer – Check out the monstrous Dirt Racer edition of the Hunter Takedown. It’s packing extra boost power to help you plough through your rivals. – Check out the Dirt Racer edition of the Hunter Takedown. It offers extra-glowing power that will pummel through your rivals like a snow-plough.

Jansen XS12 – If the X12 was mental, this baby’s completely loco! The Jansen XS12 is street-legal track package. Somehow the Jansen guys have squeezed even more boost out of it. Hang on! – If the X12 was crazy, this darling is completely loco! Jansen XS12 is a package for browsing through the roads. Somehow the Jansen guys managed to squeeze even more powerfull glowing out of it. Just wait!

Kitano Touge Sport – A delicately balanced drifting machine, the Touge’s GT pedigree also gives it a straight line speed that’s not to be laughed at. – A delicately balanced rig for drifting. Its pure-blood pedigree – the Touge GT – also gives it a straightforward speed you can’t underestimate.

616 Sport – High tech doesn’t even begin to describe it. Computer-controlled supercar power. Computer-controlled all-wheel drive. Computer-controlled traction aid. This car’s probably smarter than you are! – The meaning of the term state-of-the-art doesn’t really mean that much here. Computer-controlled power of the supercar. Computer-controlled drive. Computer-controlled traction. This car’s probably smarter than you are!

Arachno 616 – This sublime custom 616 packs a smoother, more powerful engine. It’s not all about the boost in this ride. You’ll leave people standing without it. – This awe-inspiring reworked 616 offers more even and more powerfull engine. It’s not just about glowing. The others will be green with envy.

And one November 2009 bonus: Dragon Age: Origins is one of the few games that has even its name localized here in Czech republic. The didn’t actually touch the Dragon Age part (probably because it’s a trademark or brand or something and they couldn’t really do much about it), but they did translate the Origins part. This game is called Dragon Age: Springs here. I kid you not.

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Napsal(a) dne 21. 12. 2009 v 04:23
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