How Video Game Translation Differs From Other Types of Translation

At Language Automation, Inc. (LAI), we focus specifically on the translation and localization of video games and ensure all of our translators have experience within the video game industry.  Why is this important?

Well, have you ever tried to explain a video game to your parents, grandparents, significant other, anyone who isn’t a gamer?  Assuming both of you are fluent speakers of the same language, as soon as you launch into World of Warcraft jargon, you may as well be speaking an entirely different language.  

For example, in the comic above, this avid gamer is screaming about a graveyard, mobs, runs, Taurens, and tanks.  Now, unless your mom is leveling her own toon in WoW, you may as well be speaking Martian.  And, chances are, unless your translator’s accreditation program had a class focused specifically on the translation of key vocabulary in MMORPG’s (unlikely), your run-of-the-mill translator will have no idea how to translate words like “pull,” “mob,” “run,” “Tauren,” and “tank,” much less the host of other WoW-centric words including “rez” and “drop.”  By now, WoW has a rather extensive library of words used for the various language packs available to players, but many games don’t have that luxury.
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Courses, Certificates, and Credentials Related to Game Translation and Localization

While there are a plethora of resources and training materials available for translators, there are a few education opportunities geared specifically toward video game translation.  LAI scoured the internet for coursework, certifications, and degrees with a video game component.  Below are the available credentials and related descriptions.

In addition to the following courses and degrees, be sure to check Ian Bogost’s current list of courses at Georgia Tech.  A former class he taught was titled “Videogame Adaptation and Translation.”  The University of Limerick in Ireland also put on a “Summer School” called “Computer & Video Game Localisation” in 2011.  The website includes video presentations of the session.  Be sure to check back on our blog for future education opportunities.


University of Roehamption. London – MA in Audiovisual Translation

Description: The MA in Audiovisual Translation is a leading course in its field, recognised internationally and a member of the European Masters in Translation network coordinated by the European Commission.  The course offers teaching and training in core subjects of Audiovisual Translation, such as subtitling and dubbing, but also in innovative areas of accessibility (respeaking and audio-description, for instance) and localisation (software and video games localisation).  Academic staff are all research active and involved with members of the translation industry.

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