What is the difference between localization and translation? — Guild Wars 2 Forums

What is the difference between localization and translation?

edited October 30, 2018 in Oct 2018: Localization

Hey Loc Team,

I warned you I was going to ask, and well, here it is. ;)

Can you explain the differences between localization and simple translation?

When I first started with ArenaNet I remember learning that there are significant differences, I think a lot of people would be interested in learning about these two different processes.

Gaile Gray
Communications Manager: ArenaNet
Fansite & Guild Relations; In-Game Events; Community Showcase Live

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  • A lot of us are unclear about what exactly localization is. Can you walk us through what happens in these three scenarios:

    (1) Game jargon. How do you translate the class specializations? Do you look for translating the idea? or the sense of the word? Do the non-English teams push back against some jargon words because of how tricky they might be to convey or transition? Which specialization was the trickiest to port from English? English (and German) uses a lot of portmanteaus (e.g. Dragonhunter), but Spanish & French less so -- does this make things trickier? Is there are specialization (or other jargon) translation of which you are especially pleased with how it turned out?

    (2) Character names. Some names clearly will fit in just fine: Taimi, Blish, Utumishi. When does a name need localization? When does it need localisation? Are the conversations typically quick & easy? Or, when there is a decision, can it generate... passionate discussions? Can you name any particular NPCs that we particularly interesting or awkward or funny to translate?

    (3) Story dialogue. How much lead time do you get for new Living World episodes? (How much time do you want?) How many edits from the English do you get while in the process of localizing? Once localized, do the actors ever end up saying/doing something that makes you rethink the choices? (Are you present during recording sessions to assist?)

    Thanks.

    Hype is the path to the dark side. Hype leads to unfulfilled expectations. Disappointment leads to anger. Anger leads to disgust. Disgust leads to "oh, new shinies! I'm back!"

  • I would have thought that translation was just a part of localisation. It would be nice to get a full list of everything the localisation team does so that we can fully appreciate all they do but I imagine it probably entails some of the following as well:

    Changing for cultural taboos (e.g. showing skeletons in some cultures)
    Changing jokes that are based on linguistic puns.
    Checking for legal issues across varying countries.
    Changes for other cultural differences (e.g. I remember reading something about a movie where there was a child throwing away some broccoli which in American culture is usually seen as a hated vegetable, but in one of the localisations they had to change that as it didn't make sense, because in that country it is considered a treat).

  • Ayrilana.1396Ayrilana.1396 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Translation - This applies to fairly literal, "word for word." This is often out of necessity. If you want to make sure that a person in Japan understands how to use a product (such as a medical device), it is important that the source and target-language text match up precisely.

    Localization - This is a more involved process whereby the target-language content is adapted to more effectively convey a similar meaning or connotation in the target culture. Idiomatic expressions, puns and marketing material generally fall into this category, but localization can apply to any type of content based on what your business objectives are. The key point here is that your target-language version will often not be a literal translation. As an example, if you want to convey the phrase "Like father, like son" in Chinese, it would read as something like "Tigers do not breed dogs." Although this doesn't match up with the source content, it has the same connotation in the target culture

    https://www.computerworld.com/article/2471149/mobile-apps/translation-vs--localization--and-those-other-long-words-.amp.html

  • Ardid.7203Ardid.7203 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Illconceived Was Na.9781 said:
    (1) Game jargon. How do you translate the class specializations? Do you look for translating the idea? or the sense of the word? Do the non-English teams push back against some jargon words because of how tricky they might be to convey or transition? Which specialization was the trickiest to port from English? English (and German) uses a lot of portmanteaus (e.g. Dragonhunter), but Spanish & French less so -- does this make things trickier? Is there are specialization (or other jargon) translation of which you are especially pleased with how it turned out?

    On this aspect I must say the Spanish translation for some of the elite specializations are really, really weird/ugly, specially for Latin American ears. Maybe the Mother Spain crowd find them less awkward, but at least most people I chat in game, from many spanish talking places tend to concurr with me.
    "Chatarrero" doesn't really sound like "Scrapper" to me, it sounds like "Trash-guy".
    "Quimérico" is literally "Chimeric" in spanish, which IMO doesn't relate with the desert and mirrors like "Mirage" do. "Espejismo" would have been a MUCH better name.
    "Abrasador" remembers a barbecue, not divine fire.

    Finally, a very specific case: "Retornado" sounds great, but is not a direct translation of "Revenant", and it doesn't have anything to do with spirits. In my country Retornado is a political term for people who came back to Chile from forced exile after the Military Dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. It is a very charged and uncomfortable word, which tends to spawn strong political debates and conflict.

    The rest are great, IMO. "Cazadragones" manages to sound better IMO than Dragon Hunter, although the meaning is still super awkward for this game...

    And of course: "Tempestad" is 100% better than the first proposal of "Tempesteador". So in this case, this is a HUGE thank you for the localization team. You save me from lots of suffering.

  • Hello everyone,

    At ArenaNet we define Localization as providing a game experience that feels native for our players. Localization when done well goes unnoticed because it feels natural, however great localization adds elements to the players experience that sends a message of extra care, the team is highly focused on that.
    As an example, when we have a pun that has no equivalent in a target language, we must apply our creative skills and come up with an equivalent that is hopefully a pun and still relevant to the context. It can be tricky at times but having that extra human creative touch applied to the locale is what differentiates localization from translation.

    I will leave the language specific questions to each language teams:)

    Fun fact: GW2 has over 5 million words :)

  • Kunzaito.8169Kunzaito.8169 Member ✭✭✭

    There are some good/interesting questions that got threaded here when they should probably be their own threads. I hope they get answered. (That said, it seems like this month's subforum is not seeing much response action from the spotlight ANet team overall)

  • edited November 2, 2018

    These are such informative and detailed answers. I loved learning more, and thank you both so much, Bashkim and Alexandra!

    Gaile Gray
    Communications Manager: ArenaNet
    Fansite & Guild Relations; In-Game Events; Community Showcase Live

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