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What is the best for role-playing game: bad translation or no translation at all?

I already asked this question in the obsidian forums, but i got only one answer - i am really interested in what role-playing community can say about this question, so, i hope that i will be able to find and answer here. So, here it is:

Hello. I wanted to discuss a question that is very important for me with the people who are really loving role-playing games, and i could not think about better place to find them then forum of one of the best rpg developers that ever existed. What i want for you - is to carefully listen to my question and give me any kind of advice, tell me what you think about it...

If you want to read my story, here is my reddit post with a bit more detailed explanaton of the situation: https://www.reddit.com/r/Assistance/comments/47ouom/advice_i_do_not_know_what_to_do_with_my_life_and/

But here i would like to skip the unnesesary details and keep it short, so...

Short story: I am a writer. Writing stories for the games are my only interest in life and not long ago i was able to finish my first role-playing game, that probably will also be my last. it is free to play, but to share it with the community i need and english translation, but seems like i could not find anyone who could help me with that. Many people are suggesting me to do translation on my own.

Here comes my question: people saying that my english skill is enough to make a translation, and then just give people to edit and fix the mistakes. But i think that my skills are not even close to being enough to make a proper literature translation, because i don't know half of the words in english, and even worse - i have no idea how to make sentences that will sound good and will be enjoyable to read. I am afraid to destory my whole story because of that. If you do not understand what i am trying to say, let me give you an example - many of you should know the prologue to the Darkest Dungeon, right?
Ruin has come to our family. You remember our venerable house, opulent and imperial, gazing proudly from its stoic perch above the moor? I lived all my years in that ancient, rumor shadowed manor, fattened by decadence and luxury - and yet I began to tire of conventional extravagance.

But i didn't know most of that words and possible sentences before i heared this. How would i write it if i would translating this from russian?
Our family was destroyed. You remember our respectable house, luxorious and imperial, looking proudly from the stoic nest above the swamp? I spent my entire life in that ancient mansions that you heard about, drowning in decadence and luxury - but i began to tire from my usual extravagance.

That how i would write it if i would translate it straight from the russian, without reading english version first. In means almost the same, right? But can you really say that you enjoyed reading my version? Or that it is somehow better then original? Or that it can be "fixed" by any editors?

I think that you can't fix something that is not just a mistake, but a mistranslation because of very poor english knowledge.And i think that if i will try to translate my game, the text that i has being carefully editing for the last 5 years into that kind of abomination - i will ruin all the enjoyment from reading it for the english-speaking players.

But that's only what i think. Maybe i am wrong? Maybe, as those people saying, my translations is not so bad and they sound good at english? I can't say because i am not native english speaker, but you are. Please, could you tell me, what would be the best - make this kind of translation or just forget about translating?

Comments

  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Honestly, at this level it becomes more a matter of personal writing style. English is so crazy with synonyms, idioms, and methods of wordplay that it is very easy to create two completely different translations of the same sentence, after a bit of localizing. This is especially true of translations from Japanese, where the original text is probably pretty bland if it's translated 100% faithfully.

    A good editor can help with phrasing choices, suggest alternatives, and make sure you avoid frequent spelling errors. A good localizer can help make the translation fit culturally with the target audience. It's also possible to go too far with a localization, though that's far less common.

    I'd say, go for it!
  • LordKaiserLordKaiser Gaming Freedom Full Members
    Bad translation or localization? If it's bad localization like what Treehouse does for Nintendo games then I rather don't get the game at all.
    Never buy a game published by D3 Publisher that is not WKCII. They cheated on their fans by releasing a game that they didn't support not even for a year and they released a rushed translation.
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    I dunno, even a marginal localization can get you some great quotes. Stuff like "Spoony bard!" would never have happened with a better localization.

    Again, looking at the samples given, I doubt that he'd be giving a half-assed effort.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited March 2016
    Translating the game, even if it's a subpar translation, would allow more people to play it. Many people would ignore a game in a language they can't understand. I say go for it.
    LordKaiser wrote: »
    Bad translation or localization? If it's bad localization like what Treehouse does for Nintendo games then I rather don't get the game at all.
    "Bad" is in the eye of the beholder, perhaps. I'd put Treehouse up there with Atlus USA and 8-4 Ltd as some of the best localizers in the business. All three have their fair share of Woolseyisms.

    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • daveyddaveyd Turn-based lifeform PAFull Members
    As I'm sure you know, translating games is a lot of work. It's easier enough to find out the English word for any Russian word (just copy and past into Google translate), but the languages have very different grammar rules, and there's all the figurative language; sayings, expressions, puns, etc. Turning all of that into something that makes sense and sounds good takes a lot of time.

    If you have the time (and money) to invest in your game by hiring an editor then go for it!

    I'd certainly be interested in playing your game and from the Darkest Dungeon example you gave, I think your translation could be very good with the help of a native English speaking editor and probably perfectly understandable if you just did the translation yourself.
    Currently playing (on PC): Hard West, Eisenwald: Blood of November, Dungeon Rats, Wasteland 2, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire





  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    A straight translation is usually not enough, IMO. I'm with gaijin that localization can be taken too far, but a pure, literal translation is usually either boring or confusing, since a lot of nuance can be lost when translating literally across languages. I've seen examples of both, though localization going too far is usually harder to spot since you need to speak the original language in order to even tell, or at least have an alternate translation to work off of.

    I look at localization kind of like a see-saw. On one side you have the literal translation, and on the other side, you have a completely rewritten script that looks nothing like the original. Optimally, you should be trying to get somewhere right in the middle, keeping the intent of the original language in tact, while rewriting it JUST enough to flow properly and contextually in the new language. Staying too far on either side tips the see-saw, and you have a bad localization.

    My suggestion: you clearly have enough of a grasp on English to do at least a literal translation by yourself. That's a good start. Once you have that, you can hire an editor to rework the translation into more colloquial English. If they're good, they'll ask you for clarification on anything that doesn't seem right.
    God's Final Message to His creation, written in thirty-foot high letters of fire on the side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains:
    We Apologize for the Inconvenience
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    LordKaiser wrote: »
    Bad translation or localization? If it's bad localization like what Treehouse does for Nintendo games then I rather don't get the game at all.
    Ironically Treehouse does pretty good work. Sure they do some iffy things here and there, but overall they do good work.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    LordKaiser wrote: »
    Bad translation or localization? If it's bad localization like what Treehouse does for Nintendo games then I rather don't get the game at all.
    Ironically Treehouse does pretty good work. Sure they do some iffy things here and there, but overall they do good work.

    Lately Treehouse has been going a bit too far with their changes. That's becoming a pretty common sentiment. They've definitely gotten censor-happy, which is why I'm being very choosey about which games from Nintendo I buy now. Bravely Second is right out for me because of the localization. Major censorship plus enormous amounts of cut content being reported from the EU version.
    God's Final Message to His creation, written in thirty-foot high letters of fire on the side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains:
    We Apologize for the Inconvenience
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited March 2016
    While I'm not entirely sure, isn't it Nintendo of America that makes the decisions of what to censor and other major changes? Treehouse is NoA's localizing division. If that's the case, people are blaming the wrong group.

    Mind you that I tend to limit localization quality to how a game's text is translated, and voice acting, if any. I might be oversimplifying,
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited March 2016
    omegabyte wrote: »
    LordKaiser wrote: »
    Bad translation or localization? If it's bad localization like what Treehouse does for Nintendo games then I rather don't get the game at all.
    Ironically Treehouse does pretty good work. Sure they do some iffy things here and there, but overall they do good work.

    Lately Treehouse has been going a bit too far with their changes. That's becoming a pretty common sentiment. They've definitely gotten censor-happy, which is why I'm being very choosey about which games from Nintendo I buy now. Bravely Second is right out for me because of the localization. Major censorship plus enormous amounts of cut content being reported from the EU version.
    With FE: F, they did manage to screw up several of the supports, but at the same time they've fixed the problems with the JP story from the 3 routes for the NA release...luckily. That particular problem you mentioned with Bravely Second could possibly have to do with the laws in the EU. Things you can get away with in NA you can't in EU, sadly. I look at Germany with some of its laws as an example.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • ShayminShaymin The Gratitude Pokemon Halifax, New SealandFull Members
    And it turns out the developers made the call on changing Bravely Second's quest endings after fan feedback. (Source). So, uh, yeah.
    "The flowers all over its body burst into bloom if it is lovingly hugged and senses gratitude."
    Twitter | A gaming podcast by grownups | Nintendo World Report news editor
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Mais, revenons à nos moutons, to use a French expression in dire need of proper localisation ;)

    ElvenNeko, what is this game about? Is it more plot-heavy or action-heavy? On a scale of one to ten, with one being The Legend of Zelda and ten being any recent title from Nihon Falcom, how much text is there to deal with?
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