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Written by Javier Arizpe

January 6, 2018

Tips for video game translation


There are different areas of specialization in the field of professional translation, and believe it or not, one of them is video games. And if you are thinking about working in this type of translation, I recommend reading the advice I have written for you in this article.

The translation of video games may sound “easier”, but the reality is that it is a very peculiar work that is not suitable for everyone. Why? Just because you must like the subject.

I would like to clarify that a video game translator does not necessarily have to be a professional gamer, but you must at least enjoy the industry, know some of the vocabulary, and be interested in researching often about the topic.



Play as much as you can

It sounds as fun as it is! Just as a translator specializing in engineering, medicine, or law must take courses (or even study a full university career); a video game translator has to know their work and for whom they work, so the best way to do it is playing.

It is a little more complicated when it is the first version of a video game, but if there are previous versions, or if the game is an extensions of a book or film, try to be aware of the type of game, learn the vocabulary used, the narrative style and the way its main characters speak.


Consider the target audience and forget literalness

Sometimes it happens that we are presented with a text that may not have much logical sense, is very colloquial, or includes words made up by the creator, and although its translation is correct grammatically, it does not mean that it is the most appropriate according to the type of audience.

That is why it is important to know who the game is aimed at and their ages, because the vocabulary used in a video game for children (which should be simpler and more enjoyable), will not be the same as in a video game for adults.


Find a gamer to correct you

If the confidentiality contract your client gives you allows it, look for a fellow video game lover to give you their opinion on sentences that makes you doubt.

And if you can not share anything about the project, you can always talk to your friend about the topic in general, ask them about the characters, history and any other information that may be useful for you, from a consumer’s point of view.


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