RPGWatch Forums - View Single Post - Project Eternity - Update #8, Novella, Translations
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September 26th, 2012, 09:05
I would hope they made language selection up to the user rather than pre-determining it by region. I expect that should be the case for the GoG distribution at the very least. I do hope they spend the time between hinting at the big announcement was coming and posting it to get competitive bids on the translation.

After looking up the variability in costs for large translation projects (anywhere from $0.03 to $0.25 per word) I can certainly see why they might have taken a little extra time to nail down that price and shop around. Consider that that price range means that the 800,000 word script of Planescape torment would cost anywhere between $24,000 and $200,000 to translate into each language. Even at the low end and with a smaller script this is a non-trivial cost.

I hope they received a very good deal on the translation because it is unlikely that this announcement will see a big boost in pledges. Why is that? For one, I don't imagine those who see English as a barrier would be all that active in pledging to projects described entirely in English also on a website whose instructions and information is presented all in English. This might have been saved for a later stetch goal or perhaps each language could have been staggered as small parts of several stretch goals - the order of which could have been determined by survey. And perhaps if they really wanted to entice Spanish, French, and German speaking gamers to contribute - at least those who do not prefer untranslated works - they might have posted a very short kickstarter video in each language on youtube.

Translating into Spanish at least might well bring the game to a much larger market. It is important to remember that no other language has reached a level of native speakers beyond its country of origin to the extent that Spanish has (English is a close second) and the only language spoken natively by more people is Chinese. So when considering the Spanish speaking audience one must not just think Spain. Mexico for example is the 5th largest market for Xbox 360 games and has the 8th highest number of broadband internet subscribers; this is ahead of Spain in each respect. Still, I don't know if that means that Spanish translations of what is expected to be a very text heavy game inherently make sense at this point - let alone whether other languages do. Considering that Kickstarter is itself not exactly something that caters particularly well to non-English speakers, I am even less sure still.

I do think it the game should be offered in other languages besides English though, that such translations should be done as professionally and thoughtfully as is practicable, and that users rather than locale should be able to determine the language of their choice. I can't say for sure, without having a firm idea of the precise costs or the extent of interest among non-English speaking consumers who speak the languages mentioned, whether or not this will end up being a wise and cost effective stretch goal at this point. At the moment my feeling is that it probably will turn out not to have been - at least not for all three of those languages at once and not at this early point.

I hope that my doubts are proven wrong. To this end it would be helpful if the project and translation decision receives good coverage in German, Spanish, and French gaming news publications and websites - and the Spanish language outlets popular outside of just Spain. Either that or I hope the preference for the original untranslated version and indifference to the availability of translations is overrepresented on this forum.

Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Me too. I know plenty of people who actually get pissed when they are denied the "original" or "true" English version of an artistic work. Assuming they want it translated insinuate that they are a child, uneducated or even unsophisticated. The opposite, that a person request a translated version is rare, unless we are speaking about an older person.
I'm certain that nothing condescending is intended by it - at least nothing more condescending than assuming that the rest of the world market is at least partly as disinterested and ill-equipped to digest foreign-language products as the US market usually is. That's more ignorant and presumptive than actively condescending - not looking down on anyone so much as failing to see.
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