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Author Topic: Translation Techniques  (Read 2759 times)

flame

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Translation Techniques
« on: October 12, 2016, 10:10:07 am »
The three categories I can think of are:

1) Understanding the line
2) Writing the localized line
3) Documenting your result

1) Understanding the line:

Pop-up dictionaries:
Rikaisama (recommended): http://rikaisama.sourceforge.net/
Rikaisama is a modified version of Rikaichan.
Rikaichan: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/rikaichan/
Rikaikun: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/rikaikun/jipdnfibhldikgcjhfnomkfpcebammhp

Pop-up dictionary example (this is Rikaisama):


Machine translation tools:
Bing translate, Google translate are the big ones.
I like Bing translate better.
If you just don't care, you can use the machine translation as the final.
Or, use it as a reference when translating.

You can automatically translate the text of your game.
For Bing you can use Excel and the VBA method described here: http://www.heroesoflegend.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=2573#p2573
For Google Translate you can use the GOOGLETRANSLATE() method of Google Sheets.

For complete fails, ask with context somewhere. Like on this forum. There is a reddit translation group and a discord server as well. People can be snobs about wanting you to attempt translation yourself; sometimes you're stumped and just want the answer.

2) Writing the localized line:
I didn't find any resources for this. They have to be out there. Care to help me out?
There are sites out there with examples, like Legends of Localization: http://legendsoflocalization.com/

This is a weak area for me; I can't really speak to it.

3) Documenting your result
Translation memory software: Uses fuzzy matching to find similar, already-translated lines and show you what you put for those. I didn't find it too helpful. I had trouble putting translated text back into the format it needs to be for insertion into the game.

De-duplication: Not so much for older games, but PSX/N64/PSP/NDS games onward have plenty of disk space to work with usually so they did not always de-duplicate their strings within the ROM. The basic idea is to identify repeated strings and change pointers to de-duplicate them. It saves space if you need it and it's less work for translators, because no translation needs to be entered for repeats of the same line.

Also on the subject of de-duplication, it doesn't matter if the de-duplicated strings are in a different file or not. You do not want translators typing them twice, so you can put a reference code to the previous copy of that string in the translation column in dumps. When the inserter program sees a reference code, it can look up the reference.

Speech-to-text software: The only package I have found is Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Are there others? I have not tried it myself, so I'm unable to comment further. The idea is to speak your lines instead of typing them to increase translation speed.

Automatic line-wrapping: It's helpful for your translator to have such an algorithm. There's a need to get away from: 1) pushing the return key and 2) manual line wrapping, which waste your translator's time. I find you always need a "manual" flag in spreadsheet formats because the automatic line wrapping won't always handle every line appropriately. Sometimes you want a hard break in a weird place for effect, like single-word sentences, sometimes you want sign text to be centered, sometimes you want help text to have special spacing for readability, etc.... Also you need the flag column because the wrapping length might be different in different game situations. For example, dialogue might have one wrapping length where description text has a different one.

aishsha

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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2016, 07:39:06 pm »
First and the best - learn the language you want to translate.

Euclid

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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2016, 02:38:01 am »
This is actually a good guide - i'll keep it in mind when translating the odd line here and there.

Even if you learn the language, it's still a struggle coming up with translation due to language differences - understanding the language will get you #1, rewriting the lines in english can be surprisingly difficult. Especially a language like japanese where every line is inferred context from the previous line - and the translator always get the lines in jumbled order.

Seihen

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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2016, 03:26:41 am »
I frankly wish people would stop calling it a 'translation' when all they're doing is using Google translate and then rewriting based on "the gist of it."

That's not a translation. That's a haphazard best guess that murders nuance and sends you down a whole bunch of wrong roads. If that's good for you, fine. But the end user playing the patch almost never knows that the 'translation' they're playing was nothing more than a best guess job. They'll then refer to that as gospel, further repeating dialogue that may have never actually happened or may be terribly misconstrued.

It's a 'playability patch,' sure. But not a translation or even localization by any stretch of the imagination.

aishsha

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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2016, 07:48:21 pm »
I frankly wish people would stop calling it a 'translation' when all they're doing is using Google translate and then rewriting based on "the gist of it."

That's not a translation. That's a haphazard best guess that murders nuance and sends you down a whole bunch of wrong roads. If that's good for you, fine. But the end user playing the patch almost never knows that the 'translation' they're playing was nothing more than a best guess job. They'll then refer to that as gospel, further repeating dialogue that may have never actually happened or may be terribly misconstrued.

It's a 'playability patch,' sure. But not a translation or even localization by any stretch of the imagination.
If we had a reputation tag here - you'd have got one from me - exactly what I'm thinking :)

Zynk

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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2016, 12:26:44 am »
I frankly wish people would stop calling it a 'translation' when all they're doing is using Google translate and then rewriting based on "the gist of it."
How can you say that? Haven't you tried translated a game into you native language and not use the literal translation since the texts will definitely takes up much space than the original. Then you'll have to improvise by fitting in contextual lines that go with an event that would make gaijins confused on the idiomatic expressions of Japanese language, or more easily English.

Then "Translation section" should be renamed "Localization section".

Seihen

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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2016, 05:51:18 am »
How can you say that? Haven't you tried translated a game into you native language and not use the literal translation since the texts will definitely takes up much space than the original. Then you'll have to improvise by fitting in contextual lines that go with an event that would make gaijins confused on the idiomatic expressions of Japanese language, or more easily English.

=p Yes I have, in fact. I'm actually employed as a professional translator, have several translations published, and am fluent in English and Japanese. So I think I'm slightly qualified to give an opinion on the difficulty of expressing Japanese in English.

I think you misunderstood my point, though. I'm not saying that things shouldn't be rephrased. I'm also not saying that localization is bad.

I'm saying that people who CANNOT UNDERSTAND JAPANESE shouldn't call the work they do "translation." They're not translating. What they're doing is reading the garbled text that Google/Bing spits out, guessing what the original line probably meant, and then rewriting it to sound natural in English.

If Google/Bing made a mistake, the person will never catch that. If they made a mistake in interpreting what Google/Bing wrote, they'll never know. If that's okay for the writer, that's fine. But I think it's dishonest to the player who downloads the patch and assumes that it was translated by someone who understood the nuance of what was being said in the game.

TL;DR: Please re-read my original post.

flame

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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2016, 12:23:00 pm »
Quote
I think it's dishonest
Quote
If you just don't care, you can use the machine translation as the final.
Those should be labeled but anything past that doesn't need to be. People do pure machine TL for various reasons, but at the end of the day, no translator showed up. Also that's what reviews are for. I don't think it's a huge problem.

Here's one example:
http://www.romhacking.net/translations/542/
There aren't any reviews for this, but you can tell the quality of the translation from the screenshots.

As a general rule TL submissions should have at least one screen of the four showing text and at least one not showing text.

candidosobrinho.sa

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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2016, 12:58:03 pm »
Cool. I always wondered how it would be to see native/fluent english speakers discussing this kind of stuff.

First of all, Fora Temer.

Second, I am talking as a consumer of english-oriented releases of videogames for nearly 23 years. I'd like to assay about this particular case in Brazil.

We brazilians and probably the rest of consumers which didn't have games fully made released aimed to their markets basically are used to consume games where titles and content are in english. Whenever a game was released officially translated, it was released with its original proper names kept untranslated, e.g.: Phantasy Star (SMS), which was the very first videogame in Brazil to be released in portuguese.

When a game is translated for the sake of the game history (they say), the names are not translated because 'it would sound strange'. Unfortunately, by this very sake, expressions, slangs and phrasal verbs are almost mirror translated, and actually this is quite annoying. Of course there are slangs and expressions that would mean the damn thing in our language but by the sake of avoiding personal interpretations that could scramble the translation, this is not taken in consideration.

I mean, there may be some limit between what really makes sense to be translated to natively express a piece of information (localize) and what should nazily be translated, and we should be more eager to reach this limit.

Once I've been in a group participating of a translation for Golden Sun (GBA) and I wanted to translate the title, others didn't. I also intended to research names root and attempt to track their similar in portuguese. E.g.: Isaac = Isac... 'Sol Dourado' would sound cool for a game.

In some countries it's common to see name of places as condensed names such 'Rio' /river/, 'Grande' /big/ 'Riogrande' or 'Bigriver', as noticed in native english countries naming for places and general wildlife. Here, 60 to 80% (personal guess) of places and animals and plants names are american native names. Nowadays these names are not used in translations at all, using them wouldn't sound strange, because we're used to hear names of places, plants and animals having american native names.

In World of WarCraft 'localization' for instance, some words are being broken/mixed, such 'Stormwind' to words that sound strange. We know what it means, but if it would exist, it wouldn't sound like that.

There's also another concern... I'm afraid of the work localization might get banalized sooner or later, with companies saying they're actually doing this. I follow the licensed company that stills hold rights to produce SMS and SMD in Brazil (TecToy) and they've posted recently on FB saying they've proudly brought the 1st localized game in Brazil when basically they mirror translated the whole game, lol, almost google translator quality. E.g.:

Retrieved from Phantasy Star 1 english release:
'Scum! Do not sniff around in Lassic's affairs! Learn this lesson well!',

this would be proper translated to:
'Escória! Não se intrometa nos assuntos de Lassic! /Aprenda bem esta lição/, or Lembre-se disso!' because no one says 'Aprenda bem esta lição'.

Instead, according to the company, it was 'localized' to:
'Não especule em torno do romance de Lassic! Aprenda essa lição!'  :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

or 'Do not speculate around Lassic's relationship! Learn this lession!', where relationship in this context means 'love affair', 'person-to-person relationship' like, when dating people.

They could say it was because of character limit but even still, arrangements could have been done.

Nowadays I attempt to real localize everything I get in hands because gaming or reading we have to ensure that, after all, a feeling has to be transmitted, not a bunch of empty words, as it's done in Fallout Online FOnline2 (MMORPG).

geishaboy

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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2016, 05:01:24 am »
Holy shit, I totally forgot about Rikaichan. That little screenshot brings back memories of being a university student pouring over texts and translation assignments due the next day.


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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2016, 02:16:14 am »
I think translation techniques/resources for learning how to translate are kinda the same thing. I think there should be some dedicated side practice or prior experience before moving onto a game, even for minimal user-interface.

As for people who have prior studies under their belt and have text dumps on-hand, I recommend starting by playing the game if possible(duh) or simply translating via a Let's Play on Niconico or something. There are a few on Youtube as well, but Nico is useful because you get a lot of audio feedback if a player is giving commentary, but viewers can also drop helpful comments right as a scene occurs. Sometimes the viewers' comments flying across the screen are useful when grabbing for context that is sensitive to language nuance/fluency.
It's also handy when splitting the text into chunks and oftentimes just skipping the side stuff to go straight through the story, so it's a timesaver for people on tight schedules or would like to work on the go.

It's something I didn't consider when I first started but it feels obvious now. If you stick through a video tl first, it's a lot less daunting to go back into the text you missed later on.

KingMike

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Re: Translation Techniques
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2016, 06:00:05 pm »
Here's one example:
http://www.romhacking.net/translations/542/
There aren't any reviews for this, but you can tell the quality of the translation from the screenshots.

Langfand00d was the first to translate a game entirely as a machine translation. It was deliberately done as an April Fools Day joke, for a few years.
Until his (also purposely terrible) website went down.

I suppose at the least a machine-translation "playability patch" can get the technical work all figured out and perhaps draw interest for a proper translation. Assuming of course, the patch is honest and says it is machine-based.
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