Language selections and this site, discussion of possibilities.

Started by FAST6191, September 23, 2021, 08:51:03 AM

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Saw an interesting discussion and thought I might expand on it a bit/get thoughts of others. I am not really seeking to cause or promote any change as much as have an interesting discussion on the matter. was the discussion.
Guy had made an ancient Greek translation of a game and was wondering what it came under. A reasonable question as ancient Greek is not spoken by so many modern Greek speakers today and if it is then it is because they learned it in school decades ago. Mutual intelligibility is also rather low as these things go, though less than you might expect if going from something like Chinese, Russian, old English ( , though if doing games then probably should go with ), old/ancient French (think trying to read la Chanson de Roland) or indeed Latin to modern Italian. For the sake of keeping this vaguely short I might also skip the many versions of modern Greek (see Katharevousa if you want a jumping off term for a search).

Later another user pondered whether Spanish as spoken in parts of South America (which themselves have some very notable differences if we are playing linguist) and Spanish as spoken in Spain (we will leave aside regional dialects that might even be independent languages for another time as I can't be bothered to deal with the Catalonia independence types). Now while I am aware of there being more notable differences than the usual quirky "two nations separated by a common language" things we get for English (because apparently Canada, Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong, South Africa, India and Australia do not exist).
Of course that immediately opens up the door to French from France and that nonsense spoken in Quebec (they tell me it is actually closer to old school Parisian French but I think that is a thing they tell themselves to excuse it).
Both of those are discussions in the game playing community as well where people in all the various combinations that don't otherwise get translations of games go for the other region offerings (or go for that first in the case of time delay). Portuguese also features in that but usually more because the Brazilian ROM hacking scene is way more active than the one from Portugal, and Portugal very rarely gets more than the occasional game for kids translated on consoles ( advanced search for the entire GBA, DS and PSP/PSN database "Found 229 entries matching "Portuguese" in "GBA Release and Pure List" and "NDS Release List" and "PSP & PSN Relase List"" with the nature of the games being exactly what you would expect give or take PSP getting some driving and shooting games on the more popular/would expect to see a dozen copies on a charity shop shelf type of thing, by point of contrast then Swedish has 340 entries and even some standalone home grown efforts. I would have to check but having manned new game releases for a while I would also bet handheld games, which are usually far cheaper to make, being far more likely to get local language translations than consoles, PC is up in the air).

That would also open the door to other differences; while I might have shied away from the Catalonia thing then I will pick the fight in the Dutch from the Netherlands (never mind their internal interesting quirks) and Dutch from Belgium (some call it Flemish), possibly also Afrikaans (South Africa, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe to a lesser extent) which is largely still Dutch as well (I have certainly seen some flowing conversations between Dutch speakers and Afrikaans speakers). Also don't know what exists in other Dutch colonial efforts at present similar to people taking English and running with it when that empire bit shrank.

"I don't imagine there would be a huge number of submissions specifically for Ancient Greek"
That I might question.
It is often seen that people learning such things do take it to the medium they know; popular music translation has long been a thing seen, films and poems another (though poetry is hard). Games do fall under that remit and we have seen that in various things before. You do also get the occasional blip of effort from teachers of such subjects to drum up some interest, and those that learned it years ago wanting to do something more active with it* to keep it fresh in mind.
Granted classics seems to be a casualty of overstuffed class schedules (lack of PE probably worse as far as health of a nation but hey, how to file taxes having never really been covered anywhere I saw to lose); at this point I am no spring chicken and I was the last year to be offered Latin as a option* (I went to state schools, public schools aka private schools to US types occasionally still offer it and a few even mandate it if sticking with very old school quadrivium and trivium approaches). If I know ancient Greek letters it is because science and maths use them for symbols when running out of others, or indeed learning some Russian once, I did study the stories and they are still well known but they were all translated.

*both asterisks coming to this footnote. Said Latin was all one way as well; I would not have had to write a single sentence in Latin to pass the course with flying colours, if you could it was because you were clued in enough to realise that you knew the language construction and thus could do the whole duality of knowledge thing.

On old English. I was recently asked about the feasibility of simplifying one of the DS Dragon Quest games that in its translation used a lot of regional dialects -- one of the tribes in the game was given a fairly Scottish dialect with a lot of older terms (some still somewhat common but fading along with all the other dialects - not Scottish but skip to about 2 minutes for another dialect which would be harder to parse if you did the second language is English and learned from American TV, films and games or if you had seen UK stuff then probably just BBC accent stuff (also skip to about 2 minutes in that video from just now). Also if doing UK accents then better do the scene from Lock Stock just because .

So then any thoughts, things I might have missed, expansions or similar?


So, maybe the possibility of a general alternate language variation section? At least until some of the variations prove to be large enough for their own sub-section.


This is a though question, when making language selection should we not consider them nations? I don't like making the problem bigger than it seems because "ancient x" is nothing like "modern x", and nobody is going to waste time making content for "ancient x", or the "country 1 language x" does not speak the same as "mainland 0 language x". This is a cultural question that often sparkles raging statements, "my x is the most spoken variant, thus should be the main x", just like the example from Portuguese language, I prefer the administration keeping simple ideas like "Portuguese is Portuguese, wherever, whenever". This may not be the best way for some languages, but it fits the selector idea for the best.

If anything, the submitter could provide the country where the variant is located, that would make things more pleasant. The language timeline best be kept in the description, the most objective setting I could think is the age (numeric) the language was used.


With Spanish/Portuguese, it's as you said - fairly significant differences. The vast majority of Portuguese translations are in Brazilian Portuguese, because Sao Paulo alone has more people than Portugal, and I've no idea how much interest in retrogaming there is in Mozambique or Angola; so here all that's needed is just marking the region clearly (I'm pretty sure almost all those translations are in BrPT). When it comes to Spanish, the differences are also quite pronounced - but in this case, there are plenty of translations from all countries; Spanish translations tend to be more informal/use more local slang. I guess the easiest way is to just make it very clear in the description/readme etc. which version you came up with, so that people would know what to expect. With English, 99% of the fan-translations seem to be in AmE, after all, because that's where console gaming was/is the most popular out of the English-speaking countries + it has the largest population.

As for dead/extinct languages, I think Greek section should be good enough. I mean, there are no fan-translations here for loads of living languages either (Czech, major African languages like Swahili, Burmese, most Indian languages etc.) so I doubt there will be enough interest in dead or extinct languages to warrant their own sections, maybe aside from Latin which is already there. Overall, I agree with what tvtoon said, just make it as clear as it gets and that should be enough.


In real life there are more "Mexican Spanish" speakers than Spanish speakers from Spain, and if I am not wrong the Mexico city alone has more spanish speakers than any other place in the world, making this language the 3rd-4th most spoken along with english and chinese.

However the translation scene still seems to be more Spain projects, I don't see many mexican translations, these last years I see more Argentinian and few Chilean releases, which are basically using the same Mexican variant but with some differences in terminologies and they would never use words such as "concha" or "cajeta" for being taboo words in their countries.

So in conclussion I agree that the variant can be only described by the submitter in the description, the thing is that many translators don't do this, I am not complaining about this by the way, I am totally okay with each one's decision.
For the sake of localization


Add a dialect descriptor that can be appended to each language. Maybe a combo box or spinner, or a text input field for one or both if you don't want to manually add all possible dialects for selection.