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Fun for All

Translation and Accessibility Practices in Video Games

Edited By Carmen Mangiron, Pilar Orero and Minako O'Hagan

Video games have evolved to become a pervasive format which is beyond entertainment, enjoyed by a broad group of people rather than as a niche activity by hardcore gamers. However, to date, academic studies focusing on game localization and accessibility are few and far between, despite the fact that further research in localization and accessibility would be beneficial to all. The different contributions in this pioneering volume address the emerging fields of Game Accessibility and Game Localization from different angles, providing insightful information about these relatively unexplored academic areas with such close tights to the industry. The volume is divided in two sections: the first section includes four contributions on Game Accessibility, dealing with issues such as universally accessible games and guidelines for promoting accessibility. The second section of the book includes nine contributions focussing on different issues affecting game translation and localization, such as case studies, culturalization, fan translation, and terminology management for the game localization industry.
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Translating Fun for All: Promoting Accessibility in Video Games: Alberto Fernández Costales

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Translating Fun for All: Promoting Accessibility in Video Games1

ALBERTO FERNÁNDEZ COSTALES

Centre d’ Accessibilitat i Intel·ligència Ambiental de Catalunya / Universidad de Oviedo

Abstract

This paper analyses the role of translation in the process of creating accessible video games. Within the framework of globalisation and the ‘information society’, video games have become one of the most popular sources of entertainment for millions of people around the world. Moreover, the ‘democratization’ of games, triggered by the emergence of casual gaming, has created new videogame users, altering the stereotypical profile of ‘hardcore’ players. In this context, the concept of accessibility needs revisiting, as the new user types may indicate that accessibility relates not only to people with disabilities. Promoting game accessibility is therefore even more important, due to the diversity and complexity of the ‘global audience’. As multimedia and multimodal products, video games need to be adapted and translated into target cultures in order to preserve playability as well as to conform to the expectations of users. The ways translation can contribute to (re)creating video games and the connection between game accessibility and audiovisual translation have not yet been sufficiently discussed. This article supports the idea that translation is a key element to fostering e-inclusion and can contribute to bridging the digital divide.

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