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Video Game Translation and Cognitive Semantics


Mateusz Sajna

The book concentrates on video game translation from the perspective of cognitive semantics. One of its objectives is to assert that translators’ knowledge of cognitive semantics can affect translation, i.e. decoding the sender’s mental states and evoking particular mental states in the target language recipient. The work is interdisciplinary and draws on such fields as games studies, cognitive semantics, and translation studies. It also aspires to complete gaps in the scientific research on video games, systematize the knowledge of localization, and ascertain the role played by translators in the localization process. The research material consists of eight video games which belong to different genres, and the investigated English video game texts cover almost 3000 standard pages.

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Chapter 2: Video Game Translation


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Chapter 2:  Video Game Translation


Chapter 2 offers a more detailed overview of the localization process from the perspective of translation studies. Consequently, it excludes or discusses only succinctly certain individuals and processes involved in localization who or which are not directly related to translation and translators. It begins with an account of what localization is and the role played by translators in rendering video games. The reader is introduced to the game localization cycle, where particular emphasis is put on the stages involving translators. Subsequently, I move on to presenting a number of translation techniques developed over the past several decades by different translation scholars. Although none of them were developed specifically with video games in mind, they can usually be transposed to the area of game translation and prove very useful. What follows is a discussion about the limitations imposed upon, as well as obstacles encountered by, game translators, and a brief overview of the tools they have at their disposal in overcoming these difficulties. Chapter 2 also presents video game translation in relation to Skopos theory, and scrutinizes the problem of culture-specific terms appearing in video games.

2.  Localization And The Translator

Although the first professional localization into Polish took place in 1999, when CD Projekt resolved to bring “Baldur’s Gate” (Interplay) closer to Polish players (Maj 2010: 60), the early days of video game localization can be traced back to the 1980s. One...

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