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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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Translators specializing in the rendition of video games are afflicted with a substantial deficiency of academic texts, as well as scientific texts for the general public, which would discuss the various problems of video game translation. Furthermore, it is also rather difficult to encounter monographs or even articles describing the very process of game localization, its assorted stages, persons involved (legal or natural), and the place translation ought to take there. Such a situation might seem surprising, especially when taking into account that the video game industry is developing at a dizzying pace. There are more and more players all over the world who are more than willing to spend their financial resources on video games, and they thus greatly contribute to the fact that today’s games generate more revenue than any motion picture ever created by the movie industry.

The following project will endeavor to fill this considerable gap in the existing knowledge and to explore the area of video game localization, or, to be more precise, the translation component thereof. In so doing, this book will concentrate on the translation of video games from the perspective of cognitive semantics, analyzing video game renditions with the assistance of cognitive linguistic theories – most notably Conceptual Blending Theory. It will mostly be based on observations of the Polish localization market and will focus on video game translation into Polish. Nevertheless, the localization process appears to be parallel in other European countries as well and, consequently, non-Polish translators...

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