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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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Video games are a worldwide phenomenon which inspires more and more scientists to conduct research on the subject. I started writing this book in response to the lack of academic publications examining video games from the perspective of translation studies. At the start there was only Chandler & Deming (2012), who, however, did not concentrate as much on game translation as generally on localization. In recent years, O’Hagan and Mangiron (2013) and Bernal-Merino (2015) have joined in with their monographs which investigated the translation aspect of localization much more profoundly. This book, on the other hand, attempts to take a much more practical approach to translation theory. I believe that theory and practice are inherently bound, and one cannot be without the other. For this very reason, the practical solutions offered in this monograph ought to be understood through the prism of the discussed theoretical approaches. As the title explicitly indicates, I am strongly biased in favor of cognitive linguistics, and this is mirrored throughout the book. What is more, all the analyzed examples come from video games developed for personal computers, and that is why they are the main focus here, with less attention dedicated to console games and almost none to handheld equipment games. The book is concerned mostly with translation from English into other European languages (most notably Polish). However, some issues of translation into languages representing more distant cultures are also touched upon. Another limitation is the outsourcing model (as opposed to in-house translation...

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