Crowd-source localization

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Adam Reith
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Crowd-source localization

Post by Adam Reith »

Hi

I really don't want inXile to waste any resource on localization. That said, I know a ton of "omg English is hard!!" people that won't play a game in English, especially a RPG. An easy way for the community to translate the game would be very effective, I think. What exactly, I don't know.
What do you guys think?
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infestor
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by infestor »

Adam Reith wrote:Hi

I really don't want inXile to waste any resource on localization. That said, I know a ton of "omg English is hard!!" people that won't play a game in English, especially a RPG. An easy way for the community to translate the game would be very effective, I think. What exactly, I don't know.
What do you guys think?
agreed (except the "omg English is hard!!" part. there are lots of people who don't know sufficient english to enjoy a well written cRPG). but community localizations with relatively short translation time can overcome this (a single guy translated grim fandango dialogues to turkish in 4 months (i assume that he isnt lying :roll: ), so i think a community can do a faster and more qualitative job)
"People who get up early in the morning cause war, death and famine."
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SXX
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by SXX »

Adam Reith wrote:What do you guys think?
I think that is a good idea.
Lots of completed translation platforms available right now and community translation with a good quality can be done even faster if it will be paid service.
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Ovocean
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by Ovocean »

I (sadly) doubt amateurs will do a good enough translation job on well written dialogues with caustic humour.
RussianNeuroMancer
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by RussianNeuroMancer »

Ovocean wrote:I (sadly) doubt amateurs will do a good enough translation job on well written dialogues with caustic humour.
But, you know, even commercial translation teams who work for publishers not translate every joke right. If localization will be crowd-sourced than any mistake may be fixed by community. Same rule work for game engine.
cafeine
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by cafeine »

I agree with this.

A lot of videogames released on the French market have translation issues, ranging from the mildly irritating (e.g. "by the skin of my teeth" translated litteraly instead of using the correct French expression "il s'en est fallu d'un cheveu") to the ridiculously wrong ("gun" translated as "pistolet" - handgun - when the gun in question was a battleship gun in a WWII naval wargame). The people in charge of the French localization are often not gamers themselves, don't have enough context, and too often just don't care. It's the same with voice acting.

I prefer to play games in their original language when possible (GoG is great for that), and I hope to be able to play the US version of Wasteland 2. If there are plans for a French localization and crowd-sourcing isn't an option, at least having a French fan have a look at the translation job might help to keep it faithful to the original - I'm kinda volunteering here :)

In any case I'm pretty someone will reverse-engineer the translation file format and correct translation patches will appear (as it has been the case for Fallout 1 & 2).
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infestor
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by infestor »

Ovocean wrote:I (sadly) doubt amateurs will do a good enough translation job on well written dialogues with caustic humour.
i don't believe that is true. at least "professional" subtitle translators in denmark do a horrible job. community can actually reach to a consensus in hard parts of the translation.
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Ovocean
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by Ovocean »

RussianNeuroMancer wrote:But, you know, even commercial translation teams who work for publishers not translate every joke right. If localization will be crowd-sourced than any mistake may be fixed by community. Same rule work for game engine.
I admit I'd be curious to see what the community can come up with regarding translation, and I'm going to play in English anyway, so I should rather have shut it up... :P
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Quarex
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by Quarex »

A well-run crowd-sourced localization program could definitely be a boon, particularly if they want to be sure they get a few key languages done professionally (like how Brian Fargo mentioned a huge Polish interest in the game) but then want as many other nationalities to be able to play the game as possible (to use an example here, I doubt there is enough Turkish interest to justify the expense to formally localize it, but that same guy who translated Grim Fandango might want to lead the effort to translate Wasteland 2, who knows?).
egalor
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by egalor »

By no means they should spend money on localisations.

I for one can translate into Russian, but I will also need a few volunteers to divide the work. I will be able to manage, overview and most importantly edit the text translation.

I have the experience of localising an post-apoc RPG from RU to EN (Olympus 2207 demo), so doing vice-versa could be waaay easier for me. Hopefully, the devs will take note.
Tenner
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by Tenner »

Ovocean wrote:I (sadly) doubt amateurs will do a good enough translation job on well written dialogues with caustic humour.
The fansub scene begs to differ.
Sure, there's always a few bad apples, but overall I believe a community of people who are passionate about a project will beat a team of jaded professionals who are doing it for the money any day.
Wesser
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by Wesser »

Ovocean wrote:I (sadly) doubt amateurs will do a good enough translation job on well written dialogues with caustic humour.
Makes me think about the horrible translations most mainstream games have.

When you talk about this you need to consider two different types of gamer:

A) People that needs the translation in order to understand the game
B) People that doesn't need it, but likes to have the option of playing the game on their native tongue.

Problem is that people that needs the translation doesn't care if it's good because they don't know better, but if you understand what the characters are saying, then you DO know better and you'll see the mistakes most games present. Not to mention that you are able to distinguish how good or bad the voice acting is (if the game is fully translated), and believe me, most of the time it's extremely bad.

I've translated a few browser games into (south american) spanish, Hattrick being the most notable. From my experience I fully support fans working on localization. If the matter is handled as it should, then is a win-win situation for both the studio and the community.
PrzeSzkoda
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by PrzeSzkoda »

Crowd-sourcing such a huge project is not a good idea.

Giving fans the tools to localize the game themselves if they please should be OK, but making a crowd-sourced localization the "official" one (or, let's say, the "commercial" one) - not really.

A community translation is a double-edged sword: on one hand it makes the community which performs it very happy, and they can always say that it was "by fans, for fans", and who'd know the game better than its die-hard fans, amIrite? But on the other hand: it rarely works, quality-wise, especially for big projects (since it's done by amateurs - a professional translator specializing in software loc. rarely has the time to work pro publico bono - and due to lacklustre QA.) And then there's always the risk of being abandoned.

But lacking a fully-staffed, dedicated localization department, what's left? Outsourcing the lot? Also risky - while there are many professional localization agencies that adhere to high standards, there's also a lot of hacks there, employing freelancers without proper skills and lacking anything that even resembles proper QA. And any sort of community feedback is really out of the question then.

What I believe to be the best setup, given the circumstances, is having someone on the team oversee all localization proceedings (plus a software engineer to help out) and hire small teams (3-4 people per language, tops) to work on the translation itself. And have them consult their respective communities. That way, the community is participating, the feedback is processed by professionals and everyone's happy. The fans won't be disappointed with the quality because they had their say on issues important to them (and trust me, translators always have their work cut out for them in the game localization biz, especially when working on an established franchise). The style of the translation should be consistent (thanks to the small team), and the team's experience with the project should make it much easier on everybody when crunch time and last-minute updates come (oh yes, these do affect localization as much as everything else in this beautiful world.)

Localization QA - whilst it could be done by a group of dedicated fans, it might be better to outsource the thing, though. InXile should screen potential companies for their QA practice, and whether the QA staff is professional, and not simply a bunch of rejects that did not make it to the in-house translation team. And feedback reciprocity between the QA and the translators is a must.

All in all, that's what I think. Feel free to discuss or disagree. ;)
katarn
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by katarn »

It's very interesting who's gonna translate it in Russian. Official companies sometimes make their work not as good as some fan teams.It's not just one fan community in Russia (not just W/Fallout, but oldgames in common or even there are some fans that love to translate everything) so it's very interesting who's gonna do it. If inXile will translate W2 for Russian gamers.
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Ovocean
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by Ovocean »

PrzeSzkoda wrote:-snip-
Just what I would have said, if I had your knowledge. ;)
JoeDoe1984
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by JoeDoe1984 »

I share your point of view - if there are many contributors for a given language they can do much better job than a translation agency due to a fact that they provide a multilevel peer review done by involved people. What's more - willing contributors treat translation as a pleasure and are much more familiar/ willing to get familiar with the context. And context (especially in such games as Wasteland) is everything.

I have already pledged. Now it's time for a more substantial contribution: I would love to work on localizing Wasteland 2 to Polish. I have 3 years experience as a professional translation specialist (mostly business texts). I also have approx. 20 years experience as a gamer so I'm quite familiar with the ropes :). I could probably contribute about 20 hrs/week for this task so if there are more Polish fans willing to do so we could make this happen together.
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Ausir
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by Ausir »

I fully agree with PrzeSzkoda. As someone who has worked on both fan translations and official ones before, I can confirm that such a big project is hard to do via crowdsourcing. Especially if it is to be ready at launch - a fan translation certainly will take a while. Crowdsourcing the whole translation project is not any more feasible than crowdsourcing the actual development of the game, but I think it's a good idea to consult and brainstorm the translation with the community, e.g. on how to translate various names, terms.

There are quite a few of us here who are both fans and professional translators (like PrzeSzkoda and me), who have worked on quite a few game localization projects in the past. I believe that for many languages, assembling such a team shouldn't be hard.

In case of many localizations (including ones that I've worked on personally), the bad quality of the final product is often blamed on the translator, but most of the time it is actually a matter of not being given enough context (just raw text files to translate), not enough time to properly check consistency of the whole thing, not enough QA of the finished translation within the actual game (if any). Many of these things can be averted if the translators work closely with the developers.
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by lordfrikk »

Ovocean wrote:I (sadly) doubt amateurs will do a good enough translation job on well written dialogues with caustic humour.
Let's imagine a ridiculous notion - professional translators can have a hobby, like playing videogames AND (gasp!) it might even be Wasteland so there's this utterly ludicrous possiblity that you will have the game translated by a professional without even knowing it.
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Ausir
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by Ausir »

Indeed, but with a project like this, it's better to have a professional translation done by a team of people who also happen to be fans than to have a crowdsourced translation done by lots of fans some of whom happen to be professionals. Just like it wouldn't make much sense to crowdsource all the programming on the game to the fan community, even if many of them happen to be professional programmers.
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Re: Crowd-source localization

Post by lordfrikk »

Yes, definitely a valid point. It might not be a bad idea to multi-step the translation process, first stage being crowd-translating, second being putting a small team of professional translators from the among the fans to go over it and the last optional stage would be getting suggestions/reports from the whole community on the translation. I think it could work pretty well if organized accordingly.
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