At Ten Square Games, we don’t just make games; we live them. We’re a bunch of pros who have a passion for gaming in and out of work. Don’t believe us? Meet Bartek, one of our Ten Square Gamers.
For Bartłomiej Piątkiewicz, localization isn’t just his job; it’s a true passion. With an MA in English Studies from the University of Wrocław, Bartek wrote both his theses on video game localization and being an avid gamer, his relationship with games doesn’t end with his workday. Quite the contrary, Bartek sees new localization challenges as he experiences them in the games he plays.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that game localization isn’t just the act of translating a game,” Bartek tells us, “it’s an entire process of adapting the game to a new locale, an audience with a completely different culture code, knowledge, and scope of reference.”
As an example, Bartek uses the localization of Warcraft III to Polish.
“In English, the Shaman sings Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, a famous song by B.J. Thomas. Translating this quote literally would mean that almost nobody would understand the reference,” Bartek explains,” so instead, the localization team chose to go with Deszcze niespokojne (Heavy Rain), the opening lyrics to Ballada o pancernych (Ballad of the Troopers), from a top-rated Polish TV show about World War II from the sixties.”
“This isn’t always necessary, however, as the Farseer from the game uses a well-known line from The Sixth Sense, ‘I see dead people.’, which is translated to Polish almost verbatim (Widzę martwych ludzi), and is clearly understandable both in the explicit meaning and the implicit reference. I think that balancing act is one of the hardest things for a translator to master,” Bartek adds.
Of course, these examples are just the tip of the localization iceberg. If you want to delve deep into the loc-rabbit hole, feel free to check out Bartek’s article about how to address localization problems.
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