Insights into the importance of context in localization with Peng Wang

game localization, CAT Tool, Teaching Translation

Insights into the importance of context in localization with Peng Wang

The Game Localization Market

The gaming sector is predicted to reach $108.9 billion dollars during 2017 and is one of the fastest growing global markets in the world. Developers and publishers are competing across multiple platforms such as mobile, console, and PC. Naturally gamers expect titles to be localized into their own language, making ‘game localization’ essential to penetrate global markets. Peng Wang, lecturer and CAT Tool Coordinator at the University of Maryland, was inspired to include the necessary skills in her lectures. Following a meeting with XTM at LocWorld Barcelona, Peng shared some of her ideas regarding the future of game localization in education.

EB: Why teach game localization to students?

PW: Game localization recognises cultural factors. Translators need to consider source content such as background, voice, and the age of a character ensuring the target text conveys the meaning of the story appropriately for each locale.

There is a high demand for game content that captures player’s imagination. Today’s gamers expect cutting edge technology, recounting stories that encapsulate them in a completely immersive environment. Game localization requires rich contextual information, characterizations and scene descriptions to entertain audiences. In this sense, teaching game localization compensates for the lack of resources in practice-oriented, training programs. Localization must evolve with rapidly changing content.

My own research ties into this. One of my goals is to apply theoretical frameworks so that students can solve real-life problems and explore new directions. My Ph.D. thesis ‘Harry Potter and its Chinese Translation’ examined the influence of character’s gender and age on the strategies of modality system. XTM incorporates such information as character image and gender into its game localization platform

EB: What inspired you to choose game localization as a topic?

PW: Tuning into XTM’s online game localization webinar, I discovered that the platform is a culture-oriented tool that complements my work. XTM has visualised the relationship between culture and localization from my thesis, and its software is ideally suited to my research and teaching.

EB: Based on what we have discussed, what will you teach?

PW: I’ve carried out research using XTM’s context-oriented CAT tool. Some students will use XTM with both the visual view and context, and some without. I will produce both options so students can appreciate the importance of including cultural factors. This will feature in both my translation and intercultural communication classes.

EB: How does this tie into your research?

PW: My main interests are intercultural communication and technology. The dichotomy between technology and human beings is in fact a division between human beings themselves, i.e. human beings who create technology and are exposed to the technological environment, either actively or passively. Technical culture is a communication at the level of science, it is low context, analyzable and repeatable.
This threefold characterization applies to the Translation industry. In this sense, technology encompasses culture. It explicitly represents human communication and can ultimately change the root of culture at the formal level.

In my teaching and research, I encourage my students to be pioneers, pushing the circular process and contribute to develop a new formal. To do that, we should first understand technology as well as its relationship with human experience. Furthermore, we should identify human/cultural aspects that could be possibly influence culture and inspire new technology.

EB: Why XTM is your ideal solution for teaching?

PW: In my summer course ‘Introduction to Translation and Localization’, I conclude that XTM provides an ideal solution to demonstrate to my students a range of translation technologies using one platform. It covers terminology management, translation memory, project management, and other elements in a website/software localization project. It also illustrates the purpose of cultural translation. My students have an opportunity to perform a website translation or game localization in their final projects.

I look forward to collaborating with XTM in my teaching and research. I can investigate the relationship between speaker’s gender and age on translation strategies, but with more cutting-edge technology. These impressive scientific results are persuasive.

EB: What is it about XTM that makes it possible for you to achieve these goals?

PW: The XTM Visual Editor is a culturally-oriented translation memory tool. Game localization has its own specific features and needs continuing interaction between the game scenario and players. A player’s goal to read translation is not to learn, but to entertain, in other words, to experience the virtual world. Hence the translation needs to be appealing and functional. Translators cannot succeed without knowing the context, such as the gender, age and other relevant information.

EB: To conclude, as the gaming industry surges ahead, effective translation of gaming content alongside literature is increasingly in demand. In her research thesis, Peng has identified the need for contextual information to supplement literal translation and XTM already applies her ideas via its contextual CAT tool, thus providing an excellent combined Translation Management and CAT tool to effectively localize game content. Her students – the translators of tomorrow, are developing their skills with confidence, enthralling players in the narrative of games.

Teaching translation and project management with hands on practice prepares students to enter the employment market with confidence, teach translation skills with the XTM Educational Program.

Read more about the XTM Cloud unique features for game localization.