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Fallacies of game localization

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Abstract

Using the Twitter hashtag #TorrentialDownpour, a vocal group of disgruntled, English-speaking gamers launched an attack in early 2016 protesting the localization changes made to the game Fire Emblem Fates. While dismissible as the latest “toxic technoculture” (Massanari 2015), the #TorrentialDownpour campaign’s claims are not unfounded; there are links between localization and censorship, in that both practices adapt texts moving between markets and cultures. This article draws from translation theory and observations of localization practice to problematize #TorrentialDownpour’s claims, and in the process address some of the most prevalent fallacies involving game localization: localization is not censorship; there is no better version; and one person is not ruining gamers’ fun.
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Keywords: Fire Emblem Fates; Twitter; censorship; localization; video games

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Research related with internationalization and localization is new and is more and more solicited by language businesses, software developers, translation agencies, international multilingual organizations, universities, language planning policy makers and standardization institutes. The Journal of Internationalization and Localization (JIAL) aims at establishing a worldwide discussion forum for both professionals and academics in the area of internationalization and localization. The scope of the journal is as broad as possible in order to target all the players in the internationalization and localization profession. The specific aim of the journal is to leverage the full range of information, from academic research results to the floor of today's language industries, and, conversely, to leverage business experiences in order to inform academic research. JIAL addresses an interdisciplinary readership in that it focuses on contributions that generate an impact on the localization and translation industry. A link between professionals and academics is assured by the specific content of the articles and the members of the editorial board. Each issue is reviewed by both academics and professionals.
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