Case Study #7: Blade Runner: Revelations

Case Study #7: Blade Runner: Revelations

blade runner revelations video game rpg
Blade Runner: Revelations

Title: Blade Runner: Revelations

Developer: Seismic Games

Release date: 2018

Genre: VR RPG

Type of translation: fan translation

Year of localization: 2018

Platform: Google Daydream

Words translated: 13,000

Overview:

Blade Runner: Revelations is a VR RPG game based on the narrative continuum whose foundation is Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and, since the workload was quite high and the deadline tight, the task was split between a colleague and me.

Pros:

  • I already knew the colleague I worked with (we’re actually friends), so we constantly kept in touch to make the translation consistent in vocabulary and style.
  • The story was intriguing and, being an RPG, dialogues were the majority of text to translate.
  • The tone was generally informal and there was a lot of swearing, which is always fun to deal with.
  • The voice of the various character was well written and characterized, so it was easy to distinguish and characterize.
  • I’m passionate about PKD works and know very well both the novel and the movie, so it was easy for me to grasp the references.

Cons:

This was one of the typical cases where a great part of the “cons” of game translation happened.

  • The deadline was tight, less than a week, so the number of words to translate daily was high. Since the quality of translation might have been affected (more likely typos or inadvertent errors), we decided to do the following 👇
  • We cross-revised each other’s translation to fix mistakes we didn’t see because of re-reading the text many times. This was extra time to take into account.
  • Developers didn’t answer queries if not with great delay, and when the task was delivered, many of them were still unanswered.
  • There were many typos and errors in the source text, so we had to freely interpret certain parts.
  • The CAT tool we used failed to recognize tags and/or code text so we had to type (or copy-paste) them. It took us more time than expected.
  • We couldn’t contest some of the reviser’s corrections. They did some arguably fix, in idiomatic expressions in particular, and we even thought they might not have been Italian native.
    I remember this fix in particular: the character was mad at someone, and said that they would’ve put something where the sun never shines (that is, in the a**). Italian says dove non batte il sole, which is one of the rare cases where the translation is literal but widely used. The reviser fixed it with another, more flat and less strong expression, and justified the change saying that our translation was a “regionalism, not used” and that it was too literal and couldn’t be translated the way we did – while it’s clearly not true. We were extremely sad because of the many fixes, that caused the revised text to be less breezy.

Conclusions:

It’s clear that the life of a game translator isn’t always easy. We may have to deal with tight deadlines, unclear source texts, developers gone missing, unforeseen extra work, etc. What I say is that, in general, life is easier when you can work with someone you are comfortable with, and you trust. Networking saves lives, people! Also, remember that revisers can be a pain in the where the sun never shines, so don’t take it too personally 🙊

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