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English to French and German Translation Project (details)

January 31, 2010


Project Background (previous page)

Further project details

Communicate with Project Manager

Table of Contents



It might be best to just read this and the next page in one go. This page was written at project start, and the second page was developed over the duration of the project. The above table of contents is useful as a quick reference (accesses all pages) if you need to go back and read something again, but you should read all the following to fully familiarise yourself with the project.



All the files will be located on a sever at The original Excel files are in the FTP folder and which you can use for reference if need be. If you are having problems downloading the large files I can give you access to the FTP folder. I use Total Commander, a free software. With this you can resume downloads if your internet connection was severed.

You can get the username and password from me once you are assigned files.


Do not grab a file until you receive official confirmation from me.

I will post the assigned files on the net as well and inform you of this, together with the word counts and final sums so that you can confirm everything.


The game's webpage is:


The customer wrote:


In the meantime, you can create live accounts through our web page and

just download the game and try out the live servers.  Everything's free so

you wouldn't have to pay anything.


If you need any help getting on the live servers, let me know.


[I asked:] Descriptions - Games in particular pose a unique translation challenge because translators must creatively present information in a manner that matches the intent of the original source text.  Are you able to provide any necessary descriptions, design documents, etc so that the translators donít have to make educated guesses about the source and the correct translation in certain areas?  Also, any summary pieces with the actual game descriptions are always recommended.  The link you sent is great, but please let us know if you have more.

The game wiki is something weíre trying to constantly keep up to date.  You can find it here:

Also, I will soon have both French and German localizers here that will learn the game and along with the current English QA people, we should be able to answer any questions.  I am trying to round up more documentation.  China never creates documentation so everything we have are things that we have had to create on our own, which is why I donít have as much to provide to you as I would have hoped.


The client will apparently give us a username and password and I'd like to assign at least one person to study it as a lead translator to help the others. I can pay for this part separately, such as by the hour. If you would be interested in this position please email me. The others can log in and refer to it voluntary.


Project Stages

It is a total of 1.5 million words, of which 90,000 words are repetitions. You will find the German repetitions file in the Repetitions folder (get the location of this from me). Once this file gets translated it will be imported back into Transit and automatically translate about 600,000 words, leaving about 800,000 words to be translated during the second stage. Because this 90,000 words 'balloons' into 600,000, it is important that it is quality, also because it will be used as reference by the translators for the remainder of the project (stage two, 800,000 words).


After this first wave is translated I will try to pick out certain phrases and add them to the glossary for the rest of the project. Therefore, for this first phase, you do not need to add terms to the dictionary (I will explain that later).


The second wave (800,000 words) is broken up into approximately 5,000 word files. Assuming that about half will be already translated due to the first wave repetitions file, that leaves about 2,500 words, which should be enough for the average translator to manage within one day. My plan is to always send you two files, such that once you complete one, you send it to me, start on the second, and I send you a third (so you always have two and continue translating according to your capacity).


But I could not break down this first wave repetitions file, in which case I must assign ranges of segments (you can find your segment number at the bottom strip of the Transit software where it says "Seg:").

Please look at the file, perhaps inform me what section you feel comfortable with. When translating your assigned section make sure you always ALT INS each segment after translating it, and stop once you've reached the end of your section. Email me once done. If others are falling behind I can assign you a part of their section.

Once everyone completes their section and Sends it to me, in some complicated manner I have to combine all the parts. Then I would like to forward it to at least one lead translator to look at and finalise. Once this important repetitions wave is completed, only then can I prepare the 5,000 words files for the second wave.


Well, a bit complicated, but once we get into a rhythm I believe you will find it quite easy to work in.


Lets start a bit slow for this repetitions phase and make sure it is quality. If you have any questions please feel free to ask me, because this is a very important stage. We need to keep everything consistent.

The customer has asked, for the games part (not the webpage), that the neutral tense be applied, and everything in the formal (except for German, which is medieval ancient formal but informal if the software is giving instructions to the player - more details here for French and German). But if you have other suggestions we can open this for discussion.

If you like you can register at

which will be a forum so that you can discuss matters with the other translators, if you like. At least one lead translator will be assigned to answer all questions. Once you register tell me your username so that I can give you access to the forum.

Lets work together as a good team, because if we do a good job the customer said it will assign 3 to 6 more projects of the same size, plus more in the future.


For localization purposes one translator has suggested the following:


In German, we would usually use old-style medieval formal address in a fantasy setting, with informal address between characters who are friends/relatives etc. or towards those of lower status. Easier (sacrificing some atmosphere) would be to just use informal address.


Should I translate English terms such as Beast Lord or leave it as is? [I think it should be but I am open to your suggestions.]


The consensus seems to be leaning toward NO accents above French Capital letters. [Any suggestions?]


For consistency we should definitely follow the same guidelines. If you have any suggestions concerning this please feel free to state them.


The Transit program filtered out a lot of commands which are a part of the video game software, and they appear as < > in the text. These 'tags' are protected so that you cannot alter them, but their position is important.


For example, if we have the English sentence:

The <> cat <> went to the store.

 And we translate it into something like:

To the store went the <> cat <>.

(because of the different word ordering of other languages) it is important that the same tags remain around the noun cat. The tags might mean, for example, "start red font" and "end red font". In this case "cat" would be red. You can copy/paste the word cat together with the surrounding tags, move it elsewhere in the sentence, and type over top of it with your translation in the target window. I am not sure how this will work so I am open to any suggestions which I could forward to the other translators. If you do not do this properly someone will have to fix it for you, and their charge deducted from your charge. Therefore it is very important that we start slow and do this properly. I think once we get into a rhythm the pace will pick up and everything will get easier.


Other special characters were also filtered out. You might therefore get a sentence which reads:

You have just gained <> points.

Just use your imagination what this may mean. It is part of the software's script (part of the game). It may be some numerical value. Obviously the position of this tag within the sentence is also important, so keep this carefully in mind.


The Transit Termstar Help website shows how you can set up Transit to make it pleasant to work in. Personally I like to have a dark background with light coloured text, to ease my eyes. You can also set the size of the font. It would be good to spend some time to set up everything properly so that it will be most pleasant for you.


For the tags, you should set it up as follow through the menu:



and through Display/Hide Attributes as follows:



Do this for both the source and target windows. You can resize and position the windows to your preference. Once the glossary is set up you should always see that as well <show example with Dictionary view instructions once second stage starts. And add terms instructions.>.

The above settings will show the tags as <> only. If by chance you are curious what is behind the tag you can choose Display Full Tags. This will show you the code that the tags are hiding and protecting. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES must you ever select Display Full Tags AND Deactivate Tag Protection, because if you ever make changes to the protected code the software will not work properly, your changes will have to be fixed, and you will be charged for the costs.


If you run across any glitches please inform me so that I can look at it and improve the system. This includes words grouped together or scripts/codes which have not been protected.


If you run into a segment you are not confident about translating, you may simply skip it by NOT pressing ALT INS and move down to the next segment with your cursor. This will leave that segment as marked Not Translated (you can see the segment status along the bottom strip of the Transit software) and the file will be forwarded to someone who feels more qualified for the more difficult parts. When you Send in your file the software will calculate all the words/segments that you marked as Translated through the ALT INS shortcut key.

On the other hand, do not abuse this by skipping parts that are a little bit harder.

If you are slightly less than confident of your translation but translated the segment anyway, you can ALT INS claim it but put a + sign directly AFTER the word, phrase or entire segment you are not totally sure of. I will then forward it to the lead translator to take a closer look at (who will search for the + character and focus on those points).

Remember, we want to produce the best quality, so lets work together as a team.


If you happen to run across $name, this must not be translated because it will be used by the software during the game when naming players. If you stumble across anything similar to this, make sure to inform me.


The customer instructed to NEVER use any of the characters ^ % & $ because they are part of the software.


If you run into any Chinese characters, please ignore and do not touch them.

If you run into any strange strings of characters, also ignore and do not change, and inform me.


The English is a translation from the original Chinese (location of the client). If something doesn't make much sense, keep this in mind and either skip over it or we can discuss it.


The customer said:


Usually a playerís title is enclosed in brackets like <King>. Everything besides the variables can be changed and should be localized.  It would probably make sense to keep most symbol usage the same since itís already being consistently used in the game, and changing one instance might mean having to change a lot more.


Which I gather means not to translate anything in < > brackets? Use your logic and/or lets discuss if you are not sure.


Another comment:


translation of phrases involving gender agreement: Can we anticipate which phrases will be used with male/female characters or are they neutral?"

If we can keep them in the formal neutral wording, that would be easiest.  I believe most of the game doesnít refer to the user as being either male or female except for gender specific things, like getting married in game.  For items and skills, we have started to think about what gender they should be.  This is something we will hopefully be able to resolve using your glossary.

[Further comments:] Unfortunately, most of the time itís pretty hard to tell who the person is talking to from the text.  Most of the time you are talking to people who are your age range or older; there are few characters in the game that are younger than you.  The safest thing is to make everything formal, and we will try and get you more information on what should be formal and informal for your glossary.  The problem is, the only way we know where the text goes in the game is to actually see it in the game.  Actually, I can look it up in the toolÖLet me write up how to use our tool to you and give that in a separate email.


For cultural matters, if you come across anything which may seem inappropriate for the target market, make sure to inform me so that we can discuss it and/or ask the customer for its opinion.



Liberal localization Ė Do you want us to modify the localization for the local markets's in making outright changes to concepts and meanings in order to better suit the target market. Would you want such a liberal interpretation?  If you do want this (It may be good, to make it more enjoyable for the target market, and hence increase sales) we obviously wouldnít want to be penalized if the meaning was changed.

In terms of the quests, you can take a liberal approach as long as it fits within the fantasy world with different groups based on beliefs.  You can find out more about the story here:

Since quests are basically just kill/fetch/go somewhere, we are flexible with the content of the quest as long as the information needed to complete the quest is accurate. 

In regards to skills and items, as long as they remain accurately descriptive, they donít have to remain completely literal, but a lot of the reasons we have the description we have is due to text length limits and from past confusion from players.  I would suggest to keep these pretty much the same unless itís flavor text and not something that is needed in the description.


[Special note:] 6.. Sex signs - I am tweaking my filter before I prepare the files, and just filtered out some sex signs (♀♂), but considering the possibility of genders in the French and German languages, I am wondering if I should leave them there. Although the client did state that it would like the neutral, non-gender case used. I hope it will not be a problem if I hide/protect this sign from the translators. 

Where sex signs are used, itís because the item is gender specific and can only be used by either a male or female.  If it doesnít mess things up, I would suggest keeping all symbols in the text since they are used for descriptive purposes (which sex can use something, stars representing how powerful something is, etc.).  [These are hidden from you now Ė hopefully it will not cause a problem. If so please instruct me and I will try to recreate the files. You can refer to the original Excel files for reference.]



What concerns text limitations, the customer wrote (probably applies more to 800,000 stage 2 and by then hope to have more detailed info regarding this):


Text Limitation- Further to my research and in light of some of the things the client brought up, it seems there is certain text which will have limitations regarding their length (number of letters/characters). If this is the case I will definitely need all this information right away.

Names of people and items are limited to 31 characters.  NPC (non-playable character) hello text (the text they greet you with when you click on them), is limited to 255 characters.  Spaces are counted as a character.  The harder thing to localize for is that certain cells need to have the same number of lines.  When we import things the tool will let us know where there are errors and hopefully there are not too many errors so we can make all the required changes on our side.  I will send you the tool and you can get a better understanding of it. 


Well, a bit complicated I know, but itís a big project which could turn into several years of work, so spend the time in the beginning to read over everything to make sure we do not run into problems later. I am sure the project will run smoothly once it gets going and you will find working in the program will go quickly for you.



Test Questions

          Before I start assigning you files I want feel assured that you are on the right page. It can be disastrous if different translators translate in different styles. If you are not consistent with the project either you will be forced to fix your errors or pay someone else to do it. Please answer the below basic questions so that I know you have read these pages and are aware of the most important issues:

- what are tags and how should you deal with them?

- what to do if you are not sure of a translation/segment/section/phrase etc.

- in your translation you should address others in the formal or informal, and in what gender?

- what is text limitation?


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