Non-English Language VNs and Translations

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KrunchyFriedGames
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Non-English Language VNs and Translations

#1 Post by KrunchyFriedGames » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:37 pm

I just wondered if any devs had experience of translating an English language game to another language and how you found the process?

Who translated it for you? Was it worthwhile? Where did you publish it?

Also, for people whose first language isn't English, what VN gamesites would you recommend that might be unknown to English-only speakers? (whether in Spanish, Chinese or anything really).

We've only made one free browser game so far (Witches and Bandits and Swords- Oh My, if anyone fancies a go), but this is something that I'm thinking about for the future. Also, playing VNs in a different language might be a good way to help learn it!
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Re: Non-English Language VNs and Translations

#2 Post by Katy133 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:38 pm

If your visual novel includes nonbinary characters, Queerly Represent Me has a list of over 200 translators offering help with translating VNs.
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My Website, which lists my visual novels.
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Re: Non-English Language VNs and Translations

#3 Post by KrunchyFriedGames » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:45 am

Katy133 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:38 pm
If your visual novel includes nonbinary characters, Queerly Represent Me has a list of over 200 translators offering help with translating VNs.
Sadly, mine doesn't, and since all my characters are at least a little bit mental, they'd probably be happier if I didn't have any non-binary characters!
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Re: Non-English Language VNs and Translations

#4 Post by Zelan » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:00 pm

KrunchyFriedGames wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:45 am
Katy133 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:38 pm
If your visual novel includes nonbinary characters, Queerly Represent Me has a list of over 200 translators offering help with translating VNs.
Sadly, mine doesn't, and since all my characters are at least a little bit mental, they'd probably be happier if I didn't have any non-binary characters!
My reply will be bringing us a bit off-topic from the original question, but I'll throw in my two cents here anyway.

If most or all of your characters are "a little bit mental," it's not necessarily going to be considered problematic to have some of them be non-binary (or another queer identity). Not every real-life queer person is a perfect angel, and fiction can and should reflect this with queer characters who are flawed.

The problem arises when the character's flaw is either directly BECAUSE they are queer, or when the flaw is a harmful stereotype associated with certain identities. For example, given controversies like the whole Transgender Bathroom Debate, if you have a trans character who is a sexual predator, even if the character doesn't target people they meet in the bathroom, people are going to get upset (and for good reason).

Anyway, it's just something to think about for future games, not to say that you need to rewrite your finished game to include non-binary characters. (:

To make sure this post doesn't stray too far from the topic, I'll give an answer to the original question, although it might not be all that helpful. I wrote a very short game called The Dark two years ago, which has been released in English. I haven't released any translations because I simply haven't had the time or the motivation to sit down and do it, but I do have the scripts for a Spanish translation and a French translation saved.

I actually did the Spanish translation myself, which is something that most people recommend against doing (Spanish is my second language and I'm far from fluent). However, the project in question is less than 1000 words and released for free, so I figured that the worst-case scenario was that someone would point out my mistake and I could fix it. I still covered my bases anyway by having my Spanish teacher at the time look over my translation and add corrections; she isn't a native speaker either, but she has a degree to teach Spanish and I learned enough from her in 3 years to be comfortable speaking when I studied abroad in Spain so those things must count for something. (: The moral of the story here is that knowing someone IRL can help a lot, since you can check back with them for updates without being ghosted, which can unfortunately sometimes happen when hiring freelancers online.

I didn't have any specific plans to translate the game to French, but I stumbled across a post here on LemmaSoft by the user Fulcrum offering translation services that could be free or paid depending on the project. Since my project was so short I figured it was worth asking if I could trouble him for a free translation. I sent the PM and logged off, was unable to log on the next day due to my job, and by the time I logged on the day after I came back to several updates on the process and a completed translation. I had warned him beforehand that there might be difficulties in translating from English into French (a gendered language) since my characters were written to be ambiguously gendered (hey, look, all the stuff I said earlier is relevant, a little bit). In the updates he sent he explained to me the potential and actual difficulties and how he fixed them, including suggesting a different name for one of the characters due to the cultural perception of the name in question. So, I had a great experience working with him, but I didn't do anything special to find him - I just took advantage of a post here on the forums. He could have turned out to be horrible to work with for all I knew (and, I still haven't gotten around to publishing the translation, so there's always the possibility that he did a poor job on it, although in this case in particular I'm inclined to trust his translation skills).

Ultimately, all of my translation attempts have been mostly due to getting lucky enough to find the right person at the right time, especially considering that I received all of my translation services for free, but definitely finding someone who communicates with you and gives you updates throughout the process, as my two translators did, is a big plus. And if you end up paying someone, which you'll probably have to do for a larger game, I would look for people who have completed translations and/or positive recommendations under their belts.

After typing this reply I kind of feel like taking out those translations and trying to figure out the coding to implement them into the game. If/when I get around to it, I'll let you know how the process goes. (:

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Re: Non-English Language VNs and Translations

#5 Post by KrunchyFriedGames » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:31 am

Zelan wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:00 pm
KrunchyFriedGames wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:45 am
Katy133 wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:38 pm
If your visual novel includes nonbinary characters, Queerly Represent Me has a list of over 200 translators offering help with translating VNs.
Sadly, mine doesn't, and since all my characters are at least a little bit mental, they'd probably be happier if I didn't have any non-binary characters!
My reply will be bringing us a bit off-topic from the original question, but I'll throw in my two cents here anyway.

If most or all of your characters are "a little bit mental," it's not necessarily going to be considered problematic to have some of them be non-binary (or another queer identity). Not every real-life queer person is a perfect angel, and fiction can and should reflect this with queer characters who are flawed.

The problem arises when the character's flaw is either directly BECAUSE they are queer, or when the flaw is a harmful stereotype associated with certain identities. For example, given controversies like the whole Transgender Bathroom Debate, if you have a trans character who is a sexual predator, even if the character doesn't target people they meet in the bathroom, people are going to get upset (and for good reason).

Anyway, it's just something to think about for future games, not to say that you need to rewrite your finished game to include non-binary characters. (:

To make sure this post doesn't stray too far from the topic, I'll give an answer to the original question, although it might not be all that helpful. I wrote a very short game called The Dark two years ago, which has been released in English. I haven't released any translations because I simply haven't had the time or the motivation to sit down and do it, but I do have the scripts for a Spanish translation and a French translation saved.

I actually did the Spanish translation myself, which is something that most people recommend against doing (Spanish is my second language and I'm far from fluent). However, the project in question is less than 1000 words and released for free, so I figured that the worst-case scenario was that someone would point out my mistake and I could fix it. I still covered my bases anyway by having my Spanish teacher at the time look over my translation and add corrections; she isn't a native speaker either, but she has a degree to teach Spanish and I learned enough from her in 3 years to be comfortable speaking when I studied abroad in Spain so those things must count for something. (: The moral of the story here is that knowing someone IRL can help a lot, since you can check back with them for updates without being ghosted, which can unfortunately sometimes happen when hiring freelancers online.

I didn't have any specific plans to translate the game to French, but I stumbled across a post here on LemmaSoft by the user Fulcrum offering translation services that could be free or paid depending on the project. Since my project was so short I figured it was worth asking if I could trouble him for a free translation. I sent the PM and logged off, was unable to log on the next day due to my job, and by the time I logged on the day after I came back to several updates on the process and a completed translation. I had warned him beforehand that there might be difficulties in translating from English into French (a gendered language) since my characters were written to be ambiguously gendered (hey, look, all the stuff I said earlier is relevant, a little bit). In the updates he sent he explained to me the potential and actual difficulties and how he fixed them, including suggesting a different name for one of the characters due to the cultural perception of the name in question. So, I had a great experience working with him, but I didn't do anything special to find him - I just took advantage of a post here on the forums. He could have turned out to be horrible to work with for all I knew (and, I still haven't gotten around to publishing the translation, so there's always the possibility that he did a poor job on it, although in this case in particular I'm inclined to trust his translation skills).

Ultimately, all of my translation attempts have been mostly due to getting lucky enough to find the right person at the right time, especially considering that I received all of my translation services for free, but definitely finding someone who communicates with you and gives you updates throughout the process, as my two translators did, is a big plus. And if you end up paying someone, which you'll probably have to do for a larger game, I would look for people who have completed translations and/or positive recommendations under their belts.

After typing this reply I kind of feel like taking out those translations and trying to figure out the coding to implement them into the game. If/when I get around to it, I'll let you know how the process goes. (:
No worries- I like a bit of off-topic! I think one of the problems of writing any character that's away from white, male and straight, is that you're very much opening yourself up to criticism. The row over the Simpsons character Apu is one example, when they were accused of racism for having a stereotypical Indian working in a convenience store, even though all the characters are a bit stereotypical, and nobody seems to mind that Homer, as a white male is portrayed as lazy and dumb.

Obviously, trans people have as many different personalities as non-trans people so, some of them will be sexual predators- and it can often be left to the reader to decide whether a character has this personality because of the writer's prejudice or not, which is a big problem. I also know from going to writers groups that nothing will get you pounced on more quickly than writing a stereotypical girly-girl character (even if only about 10% of your female characters are like this, or even if it's largely based on a person in real life). I remember one class where the tutor pulled me up for saying that a female character "giggled", but then I pointed out that the line was "they giggled"- referring to a male and a female together and, for some reason, the tutor no longer objected. So, the 'rules' can be very confusing.

As a result of all this, it feels like there are still stereotypes everywhere in the media but ones that are designed to cause minimal offence (e.g. the intelligent, ass-kicking heroine/ female villain, or the sophisticated and witty gay guy).

Another issue is relevance- I suppose I could argue that some of my characters are transgender- but it's just never mentioned! I did one jokey scene where you have the option of trying to seduce a male guard, which led to some confusion- one streamer asked "wait, am I a man or a woman"? when, basically, your character is just you, or whoever you want to be, whatever your sex or preferences.

Then again, I suppose part of being a writer (or any creative person) is to know how to listen to reasonable, intelligent criticism, to filter out unhelpful advice, and to distinguish between the two. This is something I like to think I've got better at. I might do transgender characters in the future, who knows.

Anyway, trying desperately to return to the topic- it's good to hear that you had good experiences getting your work translated! Sometimes you just need a bit of luck with finding the right person, I suppose :)
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