Recontextualizing disassembled texts: Exploring the concept of the “Web of Texts” in Mobile Game “Blind” localization from Chinese into Foreign Languages

Luis Damián Moreno García*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Video game multimodality has been discussed mainly from the standpoints of Game and Media Studies, but also increasingly by Translation Studies (Mejías-Climent 2017; O’Hagan 2007; Vázquez-Calvo et al. 2019). However, there is still little research focusing on how mobile game localizers construe poly-semiotic texts and their subcomponents during the translation process. Due to certain factors, the textual components of video games are commonly separated from its audiovisual elements before being sent to localization experts, who are then confronted with disassembled “texts” forced back to monomodality. Furthermore, the “text” is intertwined with programming languages and subdivided into disconnected snippets. Thus, video game localizers constantly perform what is often called “blind” translation (Dietz 2006, 2007; O’Hagan and Mangiron 2013; Mejías-Climent 2021). The present piece of research focuses on the notion of the multimodal “text” as a “web of texts” (Gambier 2021) in the field of mobile game localization from Chinese into European languages and other Eastern languages. It analyses how professional localizers perform their meaning-making processes in regard to “text” and “context” in such a medium and explores how they strive to reinstate multimodality through (re)contextualization. The study replicated “blind” localization processes via a video game translation test finished and commented on by respondents under context-scarce conditions. Data was then triangulated with online surveys and interviews to assess localizers’ considerations towards the “text” as a “web of texts.” Through quantitative and qualitative coding, the paper explores the different elements present in the web(s) and offers a view of the mobile game as a vast entity seen by the translator from an incredibly limited and limiting element, that of the monomodal “text.” Results show that mobile game localizers construct, re-construct, and co-construct the “text” according to previous gaming and translation experiences, or even imagined representations of how, why, and where “texts” are embedded.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-88
Number of pages25
JournalBabel
Volume70
Issue number1-2
Early online date12 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Language and Linguistics

User-Defined Keywords

  • blind translation
  • mobile game localisation from Chinese
  • web of texts
  • translator studies
  • (re)contextualization

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