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 previously discussed mainly from the standpoints of Game and Media Studies (Burn 2016; Egliston 2014; Stamenković and Jaćević 2019; Toh 2018), but also increasingly by Translation Studies (Mejías-Climent 2017; O’Hagan 2007; Vázquez-Calvo et al. 2019). However, there is still very little research focusing on how mobile game localisers construe poly-semiotic texts and their subcomponents during the translation process. Due to certain factors, the textual components of a video game are commonly separated from its audiovisual elements before being sent to localisation experts, who are then confronted with disassembled “texts” forced back to monomodality. Furthermore, the “text” is intertwined with programming language and subdivided into disconnected snippets. Thus, video game localisers constantly perform what it 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 localisation from Chinese into European languages and other Eastern languages. It analyses how professional localisers perform their meaning-making processes in regard to “text” and “context” in such a contextless medium, and explores how they strive to reinstate multimodality through (re)contextualisation. The study replicated “blind” localisation processes via a video game translation test finished and commented by respondents under context-scarce conditions. Then, it triangulated that data with online surveys and interviews to assess localisers’ 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 localisers 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
Number of pages25
JournalBabel
Volume70
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Dec 2023

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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