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Topic: Some more general rules for translators

OIPUN
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Joined: 2020-11-17, 09:34
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Posted at: 2021-03-20, 13:00
  1. Use gender neutral forms where possible

Some languages distinguish whether you speak to a man or a woman. Please use neutral language where possible. The change can be small. Sometimes it is enough to translate “Do you really” instead of “Are you sure” or “Player XY wins” instead of “Player XY won”. Sometimes if the first option is not possible, you can use brackets. For example “You closed” can be translated as “Zvřel(a) jsi” in Czech where “Zavřel jsi” is a form for a man and “Zavřela jsi” is a form for a woman.

  1. Polite form of speech

Many languages do have a polite form of speech. That means where an English speaker simply use “you”, you can actually use different pronouns and you can change the form of related verb as well. Please try to use polite form of speech where it is expected, typically when a campaign character speaks to the main character (Jundlina, Lutius, Reebaud, …). The only exceptions I made is speech of Amalea to Lutius because it seems to be also realistic and it was already translated in this way in my language and we don’t know anything about Amalea (who is it actually). Also while talking to a king do not use “Hey you king”, “Your Majesty” should be OK. In opposite, try not to use the polite form of speech while you speak to a player in tutorials or game instructions. The way friends speak to each other should probably be acceptable in most of the languages.

  1. Don’t change the meaning of words unless you translate all related strings!

Some terms allow a translator to be a little bit creative. Typically terms like blackroot, swift boots, wood gnome or some names of military buildings. Please keep the meaning as close as possible unless all related strings are translated and the new translation suits your language much better. Use search over all resources while checking all related strings. Always update dictionary in this case.

  1. Use dictionary

Update it but don’t create to many new terms. New terms are automatically shown in other languages that may not need them. While considering a new translation of a word you have access to dictionaries of all languages also without joining the group of translators of the other languages. You can simply open the dictionary of your language and in the upper part there is a box that allows you to choose a different language.

  1. Be careful with multiple plural

When you translate a multiple plural string a new panel with blue buttons above the box for translated text appears, the number of buttons may vary according to the selected language. By clicking on this buttons you are changing folders. Each folder needs its own translation. Explanation for each input can be found here https://unicode-org.github.io/cldr-staging/charts/38/supplemental/language_plural_rules.html under cardinal number type.

  1. Production program messages

Are already described in official instructions. The part of this messages that describes the activity (the %1$s part in the instructions which can be found in folder “Tribes”) looks like it starts with a verb in -ing form. But be careful it is actually a subject of the sentence, in many languages it is a noun that is derived from a verb. In Czech for example it has to be a noun that describes an action in neutral gender because the other parts of the sentence were translated by using a verb that needs subject in neutral gender. Some languages may have it easier as they don't have to use 3 genders but the subject-noun problem should be relevant for more languages. When I see “sta producendo” in the Italian version it simply can’t work.

This is my experience that I gained while translating and correcting translations. If I am wrong somewhere, please let me know.

Edited: 2021-03-20, 14:34

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OIPUN
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Posted at: 2021-03-22, 23:30

OIPUN wrote:

The only exceptions I made is speech of Amalea to Lutius because it seems to be also realistic

Sorry for my mystification. Now I see that Amalea is Lutius’s sister. I found it strange that she is calling him brother. As there is no note by her name and she didn't introduce herself, I didn’t get it. The unofficial speech is completely correct in this case.


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OIPUN
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Posted at: 2021-03-25, 13:50

And also Boldreth uses unofficial speech while talking to Thron. I forgot to mention him. Sorry for that. You can actually find this information in the instructions for German translators https://www.widelands.org/wiki/TranslatingGerman/. I hope you will find this info useful. Now the information should be complete.


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AmyGill
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Joined: 2021-06-22, 14:29
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Posted at: 2021-06-22, 14:33

These are some perfect rules indeed! However, I'd like to add a few more. Bear in mind that translating first names might make the text lose its meaning. So, definitely avoid translating first names. Similarly, you must understand that not every word has a literal translation. We, the translators, can quickly spot who truly knows the language and who doesn't. A lot of times, some expressions or terms cannot be translated using a few words. In this case, you'd better include a detailed explanation. Also, when dealing with fun adjectives , make sure that you know how to translate them right. I hope this was useful!


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