Translators' Lounge STSL
Translators' Lounge STSL
December 22, 2010
vestigialdev Mar 24, 2017 @ 1:25pm
Translate in-game or spreadsheet?
I made a gimmick in my game where you can submit a translation suggestion from inside the game and it gets uploaded to the server.

However, do translators like it more if you just have a big excel sheet where you go line by line and translate? I would think doing it while you're inside the game would be more fun, but maybe you like to just get in the zone and knock them out? Sorry for the english colloquialisms :)

Lastly, if you were learning english (or learning another language) would it be a selling point that you can switch from language to another very easily? Like if you know Portugese but want to learn English, you could play the game in English and whenever you ran into something you didn't understand, you could drop back to your native language with a keystroke, would that be worth making a big deal out of or is the market for that too small
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Showing 1-6 of 6 comments
Rayfulrand Mar 24, 2017 @ 1:53pm 
Hi vestigiadev,
What you propose seems to be interesting idea, but there is a BIG chance and risk that translator will miss huge piece of text, especially if you have non-linear story and variety of choices, quests etc.

Google spreadsheet is a common way to share text for translation, but it can be organized in different ways for better experience.

I can share one of good practices how to do it better: Hidden Folks game:
1. Devs prepared Google spreadsheet with different sheets, divided by sections (main text, tips, descriptions etc.).
2. First column is text id, from where we can understand the purpose of text. You can also add one column with description. For example, word 'Action' can have several meanings and possible translations in Russian, Ukrainian or Polish, it depends if it’s a verb or noun.
3. Next column is your original text - English, I suppose.
4. And the best thing I saw meanwhile in translation: Devs prepared a special version of game in Steam. We - translators - could open the game and choose the language we wanted. And we had the button 'Update Translation'. Via server it took information from Google Spreadsheet for every language, so we immediately could see the translation in the game.

Of course, you can try and use some online CAT tools, there are several free to use, but they require time to learn how to setup a project properly.

Also, regarding changing language with a keystroke: maybe it's better to have usual 'change language in menu or settings'. Because gamer can accidently press wrong key, change translation and get scared that he did something wrong or broke the game.

I hope I helped a bit.
Last edited by Rayfulrand; Mar 24, 2017 @ 1:56pm
Mr. Fusion Mar 25, 2017 @ 12:56am 
Having something translated line by line by in a random order, by a bunch of random people will be just a horrible, inconsistent mess.

Ideally, a single person should do the entire translation, as that's the only way to ensure continuity and consistent use of expressions, wording, writng style etc.

Or, in cases where the entire text base can be split into clearly separated areas where one person working on one area doesn't have to know antyhing about how another person translated things in another such separate area, a few translators who have experience in working together collaborating and actively using a constantly updated glossary and other shared information may result in acceptable quality.
Rayfulrand Mar 25, 2017 @ 1:35am 
Originally posted by Mr. Fusion:
Ideally, a single person should do the entire translation, as that's the only way to ensure continuity and consistent use of expressions, wording, writng style etc.
In cases of big amount of text with specific terms and style, and if several translators work on one language, glossary and style document are mandatory. In this case, there should be one lead translator/moderator, who prepares these documents.

Originally posted by Mr. Fusion:
Having something translated line by line by in a random order, by a bunch of random people will be just a horrible, inconsistent mess.
Of course not in random order. Translation sheet should be divided into logical sections. It depends on developers how to do this, but this sheet should have have structure.
I've experienced several projects where the table was a disaster - no explanations/descriptions, no structure, one row could be an intro text, the next one - a message from the middle of the game, the next one - a tip etc.
vestigialdev Mar 26, 2017 @ 12:01am 
Hey Rayfulrand, thanks again for your help doing the Ukranian translation before :)

Ha, yes I can imagine the panic that would set in if someone accidently hit F11 (for example) and suddenly they were looking at a screen full of Chinese with no way back. That will have to be a special option.

So from your post, it sounds like the editing was done via Google Sheets? Was it effective to just share the sheet permissions with different translators? It seems so simple. I actually use Google Sheets too, to hold the translations and upload/download them to the game, so I am already at 90% of what you described :steamhappy: But I don't have things divided into main text/tips/desc, do you feel this was very helpful or could it be all lumped into one big document?
vestigialdev Mar 26, 2017 @ 12:08am 
Mr. Fusion, that is what I was thinking, if the translations were done in-game it would be much easier to capture the tone and feeling of the moment, versus in the spreadsheet without any context. I'm not so worried about different translators voices clashing, however. Maybe limiting each characters dialogue to a single translator of course, but a lot of my text is very bland technical status messages without any room for differnt translation style. I can imagine a VN would have a much harder time with what you're saying, if it was a block of flowery text. I think, at least for my game, I will just dump it in the laps of whoever the volunteers are, and trust them that they've worked through such issues already.
vestigialdev Mar 26, 2017 @ 12:14am 
Rayfulrand, I'm seeing what you said about a well ordered sheet. It sounds like translators would not be happy with how mine is organized so far. Its alphabetically sorted by id/key, but as you said, one line could refer to dialogue, the next could be an error message. I'm sure Google Sheets has a way to have different sheets (organized for translators) that then get merged into one (for the code to grab). I appreciate you sharing from a translator perspective what makes data easy to work with or not.
Last edited by vestigialdev; Mar 26, 2017 @ 12:15am
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