The game would be Vampire: The Masquerade Parliament of Knives.
If you own the game, you can view the whole code online. But I have to ask, why are you translating it and what do you plan to do with the translation?
I don’t have the game yet, I like the VTM universe and I’ve been checking this game, it seems to be interesting and if it were possible maybe I would think about doing a free fan translation.
You should read this thread:
In it, you will find information on translation policy by CoG and Hosted Games.
CoG has a large international audience, and there’s a reason “fan translations” aren’t already a thing. People who aren’t authors or translators tend to massively underestimate how much work it is to translate even a short piece. Literary translation is an art in its own right, and requires much more than proficiency, or even fluency, in two languages. And in the case of Parliament of Knives, you’re talking about a book with a word count comparable to War and Peace. That would be a monumental undertaking for a professional translator working full-time.
Then, even if you managed to go through with it, you wouldn’t be allowed to distribute it. First of all, CoG isn’t even the copyright holder in this case; Paradox Interactive is, so no one on this forum even has the legal ability to give you the go-ahead even if they thought it was a great idea. But even aside from the legal rights, both CoG and Paradox have invested their money and their professional and artistic integrity into this game, and they’re not going to let there be a version out there in which they’re not in control of the content, which would include a language they don’t speak. They’re not just going to take your word for it that your translation is competent, or accurate, or otherwise something they would be proud to have associated with their brand.
My recommendation? Buy the game. Play it. Enjoy it. Seriously, it’s amazing. And if translation is something you think you’d enjoy, start with short pieces you’ve already read. And if you’re interested in looking at the code for any ChoiceScript game, there are a lot of people here who would be happy to help. But you’re putting the cart so far ahead of the horse here that the horse doesn’t even know there is a cart.
I know how much work it takes and if I ever open a project like this I won’t be alone of course, I’ve already translated some games like Life is Strange, Dragon Age, Bioshock 2 and Mass Effect.
I’m seeing that VTM:PK is great, really well written. I’m actually buying the entire bundle, I also played VTM:CoNY before and it was a good experience. Thank you for the words.
Hey, if translating 600,000 words of ChoiceScript text sounds like fun to you, knock yourself out. Just know that you will not be allowed to distribute your translation to anyone, even for free. So it’ll only be for yourself.
I think you’ll quickly find that it’s a lot more complex than translating a novel or other pieces of static fiction. There’s a lot of code to deal with, say, different verb forms for characters with variable pronouns (“he/she” use singular verbs in English, “they” uses plural verbs), which may work very differently in your language. And *goto and *gosub commands can often come in the middle of a sentence, which might be impossible to work with if your language uses different grammatical structures.
In a word, it will probably be quite educational!
I know Choice of Games games can be very popular with non-English speaking communities. I assume it’s done with a lot of research in dual language dictionaries or by copy-pasting in-game passages into Google Translate. That’s probably how I’d go about it.
As if that wasn’t difficult enough.
Although I know it won’t happen any time soon, I wish translated ChoiceScript games were a thing, just so I could study how translators tackled those particular issues. Although for the languages I’m most familiar with (the highly gendered Romance family, with its highly inflected verbs), I see the more interesting points of the translator’s art getting bogged down in so. many. extra. variables.
Yeah, I mean, gendered nouns are one thing, but unless a language has a robust system for nonbinary pronouns, whew, that’s going to be a bumpy ride. Might need dispensation from the author and CoG to restrict it to the genders in your language. And wow those neo-pronoun issues would be rough. And what about games like Crown of Sorcery and Steel where different fantasy races have different gender and pronoun structures?
Basically, the work you’d have to do to translate, even if the author themselves is multi-lingual and wants to do it themselves, it’s like writing a whole game practically from scratch, in which case, why not write your own game from scratch?
I’d be intrigued to work my way through a Spanish, French, or Italian game.
And oh man, I don’t even know if ChoiceScript can handle the special characters for like Vietnamese, or ah, Cyrillic. Probably not! Would be cool to see.
I know there’s a commissioned professional translation of Choice of the Dragon, and a translation of Affairs of the Court that CoG allowed someone to do as a thesis project, both in Spanish. I would love to try those out. Of course, being among the very earliest CS games, Dragon and Affairs don’t have anything like the kind of complexity we see nowadays, either structurally or representationally. If I were going to translate a CS game for my own entertainment, I would start with one of the earlier ones. Some of them even pose fairly interesting issues: those in which the PC’s gender is never specified, for instance (easy enough in English; very tricky in French!), or role-reversal games like Choice of Broadsides (would it be going too far to use the feminine instead of the masculine for a mixed-gender group in the matriarchal version?).
One thing I would actually like better in translation is nonbinary character options. Although the Romance languages are going through some of the same growing pains English is in figuring out how best to accommodate people who don’t fit the gender binary, French- and Spanish-speakers generally use a neopronoun which takes the singular form of the verb, which reduces or eliminates some of the coding and clarity issues that can result from using “they.”
As for languages not written in the Roman alphabet, I know ChoiceScript can handle Chinese characters (Teahouse of the Gods) and Greek letters (Witchcraft U) at the very least.
Some languages don’t use gendered pronouns at all. Would you need neopronouns when everyone uses the same one?
I’m pretty sure CS can handle utf-8 if the files are saved properly. Whether or not the user’s system can handle it is another question.
Languages without grammatical gender would introduce their own set of issues. I’ve never studied a non-gendered language, so I can’t comment on the linguistic mechanisms, but obviously it is entirely possible to discuss the biological and social categorization of human beings based on their reproductive anatomy without using gendered pronouns - but what do you need to do to expand that discussion to people who don’t fit neatly into the conventional categories? Is there a way to identify a character as nonbinary in a way that feels natural, without a lot of clumsy exposition? And what do you do when linguistic aspects of gender are discussed in the story - do you leave that stuff out, add an explanation that wasn’t necessary in English, or devise an approximate equivalent that fits how the second language works?
And the point is not so much about gender per se, as that gender is merely one potential source of translation complications. I can think of plenty of others. Sentence structure and word order could cause complications with coding. How about formality? Should the translator introduce choices that weren’t in the original about whether the PC prefers formal or informal address to/from other characters? What level of formality should the narrative use for the PC? How much more complicated would a scene that involves a variable number of characters be to code in a language that has a dual form as well as singular and plural?
Oh, definitely. The “you can’t use human pronouns for dogs (and non-human pronouns for humans)” arguments are glorious.
I do find the issue of translating concepts that don’t directly translate interesting though. Then again, it is something that needs to be taken care of with traditional publishing as well.
This topic is always very interesting to me as a nonbinary editor and writer (and also to my nonbinary, bilingual spouse who works in art and storytelling). Fortunately there is already lot of precedent, and specifically in translations of games.
One of the exciting parts of translating queerness is talking to queer folk in the relevant cultures – and in this case, getting to see how trans and gender-nonconforming people present themselves with their own languages. One example – here’s a neat article about translating Neocab (which includes nonbinary pronouns in the original language) into Italian, written by the translator.
With CS-style games, the massive amount of text to translate plus all of the variations is a vast undertaking, so maybe commercial viability is low or nonexistent. But there are quite a few CoG and HG titles now that also include bits or even full passages in other languages, so maybe it can be relevant there too…and also when considering conlangs.