Using different languages in a story

Well I am intending to use another language for a few characters, the language I use will be a real one, probably german.
Do i need to translate these lines or not?
(this is basically not important what they talk about)

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If it is relatively unimportant, then I suppose you don’t need to translate it.

Could tie it to a stat/choice, Choice of Vampires had languages as a stat

If it’s unimportant, then you could probably get away with not translating it.
Also it could depend on if the PC character speaks german as well or not, I suppose (for immersion reasons mostly). If for example they are not very fluent, it would make sense that some stuff kinda go over their head.

Things have been published here and there with the occasional word where the meaning has been obvious, but bear in mind if there’s a lot of non-english text, you’ll have to run it by COG as they have an English only policy for published games. It also means that most of your audience won’t understand a word of it which kind of defeats the purpose of a text game.

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Well the mc is not speaking german, but i am using german because i want to give the reader a chance to actually understand what they are talking about

Giving the German-speaking readers an advantage over their non-German speaking co-readers might be a challenge to balance, especially if the info is important to the story.

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It is basically early access intel

As a tester, I’d recommend against choosing to do this… as a reader, it would bother me to know this was in the game.


Hmmm, difficult to balance.
I’d wager, if it’s something minor (like hearing people chatting at a bus stop kinda situation) and not an important detail, like i said you might be able to get away with it. Or have the mc have a very vague idea of what is being said (from the tone, or a very limited knowledge of the language, maybe catch a few words) and see if you can give them a way to figure it out, instead of having it fly over their heads (from asking to looking words that stood out in a dictionary, to asking an accomplice for help etc)

But it’s shaky and difficult to balance this just right (I get that it’d be a good immersion technique if the mc is a non-german speaking person in say germany, to kinda establish the “fish out of water” feeling they have, but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea)


Thank you,
I will return to the drawing board for this.

It might be a bit of a hassle, but if you could always try putting out a small scene as a test and see how it rolls with people.
A lot of work for something that may or may not stick, but I guess it’s one way to test it out, especially if you’re already half way through with your plans, instead of scrapping it out right away. Again, it all depends on your story and how this is used as a tool to push forward (I recall one game set in a french speaking town in canada for story reasons, where the mc didn’t speak a lick french,but did have a handy computer buddy to give them the gist of things. It did give off the sense of alienation the mc felt without the player missing out. What I’m saying is, if it’s essential, there are ways to work around it.)

I wish you the best of luck with your project!

Throw in some fake information in there too? The speakers themselves being either misinformed or intentionally misleading.
Or include a translation in some corner of the stats page whenever the lines show up. So the cut-off is not whether the reader (us) knows German, but whether we think a certain conversation important enough to investigate.

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I am not that far yet, so abandoning this idea is no hassle
Actually a good idea, might work, a certain character just needs to cast a spell, could work

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Okay, as a reader that only speaks English (and can cuss in a couple other languages), I love games that include this, but I’d recommend specifically having the PC not understand them, and not giving an advantage (otherwise you just have a guessing game choice).

As the person that does content review, this is a massive pain, but, so long as it’s short and not frequent, it’s probably manageable.

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My honest take on it: don’t. Just put the text in english and say they are speaking german, I feel that is better. People buy the games so that they can read them, having them in a language almost only spoken by Germans and a few others (sorry to all the other nationalities I can’t bother to list :sweat_smile:) is a bad idea, just use a word here and there if you want to reinforce the idea that the characters are German (for example, in my stories I tend to include characters from various nationalities, so I tend to use expletives or one or two idiomatic expressions from the native-language of the characters).

Speaking as a potential buyer (and please don’t give too much importance to my opinion, I’m just one person) I happen to be able to read German, but it would nag me a bit because I use these games as a way to relax, and having to read in another language (besides English, but I’m already expecting it) would be just like what I am forced to do for work.

So, given that what you write is supposed to be read by your readers, don’t do it unless it is just a small thing (and wait to see what your testers say). That’s my (very subjective) advice :stuck_out_tongue:

P.S. You need to remember that Americans will be your main audience, and (someone correct me if I am wrong, I might blindly following stereotypes) Americans tend to speak even less foreign languages than, for example, Europeans (because Americans are lucky enough to don’t really need them, lucky bastards :smiley:).

But hey, good luck with your story! I am sure you will end up finding the right balance for things however you choose to proceed!

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I wanted to do something like this in my WIP. The MC is trying to look for, hard to obtain information, and they happen across a foreign website. The website has an english welcome message, and the tabs are in english too, but everything else is in tagalog. This is at a time sensitive place in the game, where actions you choose adds onto a counter, and when that counter reaches a certain number the event ends and the plot moves forwards with the MC obtaining whatever informaiton they have. The MC could of course try running a translation program in order to fully understand the website, but it adds onto said counter. If they don’t all they would be able to get is see the picture and videos of the information they’re trying to get. I personally think that this is pretty immersive and close to real life, but I’m not sure if this will pass through the english policy aspect or if other people might enjoy it. Feedback?