Translating virtual interactions: an analysis of the translation of character abilities in the video game World of Warcraft

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University of Alabama Libraries

Localization is the process of making something more local in character, with the goal being to recreate the work to make the target audience feel as if it were created in their own language and not merely translated from another. Instances of psychological immersion similar to those experienced when reading a book or watching a film have also been noted in individuals playing video games (Taylor, 2002, p.12). In this type of immersion, the individual is temporarily absorbed into the environment, blurring the lines of reality. Research has shown that comprehension of the narrative and surrounding virtual environments have been reported to play a key role in the realization of an individual's immersive experience (Qin et al., 2009; Tavinor, 2005). The present study analyzed the translations of the abilities of the Mage and Rogue classes in the video game World of Warcraft in order to determine which translation methods were used in the game's localization from English to French. The secondary objective was seeking to determine if player immersion played a role, if at all, in the translation process, which was found to be difficult to argue without consulting the original translators. Despite this, the results reveal that the translators took liberties during the translation process, at times yielding illogical or unconventional translations. Translations of this nature could potentially be indicative of an evolution in the translation of fantasy literature.

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Linguistics, Language