Playing for Laughs: Humour and Levity in Localisation

This session will be in two parts, one focusing on the practice of video game localisation, and the second a workshop giving participants the chance to try their hand at comedy in translation. (It’s not just for gamers!)

Video games combine many types of translation, from the wildly creative to the highly technical, and have lessons for translators in other fields as well. One of the main challenges of video game localisation is maintaining a unified approach throughout a multimedia experience. Working in video games can mean translating song lyrics one day and error messages the next!

The first part of the presentation will give a general outline of the field, including its joys and pitfalls, and will go into some detail about the approach that Shloc adopts when dealing with a big and complicated project.

In the second interactive half, Geraint will focus specifically on humour - in videogames and in localisation in general. Many of the Japanese video games that are popular in the West have their own unique sense of humour and a delicately struck balance between levity and depth. Geraint will talk about striking the right balance between retaining the flavour of the original while trying to make English speakers laugh, and participants will be invited to pun along too.


Profile: Geraint Howells

Geraint has been working as a video game translator since 2008 and started out by working on projects such as the Professor Layton series for Nintendo. He joined Shloc Ltd shortly afterwards and has been working as part of the same small team ever since. Shloc have since gone on to translate several major titles, including multiple instalments of the Dragon Quest series, the Level 5/Studio Ghibli collaboration Ni No Kuni, several instalments of the Gran Turismo series. In 2014, Shloc Ltd's Japan office was set up in Osaka.