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GM Note Dev Note #6: Translator Talk 09.21.2018

The Localization team are the guys responsible for taking the Korean text, and transforming it into something that is enjoyable for English speakers. Today we’re going to talk to one of our localization specialists, Joseph Yoon. 


Can you briefly describe your role? 

I’m essentially responsible for the management, translation and quality assurance of all the English translations for the console, mobile and PC versions of Black Desert. 


Can you describe to us the process that goes into localizing Black Desert? 
Localizing doesn’t start nor end with just reading the Korean and translating it to English word for word. We have to go through many discussions within the localization team, with the developers and designers to ensure that the correct terms and expressions are used. 
We also have to make changes to the words used that could mislead players or even create the wrong connotations. 

There are also many considerations we have to make to the translation too. We have to think about the length of the string, the colors and all the small details so that users will have an easy time reading and understanding the game. 


What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a Localization Specialist? 
The biggest challenge for us was trying to shorten the words and/or sentences enough to comfortably fit into the user interface. English takes up a lot more space than Korean. A lot more. 

Just a few characters in Korean can get the message across, while in English it would take a sentence or two to say the exact thing. So it takes some time to figure out how to shorten our localized content to fit into the UI while at the same time remaining grammatically correct and not straying away from the actual meaning. 


Do you guys aim to preserve as much of the Korean as possible or do you try to give your own take on it? 

We try to preserve as much of the Korean as we can. There are times when changes are necessary, and times when we believe that changing something would be more interesting for the users. 

The easiest example to explain this is puns and jokes. There are jokes that are added by the designers that are hilarious for Korean users because they contain cultural references. But when translated into English would be confusing. Therefore we have to find a cultural equivalent without undermining the original joke. 


Last question, if someone was looking to get into Localization, what skills would you say they need to have? 

They would need to have a good understanding of the game, knowledge of other games and great linguistic ability. Localization is about conveying the intentions and implicit messages, while respecting the subtleties and idiosyncrasies of a language. 

Although having talent and a liking for creative expression through writing are key to this process, this would all be useless if a localizer did not have a comprehensive understanding of the game that he/she is localizing.