"Shadowgate is a living castle, boy. I can feel her... she's afraid of what's coming"



Sorry, but we’re all but afraid of what’s coming: Shadowgate Italian version! Exciting as this news might be for all the Italian gamers out there, you can’t imagine how great it feels to us. If life were a huge videogame, being contacted by Dave Marsh and having the chance to work on such a legendary game would undoubtedly be part of its achievement list.

In case you don’t know what Shadowgate is about, repent by reading the following synopsis: you play as Jair Cuthegar, a simple soldier who’s been led by powerful wizard Lakmir to Shadowgate, a mythic castle once home to the greatest wizards on earth, recently conquered and pillaged by Talimar the Black. You will have to go deeper and deeper into the castle, explore its darkest catacombs as well as its luxurious halls, defeat enemies the likes of dragons, wraiths and banshees in order to find out more about Talimar’s evil plans and stop him in time. Your only weapons will be a dirk, the priceless hints of Yorick – your boney companion – and, above all else, your cleverness, for your adventure will be replete with traps and riddles only a sharp mind could overcome.

As localizers, we found in Shadowgate a brand new challenge: the one about epic language. Being the story set in a world apart from our own which, however, recalls many of the paradigms of the middle age, the language used to describe the epic journey of a wannabe hero couldn’t be colloquial. Terms and titles such as Staff of Ages, Golden Thorn, Lakmir the Timeless and Circle of Twelve needed a both evocative and archaic translation, which was possible partly thanks to the incredible richness and variety of the Italian language. We did our best to manipulate language, just like an artisan modeling a vase, in order to convey an epic now-or-never atmosphere which would add to the beautiful drawings, immersive music and challenging plot that were already part of the game. We aimed at giving the Italian audience a high-quality product that crosses the boundary of a simple translation whose only goal is to make the original script barely understandable to non-English speakers. We aimed at creating a unique experience which will hopefully make you feel a bit privileged compared to all of your non-Italian friends. Oh, and don’t forget that Italian will probably be the first language to be added to the game: go brag about it with the rest of the world!


The Italian version of Shadowgate is currently being tested and will be released very soon.

Are you ready for a really infamous game?


Are you ready to embark on an Italian quest for infamy? You’d better, since Infamous Quests’ RPG/point and click hybrid is finally coming in its crazy Italian localization! 
With over 120,000 words, QFI is the biggest project we’ve ever carried out – it’s been kind of like reading Stephen King’s ‘It’ and stopping being afraid of huge books. What’s been even harder to handle is the three-path structure the adventure is divided into. As you get the chance to play the story as a sorcerer, a brigand or a rogue, the story takes on a different turn according to the player’s choice, involving different missions, characters and solutions. If you think about the ‘path-finding system’ our translation process begins with – that is, taking notes of every comment/dialogue of the game, so that every sentence listed in the script is fully contextualized – you’ll realize how challenging it’s been. Nevertheless, it all took 5 weeks rough for us to be done with the translation – the time spanning from August to September was basically crunched by summer holydays and agreement signing. 
What we’re sure all of the old fans of the genre will find delightful is the huge amount of references – not only to videogames, but to a wider range of pop-culture fields, including tv series, cartoons, and movies. Not only will you read the narrator making jokes on King’s Quest, Quest for Glory, Space Quest, Shadowgate and Oldboy, but you will also stumble on lines echoing Dr. Who, the Simpsons, the Muppets and a strange movie starring Keanu Reeves whose reference we had to change since the movie has never had an Italian version. So lucky you to have such beautiful nerdy girls working on the Italian localization of your favorite games! 
One more thing we hope you’ll appreciate about our work is the transcreation part, which has never been as important as in this case. Monsters, spells, weapons, plants, cities, roads, pubs, and characters themselves: each had his own special name in the original English version and so it will be as for the Italian localization. We didn’t change everything and each time we replaced original names it wasn’t just for the sake of it – that goes without saying. We stuck to those names which were perfect in their original shape and we changed the ones which could sound better to the Italian speaking audience. We bet you want a tiny cute example. There’s one of the fellows Roehm will have to work with if he chooses the path of the brigand whose name is Chuy. Chuy is a big bear. Chuy doesn’t mean a thing in Italian. We chose to call it Grizo, which recalls the term ‘Grizzly’ and ‘Griso’, one of the bad boys in Alessandro Manzoni’s “---“ at the same time. Pretty clever, isn’t it? 
That’s basically it. We’ll probably write a more specific post-mortem on QFI localization some time later. In the meantime, stay tuned because the announcement of the official Italian release is coming soon!

LocJam 2014

Hello, fellow gamers and fellow localisers!
We are taking part in LocJam, the competition the whole world of localisers has been waiting for. The contest consists in translating Lucas Pope’s “Republia Times” in one week-time. 
It’s been very challenging for us, since the game, though kind of basic at first glance, unwraps itself more and more each time you play it, revealing several layers of understanding. Just as “Papers, please!” (Pope’s game released right after Republia Times) it’s highly political, dealing with the Powers That be and stressing the importance of each choice made by the gamer. It all revolves around you being chosen as The Republia Times’ new editor-in-chief and having to choose which articles to publish on the newspaper you’re working for, discarding the ones showing Republia’s government in a bad light and stressing the ones supporting Republia’s government (or just the other way round, it’s all up to you). 
So, what do we think makes our translation special?
The first thing is that it’s not only a translation, but a full localisation instead. It means that each name has been translated to Italian with the purpose of conveying a very specific meaning to the player. We’re not huge fans of Gone with the Wind’s Scarlet being translated into Rossella, because that really made no sense at all. Nevertheless, what made us want to translate the names of each tv star, athlete or place appearing in the game was the need to make Italian gamers think about how Republia’s dictatorship might as well strike their own country sometime in the future. What makes Pope’s games so special is how they could fit in each country’s reality, being as vague as they could be. However, it wouldn’t have been much of a challenge to leave those names as they were, wouldn’t it? We tried to embrace the essence of Pope’s game (which basically is “this might happen to you”) by making it more specific and Italy-centred. After all, we think that’s what competitions are for: experimenting. Let’s leave the serious and ordinary and sensible part of our brains to commercial projects, shall we? 
Oh, and here’s the second thing: some articles are completely crazy, spreading black humour all over all over your computer screen. Cool! 
Wish us luck! 
If you want to find out more about LocJam, here’s the link to its website.

The Samaritan Paradox

When Mark J. Lovegrove replied to one of our infamous publisher-stalking-e-mail, we couldn’t believe it. When we saw a small Italian flag appearing on top of the screenshot announcing the development of The Samaritan Paradox on Screen 7 website, we couldn’t believe it either. Now that we’re writing this post and The Samaritan Paradox will be released in just a week… Guess what? We still can’t believe it. 
We’re very proud of working along with Screen 7, a relatively new-born publisher which is focused on bringing great adventure games to the public - they did the Cat Lady, folks! The whole process of localising The Samaritan Paradox has been such a great experience, with Mark supporting us and Petter Ljungqvist keeping up with our questions about any possible aspect of the game. Now let’s stop being sentimental and let’s focus on the game. 
The Samaritan Paradox is a detective drama which tells the story of lonely cryptologist Ord Salomon. Ord stumbles on Jonatan Bergwall’s last novel, finding a hidden message the three-month-dead author wrote to his daughter, Sara. The message says: “There’s one more”. Ord will soon find himself on a quest to discover if there’s a Bergwall’s secret book hidden somewhere, longing to unravel the mystery that seems to keep Sara from living a peaceful life. The Samaritan Paradox stands out for its clever puzzles whose difficulty is just right: some will have you walk to and fro talking to yourself and some others will take but a few minutes to be solved. Moreover, the way the story is told is quite amazing: you will control two different characters in two different times, living only apparently different lives. Plus, the game is softly wrapped up in a delicate Swedish atmosphere, taking you to some of the most famous places in Gothenburg and making you want to travel through Sweden. 
What about its localisation? Well, it’s all been very challenging. It’s like the game summed up the hardest issues for localisers. It has rhyming riddles (note the plural form!), hints sewed into the very structure of English words and characters with all kinds of personalities to be mirrored in Italian dialogues. The whole localisation project has been quite tough (as well as satisfying) and it took less than two months to be carried out. Nevertheless, we found the time to scatter some tiny Italian-cultural reference all over the game. Just try looking at the globe and focusing on the paintings you’ll come across. 
The Samaritan Paradox is to be released on April the 18th. If you want to find out more about the game, go check its official website.
Game snatched, game played. ;)

Countless cunts we must account for

Our dearest adventurers, today there’s something very important we’d like to write about. It’s been more than a month since Donald Dowell’s release and the game has been doing great so far. However, we’ve been told that one particular line of the game has been perceived as offensive by some players and we’re here to talk it out, or better, to write it out.


Here’s the deal: Donald addresses more than once to Count Barker as “Cunt” Barker.


We all know the C word is undoubtedly offensive, particularly as a gender slur against women, in American English and we apologize to all the American gamers who felt offended by that particular line of the game. On the other hand, we feel the need to explain why we didn’t mean it to be offensive. We won’t start raving about how we’re both focused on gender studies, how we’re both women, how we both love women with all our hearts and souls (being both active members of the LGBTQIA Community), because you simply don’t know us personally and because that would kind of sound like homophobes listing all their gay and lesbian friends when accused of hate crimes. So let’s skip to a few objective points we’d like you to focus on.


In British English, cunt is not as strong as it is in American English. Go ask your British friends, surf the Internet, do what you please. It’s not used as a gender slur, as it mostly addresses to men with the meaning of “stupid”.

Donald Dowell is clearly based on British English and not on American English. The game is clearly set in Ireland and not just in a more generic English speaking context. You can see that from its very first line: “My name is Donald Dowell. I am Irish”. There are plenty of references to Irish setting and culture, among which we quote: “Typical Irish weather…”/ “No one cares about ghost stories and old Irish manors”/ “This is Ireland, not America!”/ “A pint of Guinness. No graphic adventure set in Ireland should ever be without one” and please don’t get us going on. So the fact that DD is set in Ireland, where people speak British English and not in America, where people speak American English, should be reasonably clear.

Moreover, “cunt” is not the only typical British expression we put into the game. You came across several balderdash, bonkers, boozer, eating house, bollocks, aye, quare and again, please don’t get us going on. So we simply didn’t just wake up one day and decided to put the C word into the game. It really came out naturally. We’re really sorry if someone felt it was offensive, but the truth is, in the undoubtedly Irish context Donald is set in, that word is not offensive. To us, it’s much like talking of cigarettes and feeling offended by the word fag. It simply doesn’t mean that. 


This leads to one peculiar aspect we found absolutely interesting. It’s about the cons (and no, we don’t mean it the French way) of speaking the language of whom we may call the “winners”. American English is undoubtedly more spoken than British English (which can be said to be spoken by native British people only). It has spread throughout the world as some kind of lingua franca. But the fact that there are more people speaking American English than British English doesn’t mean that we are all forced to stick to the meaning of the former. We’re talking about two different varieties of equal importance. British people or people attempting to write in British English like us should not feel forced to adjust to more spoken American English. Funny how the major language (in terms of speakers) sometimes needs to adjust to minor ones. That’s one reason why language and linguistics are so damn interesting: they make us all equal. There are no winners and no losers, because each official language and each dialect are equally important and differences are welcomed and studied and celebrated.


So yes, that’s basically the point of all of this: we hope you’ll welcome this peculiar difference between British and American English. We don’t want you to feel offended by that word, but at the same time we don’t want you to ignore a language slightly different from your own.             

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