French Localization of Frankenstein: Master of Death

My French translation for the PC game Frankenstein: Master of Death, a very nice hidden object game (HOG) developed by Jetdog Studios, was officially published on May 14th.

It was a fun project to work on, as I took care of both translation and testing. Jetdog Studios also made a great job to have the game localization-ready: all strings were contained in a XML file (good choice of format) and the interface had ample space for longer strings, which is something we translators appreciate immensely. The Options menu was the only place where I had to shorten some strings a little, but this is unavoidable and there was still enough space to offer good alternatives. The fact I was able to test the game and apply changes in real-time was also extremely helpful.

Hidden object games, especially the ones taking place in the past, always offer great challenges for translators. There were tons of object names to translate, some very common and others more eccentric, and the only way to go right about this was to play the game and see what they looked like exactly. Some items can have different translations into French depending on the context, and some everyday objects changed so much over time that sometimes they can have a completely different name depending on the time period.

Most of the time, developers will only provide images (if anything at all), but nothing beats playing the game and seeing everything in action and context. The testing phase allowed me to improve a couple of item names that I didn’t quite manage to get right the first time around.

Style-wise, it was important to keep a tone consistent with era the game takes place in. Some words and expressions didn’t exist at the time, and dialogs had to be more formal than it would be now. Using formal “you” (“vous”) between friends is one of the obvious examples here. It’s one part of the translation that allowed for a little more creativity.

Overall, I really appreciated the freedom I had in the localization process and the resources I was provided with. Games like this can be very complex to translate, but Jetdog Studios got everything right to make the process smooth and pleasant on the translator’s end.

The game’s got very positive reviews and I myself enjoyed playing it a lot. Check it out!