Localization Issues & Transfers

Let’s get it straight and simple: Russian localization quality is getting worse gradually.

Every time that I compare cinematics in English and Russian I’m earning a butthurt of epic proportions. As the only option for Russian realms is switching on the English sound (not the texts), every now and then I compare the things spoken and the things posted in game chat, and it’s butthurt again.

I mean I could deal with the dwarf accents which are totally absent in Russian version, it’s a bearable thing. As well as losing some troll speech flavor from Carribean “mon” to a more common “dude” – they still tried.

But I can’t deal with the multiple examples of when the original text is simplified to nothing, the most basic phrases which have no flavor, no character speech peculiarities. And even more: even the very character motives are lost in translation which gives birth to complete misunderstanding of a major character.

Kil’Jaeden death cinematic:

  • Illidan (original): Khadgar, take us home!
  • Illidan (Russian): Khadgar, teleport!
  • Kil’Jaeden (original): I never believed Sargeras could be stopped. Maybe you can prove me wrong.
  • Kil’Jaeden (Russian): I could never push Sargeras back. Now you have a chance.

Illidan’s response was mocked a lot among the Russian community – it’s what a player would post in chat, not a hero in cinematic. Seriously? Khadgar, tp to Dal 50g?

Kil’Jaeden’s response makes him an active opposition – as if he actually tried to stop Sargeras all the time. I mean, what the fuck? More examples:

Horde orc:

  • (original): Let them feel our blades!
  • (Russian): Kill them!

Darkshore world quest completion:

  • Sylvanas (original): You were the right arrow for the shot.
  • Sylvanas (Russian): I knew you could cope with that.

It’s but a top of an iceberg. I had a rant discussion with a Blizzard employee on Twitter, one of the responsible for localization, and his arguments were:

  • You don’t know and/or understand a shit about translation process because you are not a pro, but he has an education;
  • The meaning is all the same, and you’re too picking;
  • There’s lip sync, rhyme tempo, audio file length, phases of the moon responsible – so you cannot provide an adequate translation;
  • If you know how to do better – here’s the link to Blizzard vacancy page.

Even if I have some experience and a thing or two about audio recording, audio programs, adjusting the lyrics to the line length, translation and everything else, you don’t have to be a pro to understand that this is simply lame. Even my wife, who knows practically nothing about WoW, audio recording and hasn’t got a special linguistics education like myself, reacts WHAAAAAA…? to the examples alike. This is just bad translation, the work is done poorly – end of story.

This Sylvanas Darkshore example finally brings me to the project of epic proportions: transferring my toons to EU English-speaking realms. It’s a big and a long-term project. I have lots of toons as you know, and transfers cost some IRL cash too.

I’m paid at my day job every two weeks, and every time I get my cash – it’s a character or two transfer. This pace will also serve as a natural gating to leveling and catching up with my alt army.

So far I’ve already moved 4 toons for the initiate BfA leveling:

  • Micromantica the Gnome Frost Mage
  • Pietra the Gnome Subtlety Rogue
  • Schlitzchen the Goblin Enhancement Shaman
  • Gorhaug the Orc Fury Warrior

Catch me at EU-Doomhammer! :)

Transfers serve two extra reasons – blogging reasons.

First, I will have a match between the names in game and in my blog – as you know, Russians spell in Cyrillic letters, so upon transfer we’re required to spell the nicknames in Latin. It will feel much more comfortable.

Second, while I can go to Wowhead and easily find an English/Russian equivalent to any game things, achievements, boss names, I’m more often than not lazy to do so. So I often merely describe the things (like Argus currency) rather than give its actual name. With playing in English in the first place, I’ll be using the names naturally, which will improve my blogging of course :)

So, a new exciting journey begins now. It already feels like a completely new game, and even leveling would feel much different if I opt to do so :)

Our realms, both English and Russian are now online – and I’m ready to see the Teldrassil story finale. I’ll return to you with my thoughts upon the questline and the cinematic – there’s a lot to tell and discuss.

13 thoughts on “Localization Issues & Transfers

    • Thank you :)

      I think the problem is with this particular Blizzard employee. Coincidence or not, this twitter account he was posting from was deleted in the next day after our clash (now he resurfaced again and is trying to promote his bad translation quality in another one though).

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Oh, how I understand you. You see, 90% of companies don’t understand that Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese are completely different. We can understand what is being said, but the phrasing, grammar and expressions are completely off for us.
    While on WoW I’ve always played with English language and subs, on some games like Halo Reach I wasnt given any option, with the audio being preset to the country you buy the game in. Which is offensive, because I don’t live in Brazil, so their Portuguese makes no sense being the choice for players in Portugal.
    Most Portuguese players have heir WoW in english, especially because in Brazilian Portuguese everything is translated (city and zones names, etc. Here we just don’t translate names).

    Liked by 2 people

      • Then I can add this: in Portugal we don’t translate names mostly because we never dubbed films. This is due to the fact that during our dictatorship period the measure of not dubbing foreign films was implemented to protect national identity in the cinema and arts, so the only films were portuguese was spoken were 100% portuguese films.

        After that period ended, the measure wasn’t changed, which brought the fortunate side effect of portuguese people becoming more familiar with other languages, and able to learn them with a bit more ease. It also helped with the evolution of the language.

        Brazilian Portuguese, according to historians and linguistics experts, is a lot closer to the XVI century portuguese (when we arrived and colonised Brazil).

        A lot of European countries dub their films, our neighbour Spain, for example, dubs every single film. And my spanish friends struggle a bit more with conversational english.
        Here even the Pixar movies for kids have the option of original version or dubbed (being the one circumstance where films are dubbed, when they are targeted towards a very young audience) :)

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I had no idea it was that bad. How weird! Those sentences you mention do not sound as the hardest things to translate. I only played on an English language server/client thing, so I do not know – are all quests texts in Russian as well? Or just cinematics etc.? Or everything completely? What a different game to play!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know! For whatever reason, they just lose all the flavor and sometimes sense. Neither of the excuses provided fit, because at localization forums people offer their own (accurate) versions.

      Blizzard supports 8 language versions, I believe: English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Chinese. The whole game is in the corresponding version – from menu to dialogues to boss and item names – everything. Depending on localization team, some of the character names are translated too – when there’s a meaningful name (like Shadowsong, or Marrowgar).

      I’ve checked all 8 versions of Jaina cinematic, and everywhere the Jaina voice is pretty accurate in timbre with the original – all of them sound like a girl in her 30s and very much alike each other. Jaina’s game version in Russia is the same actress as in Warcraft 3, a youthful voice (20s I believe) which I frankly like better than the original :) But for the song they invited (for whatever reason) a popular folk singer, who sounds as if she’s 50. So: Jaina’s song voice is nothing like the original and even less resembles her game version. And she doesn’t even manage to hold a note without voice trembling. Such a casting failure.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I can understand when they need to adapt due to cultural reasons. But wow. Hopefully they recognize it and try to fix the phrasing in the future

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Localization of anything is usually horrible. I wouldn’t ever play a game that was localized to Hungarian, nor a film that was dubbed. They are outright shit. I still remember Star Wars when I was kid and was taken to the cinema for Empire strikes back. DARTH WADER DID NOT BREATH ONCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m honestly surprised that you played on a localized server at the first place.


    • I agree. All the Russian cinema theaters provide localized versions, so me & my wife would see it only if the movie is a must to see on a big screen. Like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Avengers, etc. Flashy, epic battles, space-flying :) We struggle through casting, and I absolutely skip the movie until dvd/bluray release if there are kid characters present and are main characters.

      Subtitled original versions are available only in a couple of theaters in our 5-million city, and tickets are ridiculously pricey (twice as a dubbed version), so we reserve it only for the absolutely ultimate things. At home, we watch everything in English with English subs (to help with the accents), or in the language of original with Russian subs if a movie is made in China, Japan, Germany, France etc.

      As for WoW, my very first account was in English, and when I started a new one I just chose Russian for the reason I can’t remember. I believe subscription price was cheaper for Russian realms, or something (now it’s the same). It was a relief to get an option of English sound in Pandaria, and now even that it’s not enough. Regardless of transfer price for 14 alts, I’m doing it :)


    • There are gems in the dirt though. To translate Deadpool, they’ve invited an unofficial but highly skilled guy who dubs the movies by himself for torrents, and his versions are very popular. He also voiced the main character. All the jokes were highly amusing and accurately translated. They also nailed it with Colossus character (the iron guy). How do you make a Russian accent among Russian-speaking characters? They added a provincial/old speech flavor, and this did the trick. An overwhelming success.

      There are many guys that do unofficial translations. I highly regard the guy which dubs everything by Chuck Corre (How I Met your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, Mike & Molly) and a bunch of guys working on American Dad and Family Guy. These are awesome, and sometimes sound a lot funnier than the original, although the translation is very accurate.


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