Sara is as good as it gets. She is so fast at her job, and so thorough, that I wouldn’t dare work with anyone else. She’s a true superstar!
John R., Programmer and Game Designer, Romero Games

 

The translation and localisation testing provided for Gunman Taco Truck, a brilliant PC and mobile videogame, has been both challenging and rewarding for a couple of reasons.
As I have pointed out when I performed the translation of other mobile games, such as Arma Mobile Ops by Bohemia Interactive, the restricted space available often causes a lack of freedom during the process of translation.

Of course, translating into high-density-word languages can increase this limit, and words constituted by few characters like “Tipped!” or “Refund” can incredibly grow in extension if translated into languages like Italian. The best practise is to keep them short, so welcome the use of shorter versions which reproduce the same meaning of the original.

Take for example the words mentioned above. The string “Tipped!” is displayed for few seconds when the player has managed to prepare one or more tacos in a pretty short time. Therefore, they receive a substantial tip by the customer.
In Italian, that string could be easily translated as “mancia ricevuta” or, if the developers do not want that the number of characters of the translated word exceeds those of the source word, the translation can be shortened even more to “mancia”. It would still make sense to Italian players.

As regards the string “Refund”, it comes out in a situation when the player has prepared the wrong taco. Basically, the customer has already paid for their taco and when they find out that the taco received is not the one asked for, they want their money back.
The Italian translation for “Refund” would be “Risarcimento pagato”, and you can see here that the number of characters is way longer than the English word. The translation can be shortened to “Rimborsato” or “Risarcito”, which still has few characters more than the source word.
For this reason, it’s always recommendable to doublecheck with the client if there’s a character limit for translations in order to avoid text overlapping, overflowing, or cut off.

Another challenge arises when the deadline is strict and there are some doubts or issues with the text to be translated. Clarifying all doubts regarding an unclear word or passage before finalising the translation of whatever videogame or document is extremely important.
However, it can happen that answers from clients take a while to arrive. In that case… let’s save what can be saved! Extensive research, translators’ glossaries and discussion forums with terminology questions are anything but manna from Heaven that can give a hint, if not the solution, to one’s doubts.