Volume 34, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0924-1884
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9986
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To contribute towards extending the scope of research on indirect translation, this article focuses on game localization as an overlooked site where this translation practice is relatively common. For major games developed in a language other than English (LOTE), the English version (locale) is often used as a pivot from which to generate other locales across different regions. This article investigates the motivations, challenges, and implications of the use of indirect translation in game localization through a case study of Square Enix – a major Japanese game developer/publisher that is among the pioneers of game localization. It reveals how indirect translation forms both a solution and a bottleneck for the global circulation of digital interactive products. The article uncovers the key factors behind the position of English as the default pivot language in localizing Japanese games and points to the possible future impact of the emergence of Asian markets, particularly the Chinese market, on the game localization ecosystem. The lens of indirect translation facilitates theorizing underexplored aspects of game localization as an economic activity situated in the digital terrain. By casting the apparent drawback of indirect translation in a socio-economic framework, the article presents the future scope of this research subfield in game localization.


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