Games without borders: The cultural dimension of game localisation

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6 Citations (Scopus)


From its humble origins in the 1970s, the software entertainment industry has grown into a worldwide phenomenon and a multibillion-dollar industry. Its success is, to a great extent, attributable to localisation practices, which help game companies maximize their return on investment by reaching the widest possible audience. Game localisation strives to reproduce the gameplay experience of the original game and elicit a similar response on target players, fostering an emotional connection between them and the game, thus facilitating their immersion. In order to produce a good quality localised version, it is crucial to take into account not only technical and linguistic issues, but also cultural issues affecting game localisation practices. After describing what game localisation entails and exploring the concepts of emotional and ludological localisation, this paper discusses the cultural dimension of this emerging type of translation. It describes current cultural adaptation practices in games and explores the sociocultural factors affecting game localisation. By providing a number of examples, it analyses the wide scope of cultural adaptation, also known as culturalisation and cultural localisation, inherent to game localisation. Finally, this paper reflects on the need to strike a balance between domestication and foreignisation, depending on the global translation strategy, the intended target audience and the genre of the game.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-208
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Cultural adaptation
  • Cultural localisation
  • Culturalisation
  • Emotional localisation
  • Game localisation
  • Ludological localisation


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