Video Games Localisation: Unleashing Imagination with Restricted Translation

Carmen Mangiron, Minako O’Hagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


From its humble beginning in the 1970's, the video games industry has flourished and become a world-wide phenomenon. Although most games are developed in Japanese and English, the globalisation of popular culture and the desire to expand to new markets have led most producers to localise their games into many target language versions. This has brought about the emergence of a new field in translation, game localisation, which combines elements of audiovisual translation and software localisation. This paper looks at the specific features of game localisation which give it its unique nature. It examines the priorities and constraints associated with translation of this particular genre, which relies heavily on imagination and creativity to deliver a satisfactory game experience. Using as a case study the best-selling PlayStation series, Final Fantasy, examples are presented to illustrate the challenges game localisers face, focusing particularly on linguistic and cultural issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-21
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Specialised Translation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


  • Game localisation
  • Role Playing Games (RPGs)
  • Screen translation
  • Software localisation
  • Transcreation
  • Video games


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