Dear Game Industry, please ignore my language. Seriously.

So.... Beyond Good & Evil HD came out. That's a thing. I've heard so much about this game, I just had to try it. Luckily, there's a demo on the PlayStation Store. Downloaded it (a fairly big download) and had it sit on my HD for a while, whilst I played through inFamous. Tonight, I finally got around to trying the demo, and it... was... in Dutch? Entirely in Dutch? Everything was in Dutch! The menus, the in-game text, even the voice overs. And no way to select another language? What is this madness?!

Sure. I'm Dutch. I speak Dutch, fluently even. But I don't play games in Dutch. I grew up watching a lot of British TV and American movies, reading books in English and, obviously, playing games in English. Games are hardly ever translated into Dutch. The only two examples I've personally encountered (other than Beyond Good & Evil) are Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, and Professor Layton and the Lost Future, both of which I loved despite the translation, rather than because of it. In the case of Professor Layton, I was actually quite startled when the game started speaking Dutch at me. I even considered returning it and importing an English or American copy. Instead, I turned the sound on my DS off (yes, I missed out on most of the wonderful music in that game) and tried not to think about how much better that game would've been in English.

Don't get me wrong, I love Dutch. It's a very quirky language, with some wonderful words and expressions. But mostly, it's a language that was built (or rather, that evolved) to get information across quickly and directly. It's not a language suited to engaging story telling. Let's face it, to people who don't speak Dutch, it sounds like someone trying to clear their throat whilst speaking fake German. You know who tops the Dutch music charts, other than Adele, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg et alia? Dutch singers and bands, singing original songs, in English. The reason we flood the world with shitty reality TV and game shows? Those shows don't rely on language.

Add to that the fact that the Dutch speaking market is relatively small and consists mostly of people who speak English (or French, or German, or all three) fairly well. Why does that matter? Because nearly all Dutch dubs are targeted at young kids, who haven't learnt English yet and thus form the largest audience for dubs. People who do Dutch dubs, whether it be for movies, TV or video games, only know how to do crappy dubs targeted at very young kids. When they get to apply their ~considerable skill~ to an actual piece of entertainment (arguably even "art"), things generally don't end well.

So, there it is. My rant against localization. I guess I'm never going to play Beyond Good & Evil. Dear game industry, please, please. I beg of you. Don't translate things into Dutch. And if you insist on doing so, at least give me the option to play in English anyway.

36 Comments
37 Comments
Posted by shenstra

So.... Beyond Good & Evil HD came out. That's a thing. I've heard so much about this game, I just had to try it. Luckily, there's a demo on the PlayStation Store. Downloaded it (a fairly big download) and had it sit on my HD for a while, whilst I played through inFamous. Tonight, I finally got around to trying the demo, and it... was... in Dutch? Entirely in Dutch? Everything was in Dutch! The menus, the in-game text, even the voice overs. And no way to select another language? What is this madness?!

Sure. I'm Dutch. I speak Dutch, fluently even. But I don't play games in Dutch. I grew up watching a lot of British TV and American movies, reading books in English and, obviously, playing games in English. Games are hardly ever translated into Dutch. The only two examples I've personally encountered (other than Beyond Good & Evil) are Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, and Professor Layton and the Lost Future, both of which I loved despite the translation, rather than because of it. In the case of Professor Layton, I was actually quite startled when the game started speaking Dutch at me. I even considered returning it and importing an English or American copy. Instead, I turned the sound on my DS off (yes, I missed out on most of the wonderful music in that game) and tried not to think about how much better that game would've been in English.

Don't get me wrong, I love Dutch. It's a very quirky language, with some wonderful words and expressions. But mostly, it's a language that was built (or rather, that evolved) to get information across quickly and directly. It's not a language suited to engaging story telling. Let's face it, to people who don't speak Dutch, it sounds like someone trying to clear their throat whilst speaking fake German. You know who tops the Dutch music charts, other than Adele, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg et alia? Dutch singers and bands, singing original songs, in English. The reason we flood the world with shitty reality TV and game shows? Those shows don't rely on language.

Add to that the fact that the Dutch speaking market is relatively small and consists mostly of people who speak English (or French, or German, or all three) fairly well. Why does that matter? Because nearly all Dutch dubs are targeted at young kids, who haven't learnt English yet and thus form the largest audience for dubs. People who do Dutch dubs, whether it be for movies, TV or video games, only know how to do crappy dubs targeted at very young kids. When they get to apply their ~considerable skill~ to an actual piece of entertainment (arguably even "art"), things generally don't end well.

So, there it is. My rant against localization. I guess I'm never going to play Beyond Good & Evil. Dear game industry, please, please. I beg of you. Don't translate things into Dutch. And if you insist on doing so, at least give me the option to play in English anyway.

Posted by MysteriousBob
@shenstra said:

The reason we flood the world with shitty reality TV and game shows?

Wait, those are all Dutch? 
You assholes
 
I had no idea English had such a large effect in your country. As an English Language student, I'm stunned that someone would opt for English rather than their own natively developed tongue. Just strikes me as bizarre. Don't you consider the localisation as an acknowledgement of your national identity?
Posted by thesavage

If only the Germans thought the way you do... I recently downloaded the Nehrim mod for oblivion, and it's only in German with English subtitles. Which I don't have a problem with. It's just that a lot of the notes in the game are still in German. It's quite frustrating because it's not like you can copy and paste it into a translator.

Posted by Kyreo

@thesavage said:

If only the Germans thought the way you do... I recently downloaded the Nehrim mod for oblivion, and it's only in German with English subtitles. Which I don't have a problem with. It's just that a lot of the notes in the game are still in German. It's quite frustrating because it's not like you can copy and paste it into a translator.

You should learn some German, bro. It's a fun language.

Edited by Animasta

@MysteriousBob said:

@shenstra said:

The reason we flood the world with shitty reality TV and game shows?

Wait, those are all Dutch?
You assholes. I had no idea English had such a large effect in your country. As an English Language student, I'm stunned that someone would opt for English rather than their own natively developed tongue. Just strikes me as bizarre. Don't you consider the localisation as an acknowledgement of your national identity?

yeah, but what if the localization is terrible? More often than not (from my, admittedly very little own personal knowledge), dutch people speak English pretty well, and dutch gamers ARE probably used to playing games in english...

also Germany's different because it's way bigger plus osterreich and die Schweiz...

Posted by dabe

Dutch accents when speaking English are some of the best in the world. One only has to take Martin Jol and Tim Krul as footballing examples.

Posted by Giefcookie

I'd never want to play anything in my native language instead of english. As for movies and books etc. I prefer the original language If I can understand it. To be honest I wish more japanese games would ship with their original japanese voicework instead of having just the english track, but I guess I'm used to it, watching anime with japanese vo and english subtitles.

Posted by TheSeductiveMoose
Yeah, I had to return my copy of Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts because all the text was in Swedish. Fucking hate it when they do that, at least leave English as an option.  

@Laketown
said:

@MysteriousBob said:

@shenstra said:

The reason we flood the world with shitty reality TV and game shows?

Wait, those are all Dutch?
You assholes. I had no idea English had such a large effect in your country. As an English Language student, I'm stunned that someone would opt for English rather than their own natively developed tongue. Just strikes me as bizarre. Don't you consider the localisation as an acknowledgement of your national identity?

yeah, but what if the localization is terrible? More often than not (from my, admittedly very little own personal knowledge), dutch people speak English pretty well, and dutch gamers ARE probably used to playing games in english...

also Germany's different because it's way bigger plus osterreich and die Schweiz...

I personally hate it because it's not supposed to be in my native language. It kinda feels like when foreigners in films and games only speaks English with an accent. 
 
@Kyreo said:

@thesavage said:

If only the Germans thought the way you do... I recently downloaded the Nehrim mod for oblivion, and it's only in German with English subtitles. Which I don't have a problem with. It's just that a lot of the notes in the game are still in German. It's quite frustrating because it's not like you can copy and paste it into a translator.

You should learn some German, bro. It's a fun language.

The grammar kills it. I've spent three years learning it and I still have problems with the grammar from time to time.
Posted by ZeForgotten

I remember playing Heavenly Sword and it defaulted to Danish. I got a good laugh out of listening to that and one of the voice actors wasn't half bad but I couldn't play that for long. Some games do it with text too, just sets it to Danish the console's "locale" or language is set to "Danish".. So I never do that again. Ever.. Even steam does it for the Half Life 2 stuff..

Alyx at one point in one of the "Episode" games says "Hurry up! You're gonna miss it!" about the rocket that launches. That get's translated into "Skynd dig, du rammer ved siden af" which would be correct if you were trying to shoot the rocket down or throw a rock at it.

The translator-guy thought that by "You're gonna miss it" meant that I wasn't gonna hit it with something..

Posted by Ramone

@dabe said:

Dutch accents when speaking English are some of the best in the world. One only has to take Martin Jol and Tim Krul as footballing examples.

Never thought I would see the words Tim Krul mentioned in the GB forums. Thank you sir.

Posted by thesavage

@Kyreo said:

@thesavage said:

If only the Germans thought the way you do... I recently downloaded the Nehrim mod for oblivion, and it's only in German with English subtitles. Which I don't have a problem with. It's just that a lot of the notes in the game are still in German. It's quite frustrating because it's not like you can copy and paste it into a translator.

You should learn some German, bro. It's a fun language.

I took German back in High School, but I was never able to really wrap my brain around the language. I could never stop thinking in English and dropped out of the course so I wouldn't hurt my GPA.

Posted by Kyreo

@thesavage said:

@Kyreo said:

@thesavage said:

If only the Germans thought the way you do... I recently downloaded the Nehrim mod for oblivion, and it's only in German with English subtitles. Which I don't have a problem with. It's just that a lot of the notes in the game are still in German. It's quite frustrating because it's not like you can copy and paste it into a translator.

You should learn some German, bro. It's a fun language.

I took German back in High School, but I was never able to really wrap my brain around the language. I could never stop thinking in English and dropped out of the course so I wouldn't hurt my GPA.

Yeah I getcha. It's a real leap to think in another language.

Posted by thesavage

@Kyreo said:

@thesavage said:

@Kyreo said:

@thesavage said:

If only the Germans thought the way you do... I recently downloaded the Nehrim mod for oblivion, and it's only in German with English subtitles. Which I don't have a problem with. It's just that a lot of the notes in the game are still in German. It's quite frustrating because it's not like you can copy and paste it into a translator.

You should learn some German, bro. It's a fun language.

I took German back in High School, but I was never able to really wrap my brain around the language. I could never stop thinking in English and dropped out of the course so I wouldn't hurt my GPA.

Yeah I getcha. It's a real leap to think in another language.

I think it's a great language and love the fact that the game is spoken in German as it ads to the atmosphere of the game. (The Architecture looks like it has a bit of German inspiration). I just wish they would have translated everything.

Edited by shenstra

@MysteriousBob said:

Wait, those are all Dutch?
You assholes. I had no idea English had such a large effect in your country. As an English Language student, I'm stunned that someone would opt for English rather than their own natively developed tongue. Just strikes me as bizarre. Don't you consider the localisation as an acknowledgement of your national identity?

I (and many of my fellow countrymen) don't have a strong sense of national identity (unless there's a football (soccer) match going on). I feel more strongly about my Frisian roots (despite having never lived in Frisia, a Dutch province) than I do about being Dutch. At times, I feel more European than Dutch. More than anything, I am a world citizen. A human being who happened to be born in the Netherlands. I can appreciate many things about my country, but I'm also aware that most of that appreciation derives from being raised in this country by people who were raised in this country who in turn were raised by people raised in this country.

@dabe said:

Dutch accents when speaking English are some of the best in the world. One only has to take Martin Jol and Tim Krul as footballing examples.

Ugh, I can't stand bad Dutch accents. My own accent is kinda strange. I grew up being exposed mostly to Queen's English through the BBC and English friends of the family. So I grew up speaking (something close to) Queen's English. As I grew older, I was exposed more and more to American accents (mostly General American) which warped my accent. Now I'm somewhere in between and from time to time, I'll suddenly slip into either an American accent, or Received Pronunciation.

@Kyreo said:

Yeah I getcha. It's a real leap to think in another language.

Indeed. I can only think in Dutch and English, despite having taken five years of German and six years of French in school. I can understand both German and French fairly well in written form, or when spoken slowly, because in those situations I have time to translate everything. Growing up, half my family used to speak Frisian to and around me and I never got past (perhaps automatically) translating it all into Dutch. It takes both extensive exposure and practice to learn to think in another language.

Edited by gike987
@TheSeductiveMoose: I changed my location to UK in the settings and all games now appear in English instead of Swedish. Although, some dashboard text is still untranslated.
Posted by TheSeductiveMoose
@gike987: Yeah, I did that right after I bought my 360. But that was a Nordic version of N&B, so all the Nordic languages were hardcoded onto the disc while English was left out,
Posted by mutha3
@MysteriousBob said:
Don't you consider the localisation as an acknowledgement of your national identity?
That's silly.
 
Besides, culturally, you'll find that most dutch people don't really have much in the way of patriotism these days(this is a good thing, mind you).
Posted by Rattle618
@shenstra: Im with you 100%. I avoid localization whenever possible, if I can´t understand the original language I´ll use subs, but that´s about it.
Posted by Axersia

Oh man, I just realized I may have dodged a bullet by grabbing inFamous off my US account rather than my NL account. Didn't us Dutchies flip out about that as well back when it was first released? I remember reading this news story on how Sony planned to only release the Dutch/German version in NL and not include the English voice track. Not sure if they ever went through with it, but I can definitely recall people being pissed and opting to import the UK version instead.

Anyway, thanks for the heads-up on BGE HD -- I'll be sure to buy it off the US PSN store instead if I ever feel like playing it again. I grew up watching American cartoons with Dutch subtitles (nowadays they seem to dub everything -- a damn shame) and have known English my entire life. Watching anything in Dutch just seems unnatural to me, and Dutch-language music is the absolute worst (though we do have plenty of good metal bands here who sing in English).

Posted by Nasar7

I'm with you OP I prefer to experience things in their original language, although sometimes (albeit rarely) the localized tracks are better than the original ones. I played Heavy Rain in French for example and I remember playing Dark Messiah in Spanish as the English track was so grating. I find German dubs to be usually bad, unfortunately.

Posted by shenstra

@Axersia said:

Oh man, I just realized I may have dodged a bullet by grabbing inFamous off my US account rather than my NL account. Didn't us Dutchies flip out about that as well back when it was first released? I remember reading this news story on how Sony planned to only release the Dutch/German version in NL and not include the English voice track. Not sure if they ever went through with it, but I can definitely recall people being pissed and opting to import the UK version instead.

I don't know about the disc version, but the version I got off PSN as part of the Welcome Back programme was in English. I didn't even realize there was a Dutch version. I don't understand where this trend is coming from. More and more games are being translated into Dutch, while more Dutch people speak English than ever before, especially gamers. They're not expanding their market by any measurable degree. If anything, they're weaning the Dutch, who have always been happy to play games in English, on Dutch translations, making it increasingly important that future games also be translated.

My main concern is that I now have to proactively check games for undesirable translations before buying them. I may end up importing all my games from the UK, just to make sure I get English language versions.

Posted by iam3green

pretty interesting reading that. i never thought of people in other countries not actually want to read/ hear things in their own language. english, america is awesome.

Posted by Jazz2

Dutch is my native language and i completely disagree with the OP. Dutch is a beautiful language and a lot of expressions sound more elegant in Dutch than in English. Doesn't every language exist just to get information across quickly? I think a lot of native Dutch speakers have a minority complex when it comes to their language because they watch films and listen to music in english. So the people who they look up to (moviestars, rockstars...) all speak english. So when they can understand and speak english themselves, then they feel they're part of the "cool people". I still prefer to play games in English though, because the translation is usually horrible. 
As they say in dutch: "Wie het kleine niet eert, is het grote niet weert!" :)

Posted by Wolverine

@shenstra: It surprises me how many Europeans speak multiple languages. Here in America we really don't put much importance on learning a second language. The only people that speak multiple languages for the most part are immigrants and children of immigrants. Occasionally you will meet someone who can speak Spanish some what fluently because they really pursued it in school.

Posted by Vexxan

English before anything, even my native language. English games is the way I grew up and I wanna keep it that way. Any other language than English would just sound too weird to me.

Posted by coakroach

Localization is only necessary for Japanese games where the female voice actors all make sounds that make me want to ram my fists through my own skull.

Posted by Aeterna

@MysteriousBob said:

@shenstra said:

The reason we flood the world with shitty reality TV and game shows?

Wait, those are all Dutch?
You assholes. I had no idea English had such a large effect in your country. As an English Language student, I'm stunned that someone would opt for English rather than their own natively developed tongue. Just strikes me as bizarre. Don't you consider the localisation as an acknowledgement of your national identity?

I have the same thoughts on this matter as the OP, I would probably simply not buy a game if it was only in dutch. I always want to hear the original version, if that's possible. That way nothing will get lost in translation. If I happen to see someone watching something on TV with dutch subtitles I merely listen and cringe at the many many faulty translations. They really are sub-par and sadly, a lot of older people don't see that. The latest generations though have grown up with English everywhere and thus they have no problem with it.

Also you mention our national identity, it isn't as strong as some have already mentioned in this thread. In fact the notion of requiring someone to "acknowledge" my national identity seems ridiculous to me.

What I have always wondered though; don't you get tired of hearing english music everywhere? All the popular songs here are mostly English, so to us it's weird to hear our mothertongue in pop music.

Posted by _Horde

I feel with you. I had to play through Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood with Swedish text. It's just so ugly.

Posted by mutha3
@iam3green said:
pretty interesting reading that. i never thought of people in other countries not actually want to read/ hear things in their own language. english, america is awesome.
England, m'boy.
 
But, nah, seriously, as a dutchie, the reason I vastly prefer english versions of games/movies/whatever is not because of some weird notion that dutch prevents people from expressing emotion properly.....But simply because Dutch localization companies tend to blow. Hard.
 
BG&E on the other hand sounded fine to me.
Posted by Veektarius

I wonder how I'd feel about playing a game like the Witcher in its native Polish.  I know I often revert Japanese games to Japanese when the option is given, but this tends to be for games where the English VA work was clearly a low priority, like fighters, and I feel fine with that.  Japanese is a familiar language to me, even though I don't speak it.  I've never changed the voicework on a European title, though.  Never even looked to see if I could.

Posted by destruktive

I hate translations of video games.

One of the reasons I don't really want to play ubisoft's games.

Splinter cell was hell to play when every description was in Norwegian.

Posted by PeasantAbuse

I refuse to believe that Fear Factor was shitty.
Posted by Yanngc33

"N'oubliez pas... pas de Russe"

Edited by mnzy

In Germany it's even worse if you actually want the original English, because everything gets translated. In games and movies on disk it's usually ok, since all languages are on there. TV or cinema is a different story.
Big exception: EA. They often make a US/UK version and a European version with like 20 languages EXCEPT English. Those are the worst and one reason why I often buy games from the UK.
 
But maybe I can give you some tips since I'm having trouble with this for years: 
- put your consoles language (or Steam etc) to English, that often helps to load the correct version to begin with if it's available
- create a UK-account to download it from the UK marketplaces (US is ok, too, but usually worse downloadspeeds). On 360 for example, you can use your normal MS points and play on your usual account.
- order games in the UK. It's cheaper, you get them pretty fast, shipping is free and it'll definately be in English. Import is no problem, one thing the EU is good for.
 
You are definately not alone on this and it's one reason why there are more UK PSN accounts than Japanese ones.

Posted by SonKite

Oh god I remember having to play   Black and White in Swedish because there was no English version avaliable at the store at that time, didn't finish that game.   
Also The longest journey was dubbed into Swedish, so terrible, a Norwediean game and all.        
Posted by SPCTRE
@shenstra said:

So.... Beyond Good & Evil HD came out. That's a thing. I've heard so much about this game, I just had to try it. Luckily, there's a demo on the PlayStation Store. Downloaded it (a fairly big download) and had it sit on my HD for a while, whilst I played through inFamous. Tonight, I finally got around to trying the demo, and it... was... in Dutch? Entirely in Dutch? Everything was in Dutch! The menus, the in-game text, even the voice overs. And no way to select another language? What is this madness?!

Sure. I'm Dutch. I speak Dutch, fluently even. But I don't play games in Dutch. I grew up watching a lot of British TV and American movies, reading books in English and, obviously, playing games in English. Games are hardly ever translated into Dutch. The only two examples I've personally encountered (other than Beyond Good & Evil) are Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, and Professor Layton and the Lost Future, both of which I loved despite the translation, rather than because of it. In the case of Professor Layton, I was actually quite startled when the game started speaking Dutch at me. I even considered returning it and importing an English or American copy. Instead, I turned the sound on my DS off (yes, I missed out on most of the wonderful music in that game) and tried not to think about how much better that game would've been in English.

Don't get me wrong, I love Dutch. It's a very quirky language, with some wonderful words and expressions. But mostly, it's a language that was built (or rather, that evolved) to get information across quickly and directly. It's not a language suited to engaging story telling. Let's face it, to people who don't speak Dutch, it sounds like someone trying to clear their throat whilst speaking fake German. You know who tops the Dutch music charts, other than Adele, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg et alia? Dutch singers and bands, singing original songs, in English. The reason we flood the world with shitty reality TV and game shows? Those shows don't rely on language.

Add to that the fact that the Dutch speaking market is relatively small and consists mostly of people who speak English (or French, or German, or all three) fairly well. Why does that matter? Because nearly all Dutch dubs are targeted at young kids, who haven't learnt English yet and thus form the largest audience for dubs. People who do Dutch dubs, whether it be for movies, TV or video games, only know how to do crappy dubs targeted at very young kids. When they get to apply their ~considerable skill~ to an actual piece of entertainment (arguably even "art"), things generally don't end well.

So, there it is. My rant against localization. I guess I'm never going to play Beyond Good & Evil. Dear game industry, please, please. I beg of you. Don't translate things into Dutch. And if you insist on doing so, at least give me the option to play in English anyway.

Part of me wants to be all "See? That's what folks in Germany have to put up with all the time!", but then again, that would be unfair on many levels. The markets just don't compare.
 
I'm totally with you though. Localization can go the way of the Dodo for all I care. Thank God for my credit card and Amazon.co.uk!
Posted by Hellstrom

I myself like to hear things in American. 
 
Although i do wish they'd stop using British accents in everything Northern European for games & movies lol. Then again i guess i shouldn't be shocked. America & Canada are heavily Anglocentric countries.