Creativity and readability in game localisation. A case study on "Ni No Kuni"


Abstract – This paper analyses the Italian transcreation strategies for the subtitles of the video game Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, to detail how the diatopic/diastratic variety of Romanesco (typical of Rome and its area) is adopted for the characterisation of Mr Drippy, in order to prompt a humorous effect due to the cognitive contrast (Attardo 2001) triggered by the counterfactual creature speaking an actual linguistic variety. The Italian script will also be examined from the pragmatic and technical perspectives, showing that the transcreative retextualisations are tailored to younger receivers, since explanations and alternative utterances are added to render the speakers’ intentionality more explicit, and noticing that the distribution of the longer target script in two- and three-line subtitles may arouse concerns in terms of readability (Perego, Taylor 2012). An alternative Italian translation strategy is then presented, where creativity and the respect for the source-text multimodal dimension are balanced to provide an equivalent characterisation for Raj, a man speaking with an Indian accent. Finally, the receivers’ perception of the conventional Italian transcreation strategies of humorous discourse in video games will be explored, by considering the players’ opinions and comments in dedicated websites.

Abstract – Questo articolo analizza le strategie di transcreazione per i sottotitoli italiani del videogioco Ni No Kuni: La minaccia della strega cinerea, evidenziando in particolare il ruolo della varietà diatopica/diastratica di Romanesco nella creazione di una caratterizzazione comica del personaggio di Lucciconio (Mr Drippy) basata sul contrasto cognitivo (Attardo 2001) attivato dall’esistenza di una creatura fantastica che parla una varietà linguistica reale. L’analisi dello script italiano, effettuata anche dalle prospettive pragmatica e tecnica, illustra come le strategie di transcreazione siano state pensate per un pubblico più giovane attraverso l’aggiunta di spiegazioni e frasi alternative che esplicitano l’intenzionalità dei parlanti, e sottolinea come l’inclusione di sottotitoli a due e tre righe di testo possa portare a problematiche relative alla leggibilità del testo tradotto (Perego, Taylor 2012). Sarà proposta inoltre una nuova traduzione italiana basata sull’interazione tra la creatività linguistica e il rispetto della dimensione multimodale originale per fornire una caratterizzazione equivalente di Raj, un uomo che parla con un accento indiano. Infine, la rassegna di alcuni commenti e opinioni espressi da alcuni giocatori su siti internet specifici permetterà di approfondire la percezione da parte del pubblico italiano delle convenzionali strategie di transcreazione.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v17p121

Keywords: Audiovisual translation; Game localisation; Transcreation; Subtitling; Adaptation of humorous discourse


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