English! Do You Speak It?

Let’s just get one thing straight here: I can’t speak English correctly, and it’s my native tongue. In fact, I’d be so bold to say if it weren’t for the handy spell-check feature included in word processors, these little rants of mine would be about as comprehensible as wall paintings. By a blind caveman.

So if you attempt to not only write something in a foreign tongue – and that ‘something’ happens to be a game – you have my respect. It is amazing that you are brilliant enough to not only do this in your native tongue, but then go on to try your hand at it in another language… Well, I don’t have a hat on, but if I did, I would take it off to you right now, because I am in awe of your smerts.

Now, having said that…

What the HELL were you guys smoking? I mean, look, I’m probably one-half as clever as you folks. Call it one-third without Kwipette around. But if I was attempting to put something out into the German market, for example, I would call up some german-sounding names in the phone book and say, “Guttentagen! How do you crazy foreign devils say, ‘This allows you to carry more.’ in that made-up lingua of yours?” It might take a while to get a solid answer, but I feel pretty confident that somewhere along the line I might come up with a passable German phrase.

The creators of Ragnarok Online apparently couldn’t do that. I’m not sure if it’s because they ran out of time, or maybe the budget was cut so badly that the only part of the phone book they could afford were the 600 pages that listed everyone with the last names of “Chin” to “Chun.” Or maybe even they have some crazy laws over there against making obnoxious phone calls. Hey man, they beat your ass if you spray paint on a wall – I don’t want to think what penalty their crazy legal system comes up with for making rude phone calls. They probably staple your tongue to your testicles for a week or something. So, uh, I guess I can understand them avoiding that option.

But really – look at the bajillion of us Gaijin gamers out here. Some of us speak passable English, and most of us would be willing to do something as difficult as speaking normally for very low wages. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that you could have had clear, mostly legible English included in this game for the low, low price of “including my name in the credits” and maybe even a few eggrolls on the side. (Yeah, I know, eggrolls are Chinese, forgive my American ignorance.)

So when you show me a game that you’re proposing to market to the unwashed masses that are Americans… I have to ask…Uh, what? Did you even try to get this thing translated? It looks like you took an English dictionary, set it on fire, and then threw it in the air. Whatever words were left when it landed were put into the game as dialogue. Like this:

“It is not my intention, I don’t mean to be nice to you!!”

Uh….yes. Yes, please apologize for being nice to me! What the hell were you thinking?

You have to wonder, though. I think this game is a great representative of how Americans are perceived overseas. They probably think we’re looking for excuses to bomb people now.  I’m sure to your average non-American being overly nice to one of us is probably almost as bad as hiding Weapons of Mass Destruction. Don’t believe me? Just ask a French person! You think they’re being rude to us because they’re jerks? Heck no, man – they’re sure that if they’re nice to us, we’ll bomb them back to the Stone Age.

Truth is, the developers of RO probably speak better English than I do. They probably went to Yale and such. The other language versions of the game are probably flawless. They just did this to mess with us. You know, drive us insane. Uh, I mean, more insane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *