Games, we are reminded, are for fun, for profit and often for learning. When I tried to trim a Sim City budget, I learned quickly that if you underfund the highway department, you spend all your time patching streets. Zone for heavy industry, and pollution problems arise. The Sims who keep the city going start to leave. Setting the game speed to “African Swallow,” I can watch that little city thrive or decay onscreen — decades or centuries whisking by in minutes. It makes an impression. It’s a micro-mini version of the computer simulations being used to predict the where and how of global warming, population shifts and other world changes. Meanwhile, on a handheld translator I can play Hangman in nine languages — including Spanish, French, Czech, Portuguese, Russian and Hungarian — to pick up or reinforce vocabulary. Other people are deep into complex role-playing games, and some of those players are earning real-world money by acquiring virtual goods, skills and even “real estate” that they sell to other players.
Because the game structure is an effective way to deliver information and to help users learn skills, games are being developed and used in a multitude of social, political, military and medical situations worldwide — such as America’s Army; the United Nations World Food Programme’s Food Force (see MultiLingual September 2006), which is being translated into a bevy of languages; the forthcoming PeaceMaker (www.peacemakergame.com, www.impactgames.com); A Force More Powerful (www.aforcemorepowerful.org, www.afmpgame.com); the medical game Re-Mission (www.hopelab.org), in English, French and Spanish. In Darfur Is Dying (www.darfurisdying.com), the player takes the role of a Sudanese refugee trying to survive in a camp. The Serious Games Initiative (www.seriousgames.org) provides information and resources to link the game industry and projects that use games in education, training, health and public policy. Its branch sites are Games for Change, Games for Health and Serious Games Japan (in Japanese).
In this issue’s focus on games we look at the variety in the gaming world, from the role of instructional design in serious games with Valerie Hainley and Jaime Henderson, to the localization of casual games with Frank Dietz, and the business and development of the game industry and of computer game localization with Pearse Finegan.
Spanish, one of the world’s most-spoken languages, has many facets. In this issue Carlos Contreras describes the Latin American entertainment phenomenon, the telenovela, which has spread in translation around the world and is hitting the United States like a storm this television season (Ugly Betty, Fashion House and others). Beatriz Bonnet describes some of the issues in Spanish localization for the United States; and Charles Campbell offers insight into the development of the localization industry in Latin America with an emphasis on Argentina. Teddy Bengtsson’s “Takeaway” also addresses localization in Argentina.
In business news, we take a quick look at the fun and learning at Localization World Montréal; Emilie Achard and Joseph Gomes describe strategies for building customer loyalty; Erik Granered explains how cultural differences affect attitudes toward change; and István Lengyel illustrates workflow in translation projects. Tom Edwards looks at China content issues; Kit Brown addresses ways to work well in multicultural teams; and John Freivalds provides insight about deal-making.
A reminder: the 2007 Resource Directory is coming up soon — are you listed?
This is our last issue of 2006. It’s been a great year at MultiLingual, and we look forward to sharing 2007 with all of you. ¡Salud!