Please note that all the quotes in this post have been modified by me to make the identification of the source impossible. The meaning is kept.
recently, one of the official Wargaming translators wrote me an interesting mail about the way Wargaming translation works and where do the various stronk translatink cases come from. Needless to say, I was surprised and pleased, that someone decided to talk about it openly, but also a bit suspicious. He predicted my suspicions however and provided a proof that is impeccable (some of it I cannot publish, some of it you will see in the future posts).
Here is an excerpt of the quite long e-mail I recieved from this person. It’s rather interesting. For starters, most translators apparently work from home, with their capabilities being examined via a test, that comes directly from Minsk. Apparently, some of the notorious translation fails appear as such (quoting from the mail):
Perhaps I should clarify you a bit of these fails I’ve been seeing, it’s usually because the text files come directly from Minsk and it takes up to 7 translators and proofreaders to verify, the problem lies that not all translators agree on the kind of words to use and the result can be a PR nightmare to solve, which requires several proofreadings – in time, people slip up as you have seen in the portals, or sometimes the webmasters screw up.
Sometimes, according to the translator, things also get “interesting” when stuff that gets sent from Minsk has issues. A typical example would be the T2 Light Tank, which is a full name of the vehicle, so what in Russian sounds perfectly fine (“T2 Light Tank легкий танк второго уровня”) gets translated into something retarded (“T2 Light Tank light tank”) because the “T2 Light Tank” is a full name of the vehicle and the contracts the translators have binds them to use it in each case.
They also cannot change it, because, in his words (and this part is my favourite):
So you might ask, what are we doing about it? Well, this is the funny part, if we don’t follow that, our paycheck suffers, yeah, each time a “stronk translatink” its detected by the staff, WG EU takes a toll on the translator wallets (usually up to 10-20% of their paychecks), same applies for all servers – and even the actual staff takes the hit, thus you can see why some of the guys at EU office dont like you
Anyway, one really smart thing Wargaming did is separate the translations not by languages, but by regions, because for example Latin America Spanish is different than Spain Spanish (sort of like dialects). Apparently, most of the Spanish for World of Tanks comes from Argentina. For EU, it works as such (again, quoting the translator):
Let’s say there are 2 situations:
Developer in Minsk says, “hey, let’s make a premium tank, it’s a stronk tank and costs 40 macaroonis”, this idea is put on paper by the SOO guys and they send the text files in Russian to EU/NA/ASIA/ETC clusters (China handled differently and I don’t know hows that work at the moment)
From there, the text arrives to staff, who’s in charge of:
1) sending this file to be translated from Russian into a target language
2) collecting the translation from translator
3) assembling a translation bundle
4) sending it over to the staff to be approved
That’s the ideal way to do it, however – only rarely this happens as of now, the situation 2) is the most common:
1) a cluster (EU) comes up with an idea “lets make stronk bundle translatink, costs 500 camoolas and has 1% discount :DDD” and informs Minsk about it
1.5) Minsk agrees and lets the guys handle it as long as “X” amount of profit is met per bundle
2) the staff puts down the idea of the bundle to be translated on paper (this is where the problem starts)
3) the bundle is written, let’s say.. in French, and they send the text to French-to-English translators
4) once translated from French, the English translators now translate the same text from german, likewise, from German to Polish, and Polish to Spanish, using the same translated text over and over.
5) the result is that whatever mistake comes from a single translator, passes onto the next one
6) the problem cascades but since “it was handled to translators”, it must be right and approved, the worst comes when talking about ranks, medals and rewards
7) it gets published as stronk translatink, only later to be corrected
8) proofreaders (who are also the translators), have to do it over but this time from direct English as source, hopefully
but that’s not all:
In case the source comes as English, there are several translators, lets say, English to German and the tasks are being split, each translator uses a different way to express words and sentences, the result ends as “stronk tekst” again, only a really capable proofreader can make out the mess it ends with, when the target texts comes from 5 or more translators.
The translators do get paid (on word basis), but they also get free WG stuff (T-shirts) and alpha game access and also recieve chain WG e-mail conversations so that’s interesting too. The translator also notes that while both NA office and RU office are nice to work with and polite (“Minsk staff speaks English and it is very pleasant to work with them”), working with EU is a problem (“they make me cringe”). I will close this post with one more interesting sentence he wrote:
“Interestingly a guy on the EU staff was “scolded” for posting information on your blog and I think they are blocking you from certain purchases in store to prevent “spreading” (spreading what?)”
Well, that’s it. Yes, there was much more in the e-mail, but we can’t spoil everything just yet, can we now… :)