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Language/Translation Review FAQ

Last post 8/9/2010 3:27 PM by The ZMan. 11 replies.
  • 2/24/2009 10:27 PM

    Language/Translation Review FAQ

    The language FAQ is now official and maintained by Microsoft. You can find it here:

    http://creators.xna.com/en-US/help/peerreview_languagetranslation









    archive below for history..





    Languages declared in peer review do NOT appear on marketplace. They are NOT a declaration of translation, merely an indicator of which languages are used in the binary and therefore which languages need reviewing.

    It is INCORRECT to fail a game because the languages used for the binary and description do not match. Its a valid scenario for a description to be localised and it doesn't imply the game must also be translated. Its also valid, though not recommended, to have more languages in a binary than in the description. The review system does cope with these scenarios (see below).

    Valid language fail reasons include:

    • Bad translations - e.g. using automated processes - in the binary or the description. Warn but be lenient on small spelling, translation or punctuation issues. Fail with 'Innapropriate for Xbox Live'
    • Using languages not on the approved list (currently English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Japanese) - since the review process cannot validate these the game should not be in the system. This includes dead languages (e.g. latin/ancient greek etc) and made up languages that are documented (e.g. Klingon/elvish). Fail with 'Grossly misrepresents content in content info'
    • Not declaring ALL languages used. This is seen as gaming the system as you are avoiding getting the game reviewed by the correct speakers. Fail with 'Grossly misrepresents content in content info'

    How does the review process work regarding languages?

    Games in review have 2 sets of languages associated with them:

    1. Binary language. This is set by the developer checking that language.
    2. Description language. This is set by entering a description in that language.

    When the game is reviewed the language passes are counted as follows:

    • a Binary language pass is given by reviewers choosing the language checkbox at the end of the review.
    • a Description language is given automatically if you have that language set in your profile

    For a game to pass it must have enough languages passes in in both description AND binary reviews. Reviewers do not have to be multi-lingual each reviewers 'votes' count towards the language tally even if they only speak one. There is a minimum number required for each language a game uses to pass.

    Because the description language automatically uses the languages in your profile it is VERY important that you do NOT lie here. You must be a native or fluent speaker otherwise you may be implicitly passing games in languages you don't speak. This will be seen as gaming the system which has consequences. So if you added another language to be able to download more games please make sure you change it back before you review.



    Example of language review:
    MyCoolGame is submitted with English, German and French as selected binary languages becuase the game is fully translated to those 3.
    In addition I check Japanese becuase my game has Japanese characters in game.
    In addition I complete a description for English, French and Spanish.  (I'm dumb and I miss German by accident)
    This means I need reviews in English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish.

    Reviewer1 has a profile marked with English and Japanese and checks both on review. My binary gets a pass for both languages
    Reviewer2 has a profile marked with French and Spanish. He only checks French when he submits which gives the binary a French pass. However the Spanish in his profile automatically gives my game a pass for the Spanish description.

    We do not know the exact algorithm for how the votes accumulate or count.

  • 7/14/2010 7:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    I'm reviewing a game and I have a doubt regarding your "own fantasy" language.

    What if the game have a "monster language" created which has English subtitles on it (is not a real language at all). I believe it shouldn't be a Fail, however I would like to know which one would be the right way to approach this one.

    Thanks!

    PS. The rule states:

    Made up languages that are documented (e.g. Klingon/Elvish). Fail Reason: 'Grossly misrepresents content in content info'

  • 7/14/2010 7:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    CNG Studios:
    PS. The rule states:

    Made up languages that are documented (e.g. Klingon/Elvish). Fail Reason: 'Grossly misrepresents content in content info'


    I believe the key word there is "documented".  Klingon and Elvish have online translators, published dictionaries, etc.  Thus, they can't be put in your game, because it is possible to use them to put content in your game that cannot be officially verified by reviewers, but could communicate some sort of prohibited content.

    If, on the other hand, you totally make up a language and use it only in your game, it's not "documented" except in the context of your game.  The only English translations available would be the ones you provide, and so the only content that's actually communicated can already be handled by the regular review process.  So, if you want to decide that "foo" means "Attack!" and "bar" means "Run!" to your characters, I think you'd be free to have them run down the hill yelling "foo!" if you wanted.  But you certainly can't have them shooting arrows at orcs while yelling "Tangado haid! Leithio in phlilin!" or congratulating one another after a battle with "Q'apla!".
  • 7/30/2010 12:26 AM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    I'm disappointed.  I read "Lagrangian Transformation Review", but then I was reminded of how much I wish I knew Japanese. :(

    Using languages not on the approved list (currently English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Japanese) - since the review process cannot validate these the game should not be in the system. This includes dead languages (e.g. latin/ancient greek etc) and made up languages that are documented (e.g. Klingon/elvish). Fail with 'Grossly misrepresents content in content info'


    I assume that common quips, colloquialisms, idioms, clichés, sayings, period and regional proper titles, and other brief statements presented in other languages, including the Romanization of non-Latin languages, other than the representative language are exempt from this as long as they are easily verifiable or considered "common tongue"?  Or, are those also limited strictly to the approved list of languages?
  • 7/30/2010 12:55 AM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    Who decides if its 'common' enough? So in general no you can't use foreign phrases based on those rules.

    Try the words in playtest and see if anyone thinks they are foreign.

  • 7/30/2010 3:23 AM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    ModusOperandi:
    I assume that common quips, colloquialisms, idioms, clichés, sayings, period and regional proper titles, and other brief statements presented in other languages, including the Romanization of non-Latin languages, other than the representative language are exempt from this as long as they are easily verifiable or considered "common tongue"?


    I would be careful about assuming that if I were you.  I understand where you're going with it, but it's a pretty gray area.  On the one hand, I think people would be considered petty and pedantic if they tried to fail you for using the words "samurai" and "ninja" as a character class, or having a German guy that spoke in accented English but occasionally interjected "Ja!" when he was really happy.  On the other hand, what some people consider common knowledge is unknown to many others.  As an example, I personally know some lawyers and ancient-language geeks, so I could come up with all sorts of Latin phrases that seem common to me, and that I hear all the time, but would be totally alien to at least some reviewers - I would not expect to pass review if I put those in my game.
  • 7/31/2010 2:32 AM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    Sigil:
    I would be careful about assuming that if I were you.  I understand where you're going with it, but it's a pretty gray area.  On the one hand, I think people would be considered petty and pedantic if they tried to fail you for using the words "samurai" and "ninja" as a character class, or having a German guy that spoke in accented English but occasionally interjected "Ja!" when he was really happy.  On the other hand, what some people consider common knowledge is unknown to many others.  As an example, I personally know some lawyers and ancient-language geeks, so I could come up with all sorts of Latin phrases that seem common to me, and that I hear all the time, but would be totally alien to at least some reviewers - I would not expect to pass review if I put those in my game.


    Right, that's basically what I'm wondering.  Many adopted Latin phrases such as "quid pro quo" or even my alias "modus operandi" are common in many English speaking cultures and probably in other languages as well, and I'd expect most people in the US with a high school education to know what they mean on a basic level.  But more obscure or less recognized cultural words or phrases such as "Paha Sapa" (Lakota for the Black Hills and common in that region) or "meshugga" (a Yiddish slang not entirely uncommon in the north-eastern US) might not pass the test.  Of course, the great irony would be if a reviewer passed mispronounced slang like "harry carry" but failed the proper Romanization of the Japanese word, "harakiri". ;-)

    Anyway, thanks for the information guys.  I'll keep this in mind whenever, if ever, I get around to writing some dialog.
  • 8/1/2010 8:11 PM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    I have another language based question.

    Could you use a combination of characters from another language and roman characters to form english words. It may sound odd, but it shouldn't be breaking the rules as it would be completely readable in english, and in fact would not make any sense in the other language.

    An example is how the game SINGULARITY is spelled SIИGULДЯITY which is a fusion of roman and cyrillic characters. I would like to do something like this, as it is still completely readable(И looks like N, Д looks like A etc... and it would add some good atmosphere to the game), but I have heard that doing something like that is against the rules as you are not allowed to have any content from a language not on the approved languages list in your game.

    I do not understand why this would not be allowed, because the only languages that it would be readable in would be on the approved languages list, as SIИGULДЯITY (which would be pronounced siiiguldyaity if you pronounced the cyrillic figures correctly) would certainly not translate into anything in Russian, or any other language not on the approved languages list and it is impossible as there is no s, i, g, u, or l in cyrilic.

    Sorry for the long speech, but in summery, I feel that it should be allowed as although it technically has content from a non-approved language it is only readable in approved languages.
    So would something along those lines be allowed?

  • 8/1/2010 10:25 PM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    Not likely. Its not allowed because you might be able to switch a character and make singularity mean a bad word in another language. If you replaced enough letters then who knows what that word could spell? the only way we can tell tht your example is safe is to take your word for it as we do not speak Russian.

    Just avoid it... its not worth the hassle.




  • 8/2/2010 11:59 PM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    Yeah, I guess it would be a big hassle...

    Oh well, thank you.
  • 8/9/2010 7:48 AM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    The ZMan:
    Its not allowed because you might be able to switch a character and make singularity mean a bad word in another language. If you replaced enough letters then who knows what that word could spell? the only way we can tell tht your example is safe is to take your word for it as we do not speak Russian.

    Wait, what? Really?

    The box art for my game is a Photoshopped piece of old, public-domain Soviet propaganda. Thematically, my game is something of a satire of certain capitalist/industrialist/corporate labour practices. Wrapping it up as a piece of communist agit-prop seemed quite clever to me.

    Because my game was in English, it didn't occur to me to check the Language FAQ very carefully, so without thinking I left in some of the original Russian text on the poster. At least one reviewer caught this (I assumed) and failed my game.

    ...and that was a completely valid fail reason. That Russian text might have been extremely offensive (I have no idea); young Russian-American children might be scrolling through XBLIG, open my game to take a look, and have their innocent little minds corrupted irreparably, even though I had no intention to do any such thing.

    However, just as Bowcaster suggested, for the title of my game on the box art I also use Cyrillic characters. Doing this is essential to giving the image an "authentic" feel, which is where much of the humour of the image comes from. Without that, I'd have to scrap the idea and start over - wasting my time, and weakening the overall quality of my game and its presentation. Aside from looking good and being funny (I think), the box art as it stands does an excellent job at communicating my game's themes and its sense of humour. And it's frustrating to be asked to throw that away for absolutely no sensible reason.

    To forbid Cyrillic characters is absurd. Put aside the fact that it'd require a completely unrealistic degree of bilingual cleverness, luck, and determination to stumble upon an English word that, when written with Cyrillic characters, is offensive in another language - and then to make a game out of it. Put aside the fact that, in both my case and in the case Bowcaster mentioned (SINGULARITY), the titles would also need to have Latin-exclusive letters, meaning they couldn't possibly mean anything in a foreign language. What your reasoning suggests is that any title - or any depiction of a title - that could hypothetically be read in a language other than the one intended must not be permitted. By that logic, Japanese titles couldn't have any kanji in them, because they might have an offensive meaning in Chinese. The "TOYS Я US" logo would be forbidden for reasons other than copyright. We couldn't possibly have a game called "Pocoro", as for all we know that might be something dirty in Portuguese. Really, all English titles would have to be disallowed - think of all the different languages that use Latin letters! What if my English title carries a crude double meaning in Swedish or something? Unless we speak Swedish, we just don't know!

    ...it's a completely insane restriction.

    Moreover, at least one game long-since approved does exactly this: Link Attack - or should I say, LIИK ДTTДCK. Surely some sort of precedent should apply?
  • 8/9/2010 3:27 PM In reply to

    Re: Language/Translation Review FAQ

    In your example yes I could spend the time and find out that it was valid and not offensive. But reviewers are neither language experts OR expected to spend the time to do that research.

    • How many characters am I allowed to replace before there are enough to become a bad word? 2? 4? 8? If I sneak 3 letters into a Japanese word would a Japanese speaker notice?  常F用U漢K字 (apologies to Japanese speakers - just a random word I found on Wikipedia)
    • An exciting game just means reviewers didn't spot it. If they had it would likely have been a valid fail at the time. Games have failed for random Kanji 'theme' characters too so there is more precedent for a fail
    • If someone sneaks in a Swedish dirty word because it happens to be an ok English word then it will pass because its unlikely that anyone will notice. However after release if it gets complaints from Swedish people and its clear the person knowingly did it then they can expect an appropriate result.

    Bottom line - if you ASK you are going to get the official line becuase writing down a rule and then 200 exceptions is not how XBLIG works. Rules have to be simple and clear because people won't read 20 pages.

    If your artistic view is more important than the risk of a fail + change then feel free to try your game in review - if folk disagree you might pass and if you don't you can appeal the ruling to Microsoft.

    But right now the rule is simple - keep things in English (or allowed language) and you won't have any problems.
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