I18N - Translator's Guide

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This page contains useful hints and tips for anyone who wants to translate the main menu mod, or any FM.

General Remarks

If you want to help translating TDM to other languages, or translate some FMs, please check first at the I18N status page, then post on the forum. Thank you!

Translating proper nouns

This section deals with the topic of translating proper nouns and proper names (in German, Eigennamem).

There are some special names in TDM which you might want to not translate:

  • The Dark Mod - this should stay always the same
  • Character names in FMs: Sometimes these people have names that could be translated, like "Taylor" (German: Schneider etc.). However, to keep the "british flavour", these names should stay as they are.

Another difficult topic are the names of the factions (Builders, Inventory, Pagans) and monster/nightmare names. One might want to keep a Strigis or Belcher as what they are, mainly because they add athmosphere in other languages (where the words sound even more foreign). On the other hand, translating them to their equivalent can add flavour, too.

These things have to be decided for each language, and afterwards they need to be consistent between the core dictionary, and the FM dictionaries.

Some examples in specific languages:

German

  • In German, the Builders are translated to "Werker", and although this generally works, there are some grey areas, like "Master Builder" - is this the "Meisterwerker", or the "Meister Werker"?
  • Strigis stays the same.
  • Namen werden eingedeutscht, wenn es Sinn ergibt. Ausnahme: Francis Rake
  • A Belcher is "Speier".
  • Bridgeport wird zu Brückhaven.
  • Northbridge wird zu "Nordbrücke", "New Bridge" zu "Neue Brücke"
  • The "One true Hammer": Der "Wahre Hammer"
  • diocese: Diözese
  • Archbishop: Erzbischof
  • Rowntree Tower wird zu Eschenturm
  • Newport wird zu Neuhaven
  • Taffer: Kunstwort ohne direkte Übersetzung, daher sinnvoll übersetzen mit: Kerl, zwielichtige Gestalt, Idiot, Bursche, Dieb
  • Book of Nature: Buch der Natur (dt. Originaltitel)
  • Book of Amon: Buch von Amon
  • Book of Labours: Buch der Arbeiten
  • Glimmerheight Tower wird zu Glimmerhöhen-Turm
  • Greensdove wird zu Taubengrün
  • Singsmarsh wird zu Sangesmarsch

Portuguese

  • the Builders and Pagans stay the same (for now).

Slovak

  • Faction names in the official translation: The Builders are "Stavitelia". This is word-for-word, but the term is as generic as the English original. That this is a specific group is made clear by always distinguishing it from lower-case builders (i.e. a profession) with the use of a capital letter. The adjective "Builder..." (monk, guard, etc.) can be rendered as "Staviteľský/-á/-é", again with a capital letter, and with a gender-aprropriate suffix. The Pagans are simply "Pohania" and the Inventor's Guild is the "Cech vynálezcov" - both of these are straightforward and not hard to translate examples.
  • The Builder (deity) is rendered as "Staviteľ". Variations: Both Lord Builder and Master Builder can be rendered as "Pán Staviteľ" and (poetically, with declension) "Pane Staviteľu". For those who want to add a bit of "ye olde" flair to the proceedings, the addition of the ecclesiastic poetism/archaism "Hospodin" in front of Builder (as an equivalent of "Master" or "Nurturer") can work as well, but you need to be accutely aware of the context, otherwise it might come across as inappropriate.
  • Personal names of characters and names of settlements are left intact. For instance, the name of Thomas Porter from the titular series of FMs is not rendered as "Tomáš Vrátnik". Similarly, Bridgeport or Glenham, while theoretically translatable, are not translated literally. This is because they would end up sounding either too forced or convoluted a placename, instead of a natural-sounding one.
  • Street names and other urban placenames are, in contrast, the only placenames to receive a certain amount of translation. Again, it's important to find a balance between translating too little and trying to forcibly translate everything. However, in most cases, translating most names should pose no problems, as long as one strives for accuracy and watches his grammar. Mill Street can become "Mlynská ulica", Old Square "Staré námestie", Friar's Lane "Fráterská ulička", Flea Quarter "Blšia štvrť", South Avenue "Južná trieda", etc., etc.
  • Belchers are (for now) translated as "grgúne", with a singular Belcher being a "grgúň". Grgať means "to belch" in Slovak. The word's briefness and easy pronounciation for a native speaker make it easy to translate the term for the creatures.
  • The Strigis creature's name sounds similar to the old folk term striga (a type of vampire or vampiric witch), but as the TDM Strigis is a rather unique creature with somewhat different characterisation, the exact term will probably not be translated (as it already sounds pseudo-Latin). At most, it might end up with a slightly altered suffix, but this part of the translation is still in flux.
  • Taffer: Simply left intact, as there is currently no clever and non-convoluted neologism to replace it with. If you dislike taffer, you can always replace it with appropriate common slurs for lowlifes.
  • Guard and Guards should be rendered consistently as "strážnik" (sing.) and "strážnici/stráže" (pl.). The City Watch is simply "Mestská stráž" (not "Mestská garda", as that sounds somewhat militaristic). The term "strážca" should be reserved for a poetic use, in the sense of "Guardian", "Watcher", "Keeper". An individual, lightly-armed Watchman in the employ of a nobleman or at a city gate can be translated as "vartáš".

Special Phrases

Some of the phrases and words are old English words, or outdated job names. Because not every dictionary contains these, here are a few explanations:

Job titles

Back in the medieval ages, people were already quite specialised, so there were a lot of jobs where someone did one step in the production of an item and this job had their own name. As an example, there where smiths who forged swords (Swordsmith), another special smith (or apprentice) who only polished the sword blade, someone who forges the sword grip, and so on. Most of these professions had their own name.

Here are some examples of the more uncommon words:

  • XYZmonger - a monger is simple a (small-scale) dealer, someone who buys and sells wares, and where you go shopping for these. The prefix usually just says which kind of wares he deals in. Nowadays only the word "Fearmonger" is used frequently, because instead of specific dealers you have supermarkets which deal in all kinds of wares at once. Examples: Cheesemonger (deals primarily in cheese), Fishmonger (deals with fish), Peltmonger etc.
  • Panecaster - an old job description for someone who casts panes (flat sheets of material, usually of glass, but can also be metal)
  • Tinsmith - someone who produces flasks, bottles, drinking goblets and vases from tin (white metal). In German Kannengießer.
  • Wiredrawer - someone who draws metal into (thin) wires. The German word Drahtzieher means also someone who is the mastermind behind an operation.
  • Gearsmith - a smith who casts and produces gears.
  • XYZfounder - someone who builds foundations in the earth, where you can pour hot metal to cast objects, and also does the casting etc. The first part just determines what type of objects he dealt with. Examples: Bellfounder, Typefounder (types are metal characters for printing books), etc.
  • Knacker: Taking (no longer useable) animals and turns them into dog food, glue and fetilizer. See Wikipedia.

Monster names

  • Belcher - a gas cloud spewing monster on two legs, looking a bit like a dinosaur. See concept art and this possibe model.
  • Strigis - Strigis is the latin plural of strix, which stands for Screeching Owl (or witch, because these also make screeching sounds). Hence it is a cross between a human female, owl and looks quite nightmarish. Beyond that, it is vague what this monster aactually looks like or is. See Wikipedia. Also this image.
  • Will'o'Wisp - little balls of fire, sometimes trailing sparks. It is unclear if these are actual sentient beeings, or just ordinary ball lighting, or magic side-effects. Wikipedia

FM Translations

Please see I18N - Translating Fan Missions for details.

Tools and Links

  • See the I18N.pl script to transform an untranslated FM into one which can be more easily translated.
  • dict.leo.org has good dictionaries for translating between German and Chinesese, French, Italian, Russian, and Spanisch.
  • Google is also (sometimes very) good at phrases, esp. computer related ones.

Of course, always beware what online dictionaries and translators produce - very frequently their results are complete rubbish. If you are not firm in the target language, translate the result back into a language you know to do a basic check.


See Also

  • I18N - Main article

Translation resources

Overview of translations

Translation discussions