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Teaching video game translation:

First steps, systems and hands-on experience

Despite the significant growth of the game localization industry in the past years, translation undergraduate curricula in Brazil still lack formal training in game localization, often leaving novice translators no alternative but to search for the required skills informally in game translation communities. A major challenge in this educational context is how to design a video game localization course to translation undergraduate programs, especially in public universities, due to software costs, short access to authentic materials, and also the difficulty to manage game multimodality and software architecture in class (O’Hagan and Mangiron, 2013; Bernal-Merino, 2015). Trying to shed some light on potential translation demands of entertainment software and its incorporation in translation programs, this talk will describe a game localization teaching experience at the undergraduate level with special focus on how to handle linguistic assets of the first Call of Duty video game installment and the online race game SuperTuxKart. Other teaching experiences involving the games Uncharted 3 – Drake’s Deception, Far Cry 4, League of Legends, and Stick Hero for mobile will also be mentioned.  The purpose is to show the first steps in designing a task-based course in a Brazilian translation undergraduate program aiming to empower translation students to understand how to deal with software structure, choose appropriate localization tools, and face challenges related to an unstandardized industry when it comes to file formats and extensions. Beyond describing teaching experiences, this talk will also report on the benefits of applying an action-research methodology in translation classrooms, seeking to bring together action and reflection in pursuit of practical solutions to problems directly affecting translation students (Hale and Napier, 2013; Reason and Bradbury, 2001).


Marileide Dias Esqueda is an associate professor at the Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU, Minas Gerais State), where she teaches translation theory and practice in the pair of languages English>Portuguese. She holds a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. in Translation Studies from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP – São Paulo). She is member of the research group Translatio (UFU), sponsored by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq Brazil). Her research areas are pedagogy of translation, and translation technologies. She has published articles in edited volumes and journals. She is the author of the book Ensino de Tradução: proposições didáticas à luz das competências tradutórias (forthcoming). She has translated into Portuguese the works The Scandals of Translation, by Lawrence Venuti (2002), This Strange Institution Called Literature, by Jacques Derrida (2014), Translation Teaching: From Research to the Classroom, by Sonia Colina (2015), and Teaching Translation: Programs, Courses, Pedagogies, by Lawrence Venuti (forthcoming).

Marileide Dias Esqueda (Fed. U. of Uberlândia, Brazil): Teaching video game translation