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[BGII:EE] Global translation status (with %) and a professional translator perspective on it

DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
Hi all, as you all know by now, Beamdog, publisher of Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, decided to follow the "free" crowdsourcing road regarding the translation of BG2EE. Some days ago it became known that the translation of new material for Italian sums up to approx. 400.000 words.

All translated for free. Or should I say: "not" translated "yet".

In any case, I feel it's important to give everyone a professional translator point of view on the matter at hand.
I've been working in the industry for over 15 years, so I know what I'm talking about.

On a side note, it would be great if translators from the different languages could provide us with a words breakdown of every language involved and how far they are from completion. I won't always keep this post updated, but I will if I have the time. Completion percentage should match the last edited date for this post.

Italian: About 25%
German: Less than 10%
French: ???
Spanish: approx 50%

Ok, lets go!

- A professional translator averages about 2,500 words in 8 hours of work.
- 394.241 words, divided by 2,500, is 158. So it's 158 days of work for a single translator working full-time.

More than 1260 hours of work. And here we are, of course, considering a professional translator speed, not the probably slower amateur one.

These are big numbers. We're not talking about translating a indie game in a week: this is a -huge- effort.

Was the community alerted of the number of WORDS that had to be translated? Did the community know it would've been a very time consuming task, spanning over many months, if not years?

Do you know how much a translator gets paid for 400.000 words? About 20.000 Euros.
Do you know how much a publisher pays for such a translation, delivered and reviewed by a professional agency? About 35k-38k Euros, maybe more.
Do you know how much every translator out there gets damaged, when there's people willing to translate for free something that normally gets paid 40k Euros? Of course there's not a precise answer to this question, but I'll go with an approximate one: A LOT.

I consider really absurd that there's people willing to work for free on this project, especially considering the staggering amount of words. 10k, maybe even 20k words to translate would've been still a quite large amount, but a fan translation would've felt... somewhat sensible or at the very least fairer to the translators community. But 400k words?

Furthermore Beamdog itself (in the person of Andrea Colombo) announced on a forum that: "Beamdog is committed to offer the community the best possible translation quality for both chapters of the saga, and intends to complete the task." This sounds "weird". "Beamdog" is committed? But then are we talking about a "fan translation" or is this maybe a "zero cost" official translation? Very hard to say, at this point.

Usually, I'm the first to salute with enthusiasm fan translations of old games. They generally cover games that already ended their market life-span, so a community effort is very much appreciated in these cases. But here we're talking about a fan-made translation which will generate additional sales thanks to its existence. Honestly, I don't feel like endorsing who decides to work free on these premises. Those who accept to work on this task for free (absolutely in good faith I'm sure), owe lots to all the people who studied and trained hard to become professional translators. Please let me add that this is not a crusade "against Beamdog", but against the overall crowdsourcing approach, which is being followed by other companies as well (inxile's Wasteland 2 comes to mind).

The low completion percentage for Italian (only about 23%) is the only ray of light in the whole story: it helps understanding that this approach is hardly sustainable and that relying on fans on such huge volumes, only means risking that the translation never gets done at all.

All of the above said with the due respect for everyone's work. You know, that something that helps people feed themselves and their children.

Furthermore, these are Trent Oster's words (dated 2012), co-founder of Beamdog:

"The thing that gets me the most is that—I mean, you can get translations done, and it’s not crazy expensive to do, but these are passionate fans of the series, they know the ins-and-outs, they know the little details, and they’re doing it because they love it. The end result is just— the quality is so much higher. The attention to detail is so much higher. They know the terms, they know what THAC0 means and how it should be framed in their language to be understandable to someone who don’t know the rules necessarily.

I just think an engaged community can do so much better of a job than just a paid contractor in this case."

Is Trent still of the same opinion? I sincerely hope not.
A professional service, for starters, would've translated the additional content already, and -breaking news- a lot of game translators are gamers, and a very large percentage of it plays CRPGs regularly. As a gaming translator, I think Trent's words were a bit disrespectful of our job.
What happened so far with BG2:EE is, actually, the opposite of what Trent said.

What happened demonstrated that a community can -only do so much when there's 400k words to translate- and it's -absolutely unreliable- as far as completion time and quality are concerned.

I hope developers and publishers can learn from this story that, apart from being ethically arguable on commercial products, crowdsourcing translations is an extremely risky affair. A lot of people bought the game on the premise that there "would've been" a translation. I can't blame them for being angry, now that it's obvious that the translation (at least from some languages) could not finish at all.

I hope this post can raise awareness and stimulate an honest and fair discussion about how the BG2:EE translation has been handled and how the community perceives crowdsourcing on commercial products.
Post edited by Dee on


  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,689
    edited May 2014
    I don't even know what to say to this thread, to me it sounds like whining because someone 'stole' your money and work. I don't know what you do for a living when it comes to translating, but there is work when it comes to translation in many fields, not just gaming.

    Secondly you really come forward as blaming the people who took their own free time to help out in translating a game they love to a language they hold dear. They should have a big pat on the back and a "thank you" instead of "oh my god, you stole work from the 'real' and 'professional' translators".

    And lastly, just because they aren't 'professional' doesn't mean they are bad at translating or that the quality of their work is any less. I've never had any education when it comes to translating, but I've still done a few jobs i got paid for, and they have all been happy with the result. In my opinion translating a language isn't so much about 'education' as it is knowledge of the language. If a person is fluent in two languages then i really don't see why they wouldn't be able to translate something and still keep a high quality? Many times it's not the words in themselves, but the context the words are in, and this is easy enough to understand if you know both languages.

    [Edited]: This is my opinion, i'm not a 'professional' translator or anything like that. I'm a 'language person' and know my share of languages and never had problem translating based on that.

    Yes they won't be able to do it as fast as you would, but do you know why that is? Because they are working for free and most of them have other things to do as well. I agree that with there being no deadline and having people work for free it's going to be hard to get out a translation in any decent amount of time, but it's because they are working for free. They are still helping though, and they should be thanked for that and not shunned.

    Beamdog prioritize other things before language translations. And i'm sure it won't come as a surprise what language the majority of players use for their game.
    Post edited by SionIV on
  • The_BensoThe_Benso Member Posts: 2
    The are working for free, but the game is not free.
    The developpers will gain a lot of money only because of these fan-made traslations.
  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,155
    @The_Benso‌ they are working for free because they want to do so. No one told them to do so.
  • The_BensoThe_Benso Member Posts: 2
    @CrevsDaak, if you ask to developers about translation, they will say that some fans are working on it.
    Do you think this is the right approach?
  • DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
    edited May 2014
    @NaturalBornKieler‌ and @SionIV‌ thanks for your answers.

    I feel you misjudged the whole point of my message, though, so let me explain in more detail what I meant but first! a short version of this message, for the "Too long;Didn't read" readers.

    Actually, it's exactly because I -appreciate- translation work that I think that ANYONE should get paid for it. It was really a way to say: "Hey, you guys, you (not me!) are worth much more than this, don't help this publisher saving millions (or, alternatively, gaining the "prestige" of having a game translated in 10 languages) off your hard work. If you like games and translating, try to make a test for some translation agency, or help an indie get out a small game in your language if you really want to help out and practice or fan-translate a old RPG of the past. The gaming localization world (or even the game-testing world) needs good and passionate people. We don't want those people to be stuck on a 400.000 words project that might never end!"
    Really, I'm as sympathetic as I can be with what you're doing. I've been there before. Now, on to the long version! :)

    FULL VERSION (in more parts, actually lol)
    1) My views on volunteering.
    I like volunteering. I appreciate volunteer work. I know what volunteering means, and I know what work means.
    I have volunteered for no-profit organizations and I have volunteered for no-profit fan translations for old games. It's not the volunteers "per se" that I'm blaming, especially because most of them probably didn't even know how much words had to be translated or how much their work was worth.
    So, most of all, I felt it was important to give the community some real and indisputable objective data and numbers about this translation endeavour (at least for Italian, but I guess the English words amount should be similiar for the other languages, too).

    Volunteering for no-profit projects is IMHO a bit different than "volunteering" for a commercial project, too, but I understand that I cannot "stop" anyone from working for free if they really like to do so. I can, though, explain things from a translator point of view, so that volunteers can see how much their work is worth, especially if they are interested in pursiung a career in translation.

    I'm under the impression that the workload wasn't clear from the outset, and for sure "hadn't been made clear enough", otherwise fans would've understood why the translation was taking so long. Did Beamdog ever say "this translation completion time is totally dependant on the community and involves 1600-1700 hours of work which could be done in a month or never"? I think Beamdog took the matter a bit too lightly. The fact that fans are angry at Beamdog, means that something didn't work in their communication, at the very least. The fact that a lot of players bought the game thinking that the translations would've been ready in a "reasonable" amount of time shows that communication wasn't very good from a fan standpoint, but that wasn't that bad, as far as sales are concerned, isn't it?

    The fact that the publisher seems to be managing the translations somewhat (they even did some translation tests to choose the translators) though, it's a bit weird. The fact the the publisher says he's "committed to making the translation happen" is weird. The fact that Trent Oster talks openly about crowdsourcing the translations, like it was the most normal, ethical, productive and quality-oriented approach to translation is weird. The fact that (at least for Italian) the translation to be done was counted in "strings" it's weird (It's like someone told you to build a road long 30.000 "buildings", how many men do you need? How much time do they need? How long is a "building"?). Etc....

    It's only the commercial side of thing that I'm talking about here guys. You'll never hear me saying that I don't respect the work of other fellow translators. Just pick your clients carefully.

    2) Professional vs Amateur translation
    will follow tomorrow, stay tuned :)
    Post edited by DeSangre on
  • DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
    It took more than a day actually, but in the meantime I got older and wiser, too :D
    "Regarding quality, employing professional translators does definitely not guarantee a better result. "

    First, the fact that the final quality of some professional translations isn't very good, doesn't mean that they are -all- not very good.
    Since I don't like comparing apples to oranges, there is just a single thing to say: in the world of professional translations a task with no deadlines -doesn't exist-. I don't know how bad the german translation for Civilization 5 was. I have no reason not to believe that the quality wasn't good, sometimes it happens. But I know a thing for sure. That the translators weren't allowed 2 years, 3 years or "forever" to complete it. Be aware, too, that often "bad translation" = "bad translation PLAN" e.g. not enough funding allocated to translation, no localization testing done, even NO REVIEW of the text done in some instances.

    Often, much more often than you might think, game translators don't get to play the game they are translating. It's of course very hard to pinpoint "who's to blame" from the players point of view, when they find a mistranslation in a game, but believe me, what people usually say, is that it's the translators' fault, even if they don't have a clue on why the translator translated like he did, or how much time he was given.

    Sometimes we get strings like:


    Without any context. Sometimes a nation becomes a fat ugly bird. That's how it goes in the crazy, wacky professional "no-context given" translation world. You're right in saying that a fan translation, having all the TIME IN THE WORLD to be finished and the game available to be played extensively for hours on end, might turn out better in the end. I'd be really surprised if that was not the case, actually. But ANY professional translator will tell you that judging the quality of a translation that had no set deadlines isn't in any way representative of the skill of a translator.

    Actually, I think that it's great if the fans help out "after" a translation is done. But crowdsourcing a very large translation to the fan isn't viable at all, if you want it to be done in a reasonable time/quality. Maybe you're not among the countless fans angry because the translation work is not complete yet, but I assure there's a lot of them, so maybe it wasn't clear to them that the translation could be actually NEVER FINISHED ;)

    "Yes, it's a lot of work and I don't know when we'll finish it or even if we finish it, but as long as it's enjoyable, I will continue."

    Everyone can do whatever he pleases, so I cannot stop you from giving your work away for free.

    Last thing: your examples are wrong.
    "You can complain about that but complaining won't help. When movies started to have sound, whole orchestras in the cinemas lost their employment, and the musicians complained a lot, but it didn't help. "

    "Recorded audio" is, if possible even more reliable than an orchestra. "Crowdsourced translations" are less reliable, to the point they could not finish at all. Again, apples to oranges.
    That's a huge difference, since a large part of my message was devoted to point out that fan translations don't work in the vast majority of cases, on such a large amount of words.
  • NaturalBornKielerNaturalBornKieler Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 407
    Hi @DeSangre,

    I'm rather annoyed about how you distort what I was saying and if you continue to do so I'll quit this thread. Please try to understand what your counterpart says instead of mixing it up into your own interpretation and creating a straw man. I would have expected that a professional translator, of all people, would have better communication skills.

    I said "Regarding quality, employing professional translators does definitely not guarantee a better result."

    Your answer: "First, the fact that the final quality of some professional translations isn't very good, doesn't mean that they are -all- not very good."

    Now tell me: Where did I say that -all- professional translations are not very good? Answer: I did not say that. You made that up in order to attack something I did not say. The classical straw man argument. And then you are implicating that I'm comparing apples and oranges.

    I also did not speculate about the reasons why certain professional translations were poor. It might have been bad planning, tight budgets, or whatever. In any case, my statement "employing professional translators does definitely not guarantee a better result" is precise and true.

    I also did not express any disrespect to professional translators. We can agree anytime that, all else (like timing and planning) being equal, the work of a professional translator will most probably be far better than the work of an amateur.

    Then you said my examples were wrong. You are quoting my example "When movies started to have sound, whole orchestras in the cinemas lost their employment, and the musicians complained a lot, but it didn't help." What I wanted to express with this example is that every profession has to cope with the fact that the marketplace is continuously changing. For this, the example is valid. I gave another example before ("Bloggers, for example, are replacing paid journalists") and this example is right on the mark, regarding the competition between professional paid work and more or less unpaid amateur work. Therefore you chose to ignore this example.

    What I also said was that DESPITE the fact that professional work will probably result in better quality, professional work has to face the competition of unpaid amateur work. Simply because it's free and/or because amateurs can in certain cases put much more time, care, and love into a project. (Another example for this competition is the whole freeware and open-source software which shows some great products as well, right because the makers put so much effort into them. And yet another example would be the amateur-made Wikipedia, which rendered every professional encyclopedia virtually unmarketable. DESPITE undeniable quality issues.)

    Therefore it is a viable option for a game distributor to try an amateur-based localization approach. Yes, they could have communicated it much better, both to the international customers and to the volunteers, regarding the size of the project and the effort it takes. And yes, it is risky (as I already said). But it disturbs me very much when you say that this approach has ethical issues or does in some way "damage" professional translators. Your words. You said that volunteers translating for free would damage professional translators. I say that no one is doing anything unethical here. The "damage" you postulate here is wildly speculative, it is the same sort of "damage" I do when I grow my own potatoes and give them away for free to my neighbor so that he does not need to buy them at the supermarket. In fact, any sort of competition does the same sort of damage, be it amateur or professional.

    You also seem to speculate about why someone volunteers for this project. In this matter, I can only speak for myself. I can assure you that I don't pursue a career in translation. I'm 51 years old and have a regular job in software development (not in the games sector, regrettably ...). I have no special language training apart from school but I need to read English daily for my work so I have a usable working knowledge of it.

    Now, what on earth does prompt me to volunteer for this translation work? The first impulse for this simply was that I played the game in English and my wife complained that she'd like to play it too but only in German. When I looked into it I found that the German version was a matter of volunteer work and I thought I could contribute. However, I would not do this for every sort of game. I do it because I wish there were more games like this on the market. Games that do not rely on the latest graphical and sound effects and bang-boom-bang, but on an elaborate story. That is why I do offer my work for free here. It's my way to try to modestly influence the market. Heck, for all I care the Beamdog guys can become filthy rich by exploiting my work if it convinces them (or anyone else) to make another Baldur's Gate style game with even more story depth. (Hear me, Beamdog?)

    You say the translators should be paid for their work. Well, while I would not duck if they threaten to throw money at me, I also say it would not be the same. As long as I'm an unpaid amateur, I have no obligations whatever. The very minute Beamdog disappoints me in any way, or, for that matter, the minute I'm needed for something else in my real life, I can walk away without looking back. That means that Beamdog should put at least a little effort in keeping me and the other volunteers happy. (Still listening, Beamdog? A t-shirt would be nice and Baldur's Gate 3 next year ... and Neera should be in it too ...)

    And that being said, let's both get back to work. I have no objection when you try to convince Beamdog to do the localization with professional contractors, and your idea of a cooperation including professionals and amateurs might have its merits. Just make them an offer they cannot refuse ... but I think that making a case of "ethics" here does lead nowhere, and when the market - fans and customers - are unhappy with what Beamdog does, they will learn that early enough.
  • DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
    Hey Kieler,
    I respect your opinions, and didn't meant to mix everything up with a straw man argument.

    Regarding the blogger example, I didn't comment on it just to not make my wall of text even bigger, not because I was skipping it on purpose. :D
    Since you pointed that out, though, let me explain why I think the example is not fitting.
    Generally bloggers work for free, true, but they very rarely do that for commercial websites. Again, that's a huge difference. Here we have Beamdog hiring someone to "keep an eye on the translations" when the grunts do the work for free and they potentially gain money off the localizations. Very different situation.

    This answers to your open source paragraph too: true open source it's great and I love it. But it doesn't equate to working for free for commercial businesses. I'll add that I find Wasteland 2's approach to crowdsourcing almost worse, but that's another story.

    If I didn't make this clear already, I'm just interested in spreading the word that this crowdsourcing "has failed". And it "has failed" based on what is normally perceived as an acceptable completion time for a translation. And that's why I linked Trent's words from 2012:

    Judging by that interview, a reader could get that "hey, you know, this famous RPG guy is saying that fans can translate better than translators so let's do that lol", but the actual reality turned out to be different.

    I'll add that "as a fan translation" this will be a success. I mean, when it will be over and fully reviewed. But how long this will take? Letting customers think that "Beamdog is working on getting the translations done" albeit "true" (if we were inside a computer program and binary logic was the rule) is "very misleading" in the real world, I'm sure you'll agree. Considering it might be never finished- ;)

    About "ethics", it's a really complex matter, and I understand it will always be subjective, to an extent. But as I said, my view is clear: "You should not work for free for commercial businesses". I love open-source, I love fan translations of old games, I love people who wants to help translating a game for their spouse, because these are all things that I have done and would do again given the chance (and time!).

    Had Beamdog handled in a more honest and clear way their communication about the crowdsourcing, I would probably feel a bit less bitter about the whole operation. And hey, I would have expected that professional PRs, of all people, would have better communication skills.

    I'll add that if we had this conversation in real life, we'd probably agree on most points. But hey that's the magic of Internet :D
  • DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
    "As long as I'm an unpaid amateur, I have no obligations whatever."

    That is both true and the reason why crowdsourcing doesn't work in a commercial environment. :)

    That's really the whole point of what I'm saying: if you want a deadline (and I mean whatever deadline you set) you cannot rely on people that have no obligations whatsoever with you.
  • NaturalBornKielerNaturalBornKieler Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 407
    I think that the open-source example does fit here. Many open source products are applied in a commercial environment. There are even whole businesses making their money by selling services around open-source products, thereby effectively using the work of volunteers for their own commercial gain. MySQL, Eclipse, or Linux come to mind. These examples illustrate that crowdsourcing does work in commercial environments. Of course you need a large enough group of volunteers so that the project does not take too much damage when some of them walk away from it for whatever reason, which will happen now and again.

    Regarding blogging, I think that the Huffington Post is an example of an enterprise based on blogging by volunteers. As far as I know, the majority of contributors to the Huffington Post consists of unpaid bloggers, while it is a commercial business and does make a lot of money. (Heck, the whole Web 2.0 idea is based on users generating content and others making money out of it, look at Facebook and Twitter.)

    And why do you say that this crowdsourcing approach has failed in the case of BG? As far as I know, BG1EE has been successfully localized by volunteers already, hasn't it? Doesn't this show that the approach does work? BG2EE is much bigger regarding the amount of new text, and it will take much longer, but the outcome is not determined yet. Yes, we can agree that fans are angry about how long it takes and that the publisher woulda/coulda/shoulda communicated it somewhat better. But a failure? No.
  • DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
    I didn't follow BGEE's translation so I can't comment there. Probably the amount of work to be done was much less. I know that the BG2EE translation, to which I was referring, isn't completed yet (and arguably might never be, for some languages). For the usual completion times of a professional translation, it is a failure, thus it can't be compared to a professional translation and I know you agree with this, but I'm not sure Trent Oster did (who knows if he -does- now).
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,689
    I'm sorry to say this but you sure come forward as whining a lot.

    "for the usual completion times of a professional translation, it is a failure, thus it can't be compared to a professional translation"

    You keep comparing apples to oranges and then saying oranges fail because they don't taste like apples.
  • DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
    Me whining? I was just implicitly quoting Trent Oster (thus Beamdog). Did you even read his interview with PC Gamer linked previously? It was him saying that fans can make a much better job than professional translators, and I was just answering on that point.

    I would never be as foolhardy as to compare the two, let alone announce that "Beamdog is working on getting the translations done", after leaving (almost) everything in the hand of the (implicitly, as Kieler stated, too) unrealiable community.

    If Beamdog can say: "I just think an engaged community can do so much better of a job than just a paid contractor in this case. The quality is so much higher, blablabla" (which BG2EE translation proved wrong, unless we consider acceptable an infinite time to complete), then I can say that "it's a failure". It was not me bringing amateur and professional translators on the same playing field. But since they were pitted one against the other, I felt I had to point out the differences between the two, even if this meant, as you point out, stating the obvious.

    Anyway, since you seem to disagree with that statement of "failure" (to the point of calling it "whining", when it was actually just a neutral consideration on the status of the translations being done), then I suppose that you are considering the BG2EE translation like just about any other no-profit fan translation in the world: zero money involved, fans working whenever they like, no pressure from the devs, no employees from the company overseering the work and so on.

    In that case, I'd agree with you. But several statements from Beamdog seem to imply that that is not the case. Did you know that Beamdog has a Localization Manager (supposedly, paid, but I'm not 100% sure, we should ask him, @AndreaColombo‌)? Did you know that he stated publicly that "Beamdog is working on getting the localizations done and intends to fulfill this obligation?

    Well, in my book these statements not only create big expectations in the players (leading to sales, I'm sure you'll agree), but openly show that this is not "yet another no-profit fan translation effort".

    What is your opinion on this, @SionIV‌ ?

    Did @AndreaColombo‌ even read this thread? Just curious. :)
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,689
    edited June 2014
    DeSangre said:


    What is your opinion on this, @SionIV‌ ?

    My personal opinion?

    Translations aren't that high up when it comes to priorities and it's a good thing to let the fanbase help out with the game. The fanbase is one of the things that make this game and the company (beamdog) stand out. They invite the fanbase to help out with things, testing the new patches and doing translations.

    And unless beamdog has given out a deadline to meet, i don't see a problem with the translations taking time.

    I would prefer them to put more focus and money on additional content or updates, and let the fanbase take care of the translations.

    This is my personal opinion.

  • DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
    As weird as it may sound to you, I agree with you. I give credit to Beamdog for actually not enforcing any kind of deadline (at least that I know of, but we should ask someone that worked on BGEE about that maybe, like @Aedan‌). The consequence is that translations aren't complete (not even close), which is fine for me, for you and for a lot of other players but there's a number of players that bought the game on the premise that they would have had a translation done in a reasonable time, because Beamdog confirmed that they would've worked to get the translations done.

    At the very least, Beamdog should've been a bit wiser, by telling the players the translation might have taken more than a year or could even never see the light of the day for some languages. They didn't, afaik.

    My original post intended to just give everyone more details on the amount of work involved, to take a snapshot on "where are we" regarding this localization and to start a discussion about crowdsourcing from a lot of different point of views. Then, as it often happens, the thread went off track due to the usual little misunderstandings which turn into huge monstrosities that devour the thread, but I assure you I was much more interested in giving out (and discussing about) information, rather than "complaining and whining", but I take the blame if I didn't get the message across more clearly.

    Regarding the "whining" part, actually at the moment I'm more involved in project management and I probably wouldn't be able to work on BG2EE even if Beamdog asked me, lol, so just take my views on crowdsourcing this vast amount of words more "as a matter of principle" rather than "a complaint for a possible income lost" because that's really not the case.

  • NaturalBornKielerNaturalBornKieler Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 407
    Just for the record, the size of the BG2EE translation project is - by a very rough estimate - about three times the size of the BG1EE translation project. That is counting the new text of the Enhanced Edition(s) only.

    Therefore, even though the BG2EE project is bigger, you could say that BG1EE can serve as an example that the volunteer translation concept does work.
  • DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
    I don't deny, of course, that a community can get a translation done, eventually, once in a while, and not on 400k words, but what I wanted to point out is that this approach is definitely too risky and prone to failure to be compared lightly to a professional translation like Trent Oster did in the PC Gamer interview.

    Translators will translate your game. Period. Fans -might- translate your game. Or not.
    A very important point, totally absent from Trent's words :)
  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,251
    Professional translators don't work for free, do they?
  • killerrabbitkillerrabbit Member Posts: 402
    @DeSangre For my 2 cents

    1. The translation model is part and parcel of Beamdog's strength. The quality of the writing has been as good as it has been because the authors have felt free to *write* without worrying about word count.

    2. Keep in mind that they aren't making that much money

    3. I -- *believe*, *infer*, *speculate* -- that Beamdog finds ways to take care of the volunteers. I've been surprised by how loyal some of them are.

    Btw, I'm not a shill -- I've made plenty of critical comments -- but I do believe that this is one part of the model that is working.
  • TJ_HookerTJ_Hooker Member Posts: 2,438
    If I were to try and summarize what the OP is saying:

    The problem is that Beamdog promised to do something (translate the game) and assured everyone that they're working to get it done, when in reality they aren't the ones doing the work and have no way of guaranteeing when, or if, it gets done. That is dishonest. They then proceeded to state that this method is actually superior to the traditional method (paying for translations), despite the fact that paying for translations at least comes with a guarantee that it will be fininshed in timely fashion. Again, sort of dishonest.

    Please correct me if I've got anything wrong @DeSangre.
  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,811
    Here is the way I look at it, using your numbers:

    1 euro = roughly 1.5 loonies so
    35, 000 (low end) euros = $52, 500 Canadian
    times that by 6 (the number of translations being worked on) equals:
    $315, 000 Canadian dollars. LOW END.

    But eh, if it is getting professionally done, why stop at those 6. Most triple A games have 15+ languages (Watch Dogs has 18) and with the internet making the world a smaller place, they'd be a couple of folks coming along and saying why isn't it in my language? So in reality, once again, using your numbers, the cost would be closer to $787, 500.

    To recover the cost of just translating the first game, Beamdog would have had to sell the game 39, 375 times to break even.

    For a small start up company, that is a lot of money, and unrealistic.

    If you also think people are taking money away from you by doing these translations for free; maybe you need to consider that your industry has price pointed their service to high for customers you wish to attract. Instead of crying foul when they take an alternative route, it is actually better to attempt to compete for the business by offering your services at a lower price while explaining the benefits of going with your services.

    And check it:

    People volunteering their time knew exactly what they were getting themselves into. The community is thankful for their time and effort that they are putting in to make the game more enjoyable to a select niche group of players.
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 8,227
    People unhappy with the bugs in the game have suggested throwing money at us beta testers (who are also volunteers) many times in the past. While such a tactic may help things a little; I am doubtful as to whether it would have a significant effect on the speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of the project. In fact it would probably affect the project in a negative way by making BG:EE no longer profitable for Beamdog which would make them either choose to end the project or go back to volunteers. I know it would be nice if Beamdog were rich and able to shovel out huge amounts of money to translators and testers, but the reality of the situation is that they aren't and, like all of us, they have to live within their means. That is the way it is and complaining about it will do absolutely no good at all. If getting the translations done ASAP is that important to you then maybe you could volunteer to help translate or perhaps find other people who could help in the same manner.
  • DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
    edited June 2014
    "Professional translators don't work for free, do they? "

    I can only speak for myself here: I volunteered for a no-profit organization called "Il sole" that helps kids with long distance adoptions.

    I never ever said Beamdog should've translated the new content. Not translating is a perfectly viable choice, especially if numbers are not this high as you say. (Hey I'd like a Ferrari, but I don't have the money, so I don't have a Ferrari.) But the way it was handled it's a bit "weird". I mean, Beamdog never officially annouced the translations on the website, but did implicitly announce them in a public forum and articles were written about it. It's a fan translation but it's being "controlled" by Beamdog. In my book, it's not a totally transparent situation. And the fact that the reasons why the Italian team that worked on BG1EE "couldn't" work on BG2EE were never made public, doesn't really help with this transparency issue.

    As @TJ_Hooker‌ pointed out, I'm really more concerned on how Beamdog handled the whole situation, rather than mad at the volunteers for, well, volunteering. The problem arises when Trent Oster talks about fan made localizations comparing them to professional ones. I consider NORMAL that the state of the translations is what it is, because I know what 400k words mean. My post was to explain to the people angry about the speed of translation that what's happening it's normal, that this is what you get when you don't pay professionals: that you can't guarantee -anything-, and that 400k words it's a HUGE amount of work. What makes me wonder, is -why- Beamdog never publicly state that there was no guarantee of the translations being done, or what realistic completion times could've been.

    I'll state the obvious again: I love fan made translations, I love fans and everything that is related to no-profit endeavours for niche communities. But if you want a translation done by a certain date, look elsewhere. And if you announce that you are working on getting translations done, but you know that some of them might never see the light of the day, or are still very, very far from completion, well: "Houston, we have a problem."
  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,155
    DeSangre said:

    I'll state the obvious again: I love fan made translations, I love fans and everything that is related to no-profit endeavours for niche communities. But if you want a translation done by a certain date, look elsewhere. And if you announce that you are working on getting translations done, but you know that some of them might never see the light of the day, or are still very, very far from completion, well: "Houston, we have a problem."

    Tresset said:

    If getting the translations done ASAP is that important to you then maybe you could volunteer to help translate or perhaps find other people who could help in the same manner.

  • DeSangreDeSangre Member Posts: 16
    Seems like you totally missed "no-profit endeavours" in my post actually :)
  • MessiMessi Member Posts: 738
    While Beamdog may be a small company, the other companies making money out of these games such as Hasbro, Atari and EA certainly aren't. I know saying this will rub some people the wrong way, but the simple truth is that probably majority of the money saved by having volunteer translators will ultimately end up benefiting these big multinational corporations.
  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,251
    If you think Hasbro, Atari, or especially EA is remotely willing to pony up a cent for translators, then I don't know what to tell you. I'm guessing they didn't contribute any funds to the project.
  • MessiMessi Member Posts: 738
    jackjack said:

    If you think Hasbro, Atari, or especially EA is remotely willing to pony up a cent for translators, then I don't know what to tell you. I'm guessing they didn't contribute any funds to the project.

    Well that was kinda the point, they didn't pony up anything but are more than willing the reap the benefits. Atari especially being the publisher should have funded the translations, but obviously there is now even less pressure for them to do so since they are getting it for free.
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