This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Mod Anna W and is dated 24 September 2009.
Localisation's Answers

Ronitopp asks: I read somewhere that you are going to release RuneScape: Finnish. Is this true?


Ellwell asks: What future Languages do you hope to release?

We have not finalised any plans regarding the next language yet. We prefer to keep our options open and support our choice with market research data. Localisation is an expensive and time-consuming process; therefore, we need to make sure we get it right. Seeing how many players have been asking for their own language, we think that it is about time for everyone to learn Esperanto! That would make things a lot easier for us.

Arengeir asks:

  1. About how long does it take to translate RuneScape and its website into another language?
  2. How many people are actively working in the languages team for Jagex? Does this number continue to grow?
  3. Do you ever plan to translate the game into Latin?
  4. What about Klingon?

It takes around ten months to translate the game and website. Both combined contain around four million words. A translator can translate around 2,000 words per day (do the math) and this does not include testing of localised content. Obviously, this number keeps growing with every update, so localising into another language is a major project!

When working on a new language, there are around fifty people involved in the process. Our internal team currently consists of twelve people (three language teams containing two translators, one tester and one team leader each, plus me as the Localisation Manager) and, yes, this number continues to grow too. If you have a look at the Jagex website’s ‘Vacancies’ section you can see that we are currently looking for another BR Portuguese translator.

As for Latin: Si nos erant victus duos mille annus abhinc , per vicis of Romanorum Imperium , nos mos meditatus a Latin lingua poema poematis.

And Klingon: TlhIngan qel ghorgh maH chenmoH wa'DIch ghom - 54 nem.

Chain Flame asks: With the recent introduction of different language game worlds, it appears Jagex is working to support the diverse languages that the Runescape community uses. So is it possible for Runescape forums to support Chinese/Japanese/Korean character inputs? I think that many forums and discussion boards allow such character inputs.

In general, this is definitely possible, but it would alienate our western players if those characters could be used on the official international forum. We would consider it if we were ever to launch our products in the Asian markets (with their own dedicated forums), but it is highly unlikely to happen on our current forum.

Ces El 2 asks: When are you planning on releasing RuneScape in Spanish? I clearly remember a poll in which one of the questions was what language would the players want RuneScape translated to, when we only had the English version. The winner was Spanish, yet you released the game in German, then French, and now Portuguese. Why? What about the poll results? If the majority of people wanted it in Spanish, why release something only the minority wanted?

The interest is not only mine, I know lots of people who would want to see the game they love playing in their mother language. Hopefully you'll answer this. Thank you for the opportunity and for your time.

Spanish is on top of our list when it comes to the future languages, but there are several factors we need to take into consideration when making a decision about the next language - the number of people that speak the language worldwide, the number of English speakers in the target country, supported payment methods, possible business partners and many, many more. Also, we have just searched through our poll archive (from 2003 until today) and could not find any poll where we asked for which language you would prefer.

The poll you are referring to was posted in August 2008. At that time we had already launched the German language version and started working on the French and Brazilian-Portuguese language versions. In general, German is always one of the first languages that a product is translated into - usually followed by French, Italian and Spanish - because of the hefty length of words and the big German market. We have decided to take a different approach, though, based on the criteria I mentioned above.

Sliferdude24 asks: how does the whole process of making the game in a whole different language work?

It depends on what kind of game. ;) Localising a MMO is a great challenge, mainly due to the large word count, but also because the text is never final. We start with recruiting the team and choosing the LSP (Language Service Provider), and then we create glossaries and reference documents, and a schedule and resource plan.

After that the fun begins and a number of translators work on the text until every single word is translated. Then the text is proofread by editors, making sure that everything is consistent before we conduct the quality checks. Once this is done, the language testing stage starts and we bring in six to ten language testers on site. Their task is to go through the whole game and make sure that what they see goes with what they read.

As you can see, the process is quite complicated and thorough, and also applies to the website. After everything is translated, proofread and tested, we release the game. From then on, our internal team takes care of translating and testing all further updates.

Blokker12 asks: one more question, will rs ever appear in dutch (i'm from belgium you see, i, (and many others) will really like it

Dutch is quite a specific case. We have a lot of players from the Netherlands, but research shows that 89% of Dutch speakers also speak English; therefore, Dutch is not likely to be our next language. Maybe if you could all unlearn English there would be a chance of a Dutch version happening in the future. ;)

Game Shark82 asks: Hi Jagex, If i report somebody and he was talking in dutch with me, will i still be able to report him or is it not possible? I mean, does Jagex have a translator so you understand what he's saying when i report someone?

Players can and should report whenever they see offensive language (even if the offensive language is in Dutch, because we do have a Dutch team in place to deal with those offences). Please do not report someone just because they are speaking in a language that you do not understand, though.

To sum up: if you are going to report an offence that was committed in a foreign language, you need to be able understand that language in the first place to know that an offence was actually committed.

Camilo101480 asks:

  1. When will be rs translated to spanish?
  2. While we wait for rs spanish, when are you going to create spanish forums?
  3. What Jagex Mods can speak spanish?
  4. When will you look for a spanish translation team?
  1. Please have a look at one of the answers above. :)
  2. We are hoping to have more dedicated forums soon, so watch this space.
  3. We have a number of Spanish speakers in Jagex on the development side and also in Player Support.
  4. As soon as we decide that Spanish is the next language we will translate the game into.

Figther07 asks: Hello! I am from Norway and I would like if you take away some censorship. the words is: Hvvor ( with only one v, means where like in where are you) ikke (means not)Hå*on (the k change to a *, Hå*on is a name.) I would be very happy if you at least could delete the hvvor censor. Thank you!


Eagles Dk1 asks: I was wondering why some danish words are censored, for example is "****" (h,v,o,r) it means where, censored. Is there any reason for this? And could you uncensor these particular danish words?

Currently, we don’t have Danish worlds, so there is no censor particularly designed for that language. For logistical reasons, we will not add or remove words from the English word filter. We are contemplating adding more dedicated language filters in the future, but we are unable to give a timeframe right now. Be assured that we are hiring Player Support representatives from different countries to make sure that the in-game chat stays clean and safe.

As part of the restructuring of the forums into communities we are going to be adding Dutch and Finnish flags onto the top bar. There will be separate sections of the communities for these languages, but the actual forum module will still be in English and have the English word filter. Dedicated language forums would be a possibility for the future.

Troacctid asks: Do things like puns ever get lost in translation? If so, do you remember any specific examples? What do you replace them with?

This is what localisation is all about! A lot of the time, a pun or joke that works in English cannot be translated in the same way as the original and still make sense. Think about the Spirits of the Elid quest, where the main NPC collects ‘soles’ instead of ‘souls’ - this only works if the words for ‘sole’ and ‘soul’ sound the same in the target language. In all three current localised versions of RuneScape, this was not the case, so we basically had to adjust the whole theme of the quest.

We do this by brainstorming ideas within the respective language teams and researching options that fit with the target culture. Translation is not just about porting words from one language into another - more often than not we have to ‘localise’ the content for the different cultures - hence the name of our department. Oh, the juggling of words; it is what we live for!

Robbyneo Xx asks: haha i remember i was looking at the new updates on runescape one day and it said i see the language update: Brazil right? well i misread it wrong and thought it said brail!!! haha so if i logged into runescape in that language would there be dots everywhere instead of objects and people? i was like.. how does that work lol.

Braille will still look different depending on which language it is used for and it is highly unlikely that there will be an English Braille language version, considering that it would be very hard to implement little dots coming out of your monitor that would also need to be changed when we fix a typo or amend some phrases. We have heard of blind players using screen-reader software that enables them to listen to the text in-game, though.

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