by Mizuko Ito
Brendan Callum writes about his experiences with auto-translation on the online role playing game Final Fantasy XI for chanpon.org.
This summer I had the privilege of playing the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, Final Fantasy XI. One of the things I enjoyed the most about the experience, other than being eaten by dragons and spending hours trying to feed stubborn chocobos, was the game’s linguistic environment.
This summer I had the privilege of playing the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, Final Fantasy XI. One of the things I enjoyed the most about the experience, other than being eaten by dragons and spending hours trying to feed stubborn chocobos, was the game’s linguistic environment. FFXI is one of the more recent versions in a long series of Japanese made games with the name “Final Fantasy.” You might be wondering what kind of novelty the 11th incarnation of a game could bring to the table, but FFXI was indeed the first FF game to be fully online and multiplayer.
When releasing the game into its two biggest markets, Japan and America, the designers chose to make all the servers joinable by players from both countries, meaning that Japanese and American players would have to coexist. With the language difference in mind, the designers also built an “Auto-Translate” system into the game. The system is basically a database of set phrases that when accessed and typed during game-play show up in the users native language, no matter the language of the user who typed them. The database contains phrases like, (Understood.), (I can speak a little.), and (I don’t know how to answer that question.). To access the database you simply start typing the phrase you want to say, then press the space bar and the system will find the closest matches. When you enter the phrase you want into the dialogue box, it shows up with a green parenthesis mark on the left and a red one on the right. To Japanese speaking users it shows up in Japanese and to English speaking users it shows up in English.
Besides being a useful tool to break the language barrier, users can also use it to save time. Instead of typing the whole word, “Congratulations!” every time you want to congratulate another player, you simply type the first three letters “Con,” press the spacebar, and the Auto-Translate system does the rest for you. However, these are all possibilities that I’m sure the designers thought of when they released the game. What is most interesting about the Auto-Translate system is how FFXI users love to subvert it and bend it to their own, often devious, purposes. For example, if you can say something funny, that’s great, but if you can say it using the Auto-Translate system, then it’s so much more awesome. Play FFXI for any amount of time and you’ll soon see phrases like this: “(Please.) (Battering Ram) (fun) (hole) (Can I have it?)” or “I give a good (Subtle Blow) (Job)”. After asking a number of different users what their favorite Auto-Translate phrases were, I came up with this short list of the best ones:
(word) (Up) (Home Key)
(Jerkin) (Night) (Long time)
(Drown) (Moogle) (Inside) (paper bag)
(Leave) (Job), (/shoot) (wife), (Drown) (child), (play) (Final) (Fantasy)
If you know any good ones, or know somehow who does, please feel free to add to the list! Prz!
Posted by Mizuko Ito at 2005年10月02日 03:00