Friday, September 21, 2007


The topic of localization of games will come up in many classes, but beyond the point of "different language" students may not see what there is to do. American students tend to be fairly insular; many have never been in a foreign country, and few outside North America. So I give some examples.

For many years one of Chevy's main vehicles was the "Nova". The name needed to be changed for the Spanish-speaking market, however, because (I'm told) the word means "no go" in Spanish.

IBM for many years sold the very successful "RS6000" mid-range computer system. Unfortunately, Australians use "RS" the way we would use "BS" as a term of denigration or disapproval. So IBM was selling the "RatShit6000" computer in Australia.

Those are examples I've read about. Here are some I've encountered myself. I lived in England for three years in the late 70s . Many people know that the English call a truck a lorry, the hood of a car a bonnet, and the trunk of a car a boot.

However, at one point I was talking with two young ladies (one of whom became my wife) and said something about the pants they were wearing. They both looked at me strangely, and it finally emerged that the outer garment we call pants is called trousers in England. "Pants" refers only to underwear!

Much more recently, I was playing a game with my English nephew and niece, and niece dropped a piece which skittered away. I told her to "shag it", that is, go get it. They looked at me strangely (niece was 12 or 13 at the time) and I remembered (from an Austin Powers movie!) that "shag" means the physical act of making love, in England. Oops.

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