Monday, January 18, 2010

OVERTIME: Translation Fortress (Part 1)

Hello there! It's me again! No, please, don't close the window. This time I'm talking about something really interesting.

Some of my regular readers have complaint about not understanding a word when I talk about TF2. I usually try to explain it in a way that everyone can understand it, even without actually playing the game. Anyway, I'll try to be more clear. In this post, I'm attaching some links to TF2 wiki. Click them in case you find something you don't understand or want to increase your knowledge about the matter.

In this post (and maybe one or two more), I'll explain why I talk so much about a videogame in a blog about translation. This time I'm talking about the translation of Team Fortress 2. Sorry to my potential non-Spanish readers, because this post will have almost the same number of words in Spanish as in English.

Recently, I talked about the War Update (see previous chapters of Overtime). In this Update, new weapons and achievements for the game were released, but only in English. This week a translation was provided by the official translators of the game, so now we finally have these features in Spanish. In the following paragraphs, I'm giving my opinion about these translated names, as well as the names of other weapons.

I'll start with the Demoman Weapons.

The Chargin' Targe is a shield which gives the Demoman resistance to fire and explosions. In Spanish its name is El Targe de Carga. Awful translation, you say? Well, try to do a better one. A targe is a word to say "shield" in Old English, and have no equivalent in Spanish. Personally, I would have used the word "Rodela", for example as "Rodela de Carga". I bet the translator called it Targe de Carga because it rhymes (kind of). Judge yourself.

The Scottish Resistance is a modified sticky-bomb launcher, and was translated as La Resistencia Escocesa. Easy translation. No more comments.

The third weapon, The Eyelander, is a haunted longsword which resembles William Wallace's sword (Braveheart) and receives its name after the film Highlander. In Spanish, the film was called Los Inmortales. So, the Eyelander needed to be translated to keep this reference to the film. The "eye" particle refers to the missing eye of the Demoman. That is the reason why the translator decided to name the sword La Intuertal. I like this translation: it has a reference to the film and to the one-eyed character who wields the sword.

Soldier weapons

The Direct Hit is a very fast and precise rocket launcher. Its name in Spanish is El Impacto Directo. Another easy and nice translation.

The Buff Banner is a tattered battle standard mounted on a small backpack, which gives critical hits to nearby allies. Its been translated as El Estandarte de Ánimo. I don't really like how it sounds, but I suppose it's the most accurate translation.

The Equalizer is a pickaxe (effects described in TF2 wiki). Its translation is simple: El Ecualizador.

Medic weapons

The three Medic weapons have German names, because the character is German. That's why the names were not translated into Spanish. Just in case you were wonering, the names are The Blutsauger, the Kritzkrieg and the Übersaw.

Pyro Weapons

The Flare Gun was translated as La Pistola de bengalas. Another easy choice.

The Axtinguisher is a fireaxe with a funny name. It comes from Axe + Extinguisher (because it extinguishes burning enemies to death). "Hachtintor" would be a fine translation, but it is ind of difficult to pronounce. I suppose that's why the translator chose the word El Hacherminador (Hacha + Exterminar). It sounds much better, innit?

The Backburner is the reason why many players disdain Spanish translation. It's a flamethrower which causes more damage from behind (Back + Burn). You must be thinking that it's an easy translation (back=espalda + burn=quemar; Backburner=Quemaespaldas). Maybe that would be a fine choice, and nobody except the translator knows why they chose another name. My opinion is that he decided that "Quemalespaldas" sounded too much like a translation. In class we learnt that the best translation is the one that sounds spontaneous. I've been thinking day and night about it, but I can't find a better word. The translator named the weapon El Dragón, for its resemblance with a dragon head.

This post is beginnig to be too large. I'm continuing next week with the translated names of Heavy, Scout, Sniper and Spy weapons. CU!

Time has been added.


  1. I was really impatient to read this post!!! xD
    "El targe de carga" Now i dislike more the demoman.... (I also don't like la "intertual")

    PD:Hey Tido take a look at your last sentence you've written Spu instead of Spy...

    Bis some day!!!

  2. Oops, typo. Fixed.

    Thx for your comment!

  3. n class we learnt that the best translation is the one that sounds spontaneous.

  4. Really very relevant artical with the topic it is good work.

  5. i like this article it is good work for language translation.