How did they localize “Cyberpunk 2077” in Chinese

Unconsciously, “Cyberpunk” has been on sale for more than a month.

Recently, the answers to the question “How to prove that you played 2077 in one sentence” have gradually increased. The discussion of 2077 players seeking resonance and sharing gradually replaced the “Where will 2077 bring the industry” analysis when the game was first released.

What can a single-player game finally leave in the hearts of players? Is it the “have you taken time off to play 2077” on the day of the release, or the glitz of Night City, or the guitars of Keanu Reeves and Wu Shi?

Maybe neither. Compared with most foreign stand-alone games, the biggest difference in 2077’s impression of players is that you can directly use the lines in the game to convey “I have played 2077”-“di-di-! You bastard! !”, “Good morning~City of Night”, “Awesome V, the news has exploded!”…

Under the above knowing question, most people chose a game line as an answer. This is only the treatment of Spring Festival Gala sketches, TV dramas, and ghosts and animals. The reason why 2077 is so honored is mostly due to its almost no Excellent localization for any disputes: moderately grounded and inspiring translations, in-place dubbing covering most of the lines in the game.

In recent years, official Chinese has become a standard feature for overseas masterpieces, and overseas games that implement full Chinese dubbing have also appeared from time to time, such as certain Ubisoft games (“Du Shenji”) and most of Blizzard Games such as “Tomb Raider: Rise of the Tomb Raider” and “Borderlands 3”, the last game before CDPR release 2077, “Gwent of the Witcher: Fall of Kings” also has complete Chinese dubbing.

But even in so many games that have achieved full mid-range dubbing, the dubbing of 2077 is very special–different from “Overwatch”, “Walking the Gods” or even “Borderland 3”, 2077 is a story driven CDPR’s other RPG game “The Witcher 3” has a text volume of nearly 500,000 words, and the text volume of 2077 is 15%~20% more than this.

The complete dubbing script published by the Japanese localization manager in 2077

One month after the game’s release, we chatted with several people in charge of 2077 Chinese localization, except for “100,000 lines” and “150 voice actors”, which have aroused heated discussions in China before the release. It also revealed more details-the localization of 2077 is not only an accumulation of volume, but also many new issues that were rarely or not involved in the localization of overseas games.

There are many details that are difficult to see the whole picture from the player’s point of view, such as the 2077 line trigger mechanism: In most games on the market, the voice trigger mechanism is one sentence after another, and the last sentence will never be broadcast until it is finished. One sentence; and most of the plot dialogues in 2077 strictly follow the time, and a certain sentence must be triggered when the specified minutes and seconds are reached-of course, many plots in 2077 have a certain movie texture, and some tasks seem to be long The camera, but it also brings a lot of trouble to the dubbing: the length of a sentence in various languages ​​varies (Zelda speed pass players will change to German dubbing to save time), and CDPR requires all dubbing to be in English. The rhythm and time are the same, and its rigor is only allowed plus or minus 1%-7%.

The German and French versions of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have to advance faster

This is a big challenge for the translation team and the voice actors. First of all, the translator must ensure that the translated Chinese text and the English sentence maintain the same length-the length of the reading; and the rhythm of the dubbing performance must be closely matched with the English original sound. Finally, the head of localization, Ma Ming, said that he had practiced a skill: listen to the character’s speed, look at the original English, and then know how many Chinese characters need to be translated to allow the actors to match the approximate time while taking into account the performance.

Another issue mentioned in many previous interviews is that the dubbing of 2077 has no game screen contrast. This is the normal state of game localization work, especially for many games with tight schedules. It is difficult to provide video references while developing and localizing. This is also the reason why players will always see some of the game’s promotional videos that are great, but when they enter the game, they find that the level is not so good.

If it is a mature film or TV series dubbing, the dubbing actors and actual actors have to “grind their books”, and game dubbing is currently unable to do this. The solution for the 2077 localization team is to equip monitoring staff, who, like storytellers in a tea house, will explain the conditions of each line.

In addition, some players have reported that the dubbing of the protagonist’s male and female V is somewhat thin. This is actually done deliberately, because “the protagonist represents the player, he/she should not have particularly obvious personality characteristics”, and even special adjustments have been made on the dubbing equipment: other characters are dubbed with lavalier microphones To capture the dynamic details, only the male and female V and Johnny Silver’s dubbing use the mellow and Zhongzheng classic U87 microphone. On the one hand, it dilutes the protagonist’s character, on the other hand, it can also present a clear sense of space distance, so that players can know what When is oneself (and the person in one’s mind) talking, when is the NPC talking.

We all know that the development of 2077 did not end with the release. Several major patches after the release and the follow-up update route promised by CDPR are still continuing the road of development and patching of the game. However, I am afraid that few people would have imagined that the localization work undertaken by the outsourcing team is still going on. Many players previously chose the wrong sex puppets of Blue Sky and Angels in Genting. The dubbing team did one after the release. The new set of performances makes their lines more obvious when the behavior chip is activated.

The localization team does not regard the localization of 2077 as just a business matchup. They feel that it not only involves love and self-challenge, but also the expectation for the Chinese dubbing of overseas games in the future: “Chinese players do not lack purchasing power and enthusiasm. They need Get more attention.”

The following is the original text of the interview. The interview answers come from the heads and members of the localization translation and dubbing team of “Cyberpunk 2077”, including Ma Ming and Hong Haitian.

“I think that any work is the result of teamwork, and only when everyone is truly committed can we have the best results.”

–Ma Ming, head of localization of “Cyberpunk 2077”

Youyanshe: When doing localized translation, how do you balance grounding and the original context?

Localization team: Many of the characters in the game are people with three different teachings and nine tiers. Their conversation is very colloquial, and a lot of stemming and context are omitted.

For example, when a character expresses that the action is smooth, the line is smooth as fresh scop without any subject. The scop here is the acronym for a meal replacement food “single cell organic protein” in the game settings. If it is handled as “smooth as silly”, it is obviously inexplicable. Therefore, we used the allegorical way of “hanging a canopy sail on the thigh, all the way” to express the character’s scorn.

Sometimes there are sacrifices to preserve the original flavor. In the game, someone named his restaurant Salmonella, which is Italian for salmon, but in fact, Salmonella means Salmonella, which can cause serious food poisoning. Bilingual stalks like this have brought great challenges to the translation work. In the end, we chose to keep the English while adding Chinese, so you will see this shop in the game called Salmonella (Salmonella). The NPC who opened the restaurant is an illiterate who forcibly dropped the bookbag, but we must let the players understand the absurdity.

Salmonella “Restaurant”

We will downplay many idioms and idioms in the English context for the readability of the text. In fact, there are certain differences between the English text and the Polish text, which gives us more room for wealth when translating.

Youyanshe: Are there any metaphors or sayings in the game that are particularly difficult for Chinese players to understand?

Localization team: The local culture of “Cyberpunk 2077” is very distinctive, and it will involve many different ethnic backgrounds.

For example, the voodoo gang is derived from the voodoo culture of Haiti. The original text of its leader, Maman Brigitte (Maman Brigitte) means the god of death in Haiti voodoo. Considering that Chinese players are not sensitive to the content in this area, and the text of the game does not involve much of the religious meaning of the name, we only use it as a name for transliteration.

Another example is Dumdum’s weapons. In fact, its name is Doom Doom, which while expressing its infinite power, it also echoes the English name of Dum Dum. If the player thinks that this is a tribute to JoJo’s “wood big wood big wood big”, then it is purely a mistake.

If some colloquialism or pun content is too limited, we would rather sacrifice its subtext meaning. For example, in the original English text, the boxers left and right proposed to use Left and Right when naming themselves, but using English directly is easy to be ridiculed by others, so they just found a foreign dictionary and put The left and right translations were used as names, so the names became Certo and Esquerdo (Portuguese). The two (actually one person) also ridiculed that only Brazilians and people with built-in translation software can understand this stalk. This whole paragraph is obviously difficult to handle if it is literally translated. Chinese localization actually compiled a special dialogue to explain the origin of the names of Ge Zuo and Ge Ge.

Left brother and right brother

Youyanshe: Players generally report that the Chinese dubbing is good this time, but there is still a translation accent or dubbing accent. What do you think of the translation accent in dubbing?

Localization team: Translating Chinese into English always has a Chinglish feeling, because Chinese and Westerners have different ways of thinking, life and language habits. In my opinion, keeping a little translation accent is precisely the preservation of a little flavor of Western culture.

For example, there is a saying in English: armed to the teeth, literally translated as “armed to the teeth”, in fact, it takes a minute to understand it. Of course, you can translate it as “fully armed” and you can understand it at a glance, but the phrase “armed to the teeth” may be more interesting and let people understand the western sense of humor.

Whether we are translating or dubbing, we try to make the language closer to the Chinese way of expression, so that players can experience the game more immersively, but sometimes some “translation accents” are retained to let players know that this world and these characters come from a different Cultural system.

Yuyanshe: The accent of Japanese people in the game is very obvious, but people from other cultural circles have no special accent. What is the reason for this?

Localization team: When we dubbed, we figured out the “feeling” of Chinese in the real world to foreigners speaking Chinese.

Chinese people know more about Japanese. Japanese people speak Chinese pronunciation very characteristic, and it is easy to get the characteristics. For example, let you imitate a section of Xiao Shenyang, many people can learn a lot, because Xiao Shenyang’s language characteristics are easy to grasp, but it is difficult to imitate Pan Yueming or Lei Jiayin. So when the Japanese are speaking English and Chinese, everyone can immediately hear it. But if people of other languages ​​speak Chinese, you probably know that they are Westerners, but it is difficult to tell where they are.

“Japanese people don’t talk like that”

However, in the dubbing, we still gave Japanese characters different language features. For example, Takemura was born low and has a heavier accent, while Hanako Arasaka is the child of the top rich and well-educated, with a very light accent, light enough to be heard. Go there.

The general principle is: respect the game design, respect the needs of the character itself, and make the localization richer and more interesting.

Youyanshe: When did the localization team first receive the invitation from CDPR? How tight is the schedule?

Localization team: Since we have been working together since the time of Gwent and The Witcher 3, we probably knew that there was a possibility of cooperation in 18 years.

We are fully responsible for the Chinese localization of 2077. In addition to the translation of scripts and in-game text, we also need to coordinate the time of the dubbing director, dubbing actors, recording studios, and sound engineers, and guarantee the quality– Three months before the official start, we have already conducted internal preparatory discussions and exercises in various language styles.

The translation period is not that tight, because it is necessary to write in Polish first, then translate into English, proofread and send to outsourcing teams around the world for further localization. According to our previous projects, it is not the kind of urging type. The duration of the project. The dubbing will be a bit nervous.

Localization details outside the subtitles in the game

Fortunately, when we localized World of Warcraft and StarCraft 2 before, we have accumulated a lot of advanced experience, so it won’t be too difficult. Even I myself (referring to Ma Ming in this case) has already practiced a kung fu. Listening to the character’s speaking speed and taking a look at the original English text, I know how many Chinese characters can be written to allow the actors to take into account the performance. It’s about time.

Youyanshe: The Chinese translation mentioned above will adjust the original text. Can you give an example?

Localization team: For example, the boss said to V when the company dog ​​started.

This second sentence “And don’t disappoint me.” does not have the word “remember”. We have added this word deliberately. In addition to meeting the consistency of the dubbing duration in both Chinese and English, it can also make this sentence of the boss better. Vigorous.

Another example is a conversation between Jack and V.

The original meaning of Jack’s sentence in English was “but I didn’t say it”, and we treated it as “that’s it” because of Jack’s crude image and the character with such a big mouth.

Youyanshe: So you will try to figure out the inner character of the character.

Localization team: Yes, this is also one of our jobs. And sometimes we have a deeper understanding, such as Johnny Silverhand, our understanding is that he is Johnny Silverhand first, not Keanu Reeves. Even Keanu Reeves himself, what he did should be to play Johnny Silver, not himself, or deal with another John Wick. So even if we hear the soundtrack of this top Hollywood actor, we will not copy his performance 100%.

There are a lot of first-person dialogues with silver players as the main body in the game

We think this is also the greatest respect localization has for local players. In fact, later, we also saw many players saying that the silver hand of the middle match is more in line with the understanding of the Chinese players than the silver hand of the British match.

Youyanshe: The translated names of the game missions also left a deep impression on the players. For example, there are many Chinese rock song titles. What are the reasons for this?

Localization team: There are two types of task names in the game: one is created by Jack, all in vernacular, such as picking up goods, stealing goods, errands, etc.; the other is created by Johnny, and they are all realistic Western music. Except for some too classic songs-like knocking on the door of heaven, the song of the pyramids, and for whom the death knell should be sounded, if the rest are translated directly, there are probably very few people who know them in China. In order to have a better resonance, these remaining parts were translated into a relatively appropriate Chinese rock song based on the simile or metaphor of the task itself.

“Ten Thousand Times of Sorrow”

There are also 20% of the names that can’t be replaced by rock songs, so they have different names.

Youyanshe: Regarding the dubbing of the protagonist V, some players feel that it has no characteristics. How do you deal with the dubbing of V?

Localization team: Regarding this, our philosophy is: the player’s choice determines the protagonist’s fate. The protagonist represents the player. He/she should not have a particularly obvious personality trait, so that the player has a better sense of substitution. If the protagonist is fixed on one character early, the entire script may have to be changed.

Of course, this does not mean that the protagonist does not have his own happiness, anger, sorrow, and destiny. In the current middle match, we think we can still feel the protagonist’s transition from green to mature.

In the whole game, only the male and female V and Johnny (because he is in the protagonist’s head) use the U87 microphone that is most commonly used in the dubbing circle, and all the others use the lavalier microphone. The characteristic of the lavalier microphone is to restore the essence of the human voice, and the realism will be stronger, while the U87 will make the human voice more beautiful and round.

In the dubbing of other games that we know about, only U87 devices are used, which may cause the speaker to be two steps away from you, but the voice still comes from the middle of you. The voice-over has a strong sense of hearing. There will be a little misrepresentation.

Author: jumping
Source: Travel Research Agency


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