Playing games in non-English languages


#1

I’m a native english speaker who has dabbled in a few foreign languages over the years (Italian, Spanish, German). Mr. Klepek’s recent writeup about the modder translating Stardew Valley into Indonesian got me thinking. If I wanted to play some games in other languages (non-English), what is my best option? I would guess that there are mods for some PC games …? Does anyone have any advice or particular recommendations for an english speaker who would like to brush up on some romance languages via videogames? Games with particularly straightforward translations maybe? Thanks in advance.


#2

Most of Square-Enix RPGs on steam are straightforward and with different language options. Adventure games like Broken Sword also has options for French, Spanish, Italian with voices even.


#3

Depends on the platform.

Steam has pretty simple options, if you right-click on a game in your library which has other languages available through Steam, there will be a “language” tab. (Sometimes but rarely separate for subtitles/audio, so if you want a mix, setting up subtitles in English might be simpler, then changing the language. (If it’s a language you’d struggle to go through a menu with))

In Blizzard’s launcher, there’s options on some but not all of the games, similarly in options, but more frequently with options for just audio/text separately.


#4

Remember Me. I started watching the Stream Friends (featuring some familiar voices) play through the game, and while Kollar’s insistence on keeping it to English was amusing, Walker and Hawkins made a compelling case for the French voicework.

I originally played it in English, and it didn’t exactly wow me. I’m considering another go around, but this time Frenchier.


#5

Thanks for the tips and recs!. Looks like the only game in my steam library with language options is Darkest Dungeon, which has barely any text to read at all. Ha. Any other recommendations would be appreciated!


#6

Try Remember Me and Beyond Good & Evil and set them to their native French.

Or play the Assassin’s Creed Ezio Trilogy in Italian.

Those would be my recommendations for Romance languages.


#7

I’d say Pathologic in the original Russian is probably much better than its largely broken translation


#8

A surprising number of high profile adventure games have foreign language options. Day of the Tentacle’s rerelease from last year had full support in French, including voice I think. It depends, though. I think Steam will tell you on the library page.
Also, for a native French experience, try Kona, from this year, which I think is originally in French and set in northern Quebec


#9

Metro 2033’s dialogue is much better in Russian, even though the English VO isn’t necessarily the worst. It just feels way more immersive with Russian dialogue and English subtitles.


#10

As others, Remember Me came to mind. Sadly, lip sync is tied to english voices.


#11

I would absolutely give Remember Me another go in French. I have no idea how good the English VO is (only played it with French VO) but you can certainly turn on the subtitles if your French is as rusty as mine and enjoy it like that. It’s a great game with some stunning visuals.

Also the Ezio trilogy in Italian. It’s a lot easier when you’ve got subtitles to fall back on and only have to translate the ambient dialogue and stuff during action sequences without assistance.

I have more than a couple of never translated games in Japanese I have to get through if my Japanese reading is ever up to it (it’s stuff pre-VO without completed fan-sub patch projects).


#12

As someone who speaks Italian natively the Ezio trilogys dub is… Bad. But if you don’t speak it, it may be worth it just to hear the characters speak the language they would be speaking.


#13

Ye, that’s definitely worth considering. You can hide a wealth of VO sins in the gap between natural comprehension and just barely hanging on for understanding.

When I’m listening to something in a 3rd or 4th language then I’m looking to just understand the words and any emotive nuance is far from the top of my mind. Also, compared to the language I hear every day (and even during moments of quiet during the day inside my own head), I’m going to be far less capable of picking up on a bad delivery because I simply don’t know exactly the range of what good diction sounds like.

The only slight issue would be if you’re using that as a learning aid then you might pick up some bad habits, but that’s probably not the end of the world compared with the baggage you bring from your primary language.


#14

Easter European games in general seem to do well. I played through Witcher 1 in Polish, it gave it a cool foreign film feel. Same with STALKER in the original Russian.

I don’t understand either language, btw.


#15

I think quite a lot of the portable consoles ship with multiple languages by default, and the languages available depend on what region you’re in?

e.g. EU 3DS releases tend to be muti5? So, French, German, Spanish, Italian, English.
and from what I understand, quite a lot of NA 3DS releases have French, Spanish, English.

This is for first party games though, and if they don’t provide an explicit language select on startup, if you change the system language, it’ll change what language is displayed.

Games by publishers other than Nintendo can be a bit more hit and miss, AFAICT.

Anyway, the reason I suggested a 3DS is that I’ve been using a Japanese one for learning Japanese, and it’s really great for that? Since quite a lot of the catalog is All-Ages or aimed at kids, you can find quite a lot of games that you can understand, even if your language level isn’t amazing.


#16

The Switch has been a godsend for playing games in Japanese, at least so far in its young life. Region locking was always a major point of frustration, forcing me to get add-ons or converters or separate devices altogether. Recently I had all but given up until Nintendo started making statements about the Switch being region free. Playing a game in my second language, where I have to exert a little more effort to comprehend and spend a little more time considering the words of NPCs, I build a deeper connection to the world and it becomes a more memorable, rewarding experience.


#17

Quebec has a law that states if a French version of a game exists, it has to be made available. Otherwise the English version is banned. So any DS game that is available in Multi5 in Europe would at least be in English/French in North America at the very least.


#18

Haha, I wish I was a patient as you. I try to read all the text, but after a little while, I just skip so much of the NPC text… like, I know I’m gonna battle you, so let’s cut the chit-chat, ya know?

Still haven’t pulled the plug on the switch yet, but am super tempted by the Splatoon 2 bundle. I just wish my internet were better so I could enjoy multiplayer more!


#19

Came in this thread purely to talk about playing through Remember Me in French and to mention Kôna, which @JoeBush mentioned.


#20

I was always disappointed that ambient dialog in the two Metro games isn’t subtitled…because I would love to play those in Russian with English subs, but I don’t want to lose that flavor chatter especially in non-combat areas.