“Linguistic and Cultural Challenges Facing the Localization of Video Games from English into Arabic”
Publication Type
Conference Paper

The gaming community has been growing steadily in the Arab world ever since the vast spread of technology devices, like PCs, Consoles, and smartphones. With their frequent, often daily, digital contact, gamers have formed their own gaming communities with special jargons, coded language uses, symbols, and other special language uses. 'Community outsiders' may not be able to use gaming terms nor understand their meanings. The growing market for the video game industry has led many developers to localize their English language games into many other target language versions, including Arabic. The translation/localization research represents an emerging field in translation studies, often referred to as Video game localization. According to the Localisation Standards Industry Association (LISA: 2004), the localization process includes taking a certain product and making it, both on the linguistic and cultural aspect, appropriate to the target locale (country/region, traditions, religion, culture, and language). This research paper, therefore, studies the localization of video games and provides a look at the Arabic localization process and attempts to understand how localized games are dealt with by their Arabic target audience and what linguistic challenges they encounter. We intend to delineate the linguistic challenges encountered in the localized versions, the use of dialect in the localized versions, and the emergence of what we call video game language community. Study data were collected from games that have a vast fan base, such as CSGO, PUBG, Call of Duty, League of Legends and gaming community platforms such as Twitch, Discord, and many others. Using selected examples from these popular games, we examine how gaming localizers deal with the challenges of localization by focusing on the linguistic, cultural, terminological, and technical issues and propose localization terms to show the gap between both the source and the target language games , especially when the game is not localized by a local translator. This research will also highlight the emergence of specific jargons and small language communities among gamers. .

Conference Title
Translation and Interpreting Institute at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Hamad Bin Khalifa University
Conference Country
Conference Date
March 15, 2023 - March 16, 2023
Conference Sponsor
Hamad Bin Khalifa University
Additional Info
Conference Website