Translation of role-playing games

Role-playing games are an entertainment alternative which is definitely in trend. These games owe their success to the elements they provide and which cannot be achieved by video games. There are many theories aimed at studying this social phenomenon, the most complete one being the one proposed by Ron Edwards in 1997, known as the GNS theory. This theory always defines role play as a dramatization, as a game in which participants take over another personality and replace their own physical profile with the character’s.


This way, there would be three large models of role-playing games:

– Those in which the action is focused on facing challenges with a series of tools, difficulties and goals, are called Gamist. Here, the game director is a key element: a narrator who properly guides the story and has the ability to count points, diverge routes, etc.

– Other role-playing games are the narrative ones. Players try to create an effective story with their actions and with more freedom, focusing on the plot.

– Finally, simulationists focus on players being true to the chosen setting to the maximum extent, with much more detail (greater theatricality, dramatization).


Regardless of the type of game that is chosen, in the majority of cases there is a problem: it has been created abroad, usually in an English-speaking country. The dynamics of role-playing games do not allow the use of simple language. Therefore, very specific names of objects, weapons, climates and geographic locations, add difficulty to reading comprehension in Spanish.

This is the reason why a professional translation is needed. Handbooks for role-playing games are very thorough, especially regarding the description of each character, their physical and mental features, their skills, weapons, personal background, ambitions, … If translation quality is poor, gameplay becomes quite deficient, players’ attention decreases and, in general, the level of the setting becomes questionable.

Movements, strategies, magical powers and places where characters head toward, must be translated into Spanish by a native translator who is aware of each element and who can provide a neutral, optimal and professional view.

For example, one of the greatest paradoxes that arise from mistranslations is when the character’s gender and the gender of the physical person who plays the character do not match. Due to unsuitable translations, there have been cases in which games have been canceled hours after they started because a player realized that their character was a women instead of a man (or vice versa).

Blarlo implements professional translation solutions in the role-playing games sector and in all kinds of professional translations, all of them carried out by native translators.

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This post is also available in: Español (Spanish) Français (French)

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