4th Edition: Language Question...

31 posts / 0 new
Last post
This is a weird question but I hope this is the right place for it.

Here in Berlin we don't see too many roleplaying books come out in German. Old editions used to but due to bad translations (White Wolf's were the most hilarious and still sell on that fact alone) and so many gamers speaking English, most of the new stuff released comes out in English. Which works out well for me, being an American trapped in Germany...

Now our local shop just got its D&D Day activity packets....in German. Does this mean there might be German Language versions of 4th edition or is this just a D&D Day thing? My German is terrible and I didn't think I would have to special order an English 4th Edition set specifically, but I'd like to know if Germany is only going to be getting German Language editions. It seems like a stupid questions I know, but almost everything that comes out is in the English language so I had to ask.
-jared
Feder&Schwert, the Germany company to which WotC has licensed D&D, has announced the German versions of the core books for Spetember 2008.

Which is quite interesting, as other-language editions will be published on the same day as the original english versions.

Huldvoll

Baron von Bomberg

Huldvoll

 

---Baron von Bomberg

 

Former DDI subscriber

[...] Which is quite interesting, as other-language editions will be published on the same day as the original english versions. [...]

Not to mention that the German translations made by F&S are complete fail. Yeah, literal translations of proper names is good style. Schwarzstab, Tiefwasser, Doppelschlag. Oh my ...

;)
That, Ra-Tiel, is one of the biggest reasons I _never_ buy german D&D stuff that makes translations like these.

Must I say more than "Niewinter Nächte"?

F. ails
A. ll
I. nternal
L. ogic

;P

QFT!
It helps that SR is licensed (owned) by a German based company these days. So yeah, not surprised they are better.
It helps that SR is licensed (owned) by a German based company these days. So yeah, not surprised they are better.

I think that's wrong. Currently, afaik, the license is inert, having just recently switched over from FanPro to Pegasus Games. Augmentation, Arsenal, those books are still not available in German.

Which, btw, makes me bite my own arse for buying the corebook in German.

But yeah, the German translation of Shadowrun is still very good. I just hope Pegasus Games does not drop the ball on this one.
I think that's wrong. Currently, afaik, the license is inert, having just recently switched over from FanPro to Pegasus Games. Augmentation, Arsenal, those books are still not available in German.

Not inert. The new licensees are Catalyst Game Labs / InMediaRes, LLC. You are correct though, they are American held companies as far as I can tell.

WizKids still owns the IP; who is held by Topps, which is definitely American.

Silly companies.

I had forgotten that FanPro let the license go. Which is too bad.

/end thread jack.
Yeah it's somewhat a shame they lost the licence. German shadowrun material was - sometimes - really worth it. Althought they broke the system with some stuff (the H&K weapon series they published in the cannon companion 3.01D were horribly overpowered I think).

I must admit, thought, the english material is excellent anyways. I own digital copies - legally bought - of Arsenal and Augmentation, as well as most other books. And they really rock! ;)

Hehe. What I liked most, was that the German translations still had that for Shadowrun typical biting Sarcasm. That was not lost during translation (unlike, e.g. with stuff Feder&Schwert produces ), but sometimes it was even more biting than the original. :D

@Calestin Kethal: I was referring to the German license for SR. Also, I was referring to Pegasus Spiele, the company selling the "Munchkin" card game in Germany. Should have made that clearer, sorry for the misunderstanding. However, afaik nobody can give a reason why FanPro actually dropped the license. From what I have heard, SR was selling reasonably well. According to the German Wikipedia entry for Shadowrun, there is currently no German licensee for the franchise. All in all, it's one big mess with nobody telling anything.

However, back to DnD. ;) I know of at least one person who would buy a German version of 4E, but probably not an English one. Despite being born in America, he grew up mostly in Germany with little contact to English. Therefore, he's got quite some problems with the English books. And I guess there are several others who would just prefer having books in their native language.

We can only hope that F&S get their facts right about translations. For example, NOT TRANSLATING PROPER NAMES! I swear by all that is holy and just, if I read Schwarzstab (Blackstaff), Niewinter (Neverwinter), Tiefwasser (Waterdeep), or Maske (Mask) only once in a German 4E product, I gonna find F&S and torch down their buildings! :P

I wonder how many Americans would freak out if German news agencies would be referring to Herr George Läufer Busch (George Walker Bush), Frau Condoleezza Reis (Condoleezza Rice), or Herr Robert Michael Tore (Robert Michael Gates).
I wonder how many Americans would freak out if German news agencies would be referring to Herr George Läufer Busch (George Walker Bush), Frau Condoleezza Reis (Condoleezza Rice), or Herr Robert Michael Tore (Robert Michael Gates).

But there's a difference. Are those "names" or "titles"? For example, it's "Frau Condoleezza Rice", not "Ms Condoleezza Rice").

So, for Khelban, for example, is he "Khelban, the Blackstaff", at which point "Blackstaff" is a descriptive "title" and is appropriate to translate, or is it "Khelban Blackstaff" where Blackstaff is a historical family name and thus has no inherent meaning.
But there's a difference. Are those "names" or "titles"? For example, it's "Frau Condoleezza Rice", not "Ms Condoleezza Rice").

I was actually referring to the change of the names themselves ("Bush" -> "Busch", "Walker" -> "Läufer", "Rice" -> "Reis"), and not the form of adressing. ;)

So, for Khelban, for example, is he "Khelban, the Blackstaff", at which point "Blackstaff" is a descriptive "title" and is appropriate to translate, or is it "Khelban Blackstaff" where Blackstaff is a historical family name and thus has no inherent meaning.

Been a loooooong time since I've stuck my nose in the FRCS, but a quick poke into Google gave me this. Apparently he's called that because of the staff he his carrying.

However, Feder&Schwert had also the "tradition" of actually making literal translations of city- and other locationnames ("Neverwinter" -> "Niewinter", "Waterdeep" -> "Tiefwasser", and so on).
I wonder how many Americans would freak out if German news agencies would be referring to Herr George Läufer Busch (George Walker Bush), Frau Condoleezza Reis (Condoleezza Rice), or Herr Robert Michael Tore (Robert Michael Gates).

As an American (as American as fast food, laziness, and ADD regarding serious RL issues) I don't really have a problem with that. I find it rather amusing, to be honest.

I think the real problem is that translation is often left to computers--that still can't deduce inflection, tone, and meaning. They just transliterate the words into the nearest equivalent and move on. Since so many agencies rely on translation software these errors get propogated in several different places--like news agencies, publishing houses, movie production companies (the ones that translate foreign films), you name it. But it's easier and cheaper than doing a proper job, so as humans we take the quick and easy.
Would there be any way one could make an original German RPG? I mean I know that when one loves a system, one loves a system. But what about just making a "native" game? By Germans for Germans so to speak. I bet you'd be able to capitalize on all the German gamers... Heck, I spent 2 years in Bavaria, and still managed to meet a local gaming group. There has to be enough to make it worth it, then we can have horrible English translations of the original stuff. Still won't solve your problems with the D&D stuff, or Shadowrun, but maybe if you get the money together you can use that to coordinate the translations of so other countries rpg's.

Just wondering, I love the Germans, and miss Bavaria (Fri-Beer, sp?) terribly, and am still sickened by the lack of "cultural responsibility" as it were that we have over there (can you tell I'm ex-military?).
Would there be any way one could make an original German RPG? I mean I know that when one loves a system, one loves a system. But what about just making a "native" game? By Germans for Germans so to speak. I bet you'd be able to capitalize on all the German gamers... Heck, I spent 2 years in Bavaria, and still managed to meet a local gaming group. There has to be enough to make it worth it, then we can have horrible English translations of the original stuff. Still won't solve your problems with the D&D stuff, or Shadowrun, but maybe if you get the money together you can use that to coordinate the translations of so other countries rpg's.

Just wondering, I love the Germans, and miss Bavaria (Fri-Beer, sp?) terribly, and am still sickened by the lack of "cultural responsibility" as it were that we have over there (can you tell I'm ex-military?).

I bet that you can't get any more "german" with a roleplaying game system than with The Dark Eye. I haven't played with that system for years, but from what I've heard from a former co-student it was actually quite nice. Detailed, very detailed, overly detailed to the extreme, but still nice. :D
Yupp, The Dark Eye (aka "Das Schwarze Auge") is a German system.
[c]Forest[/c] gives you Forest
Hehe. What I liked most, was that the German translations still had that for Shadowrun typical biting Sarcasm. That was not lost during translation (unlike, e.g. with stuff Feder&Schwert produces ), but sometimes it was even more biting than the original. :D

@Calestin Kethal: I was referring to the German license for SR. Also, I was referring to Pegasus Spiele, the company selling the "Munchkin" card game in Germany. Should have made that clearer, sorry for the misunderstanding. However, afaik nobody can give a reason why FanPro actually dropped the license. From what I have heard, SR was selling reasonably well. According to the German Wikipedia entry for Shadowrun, there is currently no German licensee for the franchise. All in all, it's one big mess with nobody telling anything.

However, back to DnD. ;) I know of at least one person who would buy a German version of 4E, but probably not an English one. Despite being born in America, he grew up mostly in Germany with little contact to English. Therefore, he's got quite some problems with the English books. And I guess there are several others who would just prefer having books in their native language.

We can only hope that F&S get their facts right about translations. For example, NOT TRANSLATING PROPER NAMES! I swear by all that is holy and just, if I read Schwarzstab (Blackstaff), Niewinter (Neverwinter), Tiefwasser (Waterdeep), or Maske (Mask) only once in a German 4E product, I gonna find F&S and torch down their buildings! :P

I wonder how many Americans would freak out if German news agencies would be referring to Herr George Läufer Busch (George Walker Bush), Frau Condoleezza Reis (Condoleezza Rice), or Herr Robert Michael Tore (Robert Michael Gates).

I am a german gamer too, and there are some reasons why I always prefer go for the english version:

-The english books always came out first it took about a year for them to translate the 3.5 books - to be fair that was the old company, Feder und Schwert releases them way quicker nowadays.
-Translation, I went to school for 3 years to become a translator (you can´t guess after reading my posts, I am sooo out of training) and a bad translation really bothers me - another player once got the german version of the FRCS and one thing was just unbearable Bane is translated Tyranos (still got of guess what tyrany)
-There was/is way more material for the english versionss arround with all these 3rd party publishers arround - only a fraction of the stuff was ever translated especially my personal favourite the Warcraft D20 RPG (IIRC it was designed for Wizards at first) and seriously a Bugbear is a Grottenschrat in german.
-I have one player in my group who understands absolutely no english so eventuelly I´ll have get a german PHB (thank you Wotc now players only need the PHB ) and until it comes out I´ll have to translate his powers and stuff.

to the OP if you want to get the english materials I would suggest you to visit : http://www.dragonworld.de/catalog/default.php or www.amazon.de
[...] Bane is translated Tyranos (still got of guess what tyrany) [...]

:heehee True. Sad, but true.

In that regard the best (aka ridiculous) thing I've read was Mask in the German version of NWN2.

Wait for it... wait for it... ;)

Show
Mask == Maske!
However, Feder&Schwert had also the "tradition" of actually making literal translations of city- and other locationnames ("Neverwinter" -> "Niewinter", "Waterdeep" -> "Tiefwasser", and so on).

See, I could stomach a lot of these, if they'd keep the feel of medieval fantasy. But often they fail in this regard. And, seriously, who the frell has translated EVERESKA into Immereska (ever + eska)!? WTF?

That's why I'm in denial of F&S and embrace the English versions.

Cheers, LT.
Does this mean there might be German Language versions of 4th edition or is this just a D&D Day thing? My German is terrible and I didn't think I would have to special order an English 4th Edition set specifically, but I'd like to know if Germany is only going to be getting German Language editions. It seems like a stupid questions I know, but almost everything that comes out is in the English language so I had to ask.
-jared

Hä? There's a german edition of 2e, a german edition of 3.0e and a german edition of 3.5e. Germany was/is getting german editions for decades
Not to mention that the German translations made by F&S are complete fail. Yeah, literal translations of proper names is good style. Schwarzstab, Tiefwasser, Doppelschlag. Oh my ...

To be fair: That's the only correct way of doing it. These telling names say exactly that and any native speaker will hear/read them as exactly sad.

The only people who have issues with such things are non-native speakers who are usually in "unconsciously denial mode" when the read/hear these names. That is that they may normally know what these telling names truly mean but this knowledge get's tucked away somewhere far back in their head and they ignore this knowledge.

German nativ speakers complaining about Tiefwasser or Schwarzstab is akin to english nativ speakers complaining about Waterdepp and Blackstaff.

From Amigo to F&S to whoever currently holds the german license they all did absolutely right with translating these names.That's just how these medieval societies gave names, German history if full of places and people who have telling names like that (Ehrenbreitstein, Freienfels, Rotbart, ...)
Althought they broke the system with some stuff (the H&K weapon series they published in the cannon companion 3.01D were horribly overpowered I think).

So what? It's H&K after all :D
I wonder how many Americans would freak out if German news agencies would be referring to Herr George Läufer Busch (George Walker Bush), Frau Condoleezza Reis (Condoleezza Rice), or Herr Robert Michael Tore (Robert Michael Gates).

Not more than Germans freaking out because American news agencies are refering to München as Munich or to Köln as Cologne.

Or German individuals freaking out because their forenames are refered to as Mary instead of Maria or Joh instead of Johannes.

The main difference between realworld news and fictive worlds like the FR is that in RL the different languages exist side by side. If the German news talk about New York instead of Neu York it's because the english speaker would still call it New York while the german speakers would call it Neu York. So not translating is done to keep it recognizable for people who can't translate Neu York back into New York (that and because in RL there is no goal to give the reader/listener a depper immersion into the feel of the world as opposed to translating fiction where this is one of the main goals).

As far as the german FRCS is concerned the english FRCS doesn't exist. The whole world is in german and ever was in anything but german. There is no need to give the ability to better reconcile Schwarzstab with Blackstaff because there is no one calling him Blackstaff and never was someone calling him Blackstaff
-Translation, I went to school for 3 years to become a translator (you can´t guess after reading my posts, I am sooo out of training) and a bad translation really bothers me - another player once got the german version of the FRCS and one thing was just unbearable Bane is translated Tyranos (still got of guess what tyrany)

The problem is that bane has a meaning in english. To translate it into German I couldn't think of anything more fitting than either Bann or Tyrannus either (in this case Bann would be the most direct translation while Tyrannus would not be a translation but a localization where one tries to find a different name while keeping a similar meaning/flair).

Same thing with Mask (which I actually found to be a ridiculous name even as a non native speaker)
See, I could stomach a lot of these, if they'd keep the feel of medieval fantasy. But often they fail in this regard.

Niewinter, Tiefwasser, .... are different from Ehrenbreitstein, Freienfels, or Rosenberg?

Do you actually know what many modern German city names meant in the middle ages (e.g. Frankfurt is nothing but a telling name meaning "Furt der Franken" and marks a place where the franks found a ford to cross the Main river). A place like Tiefwasser or Niewinter fits 100% with what people in medieval Germany would have called such places.
Niewinter, Tiefwasser, .... are different from Ehrenbreitstein, Freienfels, or Rosenberg?

Do you actually know what many modern German city names meant in the middle ages (e.g. Frankfurt is nothing but a telling name meaning "Furt der Franken" and marks a place where the franks found a ford to cross the Main river). A place like Tiefwasser or Niewinter fits 100% with what people in medieval Germany would have called such places.

I know what modern German city names mean - and that's sometimes my problem with the translation - they're too literal and rather follow the English naming conventions. I couldn't imagine a modern city called Niewinter.

On Tiefwasser - well this one is good! A literal translation of Waterdeep would be Wassertief, by changing it to Tiefwasser (and knowing that we use Wasser as term for waterbodies), I could see how it started out as "Tiefes Wasser" and got shortened to "Tiefwasser".

Niewinter, however, looks much more like stringing two things together and doesn't give you that sense of history.

Cheers, LT.
[...]

I sure understand your point. However, literally translating proper names was something that's been frowned upon ever since I had my first English class back at school. For me it's a quite difficult pill to swallow, to be honest. Perhaps I'm going over the top with my ranting... ;)

I think I could agree to translate "titles" or "thirdnames" (e.g. "Khelben Blackstaff Arunsun" -> "Khelben Schwarzstab Arunsun"). However, translating the firstname or surename ("Bane" -> "Tyrannos", "Mask" -> "Maske", ...) is a definitive "no go" for me.

Niewinter, Tiefwasser, .... are different from Ehrenbreitstein, Freienfels, or Rosenberg? [...]

Now, now, we're talking about Honorwidestone, Freerock, and Rosemountain, after all. :D :P

Anyway, "Frankenstein" is "Frankenstein", and not "Frankstone"; "Neuschwanstein" is "Neuschwanstein", and not "Newswanstone".
To be fair to F&S, they've inherited a lot of translation from the older editions. And it makes absolutely no sense to change the names of already established items.

The desciptive names used in the Realms are in no way more ludicrous in their German translation than in their original form. It's like in song texts: English texts may be as dumb as German ones, but it's a lot easier to switch to denial mode.

Speaking from my own experience as translator and editor or roleplaying texts, it is quite some task to introduce a consistent naming system for people and places. Just try to come up with 50 village or town names which sound like they could come from the same region while being distintive enough to enable the players to reference them without a lot of errors. And no, real world names taken from a map are not allowed. :D This would result in an enormous outcry.

Myself, I also prefer the original versions, if only due to the time lag. I also admit to smile about some of the - let's call it 'unnecessary' - translations, but it's still the right thing to do.

Huldvoll

Baron von Bomberg

Huldvoll

 

---Baron von Bomberg

 

Former DDI subscriber

Feder&Schwert, the Germany company to which WotC has licensed D&D, has announced the German versions of the core books for Spetember 2008.

Which is quite interesting, as other-language editions will be published on the same day as the original english versions.

Well, italian edition from 25 edition of the PHB will be published on 06/07, DMG on 06/18 and MM on 06/28 (listed price: 29,95 ⁈ each) ^^
Also, we've always got very good translations for D&D and NWoD (and bad translation for Exalted).
I am so terribly gratefull that noone ever decided to translate He-man, well thats actually an advantage for the germans it sounds a lot less stupid and of course Skeletor is identical
And well when it comes to something like Bane, I totally understand the need to keep the bad translations for conistency, it´s not really coll to be named after a level 1 spell ir is it. All hail god of Magic - Magic Missile :D
I am so terribly gratefull that noone ever decided to translate He-man, well thats actually an advantage for the germans it sounds a lot less stupid and of course Skeletor is identical [...]

He-Man... Er-Mann...

Am I doing it right? :D
IMAGE(http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/669/translateur4.th.jpg)

@OP: F&S's online shop has the 4E PHb listed for August 29th.