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Russian-esque Esperanto

by sparksbet, September 2, 2014

Messages: 18

Language: English

sparksbet (User's profile) September 2, 2014, 7:45:02 PM

This may seem like an odd question to post in the English forums, and I will be posting the same question in the Esperanto section, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask in my native tongue.

I'm in the midst of translating Papers, Please, one of my favorite PC games, into Esperanto, using the localizer that the creator provided to the public. Since I doubt he'll ever have motivation to package this for sale, it's almost entirely for fun and personal benefit. However, I'd like to be as accurate and thematic in my translation as possible.

Papers, Please is set in a communist nation, in which you play as the border guard inspecting passports. Most of the dialogue in the game has sort of a 'Eastern European' flair to it - it's all English, and he doesn't use phrases associated with the actual Soviet Union, but the syntax, word usage, and especially the omission of most articles in the English dialogue makes it instantly recognizable as an Eastern European accent. In his directions to localizers, the creator of the game asked that they do something equivalent in their native tongues if such was possible. For many languages, it was not, but I feel that such an effect would be possible to create in Esperanto.

What are some of the common tics of Russian Esperantists? I recall reading people speak of some of the common mistakes that identify native English learners of Esperanto - are there similar common mistakes or unconventional usages among native Russian learners? Or is there some other way to convey this Eastern European-esque vibe in the dialogue? Additionally, what are words that are so closely associated with the Soviet Union (like "comrade," for example) that I should avoid using?

Thank you!

nornen (User's profile) September 2, 2014, 7:58:11 PM

Is the dialogue audio or text or both?

erinja (User's profile) September 2, 2014, 8:00:37 PM

Leaving out "la", always, would be a great start.

sparksbet (User's profile) September 2, 2014, 8:05:54 PM

nornen:Is the dialogue audio or text or both?
The dialogue is entirely text, with random grumbling sounds being the closest to voice-acting in the game. Thankfully I only need to translate text, because voice-acting would probably be too daunting for me.

Additionally, the localizing tool doesn't include the letters ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ, or ŭ in the fonts used by the game, so I'm using the x-equivalents.

nornen (User's profile) September 2, 2014, 8:09:33 PM

sparksbet:
nornen:Is the dialogue audio or text or both?
The dialogue is entirely text, with random grumbling sounds being the closest to voice-acting in the game. Thankfully I only need to translate text, because voice-acting would probably be too daunting for me.

Additionally, the localizing tool doesn't include the letters ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ, or ŭ in the fonts used by the game, so I'm using the x-equivalents.
What you can do there (which I did while translating a game myself) is the following:

Look where the fonts the game uses are located. If you are lucky they just reside somewhere in your file system. Or maybe your SDK allows you to access them. Or if you are unlucky you have to extract them from some propietary binary package format.
If you manage to lay hands on the font and if it is some standard format (which most probably it will be, like truetype, type1, postscript), you can patch the font itself and overwrite codepoints you don't need with Esperanto glyphs. And then use in your translation those codepoints for the special characters.

jean-luc (User's profile) September 2, 2014, 8:11:02 PM

I remember having read that russian use less the SVO order in sentence than western european languages. Maybe it's something to explore

sparksbet (User's profile) September 2, 2014, 8:12:47 PM

nornen:

What you can do there (which I did while translating a game myself) is the following:

Look where the fonts the game uses are located. If you are lucky they just reside somewhere in your file system. Or maybe your SDK allows you to access them. Or if you are unlucky you have to extract them from some propietary binary package format.
If you manage to lay hands on the font and if it is some standard format (which most probably it will be, like truetype, type1, postscript), you can patch the font itself and overwrite codepoints you don't need with Esperanto glyphs. And then use in your translation those codepoints for the special characters.
I'm currently localizing the game within a localizer the creator made for Chrome. There are instructions somewhere for altering fonts, but they're too technical for me as of now. I may look to adding in the true letterforms later on, especially if I plan to share my translation, but for now I'm focusing on the translation itself and thus the x-forms work fine for the time being.

nornen (User's profile) September 2, 2014, 8:18:29 PM

I think it is not important that your "russesperanto" actually copies common mistakes by russian beginners, but that it contains the errors that westeners EXPECT russians to do. In my experience most slavic speakers are real cracks at foreign languages and mostly without an accent.

So as you and others already pointed out, implement what we are expecting Russian to do wrong:
- Drop articles.
- Drop subject pronouns.
- Drop verb "esti".
- Replace verb "havi" by "al X Y" (У меня собака. = Al mi hundo. = Mi havas hundon.)
- Invent an extra case like "-om" and use it after prepositions. (No russian speaker actually does this, but it might add to the flair): Li vidis ŝin en la lernejo. = Vidis ŝin en lernejom.
- As long as the meaning doesn't suffer, you could degrade non-accented "o" to "a" (a-kanje) and non-accented "e" to "i" (i-kanje).
- Replace every instance of the letter H by G. Like Holland = Голландия.
- Use a lot of "ĥuj".

mbalicki (User's profile) September 2, 2014, 8:59:47 PM

Keeping in mind, that I don't speak Russian, consider these four little things:

(1) Russian uses double negatives. http://paperno.bol.ucla.edu/ni_cls_abstract.pdf

(2) At the beginning of the word plain “e-” occurs rarely in Russian; in most of the cases it is “je-”. As in Европа (jevrópa), Евангелие (jevangjélije) or епископ (jepískop).

(3) In places where Belarusian uses diphthongs “aŭ” and “eŭ”, Russian has got “av” and “jev”. As in Европа (jevrópa), авто (avtó) or август (ávgust).

(4) Every time о is not stressed it is reduced from /o/ to /ə ~ ɐ/. As in готов (gatóv), облако (óblaka) or молоко (malakó). You could try to simulate this by changing every unstressed “o” with “a”.

noelekim (User's profile) September 3, 2014, 4:26:21 AM

Readers of this topic might like 'Celante realismon, ne la realon', an article from Le Monde Diplomatique with a paragraph about 'Papers Please': eo.mondediplo.com/article2038.html

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