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Appears in Collections:Communications, Media and Culture Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Hey, You! The importance of pragmatics in localisations of Mass Effect in French and Spanish
Author(s): Stainton, Alexander
Roberts, Seán G
Rennick, Stephanie
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Keywords: localisation
Mass Effect
Issue Date: 12-Dec-2023
Date Deposited: 17-Nov-2023
Citation: Stainton A, Roberts SG & Rennick S (2023) Hey, You! The importance of pragmatics in localisations of Mass Effect in French and Spanish. <i>Games and Culture</i>.
Abstract: The localisation of video game dialogue for diverse audiences is challenging because of differences in linguistic features between languages and pragmatic norms between cultures. For example, localisers must decide how to translate the English second person singular pronoun 'you' into languages that have a pragmatic distinction between formal and informal pronouns (e.g. "vous" and "tu" in French). These distinctions are used in social interaction to signal politeness, respect, and social distance, which are important elements that shape player experience in role-playing games. We analyse the dialogue from French and Spanish localisations of Mass Effect and show they have strikingly different strategies for translating pronouns. French mostly uses formal pronouns while Spanish mostly uses informal pronouns. We explain how these differences affect player experience and argue that effective localisation requires a clear strategy for dealing with pragmatics. We conclude by making practical suggestions for how game creators can better support localisation.
DOI Link: 10.1177/1555412023121804
Rights: © The Author(s) 2023. Creative Commons License (CC BY 4.0) This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Notes: Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
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