I’ve posted about it all in the spanish section of my blog, which is not subscribed at Planet-IF, so I’ll tell you a bit of it here!
“La Aventura Original” first spanish version of Colossal Cave released in 1989 has been made into an illustrated novel written by its original author, Andrés Samudio. Mr. Samudio is a highly loved guy in the spanish IF circles for his labour of promoting IF at video-game magazines during the late 80’s and for being the founder of the only spanish games company dedicated exclusively to text adventures in those years.
The project has been crowdfunded by a couple of hundred of fans after it had been rejected by several editors.
…and a youtube about the book with english subs (eer, sort of…) :
I look forward to fan translation of the game and novel, then I can appreciate this development in more than a purely abstract way!
(I’ve often wondered how there’s so much fan translation of eg. JRPGs on consoles and so little fan translation of text adventures, but I guess we’re just a very small crew and the paired skillset required a somewhat exotic one.)
We were talking a little about IF translation on the MUD last week… I think it’s a difficult problem, not just an exotic one. For most games, even text-heavy CYOA and RPG games, you can divide the game text into a list of sentences and paragraphs. The game is going to present these in fixed sequences or independently, so line-by-line translation is adequate.
IF text is much more fragmented – substitutions occur all over the text, at the phrase or word level. Plus, you have to already have a working parser and library in the target language; and then translate the game grammar. And you have to have enough editorial consistency through this process that you don’t introduce scads of missing-synonym and misleading-word playability bugs.
I’ve been thinking about this thread, on and off, for, eep, the past six months. (And what problems are solved, exactly, by being considered twice a year? Essential philosophical matters of the most superficial nature, perhaps.) I’ve managed to achieve some middling success in achieving intelligible machine translations (thanks, Google) of gamebook text from the French, Spanish, and even a little German. It was work, and did require a human brain at the steering wheel, but I figured that the effort involved (and the results yielded) probably couldn’t be much more than would be brought to bear in anglifying a Scott Adams-style adventure program or a contemporary BASIC one, perhaps something the recent Spanish Quest translator of Scott’s Pirate Adventure could testify to. Tapping into the German Brian Moriarty or Emily Short would be beyond such crudeness, but as oodles of PAW and AGT games indicate, often crudeness is just as high as you need to aspire.
(From vague Digital Antiquarian recollections, I gather that some early Japanese text adventures, before giving it up as ill-suited to the Japanese alphabet and jumping ship to the visual novel format, even accepted English input and just provided Japanese output. That translation is already half-done for us! … then again, further DA memories of abbreviating text compression used on early home microcomputers, I’m thinking of Level 9 here…
“In the phrase “in the room” the compressor might decide that it was more efficient to use a code for “n th” and “e r” rather than pick out “in” and “the.” That is not something which occurs to the human mind.”
… make me despair of ever trying to take on such an effort and unearth anything intelligible. Perhaps another reason it has not really been taken on: so much effort for so little reward.)