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Remember the tagline for that famous science fiction movie? “In space, no one can hear you scream”? Well, it was a whole different story in the legendary Metroid franchise, since all that gamers could hear were the character’s screams. Then came Other M, and Samus started yapping away. I was the lucky translator who got to choose her first words in Spanish.
This installment changed the game completely for the franchise: it featured gameplay in both first- and third-person perspectives, it implemented new game mechanics and placed significant emphasis on the plot. It was more important than ever to tell the story right.
Cinematics have gained in importance
I joined this project at a very early stage, and by early, I mean early. When you sign on that early, you know there’s a lot of work ahead, but it takes ages to wrap your head around the amount of reworking that’s in store. The game was constantly being reinvented in one part or another from one week to another.
Working with such huge volumes of constantly-changing information made it a top priority to ensure full coordination between all the members of the FIGS team (French, Italian, German and Spanish). Sometimes we started out using tools that proved to be somewhat useless.
This installment made extensive use of cinematics and featured a huge amount of dialogues per scene. It wasn’t just about translating for subtitles, we also had to pay special attention to the tempo of those subtitles.
Then came Other M, and Samus started yapping away. I was the lucky translator who got to choose her first words in Spanish
I realized we needed to improve the workflow if we were going to handle all those changes without overlooking anything. The Excel macro I created to simplify the daily updating process for translators ended up becoming the standard for everyone.
Working on this game also allowed me to put to work everything I’d learnt during my MA in dubbing and subtitling. I worked closely with the different project managers, adjusting the times to each line to ensure the story was conveyed correctly.
After five long months translating the game, I found the energy to work with the testing team for a few months. It was an intense experience that was often very stressful. But just like when you’re playing Metroid, everything looks different once you find the right tools.
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