Friday 20th of May 2022


You're still the [{M}hero][{F}heroine] of the Dragon Age: Translating gender in fantasy role-playing games
Silvia Pettini, Università degli Studi Roma Tre pdf_icon_30x30


Abstract: Gender issues in the media and particularly in video games have been extensively investigated over the past decades (see Ross 2020). Conversely, the linguistic and cultural dimension of gender is still understudied and, due to the challenges it may pose in translation, especially when the transfer is from the mainly semantic gender system of English into the grammatical gender system of Romance languages, there is a need for systematic research. This paper examines a fantasy war-themed role-playing game titled Dragon Age: Inquisition (Electronic Arts 2014), which presents a gender-customizable playable character, and which was purposefully selected in order to extend the realism-fictionality spectrum of war video games developed by Pettini (2020). It investigates the representation of female characters in the game and analyzes the translation of gender from English into Italian and Spanish from the perspective of Game Localization (O’Hagan and Mangiron 2013; Bernal-Merino 2015). Parallel excerpts from in-game dialogues are compared in order to explain how gender as a variable affects game translation, to show whether and how female characters are represented through language in the original game and through translation in the two localizations, and to make a quantitative and qualitative comparison between the Italian and Spanish translational approaches. As the findings show, this research analysis confirms clear linguacultural-specific tendencies (Pettini 2020) which, as far as Italian is concerned, suggest there is sociocultural resistance to the symmetrical use of the language of gender.

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