Casino translation: Five of the hardest words to translate
Casino terminology throws some tricky lingo at even the most experienced translator. The funny thing is, these tend to be one- or two-word phrases that appear during gameplay, rather than complex chunks of text. They’re often more difficult to translate because of their short stature too, as they pack a lot of meaning into just a few words.
This leaves translators with an important question to answer: do they translate, keep the phrase in the source language or replace it altogether? The answer to this question can be different for every phrase a translator faces, so to give you an idea of how important casino translation is, let’s look at five of the hardest English words to translate.
#1: Free spins
Free spins are a great way to get players signing up to your games, but you won’t find a suitable translation for this phrase. The betting companies that try end up with awkward, literal translations that don’t mean much of anything in either language. In this case, you’re best off sticking with the English original.
Monkey is cockney rhyming slang for 500, typically referring to £500 cash. You’ll often hear this (or Nickel) in American gaming terminology too, and our friends in Australia often understand it as AU$500.
Unlike free spins though, this isn’t a term that’s universally accepted. It’s closer to gambling slang and it’s not necessary to understand anything about gameplay. You’ll also find other cultures use the term for different meanings – so in this case you’ll probably want to replace it altogether in foreign languages.
Another common slots term is “wild” and this is something that knowledgeable slots players will look out for in your games. Once again, this is a phrase that doesn’t come with any suitable translation; it’s such a widely used term/feature that you can go ahead and use the English phrase in all languages.
#4: Double Down
In English, this is a fairly standard term (especially in blackjack) for doubling your bet after seeing your cards. It’s not quite so widely understood in other languages though, and it simply doesn’t work grammatically in many languages. You’ll need to come up with an alternative translation if this is something that features heavily in your games.
Much like wilds, scatter is another key feature of many slot games – in fact, it’s probably more common, which means that you can rely on the phrase being widely accepted enough to stick with the English term. There isn’t a direct translation that works and you’ll have better consistency by using both scatter and wild in English.
We could swap every phrase in this article with another five and still not put a dent in the untranslatable gambling words. With so much slang and variation in the language that players use, translators have to make careful decisions about any terminology that can affect a player’s understanding or experience of the game: betters need to feel comfortable with their surroundings before they forget how much they’re placing and concentrate on winning.
- Posted by Alexandra Kravariti
- On 25th August 2016
- 0 Comments