In its ongoing quest to “preserve the purity” of the French language, authorities in France are trying to put a stop to the use of English gaming jargon. New guidelines mean government workers are now instructed to use French alternatives for some of the most widely-used terms inherited from the English language, such as “e-sports” and “streaming”.
France’s Ministry of Culture insists the widespread adoption of anglicisms in the gaming industry creates barriers to understanding for non-gamers and those French speakers who don’t speak English. In this article, we discuss this ban in France and the potential implications for the industry.
Why has the French government banned English gaming jargon?
As reported by The Guardian, France’s Culture Ministry told AFP that the video game industry’s reliance on English terminology creates an overall barrier to understanding for those unfamiliar with gaming or the English language.
French authorities regularly issue warnings over the adoption of English language and the danger this poses to the French language. Earlier this year, the country’s centuries-old language watchdog, the Académie Française, criticised the name of national train operator SNCF’s brand “Ouigo”, which plays on the pronunciation “we go”.
The organisation argues that the use of anglicisms is phasing out the use of French equivalents.
The full list of the revised words can be found on this page of the French government website. In this section, we will not look at all of them, but it is worth coving a few examples. In many cases, the new translations are straightforward enough, such as “pro gamer” becoming “joueur professionnel”. However, many of the suggestions can be seen as more convoluted, such as “e-sports” becoming “jeu vidéo de competition”.
Here are some other examples:
- Cloud gaming: Jeu vidéo en nuage
- Early access: Accès anticipé
- Free-to-play (F2P): Jeu vidéo en accès gratuit
- Skill game: Jeu vidéo d’habileté
- Game as a service (GaaS): Jeu vidéo à la demande
- Hand-tracking: Suivi des mains
- Social game: Jeu social en ligne
- Streamer: Joueur-animateur en direct
The English versions of these phrases are widely used in the French gaming community (and, largely, the global gaming community as a whole), but the culture ministry’s new guidelines aim to put an end to this.
The French government’s new stance on English gaming jargon won’t necessarily impact translation. First of all, the rules only apply to government officials so gaming developers and translators aren’t being forced to adopt the new guidelines.
Presumably, the culture ministry hopes the use of French terminology will work its way into the country’s gaming vocabulary, but there is no legislation for this.
Rather than forcing the French gaming community to replace English jargon with French terminology, the ministry is making sure French alternatives exist for phrases adopted from English words.
If the culture ministry’s rules have a broader impact on French gaming language, it’s possible that its translations could become commonplace. In this case, the new translations could eventually become the preferred choice for French translation, in favour of the English versions currently being used. Even still, the type of terminology involved would mainly impact the technical language present in game listings, guides and other documentation.
The only in-game language these translations would likely affect is the kind you might find in user interfaces and menus – e.g. references to downloadable content.
Either way, this isn’t going to have any real impact on translating in-game dialogue or storylines. If the government’s new rules influence translation practices outside of internal use, it could encourage a few changes in translating marketing material for games, but, once again, the terminology mainly relates to technical language, not the more creative aspects of marketing translation. If you’re concerned about the new rules implemented by the French government and whether they could affect your translation project, our team can help. Call us on +44 (0)20 7324 0950 or fill out the form on our contact page to speak to our gaming translation experts.
- Posted by admin
- On 8th August 2022
- 0 Comments