.dab yllaer ,yllaer ,ekiL
On January 20, 2021, Hitman 3 released to the masses, players eager to take on the role of Agent 47 yet again. Starting off in Burj Al-Ghazali in Dubai, Agent 47 must make his way through the world’s tallest building to fulfill missions. Being set in Dubai and all, IO Interactive took the time to add Arabic text in places like signs; unfortunately, they didn’t take the time to ensure the Arabic was written properly, which millions of gamers versed in the language immediately noticed. Most notably among the bunch is Rami Ismail, indie dev influencer formerly of the now defunct Vlambeer and the current owner of the site isthatarabic.com.
“How good is Hitman? Unsure yet, but what I do know is that it didn’t care enough to get the Arabic right. Because if you’re wondering… http://isthatarabic.com – it sure ain’t.
Not the level of diligence I expect out of Agent 47,” he said on Twitter, quote tweeting Rashed Nambro’s photo of the bad Arabic asking IO Interactive to fix the signage.
Sincerely, all of us. pic.twitter.com/fEy4Ni26NH
— Rashed Nambro (@RashBandai) January 19, 2021
Ramsey Nasser of NotArabic.com also updated their site, adding this terrible mistranslation to the sadly growing collection of poorly translated Arabic text found in media, consumer goods, tattoos, and elsewhere.
For those not versed in the language, Ismail also explained the problem with the localization: “s d raw k cab s ti”.
Other players chimed in on the laughably bad mistranslation, the overwhelming sentiment being that of utter disappointment.
“I thought we’d be over this by now but nope”
“I really don’t get it…why support languages that spoken by 5 millions but ignore Arabic which is spoken by hundred of millions”
“It shows such a profound lack of respect that they got every little graphical detail right, but didn’t bother to do the most basic research.”
Luckily, an IO Interactive team member saw the tweets and stated that they have marked the poor localization as an issue that needed to be addressed. The company itself has not made a public statement at the time of this writing.
Ismail has spoken out about poor Arabic localization in games previously — obviously going as far as to make a site showing examples of bad Arabic — even explaining in one poignant GDC talk that the over reliance on English may be holding back games. Localization in video games has long been an issue for both indie and AAA devs alike, but the latter are more highly criticized for poor mistranslation issues since they typically have the resources available to pay for a high quality translation. And although indie devs are often strapped for cash when it comes to paying for localization, the fact remains that, if it’s being done, it’s best to do it right, lest you look like a “disrespectful fool” in front of the very audience you’re trying to take money from.
I'm not exaggerating when I say this kind of bad Arabic makes you look a disrespectful fool in front of millions of gamers https://t.co/LSnuw5aG1t
— Rami Ismail (رامي) (@tha_rami) January 20, 2021
Pay for your translations, folks!
Feature image via Twitter / iredman