Lost in Translation: Smogon Translations Projects

By Omicron.
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Smogon has a very diverse player base that extends across the world. There are players from the UK, the US, Asia, Europe, and even Australia! To make Smogon more accommodating to international players, there have been several translation projects started, led by native speakers of the respective languages. Of course, translating an entire website of content such as Smogon is no easy task, and the people working on these projects have made huge efforts in order to get their translated material on-site. Most groups have decided to start with translating the basics, such as the moves, abilities, items, etc. Once these are finished, they will usually move onto the current BW articles on-site, as they are very relevant. Once that has been completed, they may even begin to translate issues of The Smog, which is an enormous undertaking. However, the methods of translation, what is being translated, and other aspects of translation are all different depending on the leaders and the different languages. This will be further explained later on in the article. The people who are working on the translations project must know every intricate facet of their language as well as have a good grasp of English in order to properly translate content. Potential translators must undergo a preliminary test in order to see if they are proficient enough in the language beforehand, as mistranslated or poorly translated content is simply not acceptable for a respected competitive gaming website such as Smogon. That being said, these projects are a great addition to Smogon, and are sure to help garner a wider range of audiences across the globe.

中文 – Chinese

As the co-leader of the Chinese Translations Project, I have endeavored to find the best of the best in order to help me with my goals of translating much of Smogon's BW content into Chinese. We intend to translate all the moves, items, abilities, and more, as well as all the BW articles currently on-site. After that, who knows what we're capable of? Perhaps we might even bring a Chinese version of The Smog to the table! I decided to start up this project along with user New World Order mainly because of the large Chinese community here on Smogon. Although most of them are American or non-native, there are still quite a few members that live in or near China. China has a huge population, as most of you might already know, and we thought that by bringing Smogon to China through translation, we could entice them to join Smogon's ever-growing community, or at least get more involved. This project is also a great learning experience for both me and my translation colleagues, as we are learning Pokémon terms, which can often be quite difficult to translate. Although this is a very difficult and time-consuming project, all of our members are very dedicated to this project, and we only want to help Smogon expand its international audience.

Our site, which is still under construction can be found here.

A few words from Project Co-leader New World Order:

A few thousand years ago, the Japanese decided to base their language on the Chinese language. Flash forward to 2012, we Chinese Smogonites have decide to follow Japanese Smogonite Chou Toushio in establishing a Chinese section for Smogon... So, now that you've all seen through my blatant lie to make this sound cooler than it actually is, here's the actual story behind our project.

I know for a fact that numerous Chinese children love their Pokémon as much as an American child loves McDonalds or a teenage girl loves Twilight. My 10 year old cousin, for one, plays Pokémon with a passion. We all know that Chinese kids mostly just sit around and do math all day, but in reality, many engage in pastimes such as basketball (as if they'll ever grow as tall as Yao Ming), Starcraft (no, it's not only Koreans), and competitive studying (yes, it does exist... but not really). I'm sure there are numerous competitive battlers out there, considering how China's Pokémon-playing population is probably larger than the entire population of Canada (I'm allowed to say this because I'm Chinese-Canadian). What better way to expand the community than to introduce them to the best competitive Pokémon resource on the net?

Français – French

The French Translations Project was started by user Agammemnon. This project was started to integrate the many French players into Smogon. A translated version of the most important aspects of Smogon would easily allow French players whose English isn't great to grasp battle strategies and take advantage of the many articles and guides on Smogon. They have been hard at work since the project began in November of 2011, and the product of their diligence and teamwork can be found here.

The opening statement for the French Project:

A simple but evocative title for a section that many of you probably expected, I hope. After many years in the wilderness, the French community has begun and continues to integrate into the giant Smogon.com. It seems unnecessary to make a presentation to a mammoth project like this, the pages you are about to discover should be enough to convince you. If you want to ask us questions, congratulate us, ask us for help, fit into our community, or whatnot, it's easy to find us! Indeed, most of our players are both on the server of Smogon Pokémon Online, but also on French Time, fold of the French community. See you soon hopefully!

A few words from Project Leader Agammemnon on the translation process:

Most of the time, I read the whole article once to be sure about where it goes. (Some languages have particular words for particular situations). After doing this, I translate each paragraph and then I read what I've done to catch mistakes and oddities. Finally, I give it to someone so he checks it. Easy, right? :)

日本語 – Japanese

The Japanese project was the second translation project to take place here at Smogon. Chou Toshio is the leader and only member of this project, and it differs slightly in its direction, as will be explained by Chou Toshio himself. Pokemon originates in Japan, so it's no wonder that there is a huge playerbase in Japan. Although this might not necessarily mean competitive play, a good portion of the players are sure to be involved competitively. Smogon is currently the largest and most well-known competitive Pokemon website in English, and by connecting to the Japanese audience through translation my help bring some of them to Smogon, and better yet, bring their ideas to Smogon. The Japanese section of Smogon can be found at the following address:


A few words from Project Leader Chou Toshio:

Well, I think each language has to do its own thing, based on the target audience. Each cultural/language group is different, with different involvement in the community, and different involvement in Pokémon at large. Japanese is especially unique, first because Japan is the home country of Pokémon, has a massive player base, and is extremely involved in Pokémon. Second, because Japanese players are virtually uninvolved with Smogon/English Pokémon communities (you will find basically no Japanese people at Smogon). Also, despite having it as required education, Japan is one of the weakest English speaking countries in Asia so... Basically, unlike in say, Spanish or one of the more obscure European languages, Japanese language (and Japanese players) are highly supported in Pokémon, through Game Freak, Pokémon Company resources, and through Japanese Pokémon communities—further, they both lack the language capability and the interest to get involved with English speaking communities like Smogon. This makes the goals of the Japanese project distinctly different from the Spanish one. While other language projects aim to translate Smogon resources, and basically support competitive Pokémon for the various languages, the Japanese project (which is basically done—no one is working on it, and there's no real need to either) focuses on introducing/explaining Smogon itself—what Smogon is—to interested readers. Instead of translating items, moves, and dex entries (and what not), the Japanese project just introduces the various kinds of activities Smogon has, and provides basic guides on how one could go about getting involved (how to use our server and ladders, how to read our dex entries, etc.). That's basically what it's about.

Español – Spanish

Spanish is one of the most common languages spoken in many different countries all around the world. It is quickly becoming nearly as global as English, so it makes sense for there to be a Spanish section on-site for those Spanish speakers to peruse and learn more about Smogon. This was the first translation project started here at Smogon, and is most likely a great source of inspiration for the many other translations projects currently underway. Even now, there is still translation work happening, meaning that it isn't finished quite yet. However, the amount of work put into the project has certainly paid off, and you can see the results of their dedication and hard work at the Spanish section of Smogon:


The opening statement for the Spanish Project:

As the name suggests, this is a project whose main objective is the following: to translate the content developed during the fourth generation era that was created by the plethora of contributors who visit our website, Smogon.com, on a daily basis.

For several months, the founders of this project—Bloo and Setsuna—along with the help of RockinX, have been working diligently in hopes of bringing this project into the public's eye for all to see. Below, you'll find further information about this project and what the future holds in store for it later down the road.

Smogon is a relatively large website that encompasses players of all nationalities, many of whom come from various Spanish-speaking countries situated in Latin America and Europe. As such, having the option of reading our on-site content in Spanish, the third most spoken language in the world, may prove to be quite useful and convenient for many individuals across the globe.

The principal object of our translations consists of the Types / Moves / Items / Abilities / Natures pages, three of which have been translated and placed on-site. The reason that these pages have taken priority over the other pages is simple: the content located on these pages will always be useful, regardless of the number of new editions that Pokémon games bring to life. Quite the opposite occurs with the multitude of competitive analyses and guides scattered around Smogon, mainly because they become outdated as the metagame grows and develops over time. For your viewing pleasure, you'll find a panel that contains all of the information previously mentioned to the left of this page.

There are numerous countries where Pokémon is marketed only in English. Therefore, we understand that the sheer amount of Spanish terms can be confusing for many. In spite of this, we've included the English names of each term, alongside their translated name, to make our content easier to absorb. If you're browsing through the material located throughout this portion of our website, you may come across some italicized words. There is, of course, a reason for this. Coined terms, such as 'set-up,' don't have a direct translation in Spanish. Due to this, they have been italicized in order to indicate that the terms are foreign. The italicized words you'll find are known by nearly every individual who is involved with competitive Pokémon, so do not be surprised if you happen to see one. Finally, there are many instances where a reference to an ability, Pokémon, typing, or move has been made within a description. For now, we've linked to their English pages; however, when we develop their Spanish translated brethren, we will change the links appropriately.

With that said, we invite you, the reader, to make full use of this newly created section of our website. In the near future, there will be a sub-forum where everyone is welcome to actively contribute to this project, so stay tuned for what's to come!

A few words from Project Co-Leader Setsuna:

About a year and a half ago I had a conversation with some online friends about how helpful it would be to be able to read Smogon in a different language, concretely Spanish, since there were a lot of people from different communities around the world who had their own Pokémon websites—in Spanish—and wanted to learn more about competitive Pokémon. Now, pretty much everyone who plays competitive Pokémon knows about Smogon, but some of them—the Spanish speakers, in this case—cannot really get involved with Smogon because of the barrier the language poses. This is when I contacted my long-time Smogon partner Bloo and talked to him about the idea of bringing some of Smogon's content to Spanish. We thought it would be cool to set up a site within the smogon.com domain to house all of our content and continue to work toward translating more and more articles. At first, the idea for such project received quite a lot of skepticism from community members at the time, but in the end we were able to get the approval to move forward with the idea. And this is when everything started.

We decided it would be smart to focus on translating the basic, static pages of content, such as items, moves and all those other dexes, and so we did. Currently, the project is still undergoing, and soon we will be releasing more content to the public. Bloo and I have gotten a lot of good feedback over time from Spanish speakers all over the world and other people who now have their own translation projects undergoing, and we are really glad with ourselves for that. It is also very exciting to see how more and more folks keep moving forward with their own translation ideas, and now we have people even working to bring Smogon to Chinese! I am definitely thrilled with the effort these guys put forward every time they announce something new, and I hope to keep seeing more from them.

Other Translations Projects

Several other translations projects are in the works, you can learn more by checking out their social groups, where all the translations are done!

German Translation Project (Deutsch)
Leaders: Limi / Moo
Italian Translation Project (Italiano)
Leader: Alucard
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