Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Common words translation sheet for indie game developers. (docs.google.com)
40 points by kolinko on Apr 8, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 49 comments

Reasons why translations are never simple #5322, Polish edition:

"You have won..." -> "Właśnie wygrałeś..."

Wygrałeś is fine if the player's a man. Otherwise, for a woman, wygrałeś needs an A instead of the E: wygrałAś

There are lots of pitfalls like this in Slavic languages, and I imagine in many others.

Speaking as an English developer, the first time you implement a proper translation can be a painful - not to mention enlightening - experience.

Genders in Polish are easy (but you can't say almost anything without also specyfying your gender, except in a very contrived, formal way). Numbers are even harder ;)

I have: 1 apple = "Mam 1 jabłko" 2-4 apples = "Mam 2-4 jabłka" 5-21 apples = "Mam 5-21 jabłek" 22-24 apples = "Mam 22-24 jabłka" 25-31 apples = "Mam 25-31 jabłek" etc.

Also "one" = "jeden", "jedno", "jednego", "jednych", "jedni", ... there's different version for almost all combinantions of plurality, grammatical case, and gender.

"I have one apple" = "Mam jedno jabłko" "I don't have apple" = "Nie mam jednego jabłka"

Nobody expects software to get it right.

"I have one apple" = "Mam jedno jabłko" vs "I don't have apple" = "Nie mam jednego jabłka"

Heh, this one of my favourite rules to show off with, as it appears more complicated than it is. If you're negating a sentence with this structure, you always use the genitive case, hence jednego jabłka. Or, as I was briefly annoyed to be told this lunchtime, nie ma żadnego makaronu. (Although maybe my memory's already failing me - would it be żadnych makaronów?)

Nobody expects software to get it right.

But it'd feel so good to get it right! :)

(one of these days, I will manage to decline a sentence of more than five words correctly!)

It depends on the meaning of makaron ;)

"Spaghetti with meatballs, please" -> nie ma (już) makaronu, because makaron is uncountable here.

"Do you have spaghetti or farfalle?" -> nie ma żadnego makaronu. Here makaron is countable as types of pasta.

I'would be glad to answer any questions about Polish language. My Polish is far better than my English, as you see.

For counting, is that similar to a 'couple', 'few', 'handful' in english?

I don't understand what you mean (I'm not really good with English).

In Polish every noun changes with the number in the way I've show. When you count up, you use numbers in abstract wihout the noun, so no noun to change ending.

If you mean the ranges, it's strict in Polish - 1 has one ending for noun, 2-4, 22-24, 32-34, 42-44, etc have other, and all the others have another ending. I don't know how the ranges for "few", "a couple" etcare defined in English.

I've heard that this strange system in Polish comes from the times Polish had 3 possible pluralities: singular, dual and plural, but I might be wrong about that.

Yes, but modern English lacks case markers.

If we consider ‘a couple of apples’ a genitive construction, then I guess you could probably say it's similar to два яблока (‘two apples’), where ‘яблока’ is singular genitive form.

(The example is in Russian, which seems to be like Polish in this regard.)

So does all Polish software ask for you gender the first thing you do when you log in?

So does all Polish software ask for you gender the first thing you do when you log in?

I don't know - one of these days I'll finally get the guts to change my laptop's language to Polish.

Fortunately, this rule only applies to the past and future tenses, so you're safe if you can keep to present tense.

The only translations I've worked with have been Facebook-based, where, by and large, the person's gender is already known.

Elsewhere, I've seen things written in a bit of a hacky manner, e.g. the above written as: Właśnie wygrałeś/aś.

I'm from Poland, and I've got quite a lot experience in using Polish software. Using male forms is the norm, nobody writes "wygrałeś/aś" within the software.

Americans might consider it sexist, but it's the only practical solution to the issue. So, "Właśnie wygrałeś" is actually correct.

I'm from Poland, and I've got quite a lot experience in using Polish software. Using male forms is the norm, nobody writes "wygrałeś/aś" within the software.

I can't speak for proper games you run on a laptop, but I've seen that form in several places. Admittedly, it could well have stood out to me as I wondered "What on earth..."

Americans might consider it sexist, but it's the only practical solution to the issue.

Heh, on a separate but kinda-related note, I wonder how much of this is related to some of Polish's other grammatical rules? If a group of women were in a pub last night, they could say byłyśmy, but if there was a single man there, it becomes byliśmy.

It seems that there are one set of grammatical rules for women, children and animals, and another set for men. It's fascinating!

It's quite common to write in asexual form, like 'Wygrana!'.

Also there are a lot more pitfalls regarding slavic languages, for example in polish, there are few plural forms (2 users, 8 users = 2 użytkownicy, 8 użytkowników, etc).

It's quite common to write in asexual form, like 'Wygrana!'.

Isn't "Wygrana" just the noun, rather than a verb? So the nearest equivalent in English would be "Win!" rather than "You Won"?

When you first mentioned "asexual form," I was thinking something like "Wygrało," but "It Won!" sounds a bit impersonal to me. Not sure whether that's better or worse than assuming the reader's male.

Also there are a lot more pitfalls regarding slavic languages, for example in polish, there are few plural forms

That's an incredibly fun one. If it ends in 2, 3 or 4 and isn't 12, 13 or 14, you use the nominative plural ending, otherwise the genitive plural ending. At least... I think that's for nouns in nominative and accusative cases, right? My head quickly starts spinning when I think about these.

"Wygrało" would be incorrect (it should be "Wygrałoś" in this case, and even then it's only grammaticaly correct if you communicate with small kid, and sounds very weird even then).

You can also say this using "person" - "Osobo używająca ten program - wygrałaś" ("To person, who is using this software - you have won"), "Osoba" is always female, and can mean anybody. But this is very formal and weird, too.


Wow, that's a completely new form to me! Do you know any examples of where I can find it - or even a description - as my usual online sources are failing me :)

I like your word-hack using Osoba! I'm loving learning Polish, it's a real eye-opener about how languages can work.

"Wygrałoś" (You-neutral have won) is made from "wygrało" (It have won) in the same way "wygrałaś"(You-female have won) is made from "wygrała"(She have won), or "Wygrałeś"(You-male have won) is made from "wygrał"(he have won). In Polish kid is neutral gender, so you theorethically could use "wygrałoś" when speaking with a kid. But nobody uses that, so it sounds strange ven for native speakers. I don't remember ever hearing it.

But nobody uses that, so it sounds strange ven for native speakers. I don't remember ever hearing it.

Heh, I was just curious as I hadn't seen that form anywhere :)

That said, the Polish Wiktionary wygrać entry (http://pl.wiktionary.org/wiki/wygra%C4%87) lists it and a couple of other new-to-me ones as "forma potencjalna", so I guess it's possible in theory, but as you say, just not used.

And obviously I declined "program" wrong, should be: "Osobo używająca tego programu - wygrałaś".

The correct approach would be to find a pronounless substitute if possible, e.g. Winnings.

Some of the English phrases sound a little off to me: "You can download FREE game NOW" - is it "you can download A free game now" (this is what the German translation says right now) or "you can now download THIS game for free"?

Makes it look more like a translation sheet for Indian game developers.

I hope for Chinese developers, I think they're making some pretty great games we're missing out on.

feel free to update English keyword but not too much

Hi, I am the owner of the file. Please tell me what you like to do with this file inside file via comments etc.

We can create form for submit new files or add specific people to manage single language etc.

I am you at your disposal.


File is online for 26 hours now :)

I am force to make file private due to google server limitations. Still can use it but after using gmail account.


If the English column is full of mistakes... how can you rely on the translations?

As you obviously know, in English phrases like "share an achievement" can be imperative or infinitive. Chances are it's the latter, since the former usually is preceded by "please". In Spanish (and I guess that in most european languages), these two forms are different.

Because of that, almost all software that was translated to Spanish (especially mobile apps) mixes this two forms and order the user to do something ("hey you! open this file! copy this text!") instead of using the infinitive form.

This was no exception. "Share an achievement" has been translated for "comparte un logro" (although "share on facebook" and other phrases were translated correctly).

As a developer, you should provide context for the strings ("label of a button that if clicked allows the user to share an achievement" vs "label asking the user to share an achievement"). Gettext and similar translation systems provide a way to do this.

Software translations are hard. I had to set my phone to English because most translations are wrong and many are barely understandable.

that is why i put CATEGORY as a fist column. This is for context purpose.

Microsoft have Language Portal with a lot of technical terms translations in a multiple languages. It gives you the translations in different context too.


There are variants of the written Chinese languages and they are used in different regions. E.g. Simplified Chinese characters are used in Mainland China, while Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are still using Traditional Chinese Characters. Also, different Chinese speaking regions have subtly different vocabularies. E.g. Software is translated as 軟體 in Taiwan, while in Hong Kong it is 軟件.

I guess there are similar issues for Spanish in Spain and Spanish in Mexico.

I'm building a dictionary for my iOS Spanish app.


I'm paying some people to translate my Spanish/English words to French/Mandarin/German/Italian/Korean/Japanese/Russian.

If people get the proper English expressions in, I can have these people go over the sheets and try to fill in some of the blanks.

Anyone else having trouble viewing this? I just get:

"We're sorry, but you have sent too many requests to us recently. Please try again later."

I would be careful with this, needs definitely some revisions. (at least the English and German columns )

Indeed. An easy tell for English that isn't written by a native is a space before the closing punctuation (e.g., "Collect Your Prize Now !") and that's present on a few of the entries.

if anyone else is curious:

"It's a common typo by French (because in French, there is a white space before a question/exclamation mark)"

"in most Indian schools, English grammar is taught from a book that was originally authored by two Englishmen: PC Wren and H Martin. The earlier editions of the book (including the one that I own) has a space before the following punctuation marks are used: question mark, exclamation mark, dash (em dash), colon and semi-colon"


I corrected some Dutch sentences too, whoever wrote them was not particularily good at Dutch.

Anyway, it's just for games. For a free translation I think many indie devs would be very happy with this.

Same with the Norwegian version. I also agree on your point about this being free and all that implies.

yes we sure know this :) its free so nobody can guarantee best quality

I don't have permission to view this?

There is no 'j' in italian (for 'Congratulations')

They probably mean 'Congratulazioni'

Oh and the Portuguese column is fine, but don't try it in Brazil, go for the 'Brazilian Portuguese' instead

That would do a nice service: crowdsourced translations specific to various game styles, with a rating system to have more reliable results + a simple API.

For a self-hosted translation management system, you can have a look at weblate :


pootle is also an OK option, if you don't mind doing heavy customization

Seems quite specific for "common words". I imagine someone wants to crowdsource their translations. Well, no harm done to anyone.

Guys, i am the owner, i am trying to setup it properly but Google docs is not designer to work well with many non-signed users.

Where can I reply to to help fill in some of the missing words? I can do the Afrikaans section for you.

I'm translating a lot of the Dutch blank spots. I hope it will be helpfull for at least one person.

Done by my friend, I think it may be quite useful to some of the iOS devs out there.

"You need permission to access this item"

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact