Don’tcha In Simlish: The Sims Meets Internationalization

I found this posting a few months ago and now that I have my own blog I wanted to link to it. When developing a game, internationalization (heretofore referred to as i18n) and localization (l10n) are important topics to bear in mind. Different countries have very different methods for displaying text. Right-to-left reading, commas instead of periods, different word sizings, and other gotchas can make for really difficult in-game UI. Even worse, cultural values can often make for problematic conversions in art assets (see Germany’s laws against red blood). That’s why I was so in awe of this post.

In developing the Sims, Maxis completely circumvented the problem by removing any intelligible symbols or words! What’s more, they got popular artists to record nonsense versions of their songs. If you are feeling up for a laugh, take a listen to the Pussycat Dolls’ version of Dontcha in Simlish.  In one fell swoop, all of the major content translation issues disappear.

Another good post from this site details the “Turkey Test,” wherein one locale really pushes your i18n system’s buttons.


~ by shaunkime on July 1, 2008.

One Response to “Don’tcha In Simlish: The Sims Meets Internationalization”

  1. Hey slacker, update your blog. You should have paced yourself when you first decided to blog.

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