Issues in Arabic video game localization: A descriptive study


  • Mohammed Al-Batineh Yarmouk University


Localization, video games, Arabic video game localization, localization quality, localization issues.


Because Arabic video game localization is a relatively new area of study, little in-depth research has been done on the topic within Arabic translation studies. The few articles that address video game localization in Arabic remain limited, either due to examining a single video game and its various localization issues, or examining various games but considering the transfer of their linguistic assets only. This paper aims to address the existing gaps in Arabic video game localization studies by delving into multiple video games localized into Arabic, and analysing the technical, linguistic, and cultural issues found within them. Technical issues are related to the Arabic script, video game variables, and subtitling conventions. Linguistic issues, on the other hand, include Arabic video game terminology and acronyms as well as the translation of proper names and NPCs’ titles into Arabic. Lastly, the paper discusses cultural challenges that arise when localizing video games into Arabic, such as how to navigate nudity, profanity, and alcohol. The paper concludes by calling for more research into the area of video game localization. Such research should not only flag linguistic, cultural, and technical issues but also establish a body of literature that would help practitioners and video game developers provide a more authentic, unique gaming experience for Arab gamers.