The Translation of Board Games' Rules of Play
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In the Netherlands, the translation of board games’ rules of play is a large industry. Ninety-five percent of the games published by the well-known Dutch game publisher 999 games concerns translated games. Translation studies lack research on this matter; only Jonathan Evans briefly discussed it in “Translating Board Games: Multimodality and Play” (2013). This study, therefore, functions as a pioneering research. The aim of this investigation is to explore what problems a Dutch translator encounters in all stages of the translation process of English-language board games’ rules of play. In the theoretical background of this investigation, theories on game design and rules of play are explained. To perform an innovative investigation on the style of board games’ rules of play and the prevailing standards in translating them, a text comparison based on Geoffrey Leech and Mick Short has been conducted. The rules of play for four original Dutch games as well as four rules of play of English games that have been translated into Dutch have been analysed. On the basis hereof, possible translation strategies have been formulated. In the transfer stage executed for this investigation, a number of additional translation problems emerged in the annotated translation of the rules of play for the board game Thunderbirds. In the discussion, the post-translation stage and its problems, and a set of preferred translation strategies, are explained.