Game Lingo – 発売


発売 is a sneaky little compound that isn’t unique to the game industry. You see it all over the place, notably on posters for goods that aren’t being sold yet. The reason I say it’s sneaky is that pesky little 売 hanging around. Yes, 売 means “sell,” but the translation of 発売 should almost never incorporate the word “sell.” In terms of kanji categories, it falls into the V + DO category and literally means something like “start sales”; hence, the correct translation is “release” or “launch.” The most frequent usage is X月Y日発売, but you’ll run into the passive form 発売される・された quite often when translating marketing material for game companies.

7 thoughts on “Game Lingo – 発売

  1. Indeed, indeed. My favorite translation-tricky use of this is in the 3-character compound 新発売, which of course you see everywhere. It’s incredibly tempting to overtranslate it (“Now on sale!” “Newly released!”), but less is more: it’s just “new,” really. Maybe with some exclamation points.


  2. I definitely agree. “New release” might work for CDs or books, but “New!!!” is probably the best way to go for basic goods. I’m always on the hunt for 新発売 on the candy aisle at konbini. Kit Kat has been really disappointing lately. Their new flavors are Lamune, “Sports Drink,” and melon. I miss the Oreo one they sold earlier this year.

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