Game Lingo – クリア ( = clear?)

My handy set of inequalities doesn’t always hold true when it comes to video game terminology. I realized this last Friday when I was checking the translation of a video game manual. The word クリア is always used to mean “complete (a goal, level, task),” and the translator had left it “clear” (e.g. “when you have cleared easy mode”).

I’m always torn with this one. I often change it to something a little more natural (in my opinion) like “complete,” but in this case I left it “clear” and made a note to reconsider my decision after I’d finished looking through the entire manual. Then I could go back through and see how many times it was used throughout the whole manual. If it was used just once, then I’d feel comfortable making the change. If it gets used repeatedly as a sort of set term, then it should probably stay as is.

I am realizing now the decision might already be made for me – we have the in-game text and if I go in on Monday and find an instance of クリア = clear in the text, then I have to 統一.

This game has already had one frustrating example of 統一. The Japanese ミス has been rendered “miss,” which just feels dirty and wrong. Initially I was surprised that the translator made the decision to translate it that way because he is one of our more reliable translators, but then I found an instance of ミス = miss in the in-game text and quickly realized that he had done a thorough job of checking back and forth between manual terminology and in-game terminology. Which leaves some terrible sentences like “You completed Level 1 without a miss!” Ugg. Time for a shower.

ミス is closer to “mistake,” as noted by スペルミス – spelling mistake – and depending on the circumstances it could be anything from a mistake to a failure to an error and should be translated in context.

6 thoughts on “Game Lingo – クリア ( = clear?)

  1. I implore you to replace “miss” with “boner,” and to point emphatically to your Roget’s entry when called on it.

  2. Hehe, boner.

    There was a guy in my office who used to try and sneak inside jokes into translations. Seemed like a waste of time to me. Waste of character space as well. Needless to say, that guy doesn’t work with us anymore.

  3. Been watching episodes and pieces of ゲームセンターCX online recently and noticing a lot of Japanese-English terminology used in gaming. Interesting stuff.

  4. I think that “clear” might actually be natural video-game slang at this point, due to repeated exposure in the Dark Ages of game localization… sort of like “1-up.” It probably made more sense back when to “clear” a stage literally meant to clear it of all enemies and/or objects, rather than to press A several times in a rhythmic pattern and activate a sexy FMV or whatever.

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