Translating board games: multimodality and play

Jonathan Evans

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This article examines the translation of modern board games as multimodal texts. It argues that games are produced in the interaction between players, pieces and rules, making them a participatory form of text. The article analyses the elements of the rules and in-game text in order to show how the multimodal elements of the text are essential to the experience of the game and how they affect the translation process. Many games are designed to be translated for many markets and avoid unnecessary text on in-game elements, preferring images. This can be seen in a short case study which discusses the translation of the 2007 game Caylus Magna Carta. It highlights the importance of the use of multimodal elements in the rule book and cards to enhance comprehensibility for players and in order to make sure that game play is the same across languages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-32
Number of pages18
JournalThe Journal of Specialised Translation
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


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