Boing Boing 

New ideas to address games' language barriers

Arabic-keyboard

There are many ways to address the insularity and perceived inaccessibility of game creation. We continually insist that games are a massive global phenomenon, but many best practices are only available to the Western, English-speaking world.

Rami Ismail is out to change that. Dutch studio Vlambeer, where he works, is prolific with the hits: Just check out Nuclear Throne, Luftrausers, Ridiculous Fishing or Super Crate Box on whatever device you happen to own, for some of today's greatest arcade experiences.

Ismail is also a tireless developer advocate, constantly traveling the world to work with indies and students, and frequently releasing free tools to help them create and promote themselves. Last week, he announced his latest much-needed initiative: The upcoming Gamedev.world, an effort to collect game design learnings and resources in one place -- where they will then be translated into many languages:

gamedev.world is a curated repository of content foundational to creating the discourse and conversation about game design, all aspects of development, and game theory and culture. Every piece of content will then be translated into a number of languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Simplified Chinese and, as the intiative expands, more languages around the world.
Ismail frequently speaks about the limiting effect language issues can have on our discipline -- I once watched him teach a small room full of curious conference attendees how to read and say an Arabic phrase within minutes, whereas multimillion-dollar commercial shooters set in the Middle East can't get the words on the signs right in their "realistic" settings. Often they end up using the wrong language altogether.

"The goal of gamedev.world is to elevate the discussion about games worldwide to an equal level, and allowing non-travelers and non-English speaking countries to explore perspectives that are currently unavailable to them due to cultural, economical, linguistic or geographical limitations," Ismail says of the upcoming project.

Interested in gamedev.world or want to help? Keep an eye on this landing page.

Full disclosure, the Sarah Elmaleh Rami describes working with on his site is one of my absolute best friends. She gifted me with a fake fur cape that makes me look like a stuffed owl.

Learn the sign language for "screengrab" and "SMH"

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Online mag Hopes & Fears asked an educator in American Sign Language and his young assistant to demonstrate various internet jargon such as "emoji" and "photobomb". Each demo is captured in a short video loop. SMH portrays all the disgust involved in shaking one's head at something really stupid; Screengrab involves a nice gesture that enacts the mechanism of a phone display flashing in one's hand.

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Since there's no central authority for such neologisms, some signs were ones used among friends while others were reached by consensus among members of the Deaf community online.

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Twitterbot generates North Korean patriotic slogans with Markov chains


The 300 weird patriotic slogans that North Korea released last week had the stilted feel of machine-generated text.

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Court has to a law's diagram tortured sentence structure in order to rule


It's been 50 years since Congress passed 18USC§924, but it still remains an enigmatic, insane hairball of unparseable subordinate clauses and impossible twists and turns. -

Wikipedian corrects 15,000+ instances of "comprised of"

Bryan "Griaffedata" Henderson is on a mission to change every instance of "comprised of" to "composed of" or "consists of" -- and he's written a manifesto on the subject.

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Scientific American and fansubbers help video spread in Hungary

Dean from Amara writes, "Editors at Scientific American noticed they were getting a TON of hits on the video What Happens to Your Body after You Die? To their surprise, the majority of the views were originating in Hungary."

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Map of how French genders countries of the world

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Redditor afrofagne created an interesting map of how countries are gendered in French globally. Some interesting patterns:

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Barbaric, backwards ancestor worship


The fetishization of "correct" English -- which is to say, white, wealthy English -- is in direct opposition to everything that makes English such a glorious drunkard's debauch of a language.

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Chinese government wants to ban puns


Chinese media regulators have called on broadcasters to end the widespread, longstanding practice of using puns, idiom and wordplay in everyday communications, advertisement, jokes, and political speech.

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Wall Street phishers show how dangerous good syntax and a good pitch can be


Major Wall Street institutions were cracked wide open by a phishing scam from FIN4, a hacker group that, unlike its competition, can write convincingly and employs some basic smarts about why people open attachments.

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Found Night Valeish poetry: Collection of surreal changelog and patch-note messages

@thestrangelog collects "the strange poetry of changelogs and patch notes," publishing them verbatim ("All byzantine emperors will now have clothes regardless of what DLCs are enabled.").

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Secret history of the poop emoji


The 2007 project to bring emoji to Android -- and thence to the Web -- involved an epic battle over the inclusion of the much-loved "pile of poop" emoji, whose significance to the Japanese market was poorly understood by various reactionary elements at Google.

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UK military slang from Afghanistan


"ALLY Term for a battlefield fashionista - desirables include having a beard, using a different rifle, carrying vast amounts of ammunition, being dusty and having obscene amounts of tattoos and hair. Special forces are automatically Ally."

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Awesome! "Epic" is declining in use (except at CNN)

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Good news! The most overused word of 2013 is clearly in decline. Epic became synonymous with dudebro culture thanks to web phenomena like Epic Meal Time and epic fail, leading marketers to pounce on the word in hopes of reaching the demographic. That explains why CNN has it twice on their front page this morning, like a dad trying to connect with his son.

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Let’s Learn Japanese – an illustrated dictionary with over 1500 Japanese words

For anyone learning how to speak Japanese, this is a fun illustrated “picture dictionary” with over 1500 words that will help build up your Japanese vocabulary. Designed like some of Richard Scarry’s classic books (What Do People Do All Day, Best Word Book Ever…) Let’s Learn Japanese is filled with colorful scenes, each with a theme such as the doctor’s office, the supermarket, colors, the zoo, clothing, etc, and each theme offers dozens of related, illustrated words.

At the end of the book there is an English-Japanese and a Japanese-English glossary and index so that you can look up a specific word when needed. I originally bought this for my husband and I to brush up on our vocabulary before making a trip to Japan, but now my daughter, who is interested in Japanese, pores over the pages as if she’s reading one of her favorite comic books.

Let’s Learn Japanese: Picture Dictionary

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Where wolves fuck


My friend Patrick Ball turned me on to a wonderful piece of Serbian idiom: "Vukojebina," which literally means "where wolves fuck," but is used to denote any out-of-the-way place.

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Localizing an operating system for a language with no high-tech vocabulary

When Senegalese Mozillan Ibrahima Sarr translated Firefox OS into Fulah, he had to coin an entire technological vocabulary, so "crash" became "hookii" (a cow falling over but not dying).

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Ten untranslatable words

Ella Frances Sanders illustrates words held to be untranslatable, to English equivalents, from their native languages.Read the rest

How to write like a 17th century doctor


Mark CK researched doctor's journals and writings from the 17th and 18th centuries while working on a book about pirate surgeons and reports back with a guide to writing in the style of the day, which involves a lot of bad Latin, irregular spelling, and extra letters used as emphasis.

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Cute synonyms for nookie from bygone times

Finally! A listicle I can love. I mean, "Play nug-a-nug" (1505)! What's not to like?

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NSA trove shows 9:1 ratio of innocents to suspicious people in "targeted surveillance"

NSA data shows that 90 percent of people surveilled are innocent Americans whom the agency is legally prohibited from spying upon. Cory Doctorow looks at what the NSA means when it says "targeted."Read the rest

@Cnnyourmom: inserting "your mom" into news headlines

@Cnnyourmom is admittedly immature, but works surprisingly well: "Your Mom Forms In Atlantic, Threatens North Carolina" (via JWZ)

Elements of Spook Style

The terrible writing and design of spook memos and Powerpoint slides have come to the fore since June 2013. However, that doesn't mean that there's not some pretty good style guides available for America's brave spooks. USA USA USA.

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The rules underpinning Porky Pig's stutter

Looney Toons voice actor Bob Bergen explains the logic underlying Porky Pig's stutter, which is surprisingly regular.

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Finnish is easy


You thought learning German was hard? Try Finnish. English: Dog. Finnish: Koira, koiran, koiraa, koiran again, koirassa, koirasta, koiraan, koiralla, koiralta, koiralle, koirana, koiraksi, koiratta, koirineen, koirin...

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21st century vocab: "Card clash"


It's what happens when you wave your bag at an RFID reader while you get on the tube and the turnstyle charges your ride the wrong card:

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Vancouver school-board adds genderless pronoun

Xe, xem, xyr are the new preferred pronouns for transgendered students in the Vancouver school system. Although the National Post is skeptical that this attempt to add a nongendered pronoun to English is doomed -- based largely on the fact that every other attempt has failed abominably -- the VSB's manager of social responsibility and diversity reminds us that not so long ago, no one said "firefighter" while today, "fireman" fairly clangs on the ear.

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John Oliver to FCC Chairman: prove you aren't a dingo!

When John Oliver smote the FCC over its pro-cable-company-fuckery policy, he compared hiring Tom Wheeler away from his job as top cable lobbyist to run the FCC to hiring a dingo to babysit your kids. Wheeler responded by assuring the American public that he was not a dingo (because metaphor). In his latest segment on the matter, Oliver challenged Wheeler to prove it.

FBI's 83-page glossary of leetspeak

Muckrock filed a FOI request for the FBI's list of Twitter slang and "leetspeak" and got back an insane, 83-page glossary of terms that the Feebs use to spy on the kids (think "AYFKMWTS") (via Sean Bonner)

How animals talk in foreign parts


Here's "the world's biggest" list of how animal noises are written in the world's languages, from bees to woodcocks, from Danish to Urdu. Pigs are especially great: "øf-øf; knor knor; oink; nöff; groin groin; grunz; röf-röf (pron: reuf-reuf); oink; boo boo; hrgu-hrgu ; oink; oinc; nöff-nöff."

Animal Sounds (via Dan Hon)