Halo 3

Volume (approx.): 250,000 words.

Involved as: lead linguist.

Project-specific issues: the most difficult part of localizing Halo 3 was to match Bungie’s tantalizing work on combat dialogs,the context-driven lines you can hear right in the fray, spoken by allies and enemies alike. There are over 22,000 different combat dialogs! You can play the game over and over, you will always get to hear new lines – some are designed to enhance the intensity of the action, others act as fun fourth wall breakers. For example, if you stare at an ally, they may tell you “I’m expecting your orders”; if you keep staring, they might think you are hitting on him/her and come up with a witty retort among the hundred or so available just for that particular situation.

Many lines contained references to American pop culture (baseball, famous ads, local news, etc.) that were too obscure for French-speaking players to be translated literally. Creativity was of the essence! We therefore came up with references of our own, many of which relied on cult B-movies and blockbusters (with emphasis on those starring Sylvester Stallone, since we had the chance to feature Alain Dorval, Sly’s French voice actor, as part of the VO casting). There were also a lot of references to ‘geek culture’ at large – forum talk, LAN party / MMORPG slang, etc. A handful of lines are only ‘borderline’ politically correct… The result did not go unnoticed by French-speaking gamers and many Halo forums now feature topics that try to list Halo 3‘s most memorable lines.