Why was “Among Us” translated into Irish?

Image: Alex Olney / Nintendo Life

It was announced last week that among us, the fantastically popular killing friends game has been localized. officially into Irish. For many (mostly Irish) it was an exciting experience; for others, the answer was mainly “But why?”

Legal question is Irish, or Gaeilge, it is only spoken by about 40% of the Irish population and is rarely used as a first language. This is the so-called “minority language” – the language spoken by a minority of people in the country, such as Welsh (622 thousand speakers), Maori (157 thousand speakers) and Basque (665 thousand speakers). And, as is the case with many minority languages, its speakers are investing in its protection, and not in its gradual erosion due to the majority language, which in this case is English.

But asking “why bother” is to ignore the fact that Irish is still alive and well, and that speakers of it are interested in being represented for reasons other than just talking to each other. We spoke to Ana-Min Kavanagh, the person who led the Irish translation project, to find out more about the reasons behind this.

Irish among us2
Image: Alex Olney / Nintendo Life

Kavanagh is a streamer who plays games in Irish and English and broadcasts in Irish every Sunday. Officially, she says, there are very few games with an Irish translation, and many of them – for example, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, If Found … and Dicey Dungeons were created by Irish people deeply interested in their culture.

When “Among Us” became very popular, Kavanagh knew she wanted to add it to the rotation – “it was only natural that I played it, especially with my audience on stream” – but there was no official translation into Irish yet. … Of course, this is not unusual. Ana-Min often ends up playing games on her English-language stream with Irish subtitles – and she ends up learning quite a few new words as a result.

“I noticed there is already a mod for the Irish language,” Kavanagh said on Discord, “but [I] wanted to improve it. ” After joining a group of other Irish translators – Brian K. McJolla Mhuire, Cormac Sinsilahu, and Mike Drinkwater – she tweeted a request on the Innersloth account to see if they would be interested.

And they were. After five months of work, Irish was finally added to Among Us in early July (along with Traditional and Simplified Chinese) in version 2021.6.30 – and it was a huge success since Kavanagh’s tweet announcing the news has received over 2,000 likes

I have already heard stories of schoolchildren in Gaelscoileanna (Irish-speaking schools) using and adding their own Irish among us, and wondered if this would be a great learning tool.

Making the Irish translation official was a matter of accessibility as well as language recognition. “The reason we would like this to be the official version and not a mod,” she explained in a tweet“Because installing a mod is not an easy task for the average player.”

This news will undoubtedly be welcome to anyone learning Irish in school because, like many minority languages, Irish is supported through the magic of education and exams. Anyone who has ever had to learn a language in school knows that it can be painful, but being able to play video games or watch movies in the target language is at least a fun way to immerse yourself in life.

“I’ve already heard stories of schoolchildren at Gaelscoileanna (Irish-speaking schools) using and adding their own Irish among us, and I wondered if that would be a great learning tool,” says Kavanagh. “For a minority language like Irish, it is vital that content is fresh, modern and high quality, and that’s what inspired me the most.”

The popularity of “Among Us” in Irish may even influence how Irish is taught to young people. Like kavanagh said in tweet“One of my biggest hopes is that the Irish media will see how IMPORTANT this is for the Irish language and for minority languages ​​in general.” She even says that “Among Us” can be a great starting point for Irish people for almost everyone, because “the language used in the game is not particularly difficult” and does not include anything that would require certain cultural knowledge.

Kavanagh herself attended Gaelscoil and studied the language after learning it from her grandfather. “We always listened to the radio at home,” she says, and this immersion in the language environment resulted in her getting high marks in exams and ultimately studying Irish and journalism at Dublin City University.

There are Irish people among us3
Image: Alex Olney / Nintendo Life

Despite this strong past, she doesn’t see localization as a career – “It’s a hell of a lot of work,” she says, “as rewarding as it gets!” Its goal, translated as a side performance, is still ambitious: “I would love to translate something like Skyrim,” she says, “but this game is huge.” Among us, on the contrary, it is much simpler – it’s mostly just UI elements and not tons of knowledge and in-game books to read – but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have its own problems.

“The quickest chat was the hardest because we have no words for yes and no in Irish,” says Kavanagh. “We use a verb – so what if you say ‘did you drink this? “ar ól tú é sin‘, you will need to answer with a verb: d’ól mé (I drank = yes) níor ól mé (I didn’t drink = no). “In the end they went with That and Nilewhich are a kind of “yes” and “no” that are used in things like elections. “It’s not entirely correct,” she admits, but says most Irish speakers will take it out of context.

But to answer that question right from the start: why bother?

To people who ask about this, Kavanagh replies, “This achievement is not for them.”

There are Irish people among us4
Image: Alex Olney / Nintendo Life

“Language localization is for those who care,” she says, “and this is clear from the reaction on the Internet and hundreds of comments on Twitter and TikTok (over 100,000 views and their number!) [that people] take care, or at least take care enough to tell them that they will play it. “

A little personal: I have a degree in Ancient Greek and Latin, which no one. No one is talking. Many people, recognizing the topic I have chosen, have the same question: why? Why take out a colossal student loan to learn two languages ​​you don’t speak? What jobs can you even receive with two dead tongues in your pocket? I confess that I myself doubted this, although the answer seems to be “a game journalist or Prime Minister of Great Britain“but my real answer is this: you need to do more than just learn languages ​​in order to speak them.

Learning Latin and Ancient Greek is as exciting as learning history, but nobody says, “What’s the point in learning about what has already happened?” (Or maybe they do, but that’s stupid too.) It helps me write, it means I can read stories in their original language, and most importantly, it makes me Indeed well versed in the little things.

Preserving languages ​​is essential to staying connected to our past, our culture and our identity.

Preserving languages ​​is essential to staying connected to our past, our culture and our identity. It also helps us communicate better in general; there are things that can be expressed in one language, but cannot be expressed in another – for example, deja vu, gloat, Smörgåsbord, and tsunami… We even have a few Irish borrowings such as bully, crazy and whiskey, so without Irish we could not express a good mood or a good mood.

Being able to talk to people from all over the world is important, but keeping the way we used to talk can give us incredible insight into humanity that might otherwise be lost over time.

Most of this conservation work is done by a small but active number of people. “To support minority languages, people just need to stop complaining that nothing is being done and try to do it themselves,” says Kavanagh. “If they can’t do it, find someone with a lot of knowledge and support.”

So, if you’re wondering why they bothered to translate Among Us into Irish, the answer is as Kavanagh says: if you think it’s pointless, then it’s not for you. Kavanagh and the rest of the team wanted to see something, and so they did it, and the fact that Innersloth hailed this as an official mod is a fantastic step towards supporting more languages ​​and cultures in games.

Ultimately, says Kavanagh, this is a huge win for the minority language.

An update that adds Irish to Among Us is now available.

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