Actors, Networks and Skopos of Mobile Game Localization

  • Jung Yon Kim

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Since the introduction of the smartphone and app stores, the mobile game has become a globally popular entertainment mobile application, and localization has been a key factor to facilitate the mobile game’s global service. This thesis aims to describe the mobile game localization process by applying actor network theory and skopos theory as its theoretical framework. In order to achieve this goal, this study first suggests a definition of mobile game and mobile game localization that differ from existing research on video game localization. Then, it identifies both human and non-human actors in the mobile game localization process, namely publisher, project manager, translator, tester, player, translation brief, device, app stores, and technology. Based on ANT, this thesis maps the network of these actors and analyses the interactions between them. This thesis found that each stage of the localization process has its own key actor-network, and that their relationship influences the localization. This thesis also analyses the translation of the mobile game text and linguistic quality assurance (LQA) based on combining ANT and skopos theory. It is found that mobile game text has four skopos including playability, entertainment, marketing, and pivot language. The mobile game text is translated based on these skopos, and the actor-network also influences the translation. LQA has become essential in mobile game localization due to the characteristics of mobile games such as multi-media and small screen. The issues that are often found through LQA are length, homonyms, matching images, untranslated text, variables/tags/symbols, and cultural references. It concludes that the mobile game localization process is complex, with various actors and their network. The result can be useful in understanding mobile game localization from a sociological perspective. It will also encourage researchers to consider mobile game localization as a new research area in translation studies.
    Date of Award1 Nov 2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorMiguel Á. Bernal-Merino (Director of Studies) & William Brown (Co-Supervisor)


    • Mobile game
    • skopos
    • mobile game localization
    • network
    • actor

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