Samuel “Samy” Clarisse worked hard, to finish the French translation for Paris Games Week, as he is our French translator. This is not an easy task, as you often have to translate the game without seeing the exact context.
Samy was born in Auchel, a small town in the north of France, and as A translator, there was no need to move to Prague for him.
Do you have any questions for Samuel “Samy” Clarisse? Please ask here.
You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.
1) How did you hear about Warhorse?
I got a mail directly from Martin Klíma, author of Dragon’s Lair (OMG I love this game) and from the creator of the UFO series telling me that he was interested in my profile. He exposed me to his project, which was at the time in the alpha stage and asked me if I would be interested in jumping on board. I was, of course, really excited about the opportunity to work with such talented people. I then sent back the sample he provided me and of course, he liked it and told me this was what he was looking for.
2) Describe your position. What is it about being a French Translator?
I am a French translator, specialized in localization and I work from home as an independent contractor. I undertook the whole gaming adaptation from the French market. In other words, my task consists not only in translating a message or text but also adapting it and tailoring it to another culture. It requires IT skills, creativity (to accurately portray the humor, the era and so on) as well as the knowledge of the local gaming community and cultural sensitivities.
Being a gamer myself helps on a day-to-day basis: when I am playing, I take note of everything that is working and more importantly, what is not. Besides, I usually find inspiration in a lot of genres, whether it is an RPG, survival or even a sports game! The localization process is clearly not the main concern of some studios, even if it is one of the first things you see when you launch the game (in the menu, tutorials, etc.).
Fortunately, Warhorse has been focusing on this aspect since day one, so … consider yourself lucky to be treated so well!
3) Have you ever worked on Videogames before?
Even though I’ve been in the industry for the past couple of years, I feel like I’ve been doing this my whole life. I worked on several games on android, steam and browser-based MMORPGs for agencies as well as independent studios However, this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to work on a AAA title. (Fine, it’s not exactly a triple A but still, it feels like it!)
4) Please describe one of your colleagues or your department:
I wanted to compliment our colleague, Joanna Nowak, as she is so dedicated to her work. I am always trying to figure out how she can cope with all the things she does at one time. Officially, she is a historical consultant, but she is doing so much more than that… it’s crazy! She 's also our project manager, the one who negotiates the deadlines, gives advice, tries to understand everyone’s point of view, serves as a link between us, translators, and Warhorse/Koch media. I don’t think there’s anyone who knows the game better than her. It’s been a pleasure to have worked under her supervision.
5) Describe your usual working day?
Well, first thing in the morning, I grab a cup of coffee to wake me up. I check my mail box, my unread messages on Skype and then answer by order of priority. I usually start by proofreading what I did the previous day. I can say firsthand that seeing it with fresh eyes is the best way for me to spot the mistakes and it gives me new inspiration. After all this, I open whatever is needed: a main/side quest, menu, etc. Throughout the day I can jump back-and-forth between the quests to polish, fill up the new lines or see if there is a special last minute request. Typically, I am producing between 2000/2500 words in a full day’s work. I try to stick as much as possible to this goal but when my body is showing me signs of exhaustion, I know it’s time to stop…
6) What are you currently working on?
We are all in the last stage before release, so I mainly doing some proofreading or polishing. At the same time, I am completing the Codex which comes last. This is extremely enriching from both a personal and professional perspective. I am a history buff, although I didn’t study it, but I can assure you that this is a reference for medieval times. You can find information on historical figures, relatively unknown events, trivia and fun facts, etc.
7) What is the most difficult task in translating Kingdom Come: Deliverance into the French language?
I hope I won’t be revealing too much but in one of the side quests, “Tricks of the trade” you have to learn some rhymes, more like a counting rhyme. It’s written like a poem, so you have to count the syllables to fit the rhythm and make the whole thing match with the VO for the dubbing and all. The first draft was rather bad to say the least but after a few attempts (and a bunch of hours), I managed to come up with something good. The thing is, we decided to change the English version as well, so I had to start from scratch once again. This turned out to be a real headache and by far, the most challenging part.
8) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
I guess you won’t be surprised if I my answer is the historical accuracy. These are not the Middle Ages often depicted in movies or TV shows, as producers tend to fulfill their audience fantasies and expectations and in order to do so, they take some kind of liberties. Thanks to their in-depth research, Warhorse made a realistic game that portrays the era like never before. I think you will be surprised by the misconceptions and stereotypes you may have. I even found myself randomly telling people in a conversation: “Contrary to popular belief, did you know that at the time…?”.
9) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
My parents bought me a NES for Christmas when I was 3 years old with Mario and Duck Hunt. So yes, we can say I fell inside the cauldron at an early age! I had pretty much every console that ever existed: the Megadrive, SNES, Dreamcast, N64, PS2, etc., not to mention the handheld gaming consoles. I am now mainly playing on PS4/PSVR and the Switch. Last year, I even bought an arcade cabinet, the Sega Blast City, which stands in a corner of my living room. All my guests want to try it and sometimes I hold little classic video game tournaments for Windjammers, Last Blade, Street Fighter, etc.
10) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
I’d say Ocarina of Time. This game was revolutionary with such an innovative concept and it made a great impact on the industry at the time. It set up new standards of gameplay and storytelling, all within an unprecedented scale. This was really the first open world, game - you could roam around Hyrule freely while seeing your character grow over time, from youth to adulthood: you start as an innocent kid and end up being a full-fledged bad-ass and a Master Sword wielder! (It kind of reminds me of Henry.) I felt deeply in love with it as a child and I still play it every now and then (but Breath of the Wild is amazing as well).
11) What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
I was really hyped with No Man’s Sky but it turned out to be a frustrating experience. The game isn’t that bad, it just lacked months of development and polishing. I guess the studio was pushed to release it earlier than it should have and the result was an unfinished product with a lot of missing features. All the patches released afterwards did significantly improve the game, but I think it was too late for people to notice it because they already have moved on to something else. I just hope they will learn from it for their next project.
12) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I try to disconnect and clear my head as much as I can. I spend quality time with my girlfriend and take care of my dog, a wonderful female Czechoslovakian wolfdog. She turned out to be a true little monster, crying for attention without mentioning all the mess she makes throughout the day. So yes, after work it’s time for us to bond together.
13) Sport is…?
Football, definitely. I am a huge fan, I watch every big game and head to the stadium several times a month. I support, of course, the national team but also my local team, the RC Lens. We have some of the best fans in France and the stadium is nearly full every time, both in glory or through tough times.
Another team I follow is the UD Las Palmas. I’ve lived there so they kind of adopted me and it holds a special place in my heart.
14) What will be your famous last words?
I had a fun ride but I wish I could respawn.
15) Your travel tip?
Canary Islands without any doubt. I have lived and studied there for a couple years and this is one of the best places to live on earth! You will find endless beaches, towering mountains with an excellent climate all year round, “the islands of eternal spring” as they call it. You can go hiking, swimming, party in those crazy clubs, etc. There is something for every taste. The cost of living is cheap and public transportation is amazing, very reliable and can take you anywhere. The cities have the cleanest air and are among the most eco-friendly on the planet. You can even find the first fully self-sufficient island (El Hierro). What are you waiting for? Book your next holiday here. You will thank me later!
16) Your favorite music playlist
I grew up around hip-hop so this is what I enjoy the most. I widened my tastes over time and I can now take a shower with Taylor Swift on or when I go out partying, I can have a blast with Reggaeton or Pop music.
17) Your favorite movie or book?
My favorite movie genres are science fiction and horror. If I had to pick one up from both of these universes, I would say the Butterfly Effect. I know it is no masterpiece, but it has a special atmosphere and the concept is mind-blowing. Having the chance to go back in time to correct your past mistakes and see that you only did worse … it’s chilling. It’s all about fate and the lesson here is that whatever happens, no matter the choices you make, do not look back, move on and try do it better next time.
18) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
The wait is almost over! I can’t wait for you to see how much the game has improved since the beta. We all have been working so hard on it, so I strongly hope we will live up to everyone’s expectations. For my part, I enjoyed every single minute I spent on this localization. I took great pleasure doing it and l hope you will feel the same playing it.
I’ll leave you guys my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to contact me (or directly on Facebook). Any feedback, inquiries or questions are more than welcome.
Do you have any questions for Samuel “Samy” Clarisse? Please ask here.