2021 is very assertive when it comes to Video Game content localization and the underlying need to strike a “delicate balance between foreignization and domestication, in terms” (Taming the Stranger: Domestication vs Foreignization in Literary Translation, by Zsuzsanna Ajtony).
In another article, Found in Translation: Evolving Approaches for the Localization of Japanese Video Games, Carme Mangiron highlights that, in the context of Foreignization, “preserving most of the original sociocultural content of the game” helps “target players become acquainted with the source culture” (Fernández-Costales 2012; O’Hagan and Mangiron 2013).
Alternatively, Domestication or “mukokuseki” (literally “nationless”) as attributed to the Japanese Gaming market (one, if not, the largest Video Game market contender in Covid 19) points to the process of adapting the source content as required, giving it a local flavour and closeness to the target audience.
A relevant example is a Video Game Localization project following a thorough foreignizing strategy applied to the visuals, storyline, and overall socio-cultural content, while the humour, cultural innuendos and cross-cultural references are domesticated. Mangiron states that Japanese games can often contain a certain degree of sexual innuendo, which, in Europe and North America would be deemed inappropriate for a younger audience.
SEGA’s American branch is a noteworthy example, which usually adapts Japanese game content to the target audience within the Localization process, in order to achieve the level of content appropriation and comfort the target audience desires and expects, within the limits of not completely altering it, thus being viewed as censorship.