For 20 years, The Rose brand has become one of the biggest dubbing studios in France. This “localization” step is crucial, since it is this that gives a video game all its soul. Also, La Marque Rose is where Ratchet & Clank, Lara Croft, Nathan Drake, Cole of infamous, Darth Vader and many others. So many essential figures who have made our gaming experiences a moment in our past as a Gamer. Today we invite you to take a look behind the scenes of this company where translators, actors, sound engineers, as well as artistic directors coexist.
Translation: The genesis of a game
Even if we were able to discover many recording studios, it is at the translation center that we get our hands on the genesis of a video game. In numbers, they are close to 300,000 to 400,000 words who are registered per year in the places from Passage Thiéré. In addition, a few 2,500 words are translated by each translator, every day, with often very tight deadlines. All this without knowing the environment of the game, or even the name of the characters. So many parameters that transform the location of a video game into a true artistic creation. In the team, there are four full-time employees, trainees, and finally 20 freelance translators. Without forgetting the four project managers of The Rose brand which bring the video game sector to life.
On the program of this first meeting with the project to be translated, the discovery of the scenario. It is essential to know the subject inside out. In addition, the original audio tapes of the project are most often made available to translators. What immediately appeals to you is the adaptability that drives the translators for each project. Therefore, the tone will not be the same in a project aimed at a very young audience, as in a MMO. This is why project managers must put in place many rules that will be respected throughout the progress of the project. Namely the rule of address / familiarity, the evolution of links between characters … These characteristics are important to the credibility of the title for players.
However, the work of translators is not just about translating for the recording of voices, but also translating everything that appears on the screen when we play. In addition, the team must show an adaptation as for the original text. For example, certain traits of typically English humor must be transcribed for French. It is the same for the respect of the length of the text thanks to the software. Synchronos.
In the studio, the actors must fix themselves on the time of the original texts, in order not to spoil a cutscene, with movements of the lips which would not be “connections”. In parallel with the translation phase, the project is subject to numerous discussions between the editors and The Rose brand for the validation of the texts, in order to obtain subsequently the “green light”, which allows to begin the phase of dubbing of the voices.
The registration phase
It is the turn of the artistic director, a sound engineer and the actors to enter the studio to record the scenes validated by the publisher. It is therefore the moment for us to discover the premises of La Marque Rose, which host some eight studios, fully equipped with digital equipment. On the technical side, these studios are equipped with ProTools 7.4 HD, of multichannel 5.1 in DolbyE, all controlled by a huge cabin of servers based on virtualization and clustering.
From then on, one can attend to truncations of the text, and even to returns to the translation service, in the event of doubt on a line or if a password is wrong during the recording. In the case of major problems of understanding and waiting on the rendering of the scene, the project manager can come back to the editor for an analysis of the script and a proofreading. Likewise, The Rose brand may well realize projects for Sony, Warner Bros, THQ, Activision, Ubisoft and a good number of other big publishing houses, it is unfortunately to be regretted that its teams rarely have images and minute details on the project. We were given the example of the “blind” realization of Dead Space, for an absolutely magnificent rendering on the part of the company. It is therefore not easy to translate a project with only the bare minimum …
During our visit to La Marque Rose, we were able to exclusively attend the recording of several characters from Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time. A golden opportunity to discover the Dantesque work of the artistic director, the sound engineer, then the actors. Concretely, the artistic director has the translated lines and gives information on the character as well as on the intonations desired by the publisher. A game that Nathalie Sionneau knows well, since she was responsible for the very first project Ratchet & Clank. Beside him, the sound engineer is behind two computers, with the tracks of the original voices, then a graphic of the recordings in progress. As for the actors, they are behind a bay window, accompanied by two screens with the essential information for recording.
In practice, the actor must adapt to the type of recording. If it is in “in-game”, it does not have any constraint of accuracy in the pose of the voice, contrary to a cinematic sequence. Thus, the tone, the pitch and the speaking time are the factors that come into play. So many parameters that make video game dubbing a real obstacle course, surrounded by professionalism, good humor and love of the profession.
During this day, we were able to meet three actors, including the characters of Captain Quark (Hervé Caradec) and of Clank (Martial Le Minoux). In the role of the little intelligent robot, we therefore find Martial Le Minoux, dubbing specialist and artistic director, mastering his character to perfection. For Clank and another character played by Martial, the pages Excel scroll quickly and the only times the artistic director intervenes is to compliment the actor or give him some additional information on the tone to adopt. It is the same for Herve Caradec, theater actor, who performs his text with great concentration. At the end of the recording sequences, The Rose brand send the audio files back to the editor in charge of the project who will then incorporate them into their game.
Our day at The Rose brand We will have revealed the back of the set of one of the essential parts of the genesis of a video game work. Thus, thanks to the professionalism and love of the profession of the whole team, we have seen that video game dubbing has a bright future ahead of it with The Rose brand.
We would like to thank Cécile Irlinger and the whole team for their warm welcome.