Translating all the Punkapocalyptic stuff into English was both challenging and fun. It was obviously fun because I have been playing RPGs, wargames and boardgames for years and it’s the kind of work I have always liked doing, since I started translating Dungeons & Dragons supplements for our playing group from English to Spanish years ago, when all the shiny, new and desirable books were only available for us in special events like GenCons or the like (remember that was a dark age before Internet and before online stores), and we treasured them like little jewels. Long has passed since then, and now I have the opportunity to translate our own stuff for the customers in other countries to read and play with, which is an amazing experience.
And it was fun as hell too because I worked with two friends in the process of developing the rules, adding short stories to the background, finding funny names for characters such as the Bobblehead, or the factions (Mutards were not much of a problem, as it is the contraction of “Mutants” and “Bastards”, exactly the same as in Spanish). Some of the words had to be invented, though, being that the case of the Addlers (“Pochos” in Spanish), which could be straightly translated as “Rotten” but would lose part of its mockery and fun; so I opted to take the word “Addled”, which applies for “rotten” and also “confused” or “drugged”, and add an ‘r’ at the end to make it sound somewhat human.
The challenging part of it was when it came to translating all the retro-language the creator, Israel Gutiérrez, used to give the game its distinct “nineteen-eightyish” flavor. The very motto of Punkapocalyptic, “The pimp and lethal skirmish post-apocalyptic game” (El juego de escaramuzas post-apocalípticas macarra y letal) was hard enough, as the Spanish word “macarra” didn’t have a clear counterpart in English that could fully transmit all the rich nuances of the original word. A “macarra” is not exactly a pimp (which would be a “chulo”), but it is really closer, with that flashy, cool attitude, but with a dangerous, bad-boy twist, straightly taken from the eighties, with a general bad attitude and an even worst taste for clothing. At some point of the process the word “tacky” came up, in its meaning of “vulgar or with bad taste”, but I felt it would not be easy to understand its full meaning referring to a person, and that it lost many of the original meanings such as the dangerous attitude and the badass pose. So, at the end and after much thinking and considering, pimp it was.
The short stories we wrote to form the background of the game were an entirely different matter. The dialogues of the characters had to reflect an extensive underground, street-level and retro use of the language, with which I was little used to work. Not only they have to use a low-level language full of swearing, typos and misspellings, but also reflect that same eightyish style with some old-fashioned words and obsolete slang. And speaking of old-fashioned language, the future faction of the Junkers is our winning lot, as they display a really baroque, pompous and archaic way of talking. For them I chose to use the most polite, well-spoken and correct form of British English I could think of, mixed with some old forms of courtesy well out of use, to get a distinct and even ridiculous way of speaking, which is of course one of the characteristic features of this faction.
All in all, the general process of translating this whole thing into English was a really fun one, and a really unique experience that has served me well for gaining experience, learning a lot of things and making a new notch in my gun.