Translation hacking in Arabic video game localization the history and current practices

Mohammed Al-Batineh, Razan Alawneh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The present article discusses the notion of translation hacking and attempts to chart the history of this practice in the Arabic context. It also discusses the current practices of translation hacking by examining the work of a well-organized online community of Arab translation hackers called Games in Arabic (GiA). To this end, the study adopts two methods for data collection. First, semi-structured interviews were conducted with the first translation hackers in the Arab world in order to document the history of this practice. Second, a cyberethnographic approach was adopted to collect qualitative data related to GiA, including their translation hacking practices and the technologies used to facilitate their collaborative work. Subsequently, this article attempts to reveal the roles played by the different GiA community members in executing their projects and how they control for quality in their work. Ultimately, the article attempts to provide insights into the practice of Arabic game localization performed by amateur translators, hackers, and gamers, in the hope of adding to current professional and pedagogical practices in Arabic game localization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-230
Number of pages29
JournalTranslation Spaces(Netherland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 8 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabic video game localization
  • Communities of practice
  • Cyberethnography
  • Games in Arabic
  • ROM-hacking
  • Translation hacking
  • Video game localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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