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Monkey Island Fan translation


I am thinking to make a fan translation of MI (the VGA CD version I have and which my kids are playing through ScummVM) as I am tired of having to do instant translations. Any thoughts on how I could do that?

TWP Italian Dubbing Project - Audio quality feedback needed!
First adventure game for a 3-year old

Which language?


I can’t help you with a definite answer, but I would recommend to have a look at the ScummVM Wiki, especially the “Resources” section of the SCUMM page:

And the technical reference:

There are several tools out there to extract and/or view the data files, for example:


I have translated all Lucasfilm games and also added voice overs into it… I had team of people that made audio files which I split to each sentence and imported back them to the game.

Laurence and I updated his software to make it perfect… this is only thing, you need:

Here are examples of our work, we use it as a backup:


I found “scummtr” after a quick google, and that works pretty well for my purposes. I’ll check out your suggestions later.




So, I have a few dilemmas I’d like to get thoughts on…

  1. “you look more like a flooring inspector to me”.
    In German, this was translated as an accountant (“Buchhalter”), but I don’t find that as denigrating as a “flooring inspector”. Moreover I don’t expect my young kids to even know what an accountant is. So I was thinking to go with “badmeester”, which is a lifeguard (at a swimming pool) (“Rettungsschwimmer”), which is also a funnier comeback to Guybrush’s “I want to be a pirate!”.
  2. translation of character names.
    I did translate (Herman) Toothrot to “Tandrot”, as it is pretty close phonetically, sounds like it could be an actual name and gives it that extra edge. LeChuck will stay LeChuck; but what about Guybrush Threepwood? The whole “Thriftweed” and “Mancomb Seepgood” jokes goes to waste if I don’t translate it; on the other hand, finding a nice equivalent for Guybrush that works is not easy. And the name “Guybrush” is so iconic that it should stick when one day they play the English version/sequels. Translating Threepwood and variants on the other hand might be doable. But what is Threep supposed to mean? Is it a variant to “threap” = to scold, argue, bicker? That could make sense, as Guybrush is originally from England.
    Thriftweed sounds like Drift-weed to me (variant to driftwood)
    It also sounds like Thimbleweed, but let’s not get side-tracked here.
    Seepgood has a kind of “drink-that-goes-down-easily” sound to it.
  3. SCUMM bar. Of course, the artwork says “SCUMM” bar, but SCUMM has no meaning as an acronym to kids today, so I might as well translate it. Or find another way to indicate that it is a bar for scum and riff raff.
  4. Mêlée Island. Do native-English speakers associate that with “melee” (disorderly hand-to-hand fighting)? Note that it is written in its original French spelling. In Dutch, the same word “melee” exists, but is never used.
  5. Monkey Island. Ok, as literally an island filled with monkeys, it’s easy enough to translate that. But it is also an iconic title which is already used frequently by even my youngest kid to refer to the game, so they might be disappointed of never getting to a “Monkey Island” in the whole game, but only “Apeneiland” (German “Affeninsel”, Italian “Isola delle Scimmie”). Perhaps I should just stick to “Monkey Island” and explain them what both words mean.

  1. Accountants have the sterotype attached to them of being especially boring. Refer to the Monty Python sketch where an accountant wants to become a liontamer.

  2. None of the names were translated in germany. I don´t really think you need to do that.

  3. Interestingly I didn´t get the meaning of SCUMM as a kid but I got the reference to the abrevation. :slight_smile:

  4. Yes Melee Combat is a standard expression for close hand combat in english. They use many french words actually. Like Camouflage.

  5. As with 2 I really don´t think that´s necessary but your mileage might vary.

  1. Agreed. But still, my target audience is 5 to 12 year-olds, so I hope they’ll get a better laugh at a “non-adventurous” job rather than a “boring” job.
  2. I know, but if someone has any good suggestions at how it could be pulled off, I’d love to hear it. (again seeing my target audience)
  3. of course you are an '80s kid that grew up with MM

  1. Shivers me timbers


Re 4. That is how native English speakers use the word melee, and I instantly associate it with that, but I’m not sure how many of the general population would. It’s still a bit of an uncommon/niche word apart from in gaming (used to describe fight moves), fantasy fiction, etc.

I would definitely leave the character names as they are. As you say, ‘Guybrush’ and ‘Threepwood’ don’t really have clear meanings, and the nuance would be lost in translation anyway.


Don’t change them.
Kids will memorize that name, and will elaborate as-is. No need to worry.
The names are too iconic.

It’s a name, don’t change it.
What that acronym means, the kids will discover later.
It was the same thing for us, when we were kids/teens.
I had discovered years later that SCUMM means SCript Utility for Maniac Mansion. At that play time, I simply believed that SCUMM was a funny name. That’s it.

I discovered what a “Melee” is just one year ago, I was not in rugby or fighting, so I never had known. I just believed it was (again) a funny name.
My advice is (guess!) to leave that name unchanged.

In italian it was left “Monkey Island”, even if it means “Isola delle scimmie”. It’s a name, an English name, and that island is located deep in the Caribbean, where the main language spoken should be English, so… it has sense to leave it unchanged.


2-5 I would leave them as they are… if you really really want to, maybe find a name for Melee Island… but also in Italian they were left as they are in English. And apart from Scumm (in my phonetic reading is the same in neapolitan language - I read scoomm! -), I used a dictionary back then. Maybe you could translate the names if the characters talk about them many times like “Monkey Island, the Island of the Monkeys” and so on.

1 This is not a proper name, but a common one (inspector) so you can choose what is best for you to fit the mood. In Italian it’s translated as linen salesman. But aren’t wooden floors common in the Flanders? (I should ask Dries Mertens next time I see him - I would like to :stuck_out_tongue: -). Anyway if you think the literal translation wouldn’t fit, get your creative on! As Milan said, accountant should be good. I think also that flooring inspector, as linen salesman, are considered simple and non-risky works, so they are in contrast with piratery.


I agree with the other forum users above: Keep the English words/names. But I would like to add another reason/thought: If you keep the English names, your kids will learn these words. For example if they ask what Monkey Island means, they learn the translations for Monkey and Island. :slight_smile:

(That’s how we learned new English words, btw. Thanks to @David I learned a lot new words from Zak McKracken. So it was an educational game. :wink: )


Yeah, about that… I still remember my English teacher deducting points for “See ya!” :slight_smile:

On a sidenote to the sidenote, so actually pretty well back on-topic, I want to mention that in the translation of the books of Game of Thrones, a few names like Jon Snow are actually translated (his last name at least). Thanks to that difference, I realised the whole rules of naming bastard childs throughout the seven kingdoms (snow, sand,…).


I, for myself, don’t like translations of names in general: If a game (or a movie, a book, etc.) is set in the USA (for example like Zak McKracken) I really stumble over German names every time I read/see them. They won’t fit to the rest of the setting. Maybe I’m thinking too much in stereotypes but a citizen of San Francisco has the name “Jon Doe” and not “Jonathan Hirschkuh” (that would be the/a German translation).


True for me, too. None else but me, in my classroom, knew the English word “stale” as an adjective referred to the bread! :smiley:


Not THAT common (although I have a couple) and for sure they don’t need any inspection :slight_smile:
Anyway, I’m sticking with lifeguard as creative translation, as it has a higher chance at making my 5-year old smile.

The “Monkeys Island” issue is also resolved as he told me he already knew what those two words mean.
(He finished Loom almost all by himself, with me translating and noting down the spells, so he’s a smartie!)


And have you explained to him what that word means?


Yep. Which puts him like 20 years ahead of me in understanding that (I only got to play Loom once it was on Steam/GOG) My only association back then were the “fruit of the loom” t-shitt commercials on MTV, which I just realise NOW why there named like that :woman_facepalming: