Universal Naming Conventions in 40k


Personally I have never opened up a codex in another language besides english. I had known that the units for each codex had different names in different languages, as this was evident if you spend enough time on community related blogs and sites. However, I was told that the English names for units now may be possibly being used to create a universal name for each unit, despite what language its in.


I wasnt sure, so I figured we could throw this out to the community and see what we can learn from each other. Are all the Astra Militarum codices using an English naming system in different languages?

This is from the my inbox.

via a reader here on Faeit 212
I just bought my French paper copy of the new IG Codex, and I saw that the Units Names have not been translated in French.

This is abit strange as the Tyranid got their "Genestealer" translated into "Genovore" for the French version. (Which means "Gene-Eaters" if you re translate it into English)
And suddenly for the Astra Militarum, the unit names and also some equipment names are in English.
But not all equipment names have been translated, that's what makes this strange.

If the goal was to make the unit names the sames for every language, to be able to speak of the same unit with the same name in English and French for example, then I like the idea.
But if it's a lake of work on the codex, then it's a shame.

Example of unit with different name from the Space Marines Codex:
- English: "Vanguard" => French: "Vétéran d'Assaut" (Assault Veteran if you translate it)
- English: "Sternguard" => French: "Vétéran d'Appui" (Support Veteran if you translate it)

That can confuse some people, personnaly when I speak with French players and I say "Sternguards" instead of "Vétéran d'Appui" they are lost.
Then the Frenchies will have to relearn the name of their IG units, but that could be cool to have "universal" naming for different languages.

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57 Comments

  1. I can confirm that in the German Version the names arent translated as well, but the equipment names are translated.

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  2. Exactly the same with the Spanish version. I guess this will be the norm for future releases...

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  3. But they do use the translated names on their website, at least on the german. Weird ...

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  4. If it would have been just the names it would have been good. But how they did it is so awkward and cumbersome it makes it painful to read the foreign codex (especially with the amazing amount of grammar errors)

    Basically they threw all good style overboard and wrote a crazy mix of languages...

    It becomes extremely bad when an Infantry Platoon is composed of 1 Platoon Command Squad, 2-5 Infantry Squads, 1 Trupp Conscripts.

    Yes... you read a list of units completely in English and then a German word is thrown in... Or you have Leman Russ Kampfpanzer (when they are talking about all the different variants) and Leman Russ Battletanks (when they are talking about the variant with the battlecannon)

    This is so messed up it is really sad

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    1. P.S. And Kampfpanzer is just Battletank in German, like Trupp is a translation of Squad... so basically... they just unse the German and the English word with are similar meaning depending on context.

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    2. So they took the idea of Spanglish and expanded it to other languages, lol

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    3. Yes!! It is increiblemente sad!!!

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  5. The Eldars codex is funny as well in French. Long known aspects have changed names ("aigle chasseur" to "épervier voltigeur" -> "hunting hawk" to "outfielder hawk", the Fire Prism was before the latest codex "Prisme de Feu" as a direct translation since ages, and is now back to Fire Prism, etc.)
    My feeling about this is that some long term translators got away from GW, and having what is called in the business no Translation Memory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Translation_memory), the new translators got wild on translations. It makes the old players feel like it's a masquarade. But well, I keep calling my swooping hawks "aigles chasseurs" and not "éperviers voltigeurs" :)

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    1. Épervier voltigeur sounds cool when you relate it to the Voltigeurs corps in the french army (of old). :) Always liked that word.

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  6. Ummmmm......Astra Militarum isn't English in the least. It's very Latin. So it is not translated to English either.

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    1. I think it's called "Imperial High Gothic" ;)

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    2. Yes, it is definitely not Latin.

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    3. Well played my friend, well played. :-)

      I feel like I am watching an American (which I am) walking into a German cafe and being surprised croissants weren't translated from English. (please oh please get it. :-P )

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    4. Blossoms it is Very Very Latin. Tabletop was just being very clever.

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    5. "Surprised croissants wern't transalated from English"

      So the Croissants joke fails in Aberdeen, Scotland. They do get translated into English and are called Crescents....

      But a certain type of pie is called and Ashet pie.

      Just goes to show that "English" varies in all the English speaking areas and that being pedantic is likely to get some one saying "well, Actually..."

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    6. Go with Imperial High Gothic. It appears to have different grammar to Latin. :) All the better for licensing purposes I guess.

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    7. Their Latin, assuming that is the language they are using, generally isn't correct. For example, based on endings of the letters, the new "Astra militarum" translates to "star of the armies". I'd assume they'd want "army of the stars", so a better translation would have been "militae astrarum".

      Not that those are the proper Latin root words anyway...

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    8. Just call it Starmy and be done with it

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    9. TearyWrist: It is even worse. Singular is astrum or aster, so it would be "Stars (or even the aster flowers maybe?) of the military/army", but based on a non existing word for 'army'. It is no more Latin than medieval magic formulae. I just can't look at the codex name without thinking 'this is just wrong'.:D

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    10. Erratum: 'militarum' would be probably plural form as you say.

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    11. GW has never used Latin, uses 'Latinized' at best, and more accurately 'Latinish'.

      Besides, you can copyright your made up, pho-Latin, because it's not real words - isn't that the whole reason it's not Imperial Guard anymore? :p

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    12. Woule be fun to have Codices in latin... I mean, full latin. Best way to mix their High Gothic with all the latin sub languages (french, italian, spanish, ...).

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  7. Something fun I noticed about the Astra Militarum is that now in French the Ogryn's gun is named: "Fusil Ripper", and in the previous French IG codex its name was: "Ripper Gun".
    This is abit ironic that Units Names aren't translated but some equipement that were not now are.

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  9. Worse.

    Look at the last page, the Heavy Support choice are translated. In french, it means you have a part of the codex with french named unit, and a part with english named unit.

    Now, there's also the error on the vets, in the french codex, they cant take 3 special weapons, the bracket text isn't there at all. Let's hope the FAQ will fix it.

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    1. Same in spanish, although veterans are no longer called "veteranos", Imperial guard still is called "guardia imperial" (translated). And in one page, you see some photographs of catachan heavy weapons team, that now they are suposed not to be translated, and in the text says "Dotación de armas pesadas de catachán" (translated). It is even worse in page 70: there are two rows of company commands: in upper row it reads: "Company command squad de Cadia" and in the other it reads "Comandantes de compañía de Cadia"

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  10. I am not a lawyer, and trademark law is not my bag, but it seems to me the reason they aren't translating them is for trademark purposes. If you translate the names, then it wasn't a 'unique proper name' and you can't claim it as yours. If the name is firm across all languages like 'Pizza Hut' and not 'Pizza Cabane' or 'Pizza Hutte' when in France.

    Probably has to do with the Chapter House nonsense........

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    1. You most likely nailed it on the head. Using Latin which is not used commonly outside of religious and scientific centers is a way to get a trade mark name without the big fight like they did for Space Marines.

      But I still find it funny that many think these words are English. :-P

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    2. It is not funny, you no entiendes nada, John Snow. The words that bothers us are the one in ENGLISH, such as "HEAVY WEAPONS TEAM" (perhaps it is latin???). We don't mind about latin becuse in fat, our languages (spanish, italian, french, are directly derived from latin, unlike your english. An English is the one that could be confused so can't distinguish which Word from "vehicolo", "vehiculum", or "vehiculo" is the latin, italian, and spanish form. We don't.

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    3. I think the main point being made was that there is a lack of consistency across a single book in one language.

      If they sold the book with all the names from the English Codex in it for units and equipment with the descriptions rules etc. in the language of the Codex consistently then the issue would be less troublesome. However, it would really would have been best (if they were going down this path) to come up with specific words for their universe for those things first. I guess we are seeing a half-arsed attempt at that.

      You have riled Johnny foreigner, poor show GW, poor show.

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    4. So in my head that last line should have been read by some posh gent in a British Jane Austin novel TV adaption.

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  11. I know realize how many units' names are translated in my country... almost all! Sometimes it's even better than the original (boltgun is adapted in "Requiem" rifle/pistol; instead translated Farsight is awful...and quite hilarious)

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  12. I hope that when the new ork codex comes, they chance the names in spanish, some are really awful...

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  13. For clarity's sake, I really think GW should include the units' and equipment's English names in translated codexes throughout whenever rules are mentioned. Some (or even all) of them could then be translated in the text proper as seen appropriate.

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    1. Althought complicated, something must be done, there are a lot of confusions. An example, in the BRB, the "mastercrafted weapon" was translated as "precision weapon" in spanish. Of course, there was no problem with the NEW character rule, "precision shot" because they were completely different things that were used differently in the game... but now we got our astra militarum orders and one says: the unit attacks as if their weapons had precision shots..... ooops, what is this exactly saying????

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  14. I buy all my codices as limited editions, which are only available in english anyway, so it hardly impacts me, but I did notice it in the WD and thought why they'd do something silly as that.
    It's just odd going though, say, the battle report and ever so often read a unit name that's off just enough to cause a mental stumble. Veterans instead of Veteranen, for example, is just weird in an otherwise translated text. I can't wait to hear the more esoteric names getting mangled by those not fluent in english. That'll be a treat...

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  15. We should use Latin for everything Imperial, and each race language for the Xenos!

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  16. Perhaps it's a way to try and safeguard their IP. If you have 'unique' names, but they are translated to different languages perhaps it's some weird copyright thing that makes it more difficult to defend that you 'invented' the names.

    It could also be a branding marketing concept. Kind of like how Coca-Cola is called Coca-cola no matter what language you go to?

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    1. Yes, but how can you safeguard a name like "heavy weapons team"?????

      It is a TEAM, that uses WEAPONS and the WEAPONS are HEAVY... it CAN'T be an invented name, it is a description. Just like VETERAN SERGEANT.. son they'll sue US army???

      What I think is that they simply ad a "legal norm" that they had to follow and of course this kind of company, that places beneath legal forms the enjoyment of their customers is an epic fail company. I completely hate them, and I am gld I don't need any other codex or book because my three armies got a 6th ed codex so now I can stop upgrading my three 2000 points armies... perhaps I'll begin with Bolt Action or FoW...

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    2. See ya! Don't let the virtual door hit you in your virtual ass on the way out! Enjoy your new game system. Whatever makes you happy, cuz you're clearly not happy with GW...

      ...And from all the players I know who've played FOW, and also other gaming systems, the universally think FOW is the best game system they've played. So, enjoy!

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  18. have a far bigger problem when rules are lost in translation.
    How many special weapons can a veteran squad take in the english codex? I heard it was 3 if you don't take a heavy flamer.
    And now my german astra militarum codex. I can only take 2 special weapons in a veteran squad, even when i don't take a heavy flamer. Because the short piece of text that states something like "if you don't pick a heavy flamer, you can pick 3 special weapons instead of 2" is missing in the german translation. I hope this gets faq'd soon.

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    1. In spanish Tau dex the mont'ka hammerhead didn't cost any point... the points cost was not there.

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  19. Here in my country we are very concerned with this change: first was WD, after 20 years, dissapeared spanish version, then dataslates in english, then codex supplements, now the names inside the codexes... certain names, such as "rough riders" or "chimera" doesn't matter at all, we are used to them, but wonder if it was YOUR codex the one that, instead of Heavy Weapons Team, you'd find the entry: "Equipo de armas pesadas"... and of course, with a special rule called (perfectly translated) "heavy weapon team". It is not only a matter of not having proper names, it is because it is extremely annoying to read throughout the text switching languages continuously. As an example, I'll translate some texts from AM dex doing exactly the same, but in reverse, so you'll see what do we read:

    "A Veteranos squad from your army may replace its Sargento Veterano for Sargento Harker"

    OR: "You may include a Comisario for every escuadra de mando de la compañía or escuadra de mando del pelotón from your army [...] each comisario must be asigned to a different unit from the next list: escuadra de mando de la compañía, escuadra de infantería, escuadra de armas especiales, escuadra de armas pesadas, reclutas, veteranos, ogretes, toretes, escuadra de mando del militarum tempestus, vástagos del militarum tempestus. Only one comisario can join each unit this way".

    OR: "Each Astra Militarum detachment may include 0-3 visioingenieros and a servidores unit for each visioingeniero"


    W E I R D

    They don't care about us, only want our money, lots of it,and quickly... this is what deserves a thirty years customer???

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    1. Hey, look at it this way: They didn't do it to ~you~ ~personally~, and they didn't do it just to your county's language, it got scrambled up in German and French, too.

      Ever tried to read instructions for something that was manufactured in Asia and those instructions were not translated by someone who knows English (in my case) very well? What the heck are they trying to say??? At least as a 30 year veteran of GW games, you have an idea of what's trying to be communicated.

      Try not to take it personally... Oops, too late!

      Sorry, Bro. If you ever come to the States, there are many parts of Southern California, Florida and New York City where you'll feel quite at home, because all of the billboards and store signs are in Espanol. We gringos, who grew up here, get very lost if we venture into the wrong neighborhoods in some cities. I'll bet you don't have that problem in Spain...

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    2. I guess they looked at sales figures and went, sod it most of the people who spend money are also speaking English. Crack out Google translate for the next codex releases and we won't bother at all next time.

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    4. Removed last comment because of typing problems :)

      .jdwelch: If I buy something manufactured in Asia I know what I am buying and I know that it must be cheap for something. Not only the instructions will be filled with errors, but also if it is an electric device it could set my home on fire. BUT we are talking about 40€ books!!!! If they offer you the spanish version it MUST be spanish an well translated, not Chinese approach. If I ever wanted to own any other GW book, I'd simply buy it in english, but wonder what kind of hell would be to look for rules in an english codex having a BRB in spanish... As I said in another place... Mastercrafted weapon IS precision weapon????? Now our order rules in AM are not well translated so we don't know if the rule allows you to repeat failed to hit rolls or allows us to choose target when obtaining a six. If you don't plan to do things WELL done, don't do it in first place... or at least don't sell it as "the best quality in the world". Problem is they began well, so you could enjoy your books in your language (in fact because they wanted to GROW in the 90's, before this years we simply read everything in english, and made us learn) and having most books in spanish it is complicated to adapt now an english one. Now we should asume they want to become smaller... and they are achieving it.

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    5. And regarding the problema with languages in your own city, I'd like that you come to some places in Barcelona. In our own city we are overcrowded with english and americans that are on holydays, and of ocurse most hotels and restaurants in the center of the city got their signs in english. But it is only a matter of UNDERSTANDING the needs of your customers, and try to give a proper atention to your guests, something GW has forget to do.

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  20. All this look like they threw away the proof reading department.

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    1. To be fair as a community we are not sure they ever had one.

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    2. , ,

      Add those to the sentence above where you feel they belong.

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  21. Not very wise move of GW. You guys discuss Germanic languages. But what about languages with different letters? Russians, Chinese?

    However, here in Moscow we use English versions of codexes and rules. Russian translations often made badly and generates controversy about rules.

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