Should Major Tournaments Have Bilingual Casts?

Jul 27, 2016

Last week I wrote about Wings’ gaming BLink and y Innocence casting at The Summit 5. The subject of bilingual casts has been fairly contentious in the past. At The Summit 3, BTS invited Chuan to cast. Both times, the community feedback was mixed. Some viewers enjoyed hearing a new perspective – i.e. a pro player who isn’t usually part of an English panel. Many others found that waiting for the translator to finish translating the player commentary meant a lot of missed kills or delayed information.

Chuan stopped by the couch to cast Vici Gaming vs. Secret. 

Many of those complaints where echoed after BTS invited Wings’ gaming to cast during The Summit 5.

So, do bilingual casts have a place in tournaments? Are they a way to bridge the gap between different scenes or too distracting during big games?

A few users on Reddit mentioned enjoying the dual cast as it helped them reinforce their language skills. Viewers who understand both languages spoken during a bilingual cast enjoy them, but that’s a pretty small group of people typically. For Dota, bilingual casts have been in English/Mandarin. People who speak English/Mandarin probably represent a smaller percentage of viewers compared to English/Spanish, for example. I’d be interested in a dual English/Spanish cast as I understand Spanish acceptably well. Again, that’s a small percentage of the whole viewer base though.

Other Perspectives

This past weekend I attended the wedding of two great friends. I had an opportunity to chat with the groom’s brother about eSports – turns out he watches a lot of Twitch! I asked him what he thought about the potential to have bilingual casts in CS:GO, especially as he is fluent in two languages. He made an excellent point that games like CS:GO are probably way too fast paced to have everything repeated twice. By the time the translator is finished, ten other things have happened.  He also pointed out that the use of subtitles [on TV] helps him focus in on what’s happening and tune out the audio that he doesn’t understand.

Subtitles could present a compromise – like closed captioning on live TV, have a translator behind the scenes continually typing out the subtitles. This way a live translator doesn’t have to wait 20-30 seconds for the caster to finish speaking and repeat it all back – the delay would be a lot shorter.

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Ultimately, I don’t at all mind bilingual casts during Dota matches as I’m able to follow what’s going on without the audio commentary. I’m not sure how I’d do watching an Overwatch stream in two languages though. During the laning phase, there’s usually a decent amount of “down time” that the casters have to fill with analysis, so waiting for a translation doesn’t take anything away from the cast.

I think bilingual casts have a place for one or two games or even a series during a tournament, especially if many international teams are attending. We should celebrate the diverse player base!

So you’ve heard my thoughts on the matter, tell us yours!

Voice your opinion in our Twitter Poll about Bilingual Casts!

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Kara Jacobacci
Kara has been following professional DotA2 since the TI4 qualifiers. When not watching matches on Twitch, she can be found working (or attempting to find work) as a geologist and enjoying nature.
What do you think?

ayy lmao









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