Mailbag: Two letters about IF and language

This Mailbag post we have two related letters, and I don’t have a super-long answer to either, but I suspect readers may be interested and perhaps have their own comments to contribute:

Are you aware of any IF that has been produced in any endangered, minoritized, or indigenous languages? The only example I’ve come across is Harry Giles’ work in Scots:

I’m not very familiar with the IF world, and your site has been very educational. I’ve tried a few keyword searches to locate works that might not be in the IF databases, but found no other results.

IF would seem to be a useful format for sharing and learning underresourced languages. I’m currently working with folks in the Cherokee and Lakota communities on a handful of translation and localization projects, and I can’t imagine I’m the first to be exploring this area. I would be grateful for any insights. Thanks in advance for your time.

It would be fine to post my note, especially if you thought others might be interested. I’m writing a bit (and curating writing) about work in this area here:

— Derek Lackaff, Ph.D., Associate Director, Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, Elon University

I don’t know of a lot of such works but I do know Kevin Snow’s “Beneath Floes” ( ) was translated into Inuktitut.

There is also IF in Esperanto, but that is possibly not what you had in mind. And of course there’s IF that’s been written specifically to teach a well-known language (such as German).

It’s also possible readers of this blog will know of more instances — in which case, input would be very welcome!


The second one is less a question and more a request for advocacy and tech support. I don’t have the skills required to help myself, but I am willing to signal-boost the request:

hi my name is [redacted]. i read your post about what kind of game IDE to use to develop a game i wish to offer you an idea that will give you some revenues most interactive fiction game authoring software is in English or Latin based languages , and there is no software that give support for the RTL languages like Arabic and Farsi and Urdu and other Arabic alphabet based languages, and its huge market to simply ignore so you could just advocate interactive fiction organization to  add that functionality to an existing MIT licensed interactive systems like twine which you could use as closed source if you would like to or make it open source and monetize it through paid support , for me i searched and searched for any interactive fiction software that support utf-8 or Unicode RTL style of writing but nothing came up, so its a great chance and any help you need for testing in Arabic i am ready best wishes maged

p.s : there is a lot of Arabic young writers who wish to present their fiction and works in a new way but there isn’t tools available for them

Unfortunately, I don’t have the means to address this myself, and Chris Klimas remarked that it’s no easy task finding a volunteer to localize Twine to other languages. But if someone does have some Arabic language IF they would like to have maged test, I have contact information and permission to pass it on to suitable parties.

3 thoughts on “Mailbag: Two letters about IF and language”

  1. The IFDB lists all games by language if you click “Show all language codes used in game listings”.

    The situation with IF tools in Arabic should be on par with software programming tools in Arabic. (Not great.) One can write the text in RTL Unicode but the program has to be in a LTR language like Javascript or Ink. Perhaps it would be easier to start from the gamebook niche?

  2. Demain’s gamebook pages has a languages category.

    Farsi and Arabic are on there. (“The Evil of Dr. Happiness” was translated into Arabic: “As a European secret agent, you must infiltrate an island in the Caribbean which is the hideout of a villain nicknamed Mr. Happiness. Your objective is to foil his development of highly destructive weapons and capture or kill him.”)

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