Date of Award

Spring 6-2024

Document Type

M.A. Essay

First Advisor

James Dorsey

Second Advisor

Roopika Risam


The official trailer for the globally popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) World of Warcraft Patch 5.2: The Thunder King featured an original English poem, subsequently translated into 10 other languages. All versions retained a poetic form, with the one release in mainland China creatively borrowing the tetrasyllabic verse style akin to that used in Shijing, the first anthology of Chinese poetry. This unprecedented adaptation of a literary genre in the localization of a non-literary video game product blurred the conceptual boundary between Lawrence Venuti's binary notions of foreignization and domestication in translation theory.

Viewed in light of Eugene Nida's three-stage translation framework (analysis, transfer, restructuring) and Stuart Hall's four-stage model of communication (production, circulation, consumption, reproduction), this case study demonstrates how the classical Chinese poetic form, mediated through the interactive video game platform, breaks free from its purely literary origins to become itself the "medium" in the sense of Marshall McLuhan’s seminal claim that “the medium is the message.”

That is, the poetic style itself, to a large extent, dictates how the content is conveyed and presented, embodying rich cultural connotations beyond the literal meaning of its content. This seamless integration of an ancient literary heritage into a modern multimedia environment represents a pioneering act of transcreation, artfully reinventing the source material while preserving its affective resonance for a new audience. As such, this perspective provides an innovative approach that contributes to the theorization of localization practice within Translation Studies.