Date
13 December 2017
English acronyms such as HP, or health points, are no longer allowed in mobile and online games distributed in China. Photo: Internet
English acronyms such as HP, or health points, are no longer allowed in mobile and online games distributed in China. Photo: Internet

China clamps down on English words in mobile games

China has issued a new set of rules banning the use of practically all English words in mobile and online games.

From July 1, mobile game developers are required to replace all English words appearing in mobile games with Simplified Chinese, Phoenix New Media reports, citing a memorandum issued by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).

Under the new rules, mobile game developers are not allowed to publish any games without official permission from SAPPRFT while all games pending approval will have to be reviewed again.

Foreign developers are also required to translate characters and tools written in English into Simplified Chinese.

Traditional Chinese characters as well as “violent” words are also banned.

The SAPPRFT said the direct use of English words or abbreviations in games seriously damages the Chinese language’s purity and standards while destroying the harmony in the language environment, resulting in adverse social impacts.

Phoenix New Media reported that several Chinese developers received notices that their mobile games were rejected for using “unnecessary English words”.

However, the banned words are commonly used in games worldwide because they are well known to users.

The banned English words include “ready, get set, go!” in racing games, “VS”, “KO”, “SP” and “HP” in war games, and “mission start”, “complete” and “warning” in most games.

The rules also forbid developers from using the English word “new” when releasing updated versions of games.

Even the common expression “props x 1″ in games is banned because the multiplication sign “x” is similar to the English letter “x”.

Phoenix New Media said the new rules are adding new challenges to game developers at a time when the country’s economy is slowing.

This is not the first time government censors have imposed restrictions on the use of English.

In April 2010, state broadcaster China Central Television was ordered to stop using English acronyms, such as NBA, GDP, WTO and CPI, in anchors’ scripts, reporters’ interviews and subtitles.

Translation by Chloe Chow

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