Hitman 3’s Dubai level is full of poorly translated Arabic

Hitman 3 is a fantastic game, but has had a bit of a troubled launch. Not only are its servers going haywire, but it also appears that some of its Arabic signs are wonky and inaccurate. Some Arabic-speakers have spoken out and criticized this part of the recently released stealth game.

Hitman 3‘s rough Arabic signs

Rami Ismail, half of the now-disbanded studio Vlambeer, tweeted out his criticisms of the game that Egypt-based indie developer Omar Samir originally pointed out. Samir then elaborated, saying that the text written from left to right, which is the opposite of what it should be. Ismail also brought up a website he made in order to help people know bad Arabic in media when they see it.

Hitman 3's Dubai level is full of poorly translated Arabic

A few of these words in the above picture are mistranslated. For example, according to Samir, “server room” is not like a room full of computer hardware, but more like “The Butler’s Room.” It’s the wrong kind of “server.” The problem with the “Maintenance” part is that it is the same as Arabic words for “Meeting Room,” which is in the upper left part of the sign.

Another issue lies within the way the words are written out. Arabic is almost entirely written in cursive, meaning the letters should connect to one another. But the picture shows them as separate entities. It would be like cursive letters in English having spaces in between each letter instead of being connected (and, this case, each letter would be backwards, too). That would be noticeable for English speakers so it is only natural that these inaccuracies would be very noticeable to the many, many people in the world who can speak and read Arabic.

But not all is lost. In addition to expressing that this is his favorite Hitman game, Samir says that some of the Arabic in the posters and billboards around the game are correct. It’s odd to have such discrepancies, but Samir guesses that this might be because of the iterative processes in game development where some parts change. Rooms and signs might have to be switched around while something like a poster probably wouldn’t have to be iterated on so heavily.

While not exactly the same situation, this is reminiscent of how Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 handled its signs in its Karachi level, according to Kotaku. Infinity Ward used Arabic for its signs, but didn’t take into account that Urdu and English are the primary languages there.