Minecraft Legends launched today on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, and PC, and Mojang Studios has apologized because it turns out its Arabic translation / localization is bad to the point of unusable. Mojang has promised to delivered a fixed Arabic translation as quickly as possible, but it’s still an extraordinarily bad look for a company that is owned by money-clenching behemoth Microsoft.
The relevant part of Mojang’s apology for Minecraft Legends began, “(R)ecently, we started receiving feedback about the Arabic localization, specifically that it was incorrect in various ways, rendering the translation unusable and forcing players to use English instead. Obviously, we’ve messed up, and we are deeply sorry.” The studio continued, “We apologize to our Arab players in particular. We promised we’d make Minecraft Legends a more inclusive experience for you, and we did not deliver on that.”
It’s baffling that Mojang could not hire an independent party to perform a quality check on whichever party submitted the Arabic localization, specifically to avoid an embarrassing worst-case scenario like this. It brings to mind Kumail Nanjiani’s 2011 comedy set where he pointed out that all the Pakistani signs in a Call of Duty game were written in the completely wrong language. That isn’t a problem that has subsided either, as Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 has received backlash for its translation problems as well.
Fortunately, Minecraft Legends is a lot less politically charged than Call of Duty, but it’s going to take some work for Mojang to make amends for this oversight with the Arabic translation.