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I have not been fortunate enough to play the original Assassins Creed, only Assassins Creed II and up, so I'm hoping this is answered in the original game somewhere.

In the so-called Ezio trilogy (Assassins Creed II and it's direct sequels, Brotherhood and Revelations), your player relives the memories of his distant ancestor Ezio Auditore, an Assassin that lived in Renaissance-era Italy. As you live through his memories, the Animus device automatically translates the things you hear yourself and others say from Italian to English.

However, the translation process seems a bit odd. For example:

  • Everyone speaks English with an Italian accent; if you're hearing machine-translated speech, why add in an accent?
  • Sporadically, words are left untranslated for no apparent reason. Some of these words are vulgarities, which I can almost understand, but the Animus sometimes fails to translate words (like "assassin") that are routinely translated properly.
  • Other languages are left completely untranslated, even if Ezio speaks them fluently (e.g. a small bit of French dialogue in Brotherhood)

Out of universe, this is almost certainly done to add a bit of atmosphere, but is there any in-universe reason why it works this way?

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    I lack sourcing for this, so I won't put it as an answer, but Assassin's Creed is a pretty unique one to look at it because, in the universe, it's still a game. Or a simulation, at least. So the arguments you gave about "adding a bit of atmosphere" could be fit in universe. The whole point is that the subject immerses themselves within the life of their ancestors. Microsoft Sam would really kill it for me. – christopher Dec 20 '15 at 22:00
  • Assassin's Creed Redemption ? Never heard of that one. I think u wanna say Revelations. – yondaime008 Jan 20 '16 at 15:40
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+250

The Animus is a virtual reality engine that reads and projects an individual's genetic memory, allowing him or her to access the memories of an ancestor. (This is not how genetic memory works in real life, but this is a fantasy game after all...)

In-universe, the Animus went through several stages of developments and versions. In the cutaway videos for Assassin's Creed II, it is noted at one point that this version of the device still has "laggy translation software", despite other advances in its design.

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From this, I would gather that the translation service is rather slow and cannot (a) correct for accent in real-time and (b) misses some words.

One of the reasons for the laggy software may be the use of pirated Animi in ACII onwards. (Thanks @Keen for reminding me of this fact.)

  • It's worth mentioning that in AC2 and later, they're using pirated Animuses, so maybe that's where the flaws come from. Some bug from the cobbled-together nature of the gear. – user1027 Jan 20 '16 at 2:31
  • @Keen : Good point, I'll add that in. Thanks! :-) – Praxis Jan 20 '16 at 2:33
  • Don't forget, these events took place in 2012. Machine-to-speech is still in development to this day ;) (hey, this is supposed to be the secret history of the real world, right?) – thegreatjedi Jan 20 '16 at 5:30
  • The plural is Animi btw. Vidic drops it in the opening to Brotherhood's multiplayer – IG_42 Jan 20 '16 at 11:38

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