Playing Pokemon helped me learn how to speak Spanish


Playing Pokemon Moon in Spanish helped me learn the language with the help of translations on the internet.

Everyone knows that Pokemon is a great franchise that has much to offer as far as games go. I believe that Pokemon can be far more than just a great video game, however, it is also a great language teacher. When Pokemon Sun and Moon came out back in 2016 I purchased both games. After completing Pokemon Sun, I decided to do my Moon play-through in Spanish.

To give a little background information, I had taken four years of Spanish in high-school. Pokemon was not my first exposure to the language, but having graduated in 2009, it had been awhile. I was surprised by the amount of words that I remembered, but I still did not understand a vast majority of what I was reading.

So how did I work out the words and phrases I did not understand?

This is where technology helped me out. The internet nowadays makes it easy to find translations and grammar rules for foreign languages. I had a translation machine opened on my computer where I could type in the words I did not understand. Also, having already played through the game made it easier because I remembered how many of the conversations went and I could figure words out.

During my Spanish play-through, I could tell I was learning quickly. I relied on translations less and less and began to recognize words and phrases that I had seen before. By the end of the game, I realized that I was reading and understanding many of the Spanish words without even translating them to English in my head.

Playing the game in Spanish was frustrating and challenging too.

BOSTON, MA – MARCH 23: In this photo provided by Nintendo of America, fans get hands-on time with Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity during PAX East at Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on March 23, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Launching on March 24, this new game in the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon franchise lets players explore infinitely changing dungeons for the first time on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Nintendo)

The game went by very slowly because I wanted to make sure I was reading and translating all the dialogue correctly. I also realized that many words could mean different things when used in different ways, just like in English. There was also the challenge of trying to learn different Spanish idioms that did not translate well to me.

Despite the painfully slow pace, I remained patient and found answers to the questions I had. In the end, I felt that my Spanish had improved dramatically and ended up going back and playing other Pokemon games in Spanish. I plan on continuing to do so for future generations as well. Knowing a second language is never a bad thing.

This experience did not only help me learn another language, it was also very unique and rewarding.

I got to experience a game I had already played from an entirely different perspective. Most Pokemon names, move names, item names, and NPC names are different. This gave the game a fresh feeling to me, even though I had just beaten it. The feeling of having a new experience on top of overcoming the challenge of playing the game in a foreign language gave this a very rewarding feeling.

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For anyone interested in an intellectual, challenging, and rewarding experience, I would highly recommend trying to play the game in a different language. The games can be played in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean, and both Mandarin and Cantonese for Chinese. Once a language is selected, however, it cannot be changed without resetting the game. I believe that this is a great experience for anyone who is a fan of Pokemon and wanting to learn a new language.