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Romhacking => Script Help and Language Discussion => Topic started by: tagengo on July 27, 2012, 10:49:50 am

Title: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: tagengo on July 27, 2012, 10:49:50 am
Many people seem to really dislike a number of official translations (i.e. North American/European versions) of games.

Some of these are because the translation is poor (the English is bad), but other times it's in reaction to the changes that have bean made.


Which types of changes (compared to the original) in a game do you think are bad?
Are any changes in games good, in your opinion? If so what?
Are some things OK to change, while others are not?

Would love to hear everyone's opinion on this!  :)
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: DarknessSavior on July 27, 2012, 11:12:32 am
I think it's generally pretty universal. If the translation is bad (the English is poorly written, things are mistranslated), people won't like it. If there's censorship (pub -> cafe, getting rid of religious references or graphics, removal of images of scantily clad women, etc), people will usually have issues with it (but not necessarily enough to dislike a game - see Chrono Trigger or Castlevania III).

Or in the case of romhackers, they'll sometimes have issue with the way a game is programmed. The game uses an awful font (Terranigma), most of the names of items and whatnot have to be cut off because of lazy programming (just about any RPG ever).

For example, I hate the official translation of ActRaiser 2 for two reasons. One, the translation was heavily censored. It's supposed to be about the seven deadly sins, but they removed most of that content. Two, the game was actually made HARDER for English-speaking audiences. Which basically makes the game nigh-unplayable.

There's exceptions to all of these. For example, Demon's Crest was made harder when it was brought over. But I still love it. I dislike the translation and the difficulty increase. But I still love the game.

~DS
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: tagengo on July 27, 2012, 12:27:55 pm
Are the changes in games only for censorship?

What do think about changes/deletions intended to make a games less 'foreign' (if there are such instances)?
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: DarknessSavior on July 27, 2012, 01:38:12 pm
Are the changes in games only for censorship?

What do think about changes/deletions intended to make a games less 'foreign' (if there are such instances)?
Not necessarily. Like the difficulty changes aren't censoring anything. Or in...say, Breath of Fire II. They changed character names (Rin Pu -> Katt, for example). It wasn't censoring anything, that was just a poor attempt at localizing.

~DS
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on July 27, 2012, 02:39:09 pm
The name changes aren't an issue. The simple fact is, the entire translation is a clusterbomb. The whole thing is a mechanical conversion from Japanese, and it's a stilted, awkward mess. It's supposed to be a lighthearted fantasy romp with a crunchy center of drama, but with the bizarre, slightly unhinged feel to all the character dialogue, it feels more like a trip through a medieval Twin Peaks.

Good thing I stepped in when I did. :3
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: DarknessSavior on July 27, 2012, 03:09:44 pm
The name changes aren't an issue. The simple fact is, the entire translation is a clusterbomb. The whole thing is a mechanical conversion from Japanese, and it's a stilted, awkward mess. It's supposed to be a lighthearted fantasy romp with a crunchy center of drama, but with the bizarre, slightly unhinged feel to all the character dialogue, it feels more like a trip through a medieval Twin Peaks.

Good thing I stepped in when I did. :3
Oh, I wasn't implying that the name changes were the ONLY thing wrong with it. I was just using it as an example of stupid name changes. I don't know who thought "Katt" was a good idea. That'd have been like calling Bow/Boche "Bark" or "Dogg". >_>

~DS
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Spooniest on July 27, 2012, 03:32:13 pm
calling Bow/Boche "Bark" or "Dogg". >_>

~DS

I was under the impression that his name (in the butchered US release) was "Bow" like when a dog says "Bow wow." Which is stupid.

But Bosch is a cool sounding name. Really, that BoFII Translation is just essential.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: KingMike on July 27, 2012, 03:58:44 pm
He goes bow-wow when he's not shooting things with his bows.
Someone probably thought the double pun was genious.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Gideon Zhi on July 27, 2012, 04:06:55 pm
Most official translations - especially these days - are fine. The kind of people who have a problem with them are the kind who don't know any better. I myself was guilty of this 10-15 years ago! There was a link I saw some time ago, I'll see if I can dig it out over the next few hours, but it basically said something to the effect that it's the dumb people who think they're smart don't know enough to know that they're smart, but it takes a certain kind of smarts to know your own inadequacies. I've gained some of that over the years.

In the 16-bit era standards for localization were much, much lower. Some of the most common complaints come at the expense of Ted Woolsey's stuff, where liberties were taken or incidental stuff gotten wrong, but given both the time and corporate constraints he was working under, he did a marvelous job. They're good even compared to other localizations of the time, and I'd argue that they still hold up today, despite a few unimportant things (item names, monster names) he might have gotten wrong. Most localizations of the time were of reasonable quality, though. The further back you go, the lower the standards and consequently the lower the quality.

Of course, there are exceptions. Breath of Fire 2's been brought up, and yes, it is a *huge* mess. Another example is Assault Suits Valken, whose localization (as "Cybernator") removed literally half of the events where characters spoke, as well as (under corporate concern, I'm sure) a scene in the final level where the enemy president commits suicide. I'm sure the reason the speaking events were removed was that Konami corporate thought that they interfered with the gameplay (as they came up during the action, while the player goes through the levels, and they do not *halt* the action in the way all of the text that remains does) but it still removes a lot of character (and, uh, actual characters) from the story.

As far as changes to make a game less "foreign", it depends on the change. If it alters the gameplay balance, then it's probably not a good thing. (See: changing yen to dollars in Persona 1 for PS1.) Otherwise? I suppose it depends on how large the change is. If you're talking about completely altering the setting and the characters? Probably not a good thing. If it's more along fixing jokes that people wouldn't get? By all means, go ahead.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: LostTemplar on July 27, 2012, 04:20:43 pm
Recently I've been playing a lot of Xenoblade in Japanese, but sometimes peeked at an English guide on GameFAQs. What I instantly noticed is that a lot - if not all - names were changed during localization. This is one of the things that is often frowned upon by fan boys, but I think it was quite adequate most of the times. Foreign names made up by Japanese writers usually just sound stupid to Western ears (especially in this game, where there are literally hundreds). It's interesting that the translators even tried to keep the initial letter of each name and to make it at least sound similar to the Japanese original, but not too weird. I haven't seen that much else of the translation, but it at least seems like it was done very well.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on July 27, 2012, 05:24:46 pm
One recurring issue is that sometimes people will complain about "name changes" that are simply different translations/romanizations. It's at its most annoying when the "original" "Japanese" "translation" is wrong and the "butchered" official English name is right. Yes, I'm still bitter from the bad old days of the Yu-Gi-Oh! fandom, but things are getting better. Even if I do sometimes run into someone who stubbornly clings to "Exceed" instead of "Xyz" (the original is エクシーズ).

Again: name changes aren't intrinsically a bad thing. Neither is Westernization, really. It's just a matter of how ham-handed the localization as a whole is. Phoenix Wright is not the same animal as your typical 4Kids dub.

Spoiler:
I'll confess that, should I ever make it that far, I do intend to use some of the names 4Kids came up with for Fighting Foodons in my Bistro Recipe translation. "Fried Ricer," "Omelette," and "Applegator" spring immediately to mind. Also "Glutton" for the villain rather than "Bishocker," a pun on 美食家. Seriously thinking of "King Gorge" for their leader rather than "Don Cook." Probably going to stick with the Japanese names for the main cast, mind, but I'll admit I'm also considering changing the title screen to the Fighting Foodons logo, just for recognition's sake. Broken clocks, and all that...
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: DarknessSavior on July 27, 2012, 05:44:48 pm
Phoenix Wright is actually an example of localization that I absolutely love. Just as an example, in Japanese the titular character is "Naruhodou Ryuuichi". That's a pun on なるほど (roughly "Oh, I see!" or "That's right!") with another word that contains the kanji for "dragon". Phoenix Wright is slightly changed, but incredibly genius as far as localization is concerned.

All of the names in that series are like that.

~DS
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: geishaboy on July 27, 2012, 08:46:45 pm
The whole idea of people complaining about translations doesn't make much sense. If someone complains that the English translation doesn't match or do justice to the Japanese original, then that would mean that they are proficient enough in Japanese to understand the Japanese version in it's original state, meaning that they could play the Japanese version just fine, meaning that they would have no need for an English translation in the first place.

I think a lot of what Gideon said holds true. I think a lot of people out there like to dismiss official translations because they get a kick out of convincing themselves that they are more knowledgeable about the Japanese language than professional translators with relevant qualifications and years of experience. It also makes me chuckle when people talk about the poor writing in translated games, especially the ones from yester-year. I hate to break it you, but the originals weren't exactly Shakespeare.

I can understand people getting pissy about censorship and other major modifications made during the localization process, but it is an unavoidable reality of the translation industry. It happens with a lot of things, not only games.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: BRPXQZME on July 27, 2012, 11:37:59 pm
The whole idea of people complaining about translations doesn't make much sense. If someone complains that the English translation doesn't match or do justice to the Japanese original, then that would mean that they are proficient enough in Japanese to understand the Japanese version in it's original state, meaning that they could play the Japanese version just fine, meaning that they would have no need for an English translation in the first place.
We’re talking Comic Book Guy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_Book_Guy)-grade nerdery here. I’m afraid the ontology really hasn’t much to do with it.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: DarknessSavior on July 28, 2012, 12:35:15 pm
The whole idea of people complaining about translations doesn't make much sense. If someone complains that the English translation doesn't match or do justice to the Japanese original, then that would mean that they are proficient enough in Japanese to understand the Japanese version in it's original state, meaning that they could play the Japanese version just fine, meaning that they would have no need for an English translation in the first place.

I think a lot of what Gideon said holds true. I think a lot of people out there like to dismiss official translations because they get a kick out of convincing themselves that they are more knowledgeable about the Japanese language than professional translators with relevant qualifications and years of experience. It also makes me chuckle when people talk about the poor writing in English translated games, especially the ones from yester-year. hate to break it you, but the originals weren't exactly Shakespeare.

I can understand people getting pissy about censorship and other major modifications made during the localization process, but it is an unavoidable reality of the translation industry. It happens with a lot of things, not only games.
I agree with most of what you said here, except a few things.

The people who are pointing out translation errors and censorship and whatnot, who could just play the Japanese versions? We're not fluent in Japanese, for one. I doubt very many of us fan translators have JLPT 1 certifications and are able to read all of the kanji and know all of the vocabulary in a Japanese release. I for example could probably get a JLPT 2, and for example, was able to play through Gensou Suikoden with no problems. But did I understand 100% of it? Nope. And I wouldn't be able to without hours upon hours of work looking up words and kanji I don't know (granted, this is actually something I want to do in the future, but it's a good example). So wanting an English-language version that isn't censored or doesn't have screwed up translations isn't a bad thing.

Also, you're forgetting an entire group of people who are being misinformed or losing out on parts of those games: the people who don't speak a lick of Japanese. Now, I know there's a whole group of people out there who couldn't give a damn. But there are numerous people (many of whom are here at RHDN) who appreciate the efforts of people who do re-translations for those reasons.

Are there people out there who are idiots, throwing out official translations just because they're the official ones? Yes. Just like they're people who will always say that subtitled versions of anime are better than dubbed ones, despite the quality of English dubs improving many times over in the last decade or so. Go watch the dub of Death Note, for example. They did an amazing job there. But there are people who will still say that you should never watch it, because the Japanese dub is so much better. I call bullshit there. Like you said, the original isn't exactly Shakespeare.

Go look at the DS translation of Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions or Final Fantasy XII. Those are amazing official translations. You'll be hard pressed to find people saying anything bad about them because they're amazing. And like Gideon said, there are definitely some 16-bit translations that while not word-for-word from the Japanese text are still amazing works of art in their own right. But that doesn't mean that some translations don't deserve to be cut down and replaced with better ones.

~DS
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on July 28, 2012, 04:31:16 pm
In short: the people who complain the most about translations are the ones who understand the least.

Japanese knowledge is unnecessary and in fact counterproductive to the Way of the Weeaboo, which is fueled by ignorance: it doesn't matter whether the translation is "good," only that it is "accurate," which in this context means "keeping true to the source material as closely as possible by using awkward grammar and leaving as many words untranslated as possible." They don't know a lick of Japanese; they just know what they want, and what they want is "whatever doesn't look like heathen English."
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: DarknessSavior on July 28, 2012, 04:33:17 pm
Yep.

This is why I've taken the Deuce approach to translations. I like to try and maintain a balance between saying-what-the-Japanese-script-says and making-sure-it-sounds-good-in-English. If that balance is impossible, I tend to lean towards the latter.

~DS
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: LostTemplar on July 28, 2012, 04:54:28 pm
In short: the people who complain the most about translations are the ones who understand the least.

True.

Only slightly related, but also aggravating as hell: when people complain that the German (I guess it's the same with other languages as well) translation allegedly is inaccurate because it differs from the English translation, although both have been directly translated from Japanese. I hate that. People are so ignorant; don't speak a word of Japanese but think they can judge a translation's quality. Often, they don't even know that Japanese was the source. One example: Final Fantasy IX. One of the characters in the theater group in the beginning speaks Kansai-ben in the original, which in the English version was just ignored and rendered with standard English, while the German translator used a Bavarian dialect for this character. Both are valid approaches, and using a dialect can be questioned in other ways, but saying that it's stupid just because it's not in the English version is just that, stupid. Even in the German Wikipedia article for the game that I just checked they state that the translator came up with the idea of using a dialect. That's what you get when just about everyone can edit articles...
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Bregalad on July 28, 2012, 06:01:01 pm
It's true people who don't know Japanese, like me, can't judge the quality of the translation.
HOWEVER the can juge the quality of the final script. For example, even though English is my 2nd language and that I don't know a word of Japanese (well technically a few words but that's all), I can tell BOF2 was not greatly translated because a good part of the English script makes few sense to me and was obviously too simple to fit the situation.

Phoenix Wright games were well translated in French, despite the fact Justice for All had some errors, the first game and Trials & Tribulations were perfectly tranlated.
But then Capcom and/or Nintendo decided NOT to translate the sequel,  Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth at all, which is why I am pissed about official translations.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: tagengo on July 31, 2012, 06:21:49 am
Only slightly related, but also aggravating as hell: when people complain that the German (I guess it's the same with other languages as well) translation allegedly is inaccurate because it differs from the English translation, although both have been directly translated from Japanese.

Hi LT,

Sorry to bombard you with questions, but this is a really interesting point to me.  :)

Do you think people hold all the official versions of a game as equally 'canon', or is the source game (which is usually Japanese, right?) seen as 'different' or more valid somehow?

Is the English version seen as more valid by players?

You said that some judge the German on its differences from the English version, does this happen a lot with German players? Why do you think it may be?

How has any of this changed the way you or others translate games?

Does anyone know if anything like this happens among players in other languages? Or something different?
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: LostTemplar on July 31, 2012, 07:30:20 am
Do you think people hold all the official versions of a game as equally 'canon', or is the source game (which is usually Japanese, right?) seen as 'different' or more valid somehow?

Is the English version seen as more valid by players?

I think these questions belong together. It probably depends on what games you're talking about; I have the feeling that games that were originally animes are more often compared to the Japanese version than others - the reason for this might be that it's a lot more common to watch the Japanese dub with subtitles in the anime scene. But with "normal" JRPGs I'm fairly sure that most German gamers see the English version as canon and simply ignore the Japanese one because they don't understand it. For more possible reasons see below.

You said that some judge the German on its differences from the English version, does this happen a lot with German players? Why do you think it may be?

Almost no one in Germany speaks Japanese, but almost everyone understands (to a varying degree of course) English. Often, it's seen as some kind of superpower to be able to understand Japanese. That's maybe why the people are often oblivious to the fact that today a lot of games are actually translated from Japanese and not indirectly from the English version (as was usually the case in the SNES-era). And now, if they see there's a difference between the English and German version, they thusly automatically think it's the German version that's "wrong", despite usually none of them being wrong, just different (see the example with the translated dialect. I've read quite some threads about that "dialect problem", but no one even considered the idea that it was there in the Japanese version). It's also a lot easier to acquire an English version (e.g. by getting it from the UK - but even importing from the US is easier than from Japan).

It's even worse when you have an English dub with German subtitles (e.g. Final Fantasy X) because then the differences are very obvious.

How has any of this changed the way you or others translate games?

I usually ignore those people because if they're that attached to the English version, they should play that one instead of the German one. But if you look into the German ROM translation scene you'll see that probably 99% of the games are translated from English, not Japanese.

A few months ago, I showed off a few screenshots of the in-progress Far East of Eden Zero translation to fellow German ROM hackers, both in English (Tom's translation) and German (my rendition). The first reaction was along the lines of "But that's not what it says in the English screenshot" ;) I went on to explain that actually I was closer to the original, but both translations were perfectly valid.

Does anyone know if anything like this happens among players in other languages? Or something different?

I'd guess so, but maybe it's especially prevalant in Germany because German is a Germanic language, just like English, so most people tend to understand English. And because we're nit-picking bastards.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: BRPXQZME on July 31, 2012, 10:44:52 am
I can attest to some of these attitudes among the Dutch gamers I’ve had the pleasure of playing with. Might be a biased selection, what with the fellows I’ve played with being very good at English (as opposed to just good).

To some extent I can sympathize with the nit-picking, though. I for one try to avoid side-by-side comparisons unless it’s an actual project I’m working on; it’s a bit aggravating to get the mixed messages.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: tagengo on July 31, 2012, 11:07:47 am
I can attest to some of these attitudes among the Dutch gamers I’ve had the pleasure of playing with. Might be a biased selection, what with the fellows I’ve played with being very good at English (as opposed to just good).

To some extent I can sympathize with the nit-picking, though. I for one try to avoid side-by-side comparisons unless it’s an actual project I’m working on; it’s a bit aggravating to get the mixed messages.

When you get a mix of opinions from people like these, how do you decide which ones to take on board/ignore and how do they affect the way you translate (if at all)?

Do you also find that Dutch gamers are unaware that the games are originally in Japanese?
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: BRPXQZME on July 31, 2012, 12:02:59 pm
When you get a mix of opinions from people like these, how do you decide which ones to take on board/ignore and how do they affect the way you translate (if at all)?
I don’t really get this question... opinions are opinions. I might take particular stock in an opinion if it’s well-stated or it’s from a good friend, but for the most part I couldn’t even tell you whose opinions form my own, besides me. Past grade school courses, I’ve never had to have someone beat their opinion into me as far as translation goes; I apply the beatings to myself just fine.

Do you also find that Dutch gamers are unaware that the games are originally in Japanese?
No, absolutely not. But again, it’s a small sample space and I don’t really “live in” that community, so I couldn’t say that the way LostTemplar could say that about German-speaking gamers. The people I’ve played with are kind of hardcore, going to that effort to play video games in a foreign language (maybe that doesn’t seem that amazing in places where this is a commonplace behavior for gamers, but by the standards of the monolingual culture that surrounds me it sure is).
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: tagengo on July 31, 2012, 12:49:55 pm
I don’t really get this question... opinions are opinions. I might take particular stock in an opinion if it’s well-stated or it’s from a good friend, but for the most part I couldn’t even tell you whose opinions form my own, besides me. Past grade school courses, I’ve never had to have someone beat their opinion into me as far as translation goes; I apply the beatings to myself just fine.

Sorry, what I meant was:  Do you use other people's (other gamers) opinions of your translations to refine your translation style in any way?
And if so, how would you filter through the range of (contradictory) opinions to decide which ones to pay attention to (or maybe you treat them all equally)?

But you say that knowing a person makes you more likely to pay attention to their opinion? Does that apply to people you know better on forums like this, too?

(again, sorry to bombard with questions, I hope I'm not being considered rude).
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: BRPXQZME on July 31, 2012, 01:54:48 pm
Sorry, what I meant was:  Do you use other people's (other gamers) opinions of your translations to refine your translation style in any way?
Although the opinions of others have certainly influenced my translation style, it’s only rarely been a conscious decision (e.g. matters of grammar and rhetoric, or in the debate on dynamic/functional and formal equivalence). To my knowledge, I don’t think anyone’s really gone and critically evaluated my translations (all of which are Japanese to English, and the only major work that’s been released (http://projectnemo.net/) is a rough first draft intended for double translation) in a very long time, and I don’t put out a whole lot for anyone to work with should they wish to do so.

And if so, how would you filter through the range of (contradictory) opinions to decide which ones to pay attention to (or maybe you treat them all equally)?

But you say that knowing a person makes you more likely to pay attention to their opinion? Does that apply to people you know better on forums like this, too?
Yes, and yes. When you look at Aristotle’s discussion of the three appeals (logos, ethos, and pathos), he’s right on the money for my tastes. I’d prefer to be swayed by logic, but for convenience’ sake I must defer to authorities or loyalties many times, and only occasionally for serious matters but often for entertainment matters I would be swayed by feelings.

(again, sorry to bombard with questions, I hope I'm not being considered rude).
Nah, it’s okay. It feeds my ego like a plant that appears from a green lightning bolt during an eclipse.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: tagengo on August 01, 2012, 10:03:10 am
I usually ignore those people because if they're that attached to the English version, they should play that one instead of the German one. But if you look into the German ROM translation scene you'll see that probably 99% of the games are translated from English, not Japanese.


Have you experienced people criticise in the same way but comparing the Japanese text?
How would/do you react differently to those who offer criticisms based on the Japanese version, compared to those who criticise based on the English version?

A few months ago, I showed off a few screenshots of the in-progress Far East of Eden Zero translation to fellow German ROM hackers, both in English (Tom's translation) and German (my rendition). The first reaction was along the lines of "But that's not what it says in the English screenshot" ;) I went on to explain that actually I was closer to the original, but both translations were perfectly valid.

How did people react to this new information about the 'real original'?
Do you think people changed their minds and accepted your translation after you told them this, in any way?
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Vanya on August 01, 2012, 03:01:07 pm
I agree with most of what you said here, except a few things.

The people who are pointing out translation errors and censorship and whatnot, who could just play the Japanese versions? We're not fluent in Japanese, for one. I doubt very many of us fan translators have JLPT 1 certifications and are able to read all of the kanji and know all of the vocabulary in a Japanese release. I for example could probably get a JLPT 2, and for example, was able to play through Gensou Suikoden with no problems. But did I understand 100% of it? Nope. And I wouldn't be able to without hours upon hours of work looking up words and kanji I don't know (granted, this is actually something I want to do in the future, but it's a good example). So wanting an English-language version that isn't censored or doesn't have screwed up translations isn't a bad thing.

Also, you're forgetting an entire group of people who are being misinformed or losing out on parts of those games: the people who don't speak a lick of Japanese. Now, I know there's a whole group of people out there who couldn't give a damn. But there are numerous people (many of whom are here at RHDN) who appreciate the efforts of people who do re-translations for those reasons.

Are there people out there who are idiots, throwing out official translations just because they're the official ones? Yes. Just like they're people who will always say that subtitled versions of anime are better than dubbed ones, despite the quality of English dubs improving many times over in the last decade or so. Go watch the dub of Death Note, for example. They did an amazing job there. But there are people who will still say that you should never watch it, because the Japanese dub is so much better. I call bullshit there. Like you said, the original isn't exactly Shakespeare.

Go look at the DS translation of Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions or Final Fantasy XII. Those are amazing official translations. You'll be hard pressed to find people saying anything bad about them because they're amazing. And like Gideon said, there are definitely some 16-bit translations that while not word-for-word from the Japanese text are still amazing works of art in their own right. But that doesn't mean that some translations don't deserve to be cut down and replaced with better ones.

~DS

I pretty much agree with all of this here.

Personally I prefer my translations to be as exact as possible, as some of you have seen from my nit-picking calls for translation help. For me it's because sometimes some of the original intent of the creators of a game seems to get a little undermined but the localization process. A lot of people don't care so much, but I actually enjoy discovering some of Japan-isms that can get lost.

As far as name changes during localizations, I usually find them superfluous. There are some that I understand, Tina -> Terra for example is understand able since in Japanese Tina is more exotic sounding, but not in English where Terra has the same flavor. In contrast, Macias -> Sabin seems pretty random to me with no real purpose, that is unless I'm missing something. Then there are those where it seems the localizer just didn't get what the Japanese was trying to convey. In FFT you have this: ARUFONSU DURAKUROWA -> Alphons Draclau -> Alphonse Delacroix. Obviously the FFT guy seems to have completely missed the mark, where as the more recent WotL guy understood better what was intened. Personally, I would have prefered the corect French spelling, D'Lacroix, but I do tend to nit-pick. However, I do understand some liberties should be taken when things are too Japanese like Kururu -> Krile in FFV. Krile is a shitty name for a little girl, but what the hell were they supposed to do with Kururu? I wouldn't have blamed them if they had renamed her Karen or something.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on August 01, 2012, 04:48:01 pm
However, I do understand some liberties should be taken when things are too Japanese like Kururu -> Krile in FFV. Krile is a shitty name for a little girl, but what the hell were they supposed to do with Kururu?

Clule. No, seriously, I remember seeing that coming up as an official (Japanese) romanization.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: BRPXQZME on August 01, 2012, 05:20:33 pm
I would have prefered the corect French spelling, D'Lacroix
wut
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on August 01, 2012, 05:22:03 pm
Yeah, I've...never seen "D'Lacroix." Only "Delacroix."
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Hiei- on August 01, 2012, 06:05:55 pm
It's "Delacroix".
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: FallenAngel2387 on August 01, 2012, 06:31:49 pm
Just out of curiosity, has anything else turned out BoF2 bad?
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on August 01, 2012, 07:04:13 pm
Final Fantasy Tactics.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: DarknessSavior on August 01, 2012, 07:09:07 pm
Final Fantasy Tactics.
Oh, come now. Sure there were a lot of translation mistakes, but it wasn't NEARLY as bad as Breath of Fire II. You could still play the game and understand and enjoy the story.

~DS
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: LostTemplar on August 02, 2012, 04:00:32 am
Have you experienced people criticise in the same way but comparing the Japanese text?
How would/do you react differently to those who offer criticisms based on the Japanese version, compared to those who criticise based on the English version?

Only in a dedicated IRC channel on Japanese language where we discuss meanings and nuances on a daily basis anyway :)

Well, let's say it this way: If it's plausible criticism I won't just ignore it, be it regarding the English or the Japanese text. It's just that criticism coming from people who only know the English text most of the time just says that a translation is wrong because it's different from the English text, which I can't really take seriously. That does indeed change if the person in question knows Japanese, though, because then she or he obviously has a sound reason for pointing out the differences.

How did people react to this new information about the 'real original'?
Do you think people changed their minds and accepted your translation after you told them this, in any way?

The people I spoke about accepted the translation itself, yes, but went on to critisize the wording instead (as I said, we're nit-picking bastards). But that I can at least take seriously because they're natives and stuff. I'm not sure how unknown people on an internet forum would react though; the loudest tend to be the most stubborn, after all.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Vanya on August 02, 2012, 01:19:24 pm
Yeah, I've...never seen "D'Lacroix." Only "Delacroix."

I swear I have. I'm not crazy. At least not all the way.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: LostTemplar on August 02, 2012, 01:23:20 pm
I swear I have. I'm not crazy. At least not all the way.

But Lacroix doesn't start with a vowel, so I don't think it would ever be "D'Lacroix".
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Mew seeker on August 02, 2012, 07:16:02 pm
Just out of curiosity, has anything else turned out BoF2 bad?

Shining Force on the Sega Genesis?
In any case, the GBA version's text is more faithful to the original text than the U.S. Genesis version
despite the stuff they changed and added.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Vanya on August 03, 2012, 11:06:15 am
But Lacroix doesn't start with a vowel, so I don't think it would ever be "D'Lacroix".

Then I might just be a wee bit insane.

But back on topic, Don't the original Lufia games on SNES have a bunch of changed names and translation errors?
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Gideon Zhi on August 03, 2012, 11:16:19 am
It's mostly romanization issues (stuff like Golem being rendered as Gorem.) The writing is fine.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: KingMike on August 03, 2012, 11:19:01 am
According to D, Lufia was pretty good. The only changes were a few minor censorship changes to please NoA (changing all "Death" items to "Gloom", change the booze to cider, change the churches to generic "houses of healing"), the names that were changed (spells, a few enemies) were non-sense in the original. (at least if I remember his story right)
The only significant change I know of is that the item descriptions were removed, but I suspect that was done to squeeze the translation into an 8-megabit ROM, down from the announced 12 megabits (and from what I had seen translating them with a dictionary, it doesn't seem like many of there were that helpful anyways).
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: goldenband on August 03, 2012, 11:52:59 am
Just out of curiosity, has anything else turned out BoF2 bad?

Is it too easy (in the low-hanging fruit sense) to go with "WAIT FOR A SOUL WITH A RED CRYSTAL ON DEBORAH CLIFF"?
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Gideon Zhi on August 03, 2012, 12:16:10 pm
Yes, if for no other reason than that the Japanese version was just as intractable. In that sense the US version is faithful, no matter how weird it may seem.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on August 03, 2012, 02:21:29 pm
Yeah. As far as I know, I'm even the one who first confirmed that Castlevania 2 is just as full of deliberate lies in the original Japanese as it is in English.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: goldenband on August 03, 2012, 10:37:08 pm
Well, fair enough -- but that specific line is mistranslated, isn't it?  My understanding (http://web.archive.org/web/20110722223738/http://www.activegamingmedia.com/news/resolving-a-translation-mystery-castlevania-ii-simon%E2%80%99s-quest-sunday-ja) is that it wasn't meant to be a false clue, and that "デボラノガケノ マエデ アカスイショウヲ カカゲ カゼヲマテ" should have been something like "Show/present the red crystal in front of Deborah’s cliff and wait for the wind".

(It wouldn't surprise me if whoever wrote that is a member here, so apologies if I'm quoting someone's work back at them.)
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: DarknessSavior on August 03, 2012, 10:53:09 pm
What you posted is correct. It says "Carry the Red Crystal to the front of Deborah's Cliff and wait for the wind."

~DS
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: BRPXQZME on August 04, 2012, 09:34:52 am
Likewise, “I AM ERROR.” is not a mistranslation, just a bad one.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: LostTemplar on August 04, 2012, 12:13:36 pm
That kind of reminds me of a very bad mistake in the German PC version of FF7. Instead of "Which Chocobo do you want to ride?" they said "Wie willst du ihn reiten?" ("How do you want to ride him?"). No idea how they got that wrong... funny thing is that the PC version was retranslated because the PSX one was so bad. Obviously didn't help much, though.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Gideon Zhi on August 04, 2012, 09:59:16 pm
IN OTHER WORDS to answer the original question, usually nothing! Unless it's a product of extreme censorship like Assault Suits Valken/Cybernator or alternatively legitimately awful like Breath of Fire 2 or the Swedish translation of Sword of Hope, which translated "chest (treasure box)" as "chest (body part)" and other similarly hilarious things.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on August 04, 2012, 10:42:22 pm
We've long since left behind the Bad Old Days where we could expect primarily incompetence from official translations. Hell, even Yu-Gi-Oh!'s gotten pretty good as of late. We've long since left behind the bad old days of "Giant Trunade," "Fushioh Richie," and "Buster Rancher" - in fact, "Pigeonholing Books of Spell" (what the...?) was recently reprinted as "Spellbook Organization" (though that's partly because "Spellbook" is now an archetype and it needed to match ^_^;). I think it was Storm of Ragnarok where I finally realized "hey, these are actually pretty good": as the name implies, the set is full of cards referencing Norse mythology, and they didn't miss a single one. In fact, there are some references that weren't in the original: 極神聖帝オーディン is "Odin, Father of the Aesir," and 神の桎梏グレイプニル is "Gleipnir, the Fetters of Fenrir."
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Spooniest on August 05, 2012, 11:57:45 am
Only thing that might be wrong with official translations is that we've played them all before.

Shameless plug. (http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/794/)
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: DarknessSavior on August 05, 2012, 12:59:44 pm
Here's another thing I find wrong with official translations. I get that sometimes changing things is necessary, or helps to make things better-suited for whatever audience. But for example, my girlfriend and I started playing Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep Final Mix. I'm not a huge fan of the series, but she is, and she said there was some complex level system where you can customize your attacks into decks and whatnot. So I was interested.

She's a huge fangirl, so she always gets undubs. I usually only do that when I play a game and find that I can't stand one of the English VOs (like Dissidia. Cecil's VO is SO horrible. And the awesome Kefka VO doesn't make up for it). But I start playing, and I realized that the subtitles for cutscenes are cutting out a ton of stuff.

Now, in some situations, like I said, I get it. I doubt there's a very good analog in Japanese for "Fairy Godmother", for example. So when that word comes up in a cutscene, and she calls herself "The Fairy who appears before those who still believe in dreams", I don't give a damn. I note the weird Japanese term, and move on.

But then another cutscene comes up. And here's where it gets interesting.

English Version:

Main Character: The Master always told me that the darkness was meant to be extinguished. But how so but not with light?

Fairy Godmother: That's a question that no one knows the answer to.

Japanese:

MC: The Master told me that the darkness was meant to be extinguished. How does one go about doing that?

FG: The answer to that question will only be yours if you have the courage to look within your heart for it.

Totally different nuances here. One has the FG going "*shrug* I dunno", and the other is a cryptic answer.

These two different things happen all the time. The little translation changes that are for the better, and the ones that take nuances out of the script. My girlfriend claims this is because the English VO had to match up with the mouth movements of the Japanese script. But aren't we in 2012? Do we still do that, or do they not have the technology to re-do those now? >_>

~DS
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: BRPXQZME on August 05, 2012, 02:13:18 pm
They do not have the technology to do that quickly. That is, it either requires something like artist intervention if they do it the hard way, or at least someone timing the words and stuff if they do it the easy way. Add in other technical issues like possibly space and timing, and you can at least understand why they usually settle on “screw it, it’s just a translation” instead of going the extra mile.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Gideon Zhi on August 05, 2012, 02:47:25 pm
And besides, "The answer to that question will only be yours if you have the courage to look within your heart for it." just sounds like cryptic longform for "I have no idea, figure it out for yourself."
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on August 05, 2012, 02:59:30 pm
Dissidia references the DS translation of FFIV. I give it an automatic victory.

"Light and darkness cast aloft!" *BOOM*
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Zoinkity on August 06, 2012, 10:09:51 am
I always just assumed Cybernator wasn't Assault Suits Valken because they'd have to jump cart size to get everything to fit.

Isn't that a huge issue we haven't really gotten into?  Some guy in a big hat (http://imperialvault.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/400px-ChaosDwarf-258x300.jpg) comes down and tells you what size cart they feel like using that day, then hacks apart the translation to fit.
It's a bit interesting to look at what content was left in versus what was removed in those situations.

Homebrew translations do have a huge advantage: we don't have to worry about cart size unless we really, really want to.  For that matter, look how well people accept patches that will never work on hardware.  (I don't believe that's the best practice though.)
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Gideon Zhi on August 06, 2012, 11:54:27 am
I always just assumed Cybernator wasn't Assault Suits Valken because they'd have to jump cart size to get everything to fit.

Isn't that a huge issue we haven't really gotten into?  Some guy in a big hat (http://imperialvault.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/400px-ChaosDwarf-258x300.jpg) comes down and tells you what size cart they feel like using that day, then hacks apart the translation to fit.
It's a bit interesting to look at what content was left in versus what was removed in those situations.

Homebrew translations do have a huge advantage: we don't have to worry about cart size unless we really, really want to.  For that matter, look how well people accept patches that will never work on hardware.  (I don't believe that's the best practice though.)

This is somewhat true, although you should note that my Valken translation does not expand the rom and fits the text in just fine. It's a somewhat tight fit admittedly and uses some rudimentary compression, but that's nothing the devs couldn't have gotten away with. It also works on the real hardware, as do I believe all of my hacks with the *possible* exception of the gamegear LUNAR title. Either their programmers weren't competent enough to fit the text back into the rom, or they removed the extra text because it happened during the gameplay and believed it interfered with the player's enjoyment of the action. (And then there's the censorship angle, with the enemy president...)
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on August 06, 2012, 02:31:28 pm
Don't forget they also cut all the character portraits and the leadup to the infamous suicide scene: your mech crashes through like 15 floors of a building to get at the executive office.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Gideon Zhi on August 06, 2012, 03:02:32 pm
Cutting the lead-up makes sense, given that they cut the actual scene. You're not going to travel UPDWARD to end up in some factory or hangar place. Makes much more sense that it might be built into the back of the senate building than its roof.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on August 06, 2012, 03:34:38 pm
I meant they cut an awesome scene as a consequence of cutting the confrontation with the enemy president. >_>
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Gideon Zhi on August 06, 2012, 09:59:18 pm
But it was the right thing to do, if you're cutting the rest of it. As such, it was a good localization decision amidst an otherwise bad localization, and somewhat redeems the decision-makers, or something.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on August 06, 2012, 10:22:49 pm
*sigh* I'm saying that "as a consequence of cutting the confrontation, they also had to cut the awesome lead-up to it as well." Konami did a lot of dumb things with Assault Suits Valken (changing the name among them), but of course they'd have to cut the "crash through the building" scene if they cut the confrontation.

I'm not saying they could've kept the lead-up if they cut the confrontation; I'm just saying there were two casualties involved in that edit.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: tagengo on August 07, 2012, 09:59:43 am
The name changes aren't an issue. The simple fact is, the entire translation is a clusterbomb. The whole thing is a mechanical conversion from Japanese, and it's a stilted, awkward mess. It's supposed to be a lighthearted fantasy romp with a crunchy center of drama, but with the bizarre, slightly unhinged feel to all the character dialogue, it feels more like a trip through a medieval Twin Peaks.

Good thing I stepped in when I did. :3

Hi Ryusui,

tried to send you a private message, but it wouldn't go through.
I was hoping to get permission to use some of your BoFII retranslation work (including the translator notes) in my research.
Please let me know if this would be ok, or if you have any questions before you can decide. Thanks!
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Ryusui on August 07, 2012, 04:00:56 pm
Sorry, I forgot to clear out my PM box. ^_^;

Let's continue this conversation over PM, all right?
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Zoinkity on August 07, 2012, 05:01:12 pm
I certainly prefer your patch.  (great job by the way!)  They gutted it badly, and it was always peculiar that they didn't shorten up lengthy scenes after removing dialog, such as when you arrive on Earth. 

Personally I always wondered why the factory was attached to the senate in the first place, but that particular scene did seem better orchestrated in the english. 

I can't speak for everybody, but if I did I'd thank you warmly for always making a concerted effort to ensure these patches run on hardware.  So few people really take the effort to do so.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Gideon Zhi on August 07, 2012, 05:06:46 pm
I can't speak for everybody, but if I did I'd thank you warmly for always making a concerted effort to ensure these patches run on hardware.  So few people really take the effort to do so.

While I can't speak for actual hacks, as far as translations go I really don't think that's true. There have been a few admittedly, including a few higher-profile ones such as DD's Mystic Ark and my own Ys 4, and those tend to get attention drawn to them. I can only think of four off of the top of my head that at one point didn't work on hardware where backup solutions are readily available, and Ys 4 and Mystic Ark, previously mentioned, have since been fixed. Unsure about Gulliver Boy, and it's been stated in another current thread that the alternative FF3 NES translation doesn't work on hardware due to ROM expansion. But beyond those I can't identify any, and there are a *lot* of NES and SNES translations available.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: KingMike on August 07, 2012, 10:41:10 pm
It's too bad I couldn't get my Magna Braban translation to work.
I don't think bsnes had yet developed by that point (or maybe I didn't have a PC at the time that get could more than like 10 FPS), didn't have a flash cart either.

Yes, in the case of FF3, supposedly a real MMC3 only supports a maximum of 64 8K banks (=512K). But maybe there are pirate variants that support larger sizes.

Another hacker has since independently fixed the Gulliver Boy patch.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: Nightcrawler on August 08, 2012, 09:28:44 am
It's too bad I couldn't get my Magna Braban translation to work.

I told you I'd help you figure it out. You had no response. I know why it doesn't work.
Title: Re: What's wrong with official translations?
Post by: KingMike on August 08, 2012, 03:43:38 pm
Well, that comment was specifically directed towards the original patch release, not trying to ignore you, NC.