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Author Topic: What's wrong with official translations?  (Read 23038 times)

LostTemplar

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #20 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.

BRPXQZME

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #21 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.
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tagengo

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #22 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?
<<NOTE: I'm conducting research on video game translations - I might use some answers (anonymously) in my research, so please only answer my posts if this is OK. More information can be found at https://docs.google.com/a/sheffield.ac.uk/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDRIbGx2aE9hZnhQM2Ff

BRPXQZME

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #23 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).
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tagengo

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #24 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).
<<NOTE: I'm conducting research on video game translations - I might use some answers (anonymously) in my research, so please only answer my posts if this is OK. More information can be found at https://docs.google.com/a/sheffield.ac.uk/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDRIbGx2aE9hZnhQM2Ff

BRPXQZME

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #25 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 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).
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tagengo

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #26 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?
<<NOTE: I'm conducting research on video game translations - I might use some answers (anonymously) in my research, so please only answer my posts if this is OK. More information can be found at https://docs.google.com/a/sheffield.ac.uk/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDRIbGx2aE9hZnhQM2Ff

Vanya

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #27 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.

Ryusui

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #28 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.
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BRPXQZME

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2012, 05:20:33 pm »
I would have prefered the corect French spelling, D'Lacroix
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Ryusui

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2012, 05:22:03 pm »
Yeah, I've...never seen "D'Lacroix." Only "Delacroix."
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Hiei-

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2012, 06:05:55 pm »
It's "Delacroix".

FallenAngel2387

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2012, 06:31:49 pm »
Just out of curiosity, has anything else turned out BoF2 bad?

Ryusui

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #33 on: August 01, 2012, 07:04:13 pm »
Final Fantasy Tactics.
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DarknessSavior

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #34 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.

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LostTemplar

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #35 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.

Vanya

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #36 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.

LostTemplar

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #37 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".

Mew seeker

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #38 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.

Vanya

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Re: What's wrong with official translations?
« Reply #39 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?