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Author Topic: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?  (Read 8223 times)

Spooniest

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #40 on: December 28, 2016, 01:27:07 am »
True.  At least with V it was somewhat better done.  The only one I caught was on Gilgamesh.

ON the subject of Final Fantasy V's translation, I wonder if the reason it was not originally released was that SE did not at the time want to open the can of worms that including a cross-dressing character would have opened. There doesn't seem to have been a practical, compromising position to find on such a question, and so the game simply went unlocalized until after FF7 made the series "edgy."

I am going to dream of Final Fantasy IV now. :D Night night
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #41 on: December 28, 2016, 02:22:58 am »
ON the subject of Final Fantasy V's translation, I wonder if the reason it was not originally released was that SE did not at the time want to open the can of worms that including a cross-dressing character would have opened. There doesn't seem to have been a practical, compromising position to find on such a question, and so the game simply went unlocalized until after FF7 made the series "edgy."

I am going to dream of Final Fantasy IV now. :D Night night

If I remember correctly, I remember reading something to the effect that maybe they were holding off on translating V but they waited so long that by the time they were ready to start work on it VI was almost ready for release so they went ahead and translated it instead since they believed it to be a better game anyway.
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shadowmanwkp

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #42 on: December 28, 2016, 02:36:20 am »
If I remember correctly, I remember reading something to the effect that maybe they were holding off on translating V but they waited so long that by the time they were ready to start work on it VI was almost ready for release so they went ahead and translated it instead since they believed it to be a better game anyway.

Woolsey actually cited a different reason, it was too complex:

Quote
I think one of my favorite games was Final Fantasy V, which I had almost all translated, but which they opted not to ship because they didn't feel the US market was ready for a second flagship RPG. They'd shipped FFII and they felt in Tokyo that they needed something else to get people trained up on that style of gaming, and that became a game called Mystic Quest.

Source: http://www.playeronepodcast.com/forum/index.php?/topic/145-transcript-of-ted-woolsey-interview/

SunGodPortal

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #43 on: December 28, 2016, 02:53:45 am »
Woolsey actually cited a different reason, it was too complex:

Source: http://www.playeronepodcast.com/forum/index.php?/topic/145-transcript-of-ted-woolsey-interview/

Makes sense I guess. And now that I think about it, I was thinking of FFIII. They didn't bring it over because IV was almost ready and the SNES was bigger and better.

Kinda silly about the "too complex" thing. Sometimes people overthink things and make really stupid decisions. FFV couldn't have done any worse than FFMQ.
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Reiska

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #44 on: December 28, 2016, 11:43:20 pm »
That's the sort of thing I hate and I think it's a slap in the face to the original developers. They spent all that time trying to weave a story that would actually have some gravity, only to have the localization team suck all the color/life out of it turning it into something patronizing rather than engaging. And why? Because Americans foolishly underestimate children and have a habit of going to great (unnecessary) lengths to shelter them from reality.

To be fair, most of the time these days the original writers/developers are explicitly signing off on any changes made in localization.

I personally don't see localization edits as a bad thing most of the time; cultures are simply different the world over.  Some things that are acceptable in Japan aren't acceptable here, and so they get changed.  Some things that are acceptable here aren't acceptable in Japan, and so they get changed too.  As just one example, in most cases when a Western cartoon series is dubbed into Japanese, if the characters were drawn with four fingers, the art is altered for the Japanese dub to give them five fingers, because while in the US a four-fingered hand means nothing other than the animators choosing to be abstract in the character design to divorce the show from 'reality' or possibly even just being done because it's easier to draw, in Japan a four fingered hand carries significant connotations of association with the yakuza.  (Disney works are one of the few exceptions, because Disney has specifically disallowed this kind of editing.)

Cultural standards also change over time, and sometimes can be reactionary to current events, when remakes come around (example: the South Figaro scene in FF6 Advance being edited, and the various edits to the 3DS port of DQ8).  *Those* kind of edits are what, IMO, should actually appropriately be called censorship (for all that it's self-censorship): removing something that was in a previous release in the same region because it's now become culturally uncomfortable.  (Fundamentally, there isn't much difference between this and the people who, for example, argue that the N-word should be censored out of various classic literature in which it appears.)  I specify "same region" because, as alluded to above, I don't consider localization edits to fall into this group.

So that brings me back to Fire Emblem, and I'd certainly say that Fates' localization was on the heavier end of the scale.  But that comes back to what the actual point of localization (that is, as opposed to straight translation) is: a quality localization, in theory, should give the reader the impression that it was originally written in the target language to begin with, while maintaining the overall spirit of the original work.  Whether the latter was achieved or not is a debate I'm not willing or able to get into - I don't speak Japanese myself, and I haven't played through all of Fates either.  Treehouse definitely appears to follow this logic in their work, though, sometimes extending to redefining some characters' personalities to use tropes more familiar to Western audiences instead of those more familiar to Eastern audiences, because they feel the former will resonate better with the mass-market audience they're seeking.  (And let's be clear: it is a mass-market audience they're seeking, they really don't care about the small American otaku minority.) 

In the end, localizers (and designers, even) always must make a judgment call as to what American audiences will respond positively (and negatively) to.  Sometimes, they do well - Final Fantasy XIV is a strong example of a game that has an outstandingly good localization for the most part - from what I've heard, the game's Japanese text is actually quite bland compared to the style the localization employs.  Conversely, look at Final Fantasy XII for a mistake on the design side: the story was clearly originally conceived and written with Basch as the protagonist, only for Vaan to be forced in by the Japanese marketing division because they feared a character like Basch would not appeal to Japanese audiences as a protagonist.  I've seen people theorize this probably hurt FFXII's western sales to some degree, and it certainly at least shows up in people's reaction to characters; Vaan remains a popular character in Japan, whereas in the West he's one of the least popular characters in the franchise, as most of the Western audience liked Balthier and Basch more. 

Square-Enix clearly learned something from this, as evidenced by the fact that they made two completely different versions of the game Nier, with the same story but with a completely different protagonist.  The Xbox 360 in Japan got "Nier Gestalt", where the protagonist is an older man (not unlike Basch) and the illl girl is his daughter; the PlayStation 3 in Japan got "Nier Replicant", where the protagonist is a younger androgynous man (not unlike Vaan), and the ill girl is his sister.  And then, when they localized it, rather than keep this dual-game approach in the US, they instead ported "Gestalt" to the PS3 as well, so both consoles in the US got "Nier Gestalt" with the father-daughter pair, because they likely recognized from the FFXII reactions that the US mass market would prefer this style of protagonist.

Kallisto

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #45 on: December 30, 2016, 10:18:11 am »
I think I can accept some things on a cultural level like how they did each town's accent in Dragon Quest, but when we have games set on Earth, and they use say..like some kind of drink in Japan that is well known, but not to Americans so they have to change it..then I feel like it is a wasted opportunity to introduce something (Well not like you can do that now due to today's copyright, and everyone wants that piece of the pie mentality that kind of killed off that creative side..thus why parodies of something exist to replace it, the drink example probably was not a good example to use to clarify on where I stand on these issues).

I think it is kind of obscene to treat foreigners like that for any country because it takes away to learn something you may never had known about if the curiosity is there, heck I'm just kind of surprised we get Persona/Shin Megami because that is straight up a lot of Japanese references, but I guess they thought "well maybe they're not too ignorant to figure it out what is what". Maybe that is the core issue I have with Localization, I think purposely making people ignorant of things is generally wrong for a mass audience, and honestly I'm starting to find the whole Mass Audience thing overrated since that is what ruined some Movies & Music lately, but I'm being a bit cynical I admit. Now when it comes to okay/Not okay scenarios, well I realize that is just how people are from country to country, I can learn to accept that too.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 10:39:57 am by Kallisto »

Spooniest

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #46 on: December 30, 2016, 10:34:58 am »
I think it is kind of obscene to treat foreigners like that for any country because it takes away to learn something you may never had known about if the curiosity is there, heck I'm just kind of surprised we get Persona/Shin Megami because that is straight up a lot of Japanese references, but I guess they thought "well maybe they're not too ignorant to figure it out what is what". Maybe that is the core issue I have with Localization, I think purposely making people ignorant of things is generally wrong for a mass audience.

This is possibly the most interesting point I've ever heard on the subject, Kal. I feel the same way. I wish they would leave in and/or take some measure to explain the cultural references, rather than try to change them to something recognizable. The problem often in the past was not that they were unwilling to.

It was that they were unable to. You see, every letter you are seeing on this very post takes up precisely one measure of memory, however great or small. The spaces and punctuation marks also take up a measure of memory, whatever size it is (KB, MB, GB, etc).

They did not have room in the program's text bank to express an explanation of the cultural aspects in the old days. For this reason, the convention of localization became to simplify as much as possible the space required to convey the general ideas of the story.

That habit has continued even as memory storage capacity has ceased to become a problem, because it is what gamers are used to.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 11:24:37 am by Spooniest »
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Kallisto

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #47 on: December 30, 2016, 10:40:08 am »
The last few times I've brought this point up that it rubbed a few people the wrong way, I just assume they must have been in some business related-field or just simply support the practice. I was a bit hesitant to get to some idea what people thought of my views on here because I got tired of being belittled when I'm not doing that to anyone, and well I'm glad it didn't go that route.

FAST6191

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #48 on: December 30, 2016, 12:29:56 pm »
Though I certainly play games, read books, watch films... to maybe learn something about a culture I can see the merit in changing fruit squash to cola/soda/pop for US audiences if you are not trying to convey a sense of otherness.

Also it is probably not copyright as much as trademarks that prevents a character from relaxing with a refreshing drink of Jolt Cola. If it is not a parody or a comparison for the sake of sales... it could in turn be viewed as an endorsement by the company or them not caring and that could lead to trouble. As cover your arse is not the worst way to set about life it gets done. On the other hand being rather brand focused may itself be a cultural thing.

Reiska

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #49 on: December 31, 2016, 01:31:10 am »
I think I can accept some things on a cultural level like how they did each town's accent in Dragon Quest, but when we have games set on Earth, and they use say..like some kind of drink in Japan that is well known, but not to Americans so they have to change it..then I feel like it is a wasted opportunity to introduce something (Well not like you can do that now due to today's copyright, and everyone wants that piece of the pie mentality that kind of killed off that creative side..thus why parodies of something exist to replace it, the drink example probably was not a good example to use to clarify on where I stand on these issues).

I think it is kind of obscene to treat foreigners like that for any country because it takes away to learn something you may never had known about if the curiosity is there, heck I'm just kind of surprised we get Persona/Shin Megami because that is straight up a lot of Japanese references, but I guess they thought "well maybe they're not too ignorant to figure it out what is what". Maybe that is the core issue I have with Localization, I think purposely making people ignorant of things is generally wrong for a mass audience, and honestly I'm starting to find the whole Mass Audience thing overrated since that is what ruined some Movies & Music lately, but I'm being a bit cynical I admit. Now when it comes to okay/Not okay scenarios, well I realize that is just how people are from country to country, I can learn to accept that too.

I absolutely agree that if a work takes place in a real-world location, cultural references unique to that region should be left alone even if they may not make sense to the viewer, and used as an opportunity to educate the viewer about an unfamiliar culture.  Like, I don't care if Pokemon replaces rice balls with hamburgers or whatever because Pokemon doesn't take place in real world areas; sure, Pokemon regions are each inspired by a real location, but they're all fictional places and ultimately it probably isn't too important to the story what Ash's eating, what's important is that he's engaged in the act of eating.  Whereas in something like Persona, it takes place in Japan explicitly, and so those sorts of references should be left alone.  (Atlus is generally good at this.)

Persona 3/4 localizations, of course, got a fair amount of their own flak for leaving many honorifics in the English script, even though they sound incredibly stilted and unnatural in English.  I don't mind that they were left, though, since while they *do* sound stilted and unnatural, they're trying to convey foreign cultural aspects about interpersonal relationships in the school setting that are markedly different from our school culture and that just cannot directly translate. 

Spooniest

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Re: Are Localization Teams to blame for today's censorship?
« Reply #50 on: December 31, 2016, 09:19:13 am »
I think the reason it's so hard to have a website like the one we're on now, that focuses not only on modification of gameplay/story aspects, but also on translations, is that this art (translation) is largely a matter of opinion, and the first (modification) is 100% opinion.

We are dealing with a massive and powerful set of opinions on this site about these things. It of course has gotten heated. Heat is not bad, but it must be kept at a certain level or things get too hot...I mean, it ain't John Hume's Inquiry Into Human Understanding; we deal with two things that are either mostly or totally opinion based, and so we all have to learn how to express an opinion properly. There is little about this hobby that is constant.

Video games are ridiculous and wildly inventive. They really are a medium unto themselves, there's honestly no reasoning behind comparing them with other mediums beyond marketing campaigns.

But since they're so completely open and for a long time in the industry it was basically "What've you got? Good we'll go with it!", it is a widely varied playing field when it comes to stories, gameplay elements, and art styles.

It is what we call a "deep subject" at this point. :D Video games, that is.
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