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Author Topic: A couple of questions about translating fan-translations.  (Read 2535 times)

Maeson

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A couple of questions about translating fan-translations.
« on: October 12, 2015, 03:29:23 pm »
I'll go directly to the point:

Let's say that I want to translate a game to Spanish; and there is a previous english fan-translation made because the game never made it outside Japan.

Should I start from scratch or could I use that english one as a base, obviously crediting the original authors for their work? The second would make the work much faster, but that could not be seen as right, and I would understand why.

If using a base, the new translation should be regarded as an addendum or a separated patch? In theory it shouldn't need the original patch to work, but i'm kind of lost in all this matter.


I'm also trying to mess a little with a japanese game that I happened to find interesting yet obscure. But of course I know absolutely nothing of japanese, so it's like I go on a quest to discover what each symbol sounds like and then try to put all of them together to see if they make sense.

When they do is like solving a puzzle. For each single word. Very time consuming, but kind of fun... more or less. It'll be a miracle if I end up translating all the menus.
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FAST6191

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Re: A couple of questions about translating fan-translations.
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2015, 03:48:36 pm »
It has happened several times before now, especially in non English translations. The main problem for most is the photocopy of a photocopy problem in that translation does require some understanding and you lose things by being a step removed from the original. This matters more for some script based RPG rather than a puzzle game or something but it is not impossible for the RPG side of things to work either, especially if you have at least some reference for the original (a fan wiki, a rough overview from gamefaqs or something similar).

Most would not create an addendum patch and instead make a standalone one. In theory if you were directly borrowing a font hack or something on top of all and simply overlaying your new script and sorting pointers then some might look more favourably upon an addendum hack (or it might be easier to make) but will vary with the patch itself.

Likewise if you ask the authors they may well send script dumps, info, tools or something similar along.

SunGodPortal

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Re: A couple of questions about translating fan-translations.
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2015, 03:49:43 pm »
Quote
Should I start from scratch or could I use that english one as a base, obviously crediting the original authors for their work? The second would make the work much faster, but that could not be seen as right, and I would understand why.

If you got permission from the original hackers it would not be wrong but at the same time you run into the problem of not knowing if your translation is accurate or not. They may have taken a bunch of liberties and you would never know.

Quote
If using a base, the new translation should be regarded as an addendum or a separated patch? In theory it shouldn't need the original patch to work, but i'm kind of lost in all this matter.

Though obviously a derivative work, it's sounds like something separate to me. Addendum would be more like if you translated something the original hackers forgot or did not have the skills to finish.
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mziab

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Re: A couple of questions about translating fan-translations.
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2015, 04:51:10 pm »
I've translated several games based on existing English translations and technically speaking, there is rarely need to reinvent the wheel. Going by my own experience, it always pays to ask for permission first, as long as the original authors can still be reached. People are usually okay with you tinkering with their stuff as long as they don't need to hold your hand and you give them proper credit. Some will share some technical notes and even tools, so contacting them seems like a no-brainer. As for old translations by long-defunct groups, I don't think they usually mind, as they have probably moved on since then.

Bregalad

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Re: A couple of questions about translating fan-translations.
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2015, 05:00:38 pm »
Much unfortunately, most non-english translations of japanese only games are usually based on an english fan translation. The problem is that the quality of the final product is lower than what it would have been from a direct translation from japanese, however people who are really fluent in japanese aren't that numerous.

The same is also true for released versions of games - i.e. the companies translate the games in various western languages based from the english translation.

(This is not true for asian languages such as Chinese or Korean)

VicVergil

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Re: A couple of questions about translating fan-translations.
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2015, 05:55:36 pm »
(This is not true for asian languages such as Chinese or Korean)

Chinese/Korean/Thai fan-translations relying on Japanese versions usually has more to do with convenience than anything else. As the game already supports a 12/16px Shift-JIS font with kanji.
However, Chinese/Korean rom-hackers taking Japanese versions of non-Japanese games (eg South-Korean stuff like MapleStory, or English games localized to Japan and having their fonts extended) or Japanese rom-hacks is like the norm there.

It makes sense when you think about it - much like western fans don't want to bother hacking the font to variable-width/8px again when an existing translation already did, asian romhackers prefer getting versions with the "ugly" 16px font since it suits them and if it's not there they'd have to hack it in.


Gideon Zhi

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Re: A couple of questions about translating fan-translations.
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2015, 07:53:47 pm »
Speaking personally, I'm generally okay with people building alt-lang patches off of my work provided they ask me first and can demonstrate enough skill, either through prior work or proof of concept, to do the job correctly.

Gemini

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Re: A couple of questions about translating fan-translations.
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2015, 09:18:52 pm »
Just give credit where credit is due, you should be fine. I've seen people using my hacks as a base without even mentioning my name or the translator, and it's the second time I've seen certain international communities do that. I guess it's their way to try and go unnoticed, but one way or another I find out (last case being the SOTN retranslation).

Personally I never give support to derivate works because I prefer when hackers do their own job and care to improve their skill set, rather than only tweak stuff that took months to write in the first place. If they got no suitable skills they'll end up stumbling upon stuff that I purposely left half-assed or hard coded. Then again, I'm better at giving quick advise, rather than teaching people how to sub-hack my code.
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Maeson

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Re: A couple of questions about translating fan-translations.
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2015, 05:12:15 am »
Thank you guys for all your input.

I was going to ask the authors in any case, as I feel that it's what I should do before anything else, but also there's the matter of "i have permission to do this yet it may not be a very fond practice", looking at the romhacking community in general, and that's why I wanted to ask here too.

After all, I don't care if I can't put my name in this, I just want to bring one game into another language for those that can't speak english (Which sadly there are...quite a number of them in Spain. They should learn, though). But of course at this moment it's all but an intention, i'll see how I end up doing it.

About being true to the original text, fortunately I could check it whenever it's needed. I know how important is being faithful for most translators.
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