Hey, everyone, I just registered because of this thread. I think it's really awesome that much deserved attention is being given to these great games. Popful Mail in particular is close to my heart.
I don't mean to jump in abruptly, but I was a dedicated pro translator for quite some time, did anime and manga, and later, software and legal. I'm in IT now, and my free time outside of work varies, but I'd like to offer myself as a resource, in case anyone needs maybe some spot translation, translation validation, or little things. I can't commit to any big projects at the moment because I'm already involved in one for an anime. But I couldn't resist this thread, so if there are any little bits or pieces of things where I can help bring clarity, please feel free to email or PM.
To be fair to Working Designs, I have never played in Japanese any of the games they localized, so I have no opinion whatsoever on their level of accuracy, competence, etc. On the other hand, I can relate to situations where there is a need to adapt some of the original content in order to make the product more marketable. But I can also relate to situations where adaptation gets a little out of hand or even tasteless. Hardcore fans will naturally hate it either way, and it may not be an optimal situation for the translators either, but, well, pro stuff is business, and business is of course a double-edged sword. I'm sure Vic Ireland and others would argue the same.
Hey, thanks! At this point I'm not planning to try to salvage the scripts -- honestly, I don't think I could be satisfied with anything short of a full retranslation -- but I really appreciate the offer.
As I've discovered from working on this, the interaction between translation, editing, and a commercial product is pretty complicated. Obviously, most people play games because they want to be entertained, and I think the majority of players don't really care if the translation is accurate or not as long as it's funny or interesting. It's also pretty clear the Japanese publishers licensing their games were more interested in having a maximally marketable product in the West than with preserving all the nuances of the original work. So yes, I understand there were a lot of pressures to "improve" the game and not a lot of incentives to keep things the same, and that's fair enough.
On the other hand, every time I read these games' scripts, I'm overwhelmed by the sheer egomania behind them. There's something very unreal about a Magic Knight Rayearth game where you can talk to an NPC standing in the ruins of their burned-down village and get a joke about adult diapers. Most editors at least try to adhere to the tone of the original work, but with this company I don't think that was ever in the cards. "Disrespectful" and "tasteless" are some of the milder words that come to mind.
The whole thing really just puts a bad taste in my mouth, which is part of the reason I've had this on the back burner lately in favor of fan translation projects. Commercial products or not, I think games deserve better than this, and merely reverting the difficulty without dealing with the other issues isn't terribly satisfying to me.
Anyway, thanks again for stopping by. I don't know if this would interest you, but I figured I'd mention -- I bumped into someone a few months ago who was interested in commissioning a proper translation of Silhouette Mirage's script. If you're looking for some paying side work, I could see if they're still game.
Does anyone know if these patches work with the undubbed Magic Knight Rayearth on Saturn?
Sorry, I meant to reply to this earlier but managed to forget about it. Unfortunately, it has almost no chance of working because, unlike IPS patches, xdelta patches have to be used on exactly the right source data. You're probably not missing much anyway, since I'm guessing the undub patch doesn't restore the voice acting that was disabled in the American version, which is most of it.