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Author Topic: The maximum extent of quality  (Read 4163 times)

Her-Saki

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The maximum extent of quality
« on: July 04, 2017, 07:07:47 pm »
When you download/make a patch, what do you expect? A really-willy well done job or just "okay, it's in engrish, but engrish are just, well, okay..."? Some people (i.e. the spanish translators community) say that it's just a fan translation/hack and make a highly crappy one because that, "there's no reason for put more effort on it". I really don't agree with that, but what do you think about the extent of that effort?

FAST6191

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2017, 05:09:08 pm »
Just because you don't have to do a good job doesn't mean you shouldn't.

As with most things I deal in end results.

If I need a menu translation so my friends and I don't have to memorise a list of Japanese characters to select the appropriate multiplayer mode in our favourite game which no longer comes out of Japan then I don't care as long as it gets the job done.

If I am wanting to sit down and play a game about love and loss set across time, space, death and reality (tall order for a game but it could happen one day) then I want it good. I would say commercial quality but that is not a high bar.

I am OK with a janky hack if it is to explore some concept within a game. I know you sort of angled it towards translation hacking (ROM hacking is so much more than translation) but I also don't expect say a full menu hack/redirect, title screen and whatever else if I am playing a custom advance wars map.

" it's just a fan translation/hack and make a highly crappy one because that," is a piss weak excuse.

KingMike

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2017, 10:39:16 pm »
The question is: do you WANT to play a crappy translation? Then, make a crappy translation. :P
Though don't be surprised if it sometime gets surpassed by somehow who wants to make a good translation.
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SunGodPortal

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2017, 11:53:28 pm »
I would say commercial quality but that is not a high bar.
+
The question is: do you WANT to play a crappy translation? Then, make a crappy translation. :P
Though don't be surprised if it sometime gets surpassed by somehow who wants to make a good translation.

I've been playing Final Fantasy Legend for Gameboy these past few nights and I have to say that nearly every complete fan translation I have played is miles beyond this "professional" release. I don't expect someone doing something for free to nitpick every last little detail like I would, but it certainly makes the game that much more enjoyable if they do. Having constant reminders of what a crappy job someone did kinda kills the feeling of "immersion" or whatever.

If I'm looking for dumb fun like a hack where Mario is replaced with a bong or something else stupid I don't really care about quality though.
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NERV Agent

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2017, 12:29:56 am »
When I download a translation, I just hope it isn't filled with a bunch of Star Trek references that don't belong there because the hacker thinks they are being funny, when they are not. A certain SNES FFIV translation comes to mind.

goldenband

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 12:49:33 am »
A bad translation can be like Cunningham's Law: if it irritates people enough to do a better translation themselves, it's done its job. :D

More seriously, some people just don't have the skill set, capabilities, or free time to do absolutely A+ work, and have real-life obligations (or even cognitive limitations) that make learning the necessary skills unrealistic. They can either contribute sub-mediocre work or nothing at all, and while some would prefer the latter, sometimes they're the only person who bothers to translate a game for an unpopular genre or platform. Even a badly done translation patch will usually make a game more accessible to non-Japanese speakers.

I've contributed to 4-5 translations including a couple solo efforts, and while most are pretty decent, one looks like crap. I simply didn't have the skills to do a full-assed job, and made at least one major mistake, but at least the game's key secret is legible in English now. I'd be thrilled if someone redid it completely and did a classy localization, but it's on a platform that's gotten almost zero interest from other hackers.

(Also, I agree with NERV Agent: translations littered with forced in-jokes and shoehorned cultural references are gross.)

FAST6191

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2017, 05:10:30 am »
On references then I see it as just another aspect of the literal-liberal-pizza cats... debate.

It may or may not work but I certainly will not begrudge the attempt.

Psyklax

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2017, 05:38:16 am »
I approach this the other way around: rather than saying "it's only a fan translation, why bother", I say "you're going to the effort of translating a game, why NOT bother". A bit of extra work means you can look back on a job well done. If you know you'll do a crappy job then why start? If you're simply not very experienced then fine, it's all part of the learning, but to say "I could do it better, but I can't be bothered" is bullshit. I always give 100% in my translations and I hope it shows.

NERV Agent

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2017, 05:59:37 am »
(Also, I agree with NERV Agent: translations littered with forced in-jokes and shoehorned cultural references are gross.)

On references then I see it as just another aspect of the literal-liberal-pizza cats... debate.

It may or may not work but I certainly will not begrudge the attempt.

It's even more gross if the "official commercial" translation does this.

Like how "Lunar: The Silver Star Story" was translated by Working Designs. I never fully played through the Japanese versions, but I got a good gut feeling that all the references to Tootsie Pops, M&Ms, Austin Powers, and Wheaties aren't supposed to be there.

In the documentary, I think it was Victor Ireland who said he inserted the pop culture references because he believed that it would make the experience more immersive by having the characters making these references more relatable to the player.

On the contrary, it just kills the immersion of being in a fantasy world.

Imagine if in the new "Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi", Luke Skywalker is surrounded and outnumbered by First Order stormtroopers, only to get out of the bind by whipping out a pack of MentosĀ® and the "doo doo doo doo, doooo, doowah!" fucking Mentos song starts playing as he miraculously takes out all the stormtroopers. Kills the immersion.

Or if Rey confronts Kylo Ren and the rest of the Knights of Ren in Snoke's layer, only for all all of them start breaking out into song to Hare Hare Yukai and perform the fucking dance that goes along with it--actually, that would be awesome. I'd definitely watch the new Star Wars if they did that.

Anyway, can someone please fix the translations to the Lunar games to get rid of this crap? I know projects for the Sega CD versions are being done, but refined PSX versions would be great, too.

I approach this the other way around: rather than saying "it's only a fan translation, why bother", I say "you're going to the effort of translating a game, why NOT bother". A bit of extra work means you can look back on a job well done. If you know you'll do a crappy job then why start? If you're simply not very experienced then fine, it's all part of the learning, but to say "I could do it better, but I can't be bothered" is bullshit. I always give 100% in my translations and I hope it shows.

Like goldenband said, "real-life obligations" can get in the way. I've experienced this personally. In reality, it's a hobby and you don't get a paycheck for your hard work.

But what I would appreciate is when someone releases something incomplete for "reasons", if they could at least include extensive documentation on what they did, how they did it, and what else needs to be done so that someone else can complete their work.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 06:11:27 am by NERV Agent »

FAST6191

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2017, 06:24:18 am »
"supposed" supposes many things though. The objective surely is to make a game that will sell. If you can buy in an engine/existing game and fit a story into that then why not? Is the original work some kind of sacred cow? Personally I would say there are no sacred cows.
Equally pick some sweets from https://www.japancentre.com/en/categories/845-candy , a popular Japanese cartoon character and... sushi or something and some people seem to think that feels about right. I agree that the serious notions of branding are relatively new (maybe still just within living memory, I have 30s and 40s cooking books sitting in fairly stark contrast to my 1900s-1920s stuff, same for my engineering ones though that skews a bit further back and at the same time I have an 1890s cooking book with what you might recognise as something resembling modern branding)
What about the subs vs dubs thing where someone might claim it sounds better, but that is mainly from a lack of understanding. Or maybe like some music circles where the performance of the piece is itself the art and deviating from that is not the aim of the... game, except games are not typically that.

I would certainly agree to a statement that most people are not funny or compelling (it is why I don't watch live videos and instead plump for the tightly edited and scripted stuff). It may well be the case that the person in this question hosed it up (again most people are not funny or compelling, and those that are tend only to be so by virtue of having done it for years and years first).

Are we the target audience? On this site it is a fairly safe bet that many have spent considerable time learning how games work, and probably longer contemplating language to a fairly high level. Or if you prefer am I likely to bake a cake that will impress a fancy chef somewhere? Double blind taste tests aside probably not but my mates and I do well here and have cakes we all enjoy. The hardest people to impress are those with the skills, and if they are rare and you just need a paycheck (and it is not like games have the equivalent of oscar bait either).

RandomHeretic

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2017, 08:07:25 am »
I don't necessarily expect much one way or another. Maybe if something had been hyped up then that would raise one's expectations.

I'd like whatever it is to be well done, sure. In the case of a translation it doesn't have to be spectacular; unless I compared it with the original how would I even know whether it's all that great or just merely decent? If something was quite obviously dodgy or I didn't care for the gameplay then I'd give it a miss.

As for making a patch, I'd like to think I'd put in some considerable effort (even if it took longer).

Zoinkity

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2017, 08:26:13 am »
I don't expect as much from fan works as much as commercial titles.  It's great when they put in a lot of effort though.

However, when you're buying a game purportedly in a language from the studio you expect something a lot better than, say, what they passed off as Taisho Alice.  Fans might not be able to do this or that, but official trans should do the more important things, like the menus.
Spoiler:

The worst though is the homophobic line with typos in it.

NERV Agent

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2017, 10:43:14 pm »
"supposed" supposes many things though. The objective surely is to make a game that will sell. If you can buy in an engine/existing game and fit a story into that then why not? Is the original work some kind of sacred cow? Personally I would say there are no sacred cows.
Equally pick some sweets from https://www.japancentre.com/en/categories/845-candy , a popular Japanese cartoon character and... sushi or something and some people seem to think that feels about right. I agree that the serious notions of branding are relatively new (maybe still just within living memory, I have 30s and 40s cooking books sitting in fairly stark contrast to my 1900s-1920s stuff, same for my engineering ones though that skews a bit further back and at the same time I have an 1890s cooking book with what you might recognise as something resembling modern branding)
What about the subs vs dubs thing where someone might claim it sounds better, but that is mainly from a lack of understanding. Or maybe like some music circles where the performance of the piece is itself the art and deviating from that is not the aim of the... game, except games are not typically that.

I would certainly agree to a statement that most people are not funny or compelling (it is why I don't watch live videos and instead plump for the tightly edited and scripted stuff). It may well be the case that the person in this question hosed it up (again most people are not funny or compelling, and those that are tend only to be so by virtue of having done it for years and years first).

Are we the target audience? On this site it is a fairly safe bet that many have spent considerable time learning how games work, and probably longer contemplating language to a fairly high level. Or if you prefer am I likely to bake a cake that will impress a fancy chef somewhere? Double blind taste tests aside probably not but my mates and I do well here and have cakes we all enjoy. The hardest people to impress are those with the skills, and if they are rare and you just need a paycheck (and it is not like games have the equivalent of oscar bait either).

True, a complete translation of something isn't always practical as the target audience might not understand certain cultural nuances from the source material, so an adaptation is preferable.

But it's one thing to adapt something and make an effort to stay close to the source material, and another to add in a bunch of "LOL random pop-culture reference like they do in Family Guy its supposed to be funny!" when that sort of thing was never in there to begin with.

Imagine your favorite non-comedy anime. Now, imagine if some licensing company decided to dub it and put in a bunch of Family Guy-esque pop-culture references because they are trying to be funny. (Yes, I know the anime "Ghost Stories" already did this, and is praised for it ironically.) While an adaptation isn't 100% aligned to the source material, the scenario I described is one hell of a deviation from the source.

Like if:

Tifa: Oh no! Sephiroth has summoned Meteor to crash into the Planet!

Cloud: You think that's bad, remember the time Milli Vanilli crashed their career by lip syncing to songs sung by a mouse that crawled out of Richard Geer's anus?
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 10:58:51 pm by NERV Agent »

Reiska

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Re: The maximum extent of quality
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2017, 10:25:00 am »
When I download a fan translation, I expect the text to be in reasonably readable English, with typos and grammatical errors kept to a reasonable minimum.  I'm not a huge stickler for accuracy.  I do strongly dislike if translators inject personal agendas into scripts where they weren't present, but adding levity doesn't bother me particularly.  (I do prefer that added levity remain in context to the world, though; pop culture references bad unless real world setting, etc.)

I think the "literal-liberal-Pizza Cats" debate as FAST6191 named it is a very interesting thing.  In my opinion, there really isn't one single approach that's always correct; the appropriate localization method for any given work has to be chosen based on the quality of the original work, as well as a knowledge of the localization's target audience.  The "Pizza Cats" style tends really only to work when you're translating something that has terrible writing but has artistic merit in other ways (beautiful art/graphics or music, amazing gameplay if it's a game, etc.) that make it worthwhile anyway.  (Or, obviously, in anime's case, if you don't have access to the original script at all, as happened with the actual Pizza Cats.) 

I like to use Final Fantasy V as an example because it's a game with three different English translations available, all of which use different approaches.  RPGe's fan translation is reasonably literal and faithful to the original Japanese; this carries with it the possible downside, depending on your point of view, that it is also relatively dry (as FF5 has a pretty boring plot to begin with).  The official translation seen in the PSX version, which is uncredited but generally believed to be an unedited draft produced by Ted Woolsey back in the 1990s IIRC, hews much closer to the pizza cats end of the scale, something that likely would have been toned down/cleaned up in editing had they bothered at the time; the obvious downside here is that the lack of editing results in some glaring errors like "Princess Salsa", although at the same time, for some people this results in a "so bad it's good" quality.  Finally, you have the official retranslation seen in the GBA version, which is a kind of happy medium; it largely maintains the characterizations established by the PSX script (while heavily toning down Faris' pirate-speak, especially past the opening act of the game), and still includes a lot of added humor (including some fourth wall-breaking) that I suspect wasn't in the original, but from what I've seen is still widely regarded as very good.

I agree, in general, that there should be no sacred cows; willingness to discard them can in fact result in improvement on the original product sometimes.  (Case in point: Kefka's characterization is completely different between the Japanese and English versions of FFVI; the English version of his character is the one that's become iconic, to the point that when he was featured in Dissidia, his characterization there was based on the English FFVI, even in Japanese Dissidia.)