I've been lurking this topic since it was first posted, and I've held a lot of my feelings and thoughts about the topics being discussed to myself, because these thoughts are invariably intertwined with criticisms for specific projects and project creators. I did not feel comfortable, really, in voicing these criticisms, out of a respect for the work being done, and as a fellow lover of Dragon Quest. Chicken Knife and his cohorts have dropped all pretenses of decorum and I can no longer hold my tongue. As a student of French, English, Japanese, an ardent lover and defender of Dragon Quest, a supporter of fan translations and projects since before most of the people in this topic could probably read, and as a relatively personally and professionally accomplished writer believe me when I say it is a huge sin to slag off another writer so shamelessly, as Chicken Knife and nejimakipiyo have done in this topic. The 12 pages of this disastrous topic have been a roller coaster to read, from casual bigotry to earnest and heartfelt adulation and gratitude, a lot of different view points have been expressed. The one and only common trait shared by the posters in this topic is that just about everyone wants something from Rod Merida. People want him to remove his splashes, to start on new projects, to fix bugs in other Dragon Quest games, or consent to letting them use his hard-work as a base for their vanity projects. As someone who has been playing SNES fan translations since they were first published on the internet I cannot express how deep my gratitude is to Rod Merida for his Fix to Dragon Quest I+II. It is a tremendous gift to receive as a community that has had to suffer with a translation, pleasing to read though it may be, unfortunately fraught with many bugs. For myself and everyone else that has yet to experience DQI+II SFC I thank you from the bought of my heart. Now, on to my thoughts and criticism of the philosophy and general attitudes of Chicken Knife and nejimakipiyo.
Here's a small example of the magnanimity expressed by them in this topic, as they correspond with someone who has done something truly of value and requiring skill and time, the fixing of many previously unresearched bugs, in a very popular translation.
This is the last interaction I'll have with you, because you really are insufferable. I've thought it for a long time
Your fickle and egotistical behavior really is insufferable at times.
I'd normally be happy to explain, but our previous correspondence demonstrates how non-existent your interest is in understanding.
It's hard for me to put into word the lamentation I feel reading these things, but luckily I don't have to, a fellow writer has done that for me.
The spitefulness in this community continues to be lamentable, whether it be from content consumers who never produced anything, complaining about works that don't fit their preferences, or from content creators (who do very similar works in this case) complaining about and diminishing works that others do. It is baffling, and very unconducive to the continued vibrancy and productivity of this community.
Well said, moving on to my next point.
Since the concept and practice of fan translations were invented, the idea of retranslating, re-localizing, or the current in vogue misnomer: delocalizing, has existed alongside it. Usually these projects start with an editorial sensibility, aiming to fix various grammar or typographical mistakes. Not always, not invariably, but quite often these projects, well intentioned as they may be, become total failures from a narrative aesthetic sensibility, because of minor obsessions and an application of a wholly mistaken ideology. This ideology of "delocalizing" or making a translation that is "true" or "authentic" is completely false, and totally impossible to accomplish. Translation of idiosyncratic works of this level of sophistication and style requires, even if it is small, some localization. Contextual terms, idioms, words that have no translation, nonsense words, etc. all require localization, and we're just talking about the language at the most basic structural level. With languages so completely different in their roots and composition it is also invariable that you must localize less structural things as well, like sentence composition, as a narrative and aesthetic requirement. This is true for languages that are much closer to English, as well. It is impossible to unmarry the need to localize parts of your translation, and Chicken Knife and nejimakipiyo knows this for a fact, but choose to invoke the "authenticity" of their work as a shield from criticism. In fact they often weaponize this position to attack anyone leveling criticism at them. Even worse, they fallaciously invoke Horii-san to give the weight of authority to their localizations.
If you think having an accurate translation ruins a game, you are very much not the target audience of our work. And it's ok not to be! As Chicken Knife said, we don't expect everybody to like what we do. But there are people who appreciate translation accuracy and authenticity, and those people deserve to have good translations.
I managed to kick my nostalgia in the ass to create a flawless translation (with Chicken Knife's help, of course) and a brand new guide to go with it so that people who rely on guides to play would have an obstacle removed. If you still don't like it regardless of that, the problem isn't with our translation.
I love Horii-san's style of writing, but it is an impossibility to impart it's whole substance to an English translation, because that's just now how translation and localization work. There is no formation of words that you could ever make with English characters that would justify you using the creator of Dragon Quest in absentia as a papal authorization of your work, and it's bewildering and offensive. A clearer example of this relationship between translation and localizing for narrative aesthetic and flow is one of my favorite French and English works, The Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas is a romanticist, and his plots are wonderful to read in the native French. There have been numerous translations in English, with various levels of accuracy, but by far the best is Robin Buss translation. It's not as accurate structurally, or I should say it is not as devoted to structural accuracy, but there is a high cognizance of narrative aesthetic and the flow of language, of making something that is pleasing to read in an artistic sense. It is truly a joy to read in English, and superior in some ways. This is the height of the art, of localization. And I say art, because all who choose to do localization work, knowingly or not, become authors in their own right.
So, knowing these immutable facts, what conclusions can we draw about team Translation Quest? Their philosophy that their work is more accurate or pure and more authoritative is sourced in completely faulty logic. They will belittle anyone who disagrees even passively, and are also not afraid to play the victims. While their narrative and writing skills are a subjective matter, it is simple to deduce that they are objectively under-skilled when it comes to working with roms, and probably have little programming experience or skill. I know this because the entirety of their projects are edits of the English roms of existing localizations. I have no doubt that they are inundated with requests to bugfix/re-localize Dragon Quest I+II SFC and Dragon quest III SFC, and that they are unable to do so because they do not possess the skill set. It's actually quite humorous to watch Chicken Knife salivate over the possibility of getting permission to use Rod Merida's Fix for his team's vanity project. The only thing we have not established is if their localizations pass any rigorous artistic criticism. We know they certainly think they do:
Look--I don't consider the English script to be an objectively bad one. I've played through a hundred translations (fan & official) that are worse. I trust that you can tell the difference between an English script that is of a decent quality level versus one that isn't. And I also trust that your knowledge of grammar is probably better than a lot of native English speakers.
But language isn't just about rules--it's about feeling. The abstract connotations of words, the subtleties of expression and phrasing, all those things add nuance and color to writing in a way that is very difficult for all but the most immersed non-native speakers to completely catch hold of. Not to boast, but I think I have a particularly strong sense for those things, and there are a lot of scripts that would be considered "decent" quality that I have a very hard time enjoying because of those subtle kind of issues.
With the work I'm involved in, I play through the games with my finished scripts about 4 or 5 times, making extremely subtle changes to improve what I perceive to be the "naturalness" of the language. I agonize over this kind of revision process, while fully aware that 98% of the people who play with them will neither notice nor care about these subtle improvements. They would have been just as happy with an earlier rendition of the script that was "good enough" to the average person. Back when the RPGOne script came out, there were so many important Japanese games that had yet to be translated to English. Teams back then--perhaps rightfully--took a "good enough" approach to their work, lest they fall into the quagmire of perfectionism that causes one to spend years working on single projects.
Anyone that can pump out self-congratulatory purple prose of this density must be a capable writer, with a strong aesthetic sensibility. Let's see the results of these efforts.
Ah, so this is the result all the intense scrutiny, dedication to authenticity, and a completely transparent disdain and hatred for the work of other localizers (be they working at SE or amateurs such as yourselves). It almost feels like your entire purpose for localizing these games again was for the chance to flex your superiority in aesthetic sensibilities. If that was the case I cannot imagine a more tragic result. It's actually quite silly to see you pontificate at length about your zealous dedication to authenticity and accuracy considering the questionable liabilities you're willing to take. Hypocritical no? I've said a lot in this post but I think I can just let this one speak for itself. Nothing else could make my point about the dissonance and hypocritical nature of wielding the authority of a "true and pure translation" than this image. There are other things I could quibble about here but these are the lion's share of my feelings reading through this topic. As one writer to another I hope you can change your attitudes going further, if not your mistaken philosophy behind localization and translation at least let it be the way you conduct yourself publicly with other writers.