Topic: What is your stance on rewritten localizations

Posts 21 to 29 of 29


edhe wrote:

Yes, some are good, some are bad.

The more I hear about the localisation of Fire Emblem (more the arbitrary changing of characters' personalities than anything), the less willing I am to buy the game.

I'm hoping against hope that the European localisation doesn't take as many liberties with the source.

But as for my stance on "rewritten localisations", it isn''t their job. They are paid to take the Japanese script, pick out any bits that Westerners may not be able to appreciate or understand, or anything that is OBJECTIVELY offensive to a Western audience. Not play scriptwriter.

Usually the EU localizations are closer to the Japan original, the only main things that are changed are sexual related stuff and that's more about suggestive dialogue rather than the visual type.


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If they're done well, it's fine. If they're like Fire Emblem Fates... then not so much.

Remember, rewriting the script also got us this guy:

The localisation work in the Mario & Luigi and Paper Mario series is one of the reasons the games have so many fans and tend to actually be funny. It's also why they're more popular in the US and Europe than they are in Japan.

I'd also mention that it's why we got some of the neat songs in the Wario series, and most of the descriptions and stuff. Like this:

to this:

Or from the Japanese version of Ashley's theme to the English one (in WarioWare and Smash Bros):

The original Japanese version of Ashley's song does not sound particularly good when it's translated directly.

Where it goes wrong however is where memes are randomly tossed into serious games. Oh sure, if your game is basically meant to be a comedy, then hey, a few memes aren't the end of the world (few people complained about the 1337 hammer bros in Partners in Time). But more serious franchises like Zelda and Fire Emblem are bad places to add pop culture references and internet jokes. Yet Nintendo sometimes adds them, because they seem to have this misconception that all their games are aimed at 12 year olds or meant to be 'funny'.

It's also not so good when things are censored out ala 4Kids, or the characters get wildly derailed because they thought the original personalities were 'offensive'.

But yeah, rewritten localisations can work in some cases. They just have to be ones where the game is deliberately meant to be a comedy even in the original version, or where translating the original would make for a lacklustre or boring product.

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@CM30: I don't actually mind references in Fire Emblem or Zelda if use sparingly and mixed up with other forms of humor. It only becomes a problem when the script starts relying on them with very little in terms of other jokes. Comic relief is a good thing to have in serious games since it adds breathing room to characters and makes them more enjoyable. Would you really like it if a game was soul crushingly serious at all times?



I'm fine with them as long as they aren't on 4kids levels of suck.

Besides, straight and literally translations are usually incredibly boring and lifeless. Localizers usually try to inject some flair into the original story(and without it we wouldn't have gotten Ace Attorney's awesome weirdness, or FFIV's classic "You Spoony Bard!" line, to name a few), and normally they're inoffensive as long as the original story is intact

Edited on by Megas75

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My feeling is that localizing a game involves a whole lot more than just a straight translation. Language is fluid, and every language is extremely idiosyncratic — good localization captures not just the nearest direct read (note that I say "nearest," but there may be not even be a direct translation of certain words, parsing, or phrases, depending on which languages you're dealing with), it captures the intention, tone and spirit of the text.

Intention is pretty easy. But when you're conveying tone, style, and flavor, you get into subjective territory. And that's okay. It's my belief that there is no such thing as a "definitive" localization; if you want definitive, you'll have to learn the native language of the original product. You could hand the same untranslated script to five different localization teams, and you're going to end up with five different localizations. That's the nature of the beast.

I assume that this topic stems from the recent controversies regarding Treehouse's localizations, and I will say this: I think Treehouse is absolutely excellent at what they do. In fact, I think they're among the best at what they do. Do I think every single decision they make is perfect? No, of course not. I've seen a few choices they've made that I would've probably done differently. But that's art, folks; that's subjectivity, and there's absolutely no escaping it when you're dealing with written language — it ain't math.

Personally, I'd rather have well-written and well-textured localizations with the occasional fumble than the types of localizations that are held up as more direct translations by the fan community. The latter are often bone dry, poorly written, and a real drag to digest.



The majority of people consume media (books, music, games, movies) in a familiar localized format. Human culture is a tricky thing. Most languages don't translate one to one (Japanese has a great deal of nuance to its words that English doesn't because English tends to have a word that directly describes the nuance but leads to a wordy and clunky translation. I can't imagine how that works for languages like German.) Not to mention sentence structure is different. The Japanese truncate their sentences a lot...often in ways that makes sense to a native speaker or a long time translator but causes an unnecessary doubletake for everyone else. Also simple culture differences from living in a country means that things that are described will need translation notes if it is directly translated (again too wordy). Also you have to look at who is buying the game. Localization (and that means box art differences as well) can mean the difference between someone buying a game or dismissing it as "pandering" or inappropriate for whatever reason. Cultural viewpoints on violence and sex make direct translation difficult as well as something that is ok or overt in one culture may not be the same in another.

Plus localization does have positive effect aside from making the text more palatable. Sometimes characters get a personality upgrade. Fawful. (I have chortles...was NOT his original dialogue) Sometimes the game gets an upgrade in features because the localization team realizes this might be annoying to users in one culture even if it was accepted in another.

We have these issues when you have people that live in the same country and speak the same language. I had an instance (many actually) in college where I described something that confused fellow students that were from a different region of the US (I'm from the south and while I don't have the trademark drawl I do use words that are common to my region). So you can imagine that translating an entire country worth of cultural context isn't cut and dry.

My personal viewpoint is if you want to play a game with no the original. Japanese is a lovely language.

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Obviously a lot of localization changes seem a little awkward like changing setting (I don't think the people buying these sort of games care too much about 'scary' Japanese differences), but I don't think humour travels well. I know when I was a kid there was a french animation called the Magic Roundabout that was localized into English by Eric Thompson (Emma's dad). He did so by entirely throwing out the French script, and writing a new one completely. That's the version that's famous, not the french one.

Obviously language has something to do with it (wordplay doesn't translate), and cultural references can be lost in translation, but even similar countries with the same language- e.g: the UK and America sometimes just don't laugh at the same things. American humour tends to be broader and has people with redeemable features in bad situations like the cast of Friends, whereas British humour is more cynical, sarcastic, dark, and has hideously flawed characters like Basil Fawlty and Arkwright. Canada has a more British sense of humour, but there are differences- as there is with Australia and New Zealand. If such differences can happen between two English speaking language countries, you can imagine how difficult it is localizing Japanese culture and what is deemed funny, cool, crazy or just culturally acceptable.

Isn't it obvious that Falco Lombardi is actually a parrot?


Ryu_Niiyama wrote:

My personal viewpoint is if you want to play a game with no the original. Japanese is a lovely language.

That's a bit hard when Ninty are still region locking.

Nicolai wrote:

Alright, I gotta stop getting into arguments with jump. Someone remind me next time.

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