News Article

Mother 3 Fan Offers Nintendo Free Translation of the GBA Title

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Nintendo's offered an olive branch, fans will help to get the whole tree

So, last week Nintendo announced that it was finally planning to release one of the most requested Virtual Console titles we've known of here at Nintendo Life; Earthbound is coming to the Wii U Virtual Console. The fact that gamer reaction after its confirmation for the Japanese Famicom Anniversary promotion was cited as a reason is also a positive for fans of petitioning companies, and those that take to Miiverse to voice opinions for Nintendo to read.

The Super NES title will arrive later this year, but Nintendo still has a little way to go if it's going to fully satisfy eager fans. That's simply because we're now hearing new noises from those that would like to see Game Boy Advance title Mother 3 brought to the West; this is the sequel to Earthbound, which is called Mother 2 in Japan. Clyde Mandelin, who's a professional translator, has already localised the text of the GBA title into English, and has published an open letter to Nintendo to offer assistance and access to his work for free.

I realize that localizing a game this size can cost a lot, so if it’ll help in even the slightest, I’ll gladly offer to let Nintendo use my text translation files for any use at all, completely for free. I’ll even edit the files to fit whatever new standards are necessary (content, formatting, memory size, etc.), completely for free. I’ll even retranslate everything from scratch if need be. Just whatever it takes to get an official release out.

It might seem unlikely for a legitimate company to use a fan translation or work with fan translators, but it has happened before – Ys: The Oath in Felghana is one recent example. It’s more common among visual novel games at the moment, but I believe this sort of thing will only become more and more common over time. Only when the works in question are up to a certain standard of quality, of course.

Of course, Mandelin is on slightly sticky ground based on the fact he has translated a distributed ROM of the Japan-only release, but perhaps there's hope. It's confirmed that Game Boy Advance games will come to the Wii U Virtual Console, so there's a chance — possibly only a small one — that this title will eventually make its way onto the service. If Nintendo wants to save money on the translation to English, the offer is clearly there.

Thanks to Ryan Millar for the tip.


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User Comments (56)



RupeeClock said:

If Nintendo were to take the fan translation, alter it as necessary and release it for 3DS and Wii U VC, that'd be amazing and I'd snap it up immediately.
From what I had heard even guys at Nintendo were looking forward to playing Mother 3.



Mk_II said:

Nice gesture but translation is only a small part of the total cost of localizing a game so it won't make much difference.



GamecubeMan said:

It would be nice for Nintendo to accept but I doubt they would settle for a fan translation.




I really don't give a f*ck it is released for the 3ds or the wii u, I just want the game to finally be officially released in NA. My favorite game of all time is coming to wii u and I would like its sequel and my second favorite title to be released as well. Don't screw everything up Nintendo!



Einherjar said:

If Nintendo would eccept that offer, it wouldnt just be awesome for all the fans, wayting for a western release, but for the industry itself. Localisation is of of the most cost intensive aspects of a game. Look at Koei games. They went from multi dub / text in their early PS2 days to eng/jap dub / multi text to just jap dub / eng text nowadays. Getting and ECCEPTING help from the fan community would be, in my oppinion, a huge step towards customer oriented marketing.
If everyone and their goldfish can beg for money on kickstarter and co, why shouldnt Nintendo accept free help (or pay them out of sheer generosity) from a dedicated fanbase ?



Bulbousaur said:

I'm all for it, if the work is already done, why would Nintendo feel the need to translate the game itself? From clips I've seen on YouTube, the traslation is very good, All I see is a potential win-win situation.



Highwinter said:

@GamecubeLad All of the Pokemon games were translated by freelance translators (some of whom post on other forums) up until Black & White when they shifted over to doing everything in-house.

I doubt they'd accept this one because of it now and there'd be a stupid amount of legal ramifications to sort out for including fanwork in a game, even with the creators consent. All in all, it'd be easier for them to just do the job themselves.



Bulbousaur said:

@Highwinter Even if Nintendo can't have the actual ROM, the original translator must have the actual dialogue, names and descriptions as text files. To my knowledge, they would be nothing wrong with Nintendo just using those. All they would have to do is replace the japanese text themselves.



LexKitteh said:

I have played this fan translation and it is well-written, and feels Nintendo quality. I hope Nintendo takes this chance, or at least works to localize the game themselves.



Moshugan said:

The translation is of very high quality. I don't recall any blunders in it. It's crazy to think that Nintendo might probably decline or completely ignore the offer. It wouldn't be too much effort to release the game digitally in the west.



Moshugan said:

@Mk_II "Nice gesture but translation is only a small part of the total cost of localizing a game so it won't make much difference."
So, what other things are there to be done?
I can't think of any, aside from licensing and publishing issues.



Mk_II said:

@Moshugan manufacturing, packaging, marketing, promotion / advertising, distribution & transport to name but a few. Before a game sits on a store shelf, you've already spent a load of money just getting it there.



ToxorAxiom said:

@SnackBox Yeah, really. Is that supposed to be some kind of in-joke with Nintendo, or what?

As for this, perhaps there's hope... perhaps. I imagine it'll depend on the sales of Earthbound, which I hope will be a lot. Some of the best series are the most popular in Japan, like the Mother games and the Monster Hunter ones too.

Just slap a CoD/Bioshock logo on it and BAM! Instant sales in the West. Lol



rjejr said:

@Mk_II - of all the things you mentioned - "manufacturing, packaging, marketing, promotion / advertising, distribution & transport" - almost NONE of them matter with a digital DL, which is what this would be. And the marketing promotion advertising - which are all really 1 thing that you stretched out to 3 - the internet, and Twitter, and Facebook is all this game would need.



Giygas_95 said:

I'm wondering if maybe GBA titles on the Wii U will be playable on the gamepad only. Wouldn't they look bad stretched to full screen? Or maybe they'd just look like an SNES game.



Squiggle55 said:

I'm happy to say I can see this happening now. Of course it will likely depend on how Earthbound sells. So buy it!



Moshugan said:

@Mk_II LoL, do you think it would be released for GBA? No way, digital is where it's at.
@SwerdMurd Nintendo doesn't do that much marketing anyway. A simple announcement is all it needs and the news will spread like wild fire.



retro_player_22 said:

I'm glad somebody is now offering Nintendo to show them their interest in the Mother series though Mother 3 to me was my least favorite of the series. I would be more excited of them bringing the Famicom original to the eShop first before Mother 3.



Dpullam said:

We'll see if Nintendo actually takes up his offer of translating the game for free. I certainly would like them to!



SCAR said:

This guy doesn't know what lost in translation means, apparently. Nintendo can probably come up with a more fitting script for the game for the U.S.
I want the game, but even I know it wouldn't be a good idea to use this guy's translation.



SMW said:

Back in the day, I thought I'd eventually see Tomato listed in the credits of Nintendo games. Maybe it'll happen?



MagicBox said:

May I ask what you're basing that statement on, exactly? I can't speak for the quality of Mandelin's Mother 3 translation, but he does a lot of official, professional work for other video games and for anime licensed by FUNimation (Dragon Ball, One Piece, Case Closed, etc.). Having read a lot of his work, I can say that his translations are quite good.

Of course, it's unlikely that Nintendo will actually take him up on his offer, but I think they should at least take notice of what their fans are willing to do. They've got a professional translator bending over backwards and offering to not only tweak his translation any way they see fit, but to even re-translate the game altogether, and for free.



ogo79 said:

yeah tomato from did the translation, its accurate, if all fails you will be able to get m3 on a gba repro cart in english, there were limited copies at one time, but a wave of them as coming again. id prefer a vc release for this to go along with my mother 3 guide



KnightRider666 said:

C'mon Nintendo, just do it. But we all know Nintendo. They will come up with some stupid excuse to either greatly delay this, or not do it at all.



Luffymcduck said:

I´ve played the Mother3 fan translation and it´s safe to say it´s high quality work. I hope they´ll release all three games eventually in the west.



elreins said:

@manu0 The translation is superb. I finished the game on an emulator in a pc, Glorious. Very very touching.



Emaan said:

I would love to see Nintendo take the initiative for this. Now that Earthbound is being re-released, it'd be great to see the whole series finally get worldwide.




I really never even played a MOTHER game before so I probably have no right at all to be saying anything here. But the way how I see things going back to the 4/17/2013 Nintendo Direct , if Nintendo was gonna mention anything about MOTHER 3 , then they could have at least said something about MOTHER 1 also. In the long run when I look at this whole picture, it's great that we're finally gonna be able to get our hands on EarthBound / MOTHER 2 in North America & Europe. But then there's also the issue I have which is, why show no love for MOTHER 1 or MOTHER 3 too?? :/ EarthBound will be my first MOTHER game I ever played when it comes out on the North American Wii U eShop , but with news of all this about MOTHER 3 spilling out, I say to Nintendo, why not go for it if this guy is willing to do free translation to get the game out to fans who would like to see it out on the Wii U VC. I mean. it only makes sense to any gamer out there when everyone thinks long and hard about it in the end.



Urbanhispanic said:

I think, with Earthbound FINALLY coming to the Wii U VC, the GBA game has a good chance of coming out since there wouldn't be ANY reason for Nintendo to not release it. It's a matter of when. However, it would be crazy awesome if they accepted this guy's help.



Gregor said:

@manu0 its very good just so you know. Every single thing is spot on English and I love every line of writing. This fan translation has less typos than other JRPG that have had an entire squadron work on their translation.



softserve said:

I don't think it's just a gesture if Nintendo wants to be smart here. When people mean "translating" is only a part of localization, a lot of what they're talking about is adding local flavor to a translation so it makes sense to that country — this has already been done with the Mother 3 translation.

It also refers to editing the game so that the text fits, so that English can be used instead. Again, already done.

All that remains is marketing. And Nintendo would have to do very little here — they could talk about it on their own channels and probably sell a boat load just by doing that. This isn't a game that needs commercials.

The only reason I could see Nintendo not doing it is political, really. The cost has been essentially shaved down significantly for them.



softserve said:

I've also been wishing Atlus would do this with the SNES MegaTen games, but I doubt that'll ever happen either.



MitchVogel said:

I always thought things like this would be a good idea for game companies. For example, if a company didn't have the time or resources or whatever, they could put out a sort of commission and say to the fans that if they truly want a game to re-release, they can do the work themselves and the company would publish it. Of course, those who worked on it would get a small cut of the sales, too. It'd be a great way to accurately gauge interest in an old game or series and we'd see a lot more classic titles given another chance.



mikeyman64 said:

I remember following his progress during the making of the translation patch. He did a fantastic job.



ToxorAxiom said:

@TheKingOfTown Should've asked me what I meant first instead of assuming. Because you'd have found out that I'm not talking about guns, but formula. The kind of formula that can become stagnant with some (or many) people. In my case, yes.

And this is the Bioformula: anti-hero with mysterious dark past must traverse through ruined/chaotic utopia and carve his own (i.e. your own) stylishly genocidal path to the evil dictator and find out the truth. Only... it isn't what it seems, he isn't who he seems, she isn't who she seems, truth isn't what it seems... oh, and it's more than just a game 'cause it's about the message and the twists and the parallels with real-life tyrants and religion is bad and patricide is good and blah blah blah, i.e. less gameplay and more preaching from a real-life, self-proclaimed know-it-all that happens to be the dicta-- I mean, leader of a mov-- I mean, game development team. "$60, please."

So, what else is new? Same ol', same ol'.

Oh, wait! GAMEPLAY. I almost forgot that's what I bought a gaming console for! Not to spend that much money on an 8-hour, semi-interactive psudo-movie, but an actual game to play. Lol

MH3U, FTW. =)



Henmii said:

It's a very good proposal, but I fear Nintendo won't bite! But we'll see!

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