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DS Daily: Localization

Yesterday we linked the Capcom USA interviews with Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice For All localization team members, and they mentioned what every game translator mentions: changing cultural references to fit better with the target audience. The translations considered "best" are the ones that attempt to maintain the spirit of the original game without too much Japanese culture left behind.

Our question to you is this: do you like localization, or would you prefer a direct translation? Do you want things to be exactly as they are in the Japanese version, but directly translated to English? Are you happy with American TV references in Phoenix Wright? And what about the localized-from-the-ground-up Elite Beat Agents?

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Reader Comments (Page 1 of 1)


3-22-2007 @ 9:32AM

ndrooo said...

I believe that localization is crucial to the core gameplay of text heavy games. Gyakuten Saiban is a prime example of this since America is rarely exposed to the Japanese culture. The jokes just wouldn't make sense and it would go over our heads.

HOWEVER, games like Bleach DS, Eyeshield 21, and of course, Ouendan are not as text heavy, so a direct translation would probably be just as good and wouldn't take away from the enjoyment. I personally love Ouendan BECAUSE i don't know what's going on and it makes it all the more fun to play! (well, in my opinion anyway)


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3-22-2007 @ 9:59AM

hvnlysoldr said...

When I was little I watched Laputa Castle in the Sky without subs or nothing. Just the pure Japanese version and I didn't complain about it. I also watched a bunch of Japanese kids anime. Sometimes it's OK for it to be a direct translation. Who doesn't like the bad dubs on the old kung-fu and Godzilla movies? Just as long as they get over here it's all good.

On a final note, I haven't played Ouendan but the improved features in EBA like the replay, review, better layout of beats, and easier spinners plus the feedback from rumble stop me from importing Ouendan. I can barely squeak through the third section of Jumping Jack Flash on Hard Rock so I can't imagine how hard it would be on Ready Steady Go. And even though I said I could enjoy Laputa and the kids shows even in Japanese that's because they were kids shows meant to be easily grasped by kids and my brother and I watched Laputa at least a dozen times. It helps tremendously that I can understand what is going on so that's why I like watching dubs, still like subs better though. Really the only Japanese songs I'll listen to are anime openings and endings where I can guess the context and even then not many. The tracklist on EBA is good even though I didn't think I would like some of them. I let my little sister and her friends play some beginning stages and they really liked WTM and Sk8er Boi.

Just as long as they come over it's all good.


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3-22-2007 @ 10:05AM

ndrooo said...

yeah hvnlysoldier, ready steady go is pretty hard. I imported ouendan and got through most of it on the hardest level then....


There's an EXTRA EXTRA HARD MODE... with female, american cheerleaders. The songs are the same and the patters are the same as in hard mode, but the circles are smaller and they appear faster... which makes it almost impossible to beat the last song without playing it 2312321 times over, hahaha. It took me about 2 hours of trying before i could beat ready steady go, but it was so rewarding, hahaha.


So yeah, i still hold to my opinion that fighters, puzzlers, and rhythm games don't need localization, but adventure games and RPGs will definitely need to be localized.


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3-22-2007 @ 10:31AM

Kenny said...

To me, direct translations are never desirable. You always have to tweak things because of culture and language. Euphemism can't usually be translated, so they need to be changed - i.e. You might not want to translate "It's raining cats in dogs" into German if they don't have a similar phrase -- you may just say "it's raining very hard."

Language has to be changed for things like puns or word play as well, because it doesn't translate well.

But the question is more about localization. Personally, I'd rather have it. I play games for fun not to be cultured or to appreciate it's "art". I'd much rather have the game translated (both language and culture) to something I can understand and enjoy. I'm definately no purist.


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3-22-2007 @ 12:12PM

cloneofsnake said...

"Euphemism" is the wrong word, what you meant is "idiom".

I liked Ouendan a lot more than EBA... overall, I like Japanese voice acting more than English ones even though I don't understand what they're saying. They just have better, more natural voices compare to our English ones which sound nothing like how we talk in real life. I think localization should be kept to a minimum. So what if we don't understand Japan's culture, we are humans and we're capable of learning. The differences are what make life so much more fun.


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3-22-2007 @ 1:39PM

Frip said...

"There's an EXTRA EXTRA HARD MODE... with female, american cheerleaders. The songs are the same and the patters are the same as in hard mode, but the circles are smaller and they appear faster... which makes it almost impossible to beat the last song without playing it 2312321 times over, hahaha. It took me about 2 hours of trying before i could beat ready steady go, but it was so rewarding, hahaha."

Just so you know, this mode is in EBA too. Not cheerleaders, but "Elite Beat Divas" or whatever the hell.
I would've liked if they translated Ouendan, but EBA was a great, if not better game anyway. One thing I'm glad they translated was Phoenix Wright. They did a damn fine job on that one.


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3-22-2007 @ 3:13PM

Rachel said...

I like it when they localize it culturally as well, because it makes the Japanese and American games very different.

Take Ouendan. I played the Japanese version, beat it, and loved it. If they would have just put english on it and brought it over to America, it wouldn't be the same. There'd be no reason to play it again, except to see the english menus. BUT, because they made a whole new game out of it, even though it was essentially the same mechanics, it was still a lot of fun to play through as well.

Cooking Mama, however, was a different story. They basically just turned it into english, but left a lot of the japanese dishes and what not the same. To me, they could have made it more american with different foods. How hard would that have been? And so, since I enjoyed the game in japanese form, it really wasn't as enjoyable when it came over here.


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3-22-2007 @ 5:50PM

Chii said...

Some games need it.

Phoenix Wright would be a SHADE of itself without the localization... But if, say... It's not detail-driven, don't localize it fully. Keep the flavor a bit, but make sure it's understandable... localization to a degree is needed, at least for dialogue.


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3-23-2007 @ 8:59PM

Snail said...

Usually it does not matter as long as they put enough efforts into the localization, having accurate translation, good voice actor and try their best to be bug-free.

But games with heavy emphasis on eastern historical background just don't sound right and lose their appeal once their get localized, they definitely should get a direct translation instead.


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