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FFIV fan translation patch for spoony bards

Once again, we're delving into the ethically dubious practice of ROM hacking (and ROM having), this time for the Japanese release of Final Fantasy IV. Impatient fans have been translating the game's script since the 3D remake's release last month, and they have already released a "semi-final beta" translation patch with most of the description text now in English!

According to the group's progress table, only a few sections still need translation (e.g. monster descriptions, location names), so a full and final English patch doesn't seem too far off. A Translation Wiki is also available for those missing bits or for those of you who'd rather pass on using the patch altogether.

Square Enix has yet to announce its plans for Final Fantasy IV's release outside of Japan. Our best guess? Mid-to-late 2008.

Translate! Ultimate Stars

Jump Ultimate Stars is one of the most popular DS games with importers. Since it's a fighting game, it's not a huge deal to play Jump without knowing Japanese, but there are a lot of missions that may be difficult to figure out. Also, the game actually tries to tell a story, which is rare for a fighting game.

Abel Tamayo wrote in to tell us about a wonderful wiki project he's managing, called, appropriately enough, the Jump Ultimate Stars Translation Project. We've seen amazing fan translation projects from single translators, but never a project done in a collaborative wiki format. It's a great idea, one that will allow tragically busy people to help out. If you know Japanese, why not sign up? Translating a fighting game-- that's another rarity. SNK never bothered to do it.

English guide to Ouendan 2 menus

Among its other many virtues, Ouendan owed a lot of its overseas hype and success to its undaunting language barrier. Despite the menus and manga panels being filled with Japanese text, importers were able to follow the rhythm title's illustrated screwball plots and quickly pick up its self-explanatory controls. Ouendan's recently-released sequel, Moeru! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2, likewise requires little-to-no familiarity with the Japanese language in order to enjoy the game.

Even with these assurances though, there are still many import-shy gamers who hide behind their mothers' skirts at the sight of kanji characters. Fortunately for them, the Platformers has translated Ouendan 2's menu selections, providing a visual guide with an overlay of English text. Most of the buttons and icons are obvious, but having a quick reference like this would be useful for first-time importers. Now there's no excuse for avoiding the cheer squad!

Gyakuten Saiban 4 demo translation is a heroic effort

DS Fanboy pal Zachary Hinchliffe is powerfully awesome, and you can quote us on that. He's working with Croik of the Phoenix Wright fansite Court Records to translate the Japanese Gyakuten Saiban 4 Flash demo, which actually consists of part of the first case.

It's in a very early stage right now-- essentially, once you get past the intro and into gameplay, the text switches over to question-mark speak that is even less useful than the original Japanese dialogue, but you can at least watch the introduction. And you can set your bookmark now to play more as more gets translated, because we're sure you'll get to play this demo to completion in English before the game gets an English release.

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?

Capcom blogger interviews Phoenix Wright localization staff

We just found out about the employee blogs that Capcom USA has on their website. One in particular, belonging to "Scarlett," is especially cool because it features an interview with a member of the Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Justice For All localization staff, Janet Hsu!

The interview provides some fairly interesting information about working at Capcom Japan, and about trying to make something as Japanese as Gyakuten Saiban make sense to American audiences. There's also the incredible statement from Ms. Hsu that she only took Japanese classes for about 2 years before coming to Japan. Certain members of the DS Fanboy Blogging Squad have taken much more Japanese than that and can't translate their way out of a paper bag. It's official: Janet Hsu is our new hero, and so are her colleagues JP Kellams and Brandon Gay.

[Via GameSetWatch]

Phoenix Wright: Justice For All translation is just fine

According to some recent import impressions of the newly-remade-for-the-DS Gyakutan Saiban 2 (that's Phoenix Wright 2: Justice For All over here in America), the English translation stored on the Japanese cart seems to be the official translation that will be used here in North America. One of the biggest draws of the game was its extremely well-written and localized script, so many importers were wary that the English option from Japan would be a hack job of pain, suffering, and Engrish.

Worry not! The importer assures us that the writing is as goofy and hilarious as the original, so go ahead and import this sucker, qualm-free. He does mention a few rather glaring typos (which will certainly be fixed before American release), but if you can handle such trivial annoyances, than you can get your gavel on months before the rest.

Translated Itadaki Street scans

Remember those recent Itadaki Street scans? Dedicated Nintendo fan and amazing translator CTU Kyoto has put them all into English for your reading pleasure. Now you can read all about the Volcano of Death and Jessica's "charming assets" without flipping back and forth through a kanji reference until you give up and toss it angrily through a window.

Maybe that last one was just us. Enjoy the updated scans, and thanks again, CTU Kyoto! Having some idea of the information packed into these sets gets us charged up over the game. Too bad it's not finished ... we're ready to throw down over WiFi.

DS translator terrific for traversing Thailand

A pair of Nintendo commercials illustrates just how useful their new "traveler's notebook" translation software is when it comes to communicating to the people of a strange and foreign country. After a few taps on the touch screen, the DS displays a translated version of whatever message the young lady is trying to convey and is promptly shoved into the face of some hapless local. If that doesn't work, it can also read the sentence to you in a non-threatening electronic voice.

Allowing one to haggle a hat-seller or carefully avoid ordering food that might explode halfway down your throat are just more examples of how the DS is spreading its tendrils into the realms of non-gaming.

[Thanks yoorin!]

Japanese-English dictionary for DS

At the rate language tools are hitting the system, the DS may yet become an essential diplomatic tool for foreign ambassadors as they defuse tense border disputes and nuclear arnament talks. Of course, its ability to play proper games may be to the detriment of such situations, especially when the ambassador is too busy snaking his way through Mario Kart to notice two countries declaring war on each other.

The latest one to surface is this Japanese-English dictionary which can translate both ways, as well as accept kanji and kana symbols via stylus input. Throw in some fun quiz modes and a reasonably low price tag, and this program starts looking like a superior investment when compared to a professional electronic translator. The linked site provides an informative and more thorough analysis than that, so be sure to give it a read if you plan on visiting Japan soon. It's sure to come in handy when you need to ask, "Where might I find a Crystal Cocaine DS Lite?"

[Thanks Damian!]

New DS games announced for Japan

Puzz Loop - Arcade VersionGamespot reports that three new DS games have been announced for release in the Land of the Rising Fun, one of which we already knew about and two more which caught us complete unawares. The surprise was so great that we actually fell out of our chairs. Stranger still is the fact that nobody around here even has a chair. No, all DS Fanboy posts emerge from a comfortable hammock tied between two concrete pillars deep within an underground parking garage.

It's a quiet place that allows us to enjoy games such as Shunkan Puzz Loop, a ported arcade Puzz-le game from the creator of Polarium. Scheduled for a March 2 release, the game has players erasing colored balls rolling down a spiral track towards the center of the screen. As any puzzle expert will tell you, the only way one can hope to eliminate evil balls is by firing good balls out of a cannon and aligning them in matching colored rows - this game does not break that honored tradition.

The other game is set apart from the others in the sense that it's not so much a game and more like a utility that may actually prove useful at some point in your life, possibly even saving it when you're inevitably faced with German gangsters asking for directions. Arriving in Chinese, Korean, Thai, English and German versions, Tabi no Yubisashi Kaiwacho allows the user to understand different languages via translated text displayed on the screen and blasted through the DS' speakers. When it releases sometime in March, this title will totally teach you how to talk, man.

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