Localization Discussion

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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Ultimate_Nova_X » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:41 am

Excelsia wrote:Exactly. Which is why I felt that such a generalized claim was inherently flawed.

Actually, that's exactly why I feel my claim was okay.
Excelsia wrote:Now that's a misunderstanding if ever I've seen one; I implied nothing of the sort. I never even broached the topic of "pleasing everyone". In fact, it was quite the reverse.

I made the analogy to show my previous point, since you claim that anything generalizations aren't 100% accurate should be avoided.
Excelsia wrote:Not necessarily. Can we know for certain that the US is the only non-Japanese country to engage in such practices? I would imagine that similar circumstances occur when games are brought to European or other foreign markets via those foreign companies.

I was comparing the US to Japan and vice-versa. Not so much Europe.

The only Europe localized game my in recent memory was Xenoblade, and I don't know enough about Europe to confidently make a comparison. Personally though, I would rather have Europe localize games than US though, but that's just me.

However, what I've recently noticed, and I could be wrong, is that Europe is a lot more likely to include the original Japanese audio for their localizations, more than NA.

But if Europe has similar problems, then they can deal with it better than we can, since they live there, the same way we live here.
Excelsia wrote:I have difficulty believing that the North American market and their localizers are the sole perpetrators of these kinds of practices, and even more difficulty believing that all of them are guilty of following said practices.

They're not the "sole" perpetrators, maybe, but that's not saying much. And like I said before, it happens way more often in the US than in Asian countries (and in more noticeable details), and this goes for video games, anime, etc. And even if it's not exclusive to US, even if it's not uncommon in the first place, the US will still be the one that gets noticed due to how much the country stands out and how influential it is.

And I like to see a counter-example, if you please.
Excelsia wrote:So if you're going to take issue with how Japanese games are handled in non-Japanese countries, well... you've certainly got your work cut out for you, heh.

I'm around for a reason.
kanade2 wrote:Are there any English localization company that you can tolerate enough to support them even if they don't meet your standards?

No time to answer right now, later.
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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Seventh » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:55 am

I believe the Inazuma Eleven games could be considered Europe localized, and they got a heavy 4kids treatment.
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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Ultimate_Nova_X » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:40 am

kanade2 wrote:Are there any English localization company that you can tolerate enough to support them even if they don't meet your standards?

Okay, good question. For me, I don't care so much about the company themselves than the games they provide.

I evaluate on a case-by-case basis. So there's no concrete answer.

However, automatic deal breakers include not including the original Japanese audio, removed content, among others.

Almost a decade ago though, I didn't actually care about any of this stuff (I was young), including voices, or I should say, I didn't notice to take issue.

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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby St0ck » Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:23 pm

So you're boycotting the new Super Smash Brothers?
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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Cael » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:25 am

Houk wrote:While we might not always adhere to what you might consider the literal translation (which is itself a subjective term) we certainly do our best to adhere as closely as possible to the spirit of the original. At times we have strayed from that to our detriment, but it's not our standard approach.

If, for example, you're opposed to anything but the most literal rendering of a character's name exactly as pronounced/written in the original Japanese, regardless of how those names are perceived by English speakers, then yeah, I can see why you wouldn't see eye-to-eye with our approach.

But I absolutely believe that there are times in which changing a character's name might lead it away from the literal but also leads it much close to the actual intent of the original.


The least you could do then is to add a secondary sub-track with the original names to the game.

And that last part, to me, sounds like a terrible reason to change a characters name.

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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby shadowmaksim » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:01 am

Cael wrote:
Houk wrote:But I absolutely believe that there are times in which changing a character's name might lead it away from the literal but also leads it much close to the actual intent of the original.


And that last part, to me, sounds like a terrible reason to change a characters name.


A random thought just crossed my mind. It's been revealed that all changes that NISA does has to get approval from the original developers, since the game is getting reprogrammed by them and all. If the original developers don't like something and say no, then NISA can't go though with said changes.

And with that, here's what came to my mind to the whole name change thing. If the changes are approved, that could mean one of two things (at least what I could think of, feel free to offer another aspect I may be missing).

Either the original creators agree with NISA's approach (in that it fits better or they just like it more or whatever reason it may be)...or they just don't care that there are changes being made in the first place.

Remember, if the original creators didn't like it and actually cared enough about the integrity of their works...they have the full right to deny the changes. Yet that isn't happening.

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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Seventh » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:26 am

shadowmaksim wrote:A random thought just crossed my mind. It's been revealed that all changes that NISA does has to get approval from the original developers, since the game is getting reprogrammed by them and all. If the original developers don't like something and say no, then NISA can't go though with said changes.

And with that, here's what came to my mind to the whole name change thing. If the changes are approved, that could mean one of two things (at least what I could think of, feel free to offer another aspect I may be missing).

Either the original creators agree with NISA's approach (in that it fits better or they just like it more or whatever reason it may be)...or they just don't care that there are changes being made in the first place.

Remember, if the original creators didn't like it and actually cared enough about the integrity of their works...they have the full right to deny the changes. Yet that isn't happening.

I've actually addressed this before. Yes, they have full rights to deny the changes, but there's a very big difference of perspective going on. They aren't part of the audience that the game is being changed for and they may not simply be able to understand how the changes could effect the audience, or whether or not it's actually necessary. And that's not to say anyone is "dumb" or anything, it's just a matter of cultural differences - like how Bullet Girls or Criminal Girls can come out in Japan no problem but... well, you see what's happening here.

There's also the fact that a lot of these approvals are apparently based on more of a trust system - Company X is a successful company, seen as trustworthy, so they're trusted. To expect the original companies to be able to spend the time to go through the localized versions of the game and have the same understanding as a Westerner would, and then "correct" anything they might feel as necessary to "correct," given the language barriers and cultural differences, is unrealistic. Simply saying the companies approve of the changes doesn't actually say much of anything definitively as far as I can see, because we don't know to what extent the changes were looked at, understood, and so on - and to expect them to get the treatment that they might deserve is, again, unrealistic, because it would require the people making the games to have someone fluent in English and Western culture on their team at all times for these situations. It would make localizations take much longer than they need to in many cases as well.

So the way I see it, just pointing to a company's "approval" doesn't always mean a lot, because it's entirely possible that, unless we can see that they said to do specific things (like DR with Monokuma), they weren't as involved in that approval process as one might assume by saying it - which isn't necessarily bad, it doesn't make anyone stupid, and it's not to say any of the companies are lying to anyone. If this kind of thing wasn't true, these games wouldn't be getting changed at all in the first place.

Now, one might look at what I'm saying and say "well if you recognize there are differences, you must recognize things need to change so that they aren't different for the foreign consumers" - but that's exactly what I'm not saying. People buy this game for that "foreign" experience, if you will. I'm not blanket saying all changes are bad, because I do understand some - many even - could be argued as necessary, but to that end, many aren't as well, I feel.

Kind of went on a tangent here, but yeah.
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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Ultimate_Nova_X » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:43 am

Dood already tried to argue with that several pages before. Pretty much what I've said back then isn't too removed from what Seventh said above.

There's also a monetary motivation. We're the ones that give the money, they're the ones that receive it, so even then, we stand on different sides of the field.

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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Excelsia » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:24 pm

Seventh wrote:People buy this game for that "foreign" experience, if you will.

That sure as heck isn't why I buy these games. I buy these games because they look like they'd be fun. Their cultural or foreign origin has never mattered to me in the least.

I really feel you're thinking entirely too hard about why gamers play the games they play, regardless of how niche said games may or may not be. I'd be willing to wager good money that the "people" you're generalizing fall into the minority, even among niche gamers.

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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby shadowmaksim » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:39 pm

Seventh wrote:I've actually addressed this before. Yes, they have full rights to deny the changes, but there's a very big difference of perspective going on. They aren't part of the audience that the game is being changed for and they may not simply be able to understand how the changes could effect the audience, or whether or not it's actually necessary. And that's not to say anyone is "dumb" or anything, it's just a matter of cultural differences - like how Bullet Girls or Criminal Girls can come out in Japan no problem but... well, you see what's happening here.


I actually have a problem with what's being stated here a bit.

I keep hearing about how the changes (like the name changes) shouldn't be made because it goes against the creator's original intention. Then why does what the audience think matter then? They would need to be understanding, if they cared, of how their original intention is being changed.

Even then, what if they do understand how the changes will effect the audience? You are kind of making an assumption here (though I'm pretty much doing the same regarding this).

I feel like we need to clarify which audience we are talking about here since I feel like the audience you are talking about is not the same as the audience I'm trying to talk about.

I'm also not really talking about cultural differences. I'm talking about original intentions. Cultural differences could be part of it, but it's not always the whole thing.

There's also the fact that a lot of these approvals are apparently based on more of a trust system - Company X is a successful company, seen as trustworthy, so they're trusted. To expect the original companies to be able to spend the time to go through the localized versions of the game and have the same understanding as a Westerner would, and then "correct" anything they might feel as necessary to "correct," given the language barriers and cultural differences, is unrealistic. Simply saying the companies approve of the changes doesn't actually say much of anything definitively as far as I can see, because we don't know to what extent the changes were looked at, understood, and so on - and to expect them to get the treatment that they might deserve is, again, unrealistic, because it would require the people making the games to have someone fluent in English and Western culture on their team at all times for these situations. It would make localizations take much longer than they need to in many cases as well.


To begin, I never said that the original creators had to check everything that was in the localized versions. I was really just addressing the most apparent things like name changes which doesn't require an in-depth look through the entire game.

But if we are going with the entirety of the game as a whole, that's one of the reasons why company x has to give a report of what they are doing if they are changing anything and why they are changing it. It's all supposed to be explained to them so that they can understand it. If they still went ahead with giving the approval of the changes and still didn't understand why, then I'd say they pretty much fall in the "don't care" group I mentioned beforehand. If they did care, they'd make sure to understand exactly how their "original intent" is being effected, cultural differences or not. Just hoping that the localizing company is trust worthy enough and not questioning them doesn't paint them all that well in my eyes.

As far as I know, when dealing with localization, having people who is fluent of both cultures/languages on both sides is a damn near necessity. And we don't know how much of the localization time actually goes into that. For all we know, it's possible that is already being completely done like that. It's all just assumptions here so either one of us could be correct but we wouldn't know.

So the way I see it, just pointing to a company's "approval" doesn't always mean a lot, because it's entirely possible that, unless we can see that they said to do specific things (like DR with Monokuma), they weren't as involved in that approval process as one might assume by saying it - which isn't necessarily bad, it doesn't make anyone stupid, and it's not to say any of the companies are lying to anyone. If this kind of thing wasn't true, these games wouldn't be getting changed at all in the first place.


I guess we'll just have to disagree.

Maybe I'm expecting too much from companies who supposedly care about the original intent of their works. At this point, it's part of the job of the localizing company and the developer company to fully understand what is going on. Anything less is that they just don't care about that original intention that is kept being brought up.

And I also mentioned that getting the "approval" doesn't always mean that they care. As mentioned before, it's also fully possible that they just didn't care enough and approved it anyway.

Now, one might look at what I'm saying and say "well if you recognize there are differences, you must recognize things need to change so that they aren't different for the foreign consumers" - but that's exactly what I'm not saying. People buy this game for that "foreign" experience, if you will. I'm not blanket saying all changes are bad, because I do understand some - many even - could be argued as necessary, but to that end, many aren't as well, I feel.


Again, I'm not talking about cultural differences. I'm talking about the dealing of original intention.

And that's a huge assumption you just made. Maybe you buy these kinds of games for the "foreign" experience. But I know I don't. I buy these kind of games because I find the games themselves to be interesting or fun to play. Something that culture has little to do.

Like for example, I"m currently playing "Yakuza 4" at the moment. The game is full of Japanese culture since it takes place in Japan. But I'm enjoying the game not because it's a "foreign experience", it's because the story and gameplay are honestly just interesting or fun to play.

I just hope I interpreted that quote in particular correctly.

Kind of went on a tangent here, but yeah.


You're fine. If anything, I'm the one prone to going off on tangents given how jumbled I can get. I actually jumped back and forth between points while typing this up so it's entirely likely I just ended up misinterpreting or missed addressing something.

If it wasn't noticeable enough by now, I just flat out suck at debating over just about anything :lol:. Still have to at least try though.Even if I get flak and hated for it.

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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Ultimate_Nova_X » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:34 pm

Regardless if people agree with each other or not, one thing is definitely clear:

No one skips over a game because it's too close to the original.

I hope Dood_Abides sees this.
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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby shadowmaksim » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:41 pm

Ultimate_Nova_X wrote:Regardless if people agree with each other or not, one thing is definitely clear:

No one skips over a game because it's too close to the original.

I hope Dood_Abides sees this.


While I'd like to agree, it's best to not get too sure about your absolute there.

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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Seventh » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:54 pm

Excelsia wrote:That sure as heck isn't why I buy these games. I buy these games because they look like they'd be fun. Their cultural or foreign origin has never mattered to me in the least.

I really feel you're thinking entirely too hard about why gamers play the games they play, regardless of how niche said games may or may not be. I'd be willing to wager good money that the "people" you're generalizing fall into the minority, even among niche gamers.

I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say there - perhaps because it has been said by other users here, so I apologize for not being clear. I'm not saying that anyone is or isn't buying them because they want a foreign Japanese game of Japanesness, I'm saying they are choosing to buy this game, which is Japanese, because it is offering the experience (one that Japanese developers came up with) that the people have deemed to be one they want.

I'm not saying that the fact that it's Japanese in itself is why anyone wants it, which is what it sounds like you're saying, but I am saying that it's this Japanese experience that people are going for - not that the fact that it's Japanese alone is why you're going for it, though. I don't go for all Japanese things, but I do go for some. Japanese games are unique, just like Western ones are. If it wasn't unique, if it wasn't different, then there wouldn't be a demand for it because we could get the same sort of game here - you can't deny that. It is a foreign experience. It is a product of a foreign country, and you have deemed that thing fun looking - why though? Why is this fun looking over, say, Call of Zombies and Senseless Murder - Your Duty is to Become the God of Big Little Planets? Certainly, you may like that too, but when you buy this game and then go to play this game, you're making the choice to play this game, and it is foreign (unless you're in Japan right now), and you can't deny that. I'm not saying that the foreign-ness is the magical reason why anyone likes it, but what comes from that - the writing, the characters, the gameplay, that sort of thing. Those all came to exist because this came from Japan. FFF may seem to innocent to some in those respects, but let's get a bit more "out there" - would it be so wrong to say that about something like Criminal Girls or Senran Kagura? Look at any article about either and I'd be willing to bet you might find at least one comment along the lines of "oh Japan" or something, because Japanese games do offer different things than Western ones do, and I don't think it's so terrible to point that out. Even if we all spoke the same language it would still be true.

Heck, even if it was 4kidsed to hell, and I don't think it will be, it would still be a JRPG at its core. A thoroughly edited JRPG, but still a JRPG all the same, and that's what I was trying to say.

Does that make more sense? :(

shadowmaksim wrote:I keep hearing about how the changes (like the name changes) shouldn't be made because it goes against the creator's original intention. Then why does what the audience think matter then? They would need to be understanding, if they cared, of how their original intention is being changed.

Well, I'm pretty sure I don't mention this much, the creator's intention and all. My issues are about the story and so on. If the creator's intention is to deliver something different than what they gave their "original" audience, then I would feel pretty conflicted on that - but it would need to be of the creator's intention to get to that point, which is not the same thing as the creator saying yes to a suggestion someone else made.

shadowmaksim wrote:Even then, what if they do understand how the changes will effect the audience? You are kind of making an assumption here (though I'm pretty much doing the same regarding this).

Same as above, but my main point was that I think it's just unrealistic to think they would a lot of the time. I'm not asking them to do this as much as I am saying it's not fair to ask them to do it. They might just see "English name A is now English name B" and not know that name B has certain connotations (like, for example, naming a character Sexually Transmitted Disease) - without being a part of the culture on the other end, I think it's a pretty tough thing to expect of anyone, and I think that goes both ways too.

shadowmaksim wrote:I feel like we need to clarify which audience we are talking about here since I feel like the audience you are talking about is not the same as the audience I'm trying to talk about.

I mean "people who exist in the Western countries the game is being localized for." You and me and everyone on this forum. They're not part of that audience - they're across the ocean in Japan. Be it a big name change or a subtle one, I wouldn't expect anyone from another country who hadn't been familiar with the language for years (and I don't mean Engrish, but legitimate English) to catch or understand that kind of thing, and I'm not calling that a fault either. It would be completely unfair to expect them to be able to do that, and that's why a localization company is involved in the first place.

shadowmaksim wrote:I'm also not really talking about cultural differences. I'm talking about original intentions. Cultural differences could be part of it, but it's not always the whole thing.

I'm not following.

shadowmaksim wrote:To begin, I never said that the original creators had to check everything that was in the localized versions. I was really just addressing the most apparent things like name changes which doesn't require an in-depth look through the entire game.

Hence my "I went off on a tangent" down at the bottom. :lol: As I've said a few times now, if the core game makes it through without pulling a Neptunia Victory, I can live with name changes. I won't agree with them, but I can live with them. However, on the other hand, returning to my above points, I don't think it's fair to assume people born and raised in another culture who don't even speak the language would be able to see why people might not agree with those changes in the first place.

shadowmaksim wrote:But if we are going with the entirety of the game as a whole, that's one of the reasons why company x has to give a report of what they are doing if they are changing anything and why they are changing it. It's all supposed to be explained to them so that they can understand it. If they still went ahead with giving the approval of the changes and still didn't understand why, then I'd say they pretty much fall in the "don't care" group I mentioned beforehand. If they did care, they'd make sure to understand exactly how their "original intent" is being effected, cultural differences or not. Just hoping that the localizing company is trust worthy enough and not questioning them doesn't paint them all that well in my eyes.

They don't just "hope" a localization is trustworthy enough, they go to either their "first party branches" (NIS to NISA) or ones that are successful. If they have a good track record, that's your trustworthiness. I'm pretty sure someone (maybe Houk?) has said something similar to this, though I could be misremembering it. To that end, who's to say everything is covered in those reports?

In any case, I contest the "if it's all explained to them" part for the reasons I've listed a few times above. It can be explained in that maybe you'll list the changes, but if they don't understand those changes (and it's entirely possible they won't and that does not at all say they don't care), it's perfectly understandable. I doubt anyone at CH understood the depth of what was done to Victory, for example, and that's not a "fault" - you can't expect them to just as much as I can't expect us to fully grasp or understand any finer changes like these they were to make to our games when localized. We might be able to observe these things, but understanding is an entirely different issue - for one thing, unless they retranslated the entire script over to account for the changes (which would be a lot of extra work, getting back to the unrealistic thing) solely to explain it to them, how could they? And who's to say things might not get lost or changed again in translation? Language and translations are a really hard thing - it's why these conversations exist at all, because it can all be handled so differently from person to person.

shadowmaksim wrote:As far as I know, when dealing with localization, having people who is fluent of both cultures/languages on both sides is a damn near necessity. And we don't know how much of the localization time actually goes into that. For all we know, it's possible that is already being completely done like that. It's all just assumptions here so either one of us could be correct but we wouldn't know.

It's possible, but it's unrealistic. To that end, that's when dealing with the localization. Most of NISA is likely fluent in English and it's likely more than a few of the people who work there can speak Japanese, but that says nothing about NIS or Compile Heart and so on, and they're the ones that I'm talking about.

shadowmaksim wrote:Maybe I'm expecting too much from companies who supposedly care about the original intent of their works. At this point, it's part of the job of the localizing company and the developer company to fully understand what is going on. Anything less is that they just don't care about that original intention that is kept being brought up.

Honestly, I don't think that's fair. It's not that you're expecting "too much," but I think that it's just unrealistic to expect a company in Japan who may only have a few people, if anyone, on their staff that speaks English (and who knows what kind of exposure they have to the culture of the localization's audience) to fully get any changes being made. The world is divided like that.

shadowmaksim wrote:And I also mentioned that getting the "approval" doesn't always mean that they care. As mentioned before, it's also fully possible that they just didn't care enough and approved it anyway.

And I'm saying it doesn't mean they don't care either - I'm saying it's not necessarily an issue of "caring" at all.

shadowmaksim wrote:And that's a huge assumption you just made. Maybe you buy these kinds of games for the "foreign" experience. But I know I don't. I buy these kind of games because I find the games themselves to be interesting or fun to play. Something that culture has little to do.

See my response to Ex, as I think you made the same assumption he did.

shadowmaksim wrote:Like for example, I"m currently playing "Yakuza 4" at the moment. The game is full of Japanese culture since it takes place in Japan. But I'm enjoying the game not because it's a "foreign experience", it's because the story and gameplay are honestly just interesting or fun to play.

And all of those things are products of Japan, so... Technically, yes, at least in the respect that I was referring to, you are enjoying it because it's a foreign game, just not inherently so. Which is fine. It doesn't mean you want to make love to Japan or wear a kimono everywhere or put on a samurai helmet and go fight crime - you like this thing that is Japanese. That's all it means. I didn't mean anything more than that.

shadowmaksim wrote:I just hope I interpreted that quote in particular correctly.

Aha! You caught on to me somewhat though. :lol:
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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Daverost » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:24 pm

shadowmaksim wrote:
Ultimate_Nova_X wrote:Regardless if people agree with each other or not, one thing is definitely clear:

No one skips over a game because it's too close to the original.

I hope Dood_Abides sees this.


While I'd like to agree, it's best to not get too sure about your absolute there.


That's definitely an absolute. Never once has anyone ever said "This is too close to the thing it already was. I don't want it now even though I wanted it before when it was the same thing it is now."
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Re: Localization Discussion

Postby Ultimate_Nova_X » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:50 pm

Daverost wrote:
shadowmaksim wrote:
Ultimate_Nova_X wrote:Regardless if people agree with each other or not, one thing is definitely clear:

No one skips over a game because it's too close to the original.

I hope Dood_Abides sees this.


While I'd like to agree, it's best to not get too sure about your absolute there.


That's definitely an absolute. Never once has anyone ever said "This is too close to the thing it already was. I don't want it now even though I wanted it before when it was the same thing it is now."


This.

We also know that the reverse is not an absolute, people have skipped over games because it's not close enough to the original.


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