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Atlus we need to talk about the Persona 5 localization...

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Dec 16, 2009
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I'm about 30 hours into the game and I can honestly say I haven't noticed any problems with the localization. I'm not a Japanese speaker but the as far as localizing the game for English audiences it really is very coherent. The only missing subtitles I've encountered are with physical signs and that was only annoying on day one when they ask you to navigate the Subway for the first time, and of course battle subtitles which I don't really expect to be subtitled.

The specific examples you put up are head scratchers but as a whole the thing flows very well. The only typo I even noticed was a dialogue accidentally switching gender pronouns. There's an absurd volume of text to go through here and unless you have super exacting standards atlususa did a pretty good job as a whole. Probably my biggest beef with the dialogue are the honorifics, strangely with persona 4 they used kun and whatnot so damn much i got used to it. Here the honorifics are used sparingly enough that when they do occur it takes you out of the moment.
 

Zolo

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I do wonder if their was some meddling by the Japanese studio about making the lines as faithful as possible to the point that it might be at the expense of lines that might read better. I guess possibly as a response to #FE which got a lot of localization complaints even if it was most related to graphic content (though a plotline in one dungeon got changed a bit).
 

artsi

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I hope they would patch these clunky lines if there's not a huge amount of them. But if there's VA involved with them, I doubt it.
 

Korigama

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I recall hearing something about them having gone back through the game and revising the localization to be more in line with the JP audio, but I'm not certain if anyone can verify that.

I knew something was off back during a preview that GameSpot did a month ago. Checking at around the :22 mark...

"Could that rumored cat be somewhere nearby...?"

It still bugs me just how unnatural that line was.
 

SilentRob

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May 27, 2015
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and the regular speech feels like my perception of Japanese speech... Which, perhaps, is influenced by exposure to a wider range of bad localization that I've since normalized in my perception of Japanese-to-English speech habits?

I think you hit the nail on the head. "Japanese speech" shouldn't read or sound like "Japanese speech" after translation, it shoul simply sound natural in the language you are reading it in. See my above example: The characters in Nier and Nier: Automata simply talk like you expect people to talk, because the translation team from 8-4 didn't just copy the japanese sentences and their structure almost 1:1 into english, but understood their intention and meaning and then freely translated it into english, so it has the same/similiar meaning, but it's being presented in a way that sounds natural in english. That's how a translation should work. Obviously you always walk the line of how much you can freely interpret and how far you can stray from the source material without changing the meaning.

Anime fansubs for example generally don't do this. They are mostly a 1:1 translation from japanese, which means the sentences are often weirdly structured and sound very unnatural, which leads people to believe that's just how japanese speech patterns work and how they sound. But they shouldn't. When japanese people speak japanese, they don't think it sounds weird and unnatural. A 1:1 translation doesn't accurately display the original way the characters talk, even though that's what a 1:1 translation is going for.
 

Ganado

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I hate how they still have honourifics in English dubbing. I'm sure they got rid of that in Catherine so why is it back :(

Having someone say stuff like -san and -chan in English will always be awkward.

Yeah, this is why I hate Atlus Persona localizations.
 

PsionBolt

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That's horrible. Localization standards these days really shouldn't allow a game to ship full of lines like that, especially such a big-name RPG. I mean, I had the same complaint about P3 and P4, so it's not a terrible surprise, but even those games were nowhere near this literal.

Can someone playing with JP audio / ENG text confirm whether or not they're still doing the honorific nonsense they did with 3 and 4? I don't mean that they exist in English period, but rather the honorifics used in English being different ones than are used in Japanese, defeating even any misguided intention of "maintaining intent".
 

Ushojax

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Nov 1, 2009
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Reminds me of Metroid Other M with its hideously literal translation. A lot of it reads like aliens mimicking human speech after binge-watching the Star Wars prequels.
 

matrix-cat

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I haven't started the game yet, but those lines in the OP are real clunkers. The second one is just plain grammatically incorrect, and the last one seems like it wasn't translated by a native speaker. Surely you'd just reach for a nice and easy "...live up to your expectations".

The bar for Japanese localisations has been raised pretty high in recent years, which makes it stick out all the more. Games like Yakuza 0 and Nier Automata are in a whole different league.
 

artsi

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I hate how they still have honourifics in English dubbing. I'm sure they got rid of that in Catherine so why is it back :(

Having someone say stuff like -san and -chan in English will always be awkward.

Catherine actually didn't have them in the Japanese version either, because it's set in USA.
 

Axass

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Not only am I OK with this, but I applaud them for it.

Pop culture references in a translation are always bad in my book. They take me out from the world of the game.
 

Peltz

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I'm not a fan of literal translations like the ones in the OP. Those lines sound awkward.

Something may have happened. Did the localization have any delays? (Sorry I haven't been following this one)
 

jj984jj

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I hope this isn't indicative of the Sega America merger with Atlus USA. :(

Maybe they were just a bit rushed to get it out despite the delays?
 

Majora

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I feel like if you can't see anything wrong with the lines in the OP then either English isn't your first language or you watch way too much badly translated Japanese media.

Of course you get the gist of what each sentence is trying to say, but there are inarguable grammatical errors present, and flat out weird phrasing. The second and last examples are the worst to me:

In the second example 'haven't you?' should be 'didn't you?' The former is simply grammatically incorrect.

No-one would ever say 'I'll continue to do my best to answer your expectations of me'. It's incredibly long-winded and the use of 'answer' is extremely questionable. You might say 'I'll do my best to meet your expectations', which is still quite formal but much more natural and concise.

I've played about 6 hours of the game and much of the localisation is fine. Even very good in parts. But there are definitely some very clumsy lines and phrasing present too.

I tend to overlook clumsy phrasing from the Velvet Room as it's obviously intentionally cryptic. But it's debatable how much is intentional and how much is poor translation.
 

Occam

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Oct 15, 2013
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After being exposed to so much bad English here*, the localization seems mostly ok to me (two hours in).

*For instance:
-"Game X releases". Things don't release, they are released (passive).
-of instead of have
-then instead of than and vice versa
-your instead of you're
-literally instead of figuratively
-there instead of they're/their
etc.

Unfortunately it seems to be rubbing off, especially on people for whom English is not the primary language.
 
Aug 24, 2012
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Wow, that's really bad. I'm sure the overall package isn't that bad, but having lines like that at all is incredibly embarrassing. The middle two have glaring grammatical errors, and the first and last are just using words in ways that we simply do not use them in natural English.
 

john tv

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I personally dislike stuff like this.

If I was the original writer and some translator dude do this to my stuff I'd be pissed
This guy's whole shtick is that he's from a foreign land and him speaking like this actually makes sense in context. It's not a one-off meme thing, all of his dialogue throughout the game is like this, and it's all treated with a lot of care. FYI.

Excited to play Persona 5, hopefully all of these examples are the exception and not the rule.
 

PsionBolt

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I haven't started the game yet, but those lines in the OP are real clunkers. The second one is just plain grammatically incorrect, and the last one seems like it wasn't translated by a native speaker. Surely you'd just reach for a nice and easy "...live up to your expectations".

The bar for Japanese localisations has been raised pretty high in recent years, which makes it stick out all the more. Games like Yakuza 0 and Nier Automata are in a whole different league.

It's plain enough to see why they used "answer" rather than "live up to" -- the Japanese phrase quite probably looked something like 期待に応える. That's just how you tend to phrase it in Japanese; expectations are something that you "answer" or "respond to", taking the words literally. The verb would be used in other contexts as "answer".

When another translator (especially an amateur like me) can take a strong guess at exactly which words were used in Japanese, that's Warning Sign No. 1 of Poor Localization™. That's why you get folks making fun of lines like "as expected of so-and-so", "it can't be helped", or "please take care of me" -- whenever you see those in a translation, there's really only one phrase they each could have come from, and even then only if you're being super-literal about it.
 

Trickster

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As a non-native english speaker, I don't have any problems with those lines.

Could someone rewrite them to examples of good, proper english?
 

Kain-Nosgoth

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i see nothing bad about it, igor always had a weird language, but i'm not a native english speaker, so yeah!

But i'm glad they kept the honorific, that was seriously missing in yakuza games for me!

For any other game it's normal they don't keep it, but when it takes place in japan i found it great!
 

YianGaruga

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You'd need to see these in context to really judge them. If they're by Velvet Room people who are supposed to speak weird than what's the issue?
 

ViciousDS

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Aug 14, 2013
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This actually reassures me - I'd seen a few examples that didn't read authentically to the original in the slightest.

I'd rather have slightly clunky but more faithful.


Might as well just have google translate do the job then. Why do we pay for them to.......you know, do their job translating?

The defending of crappy translation blows my mind
 
Aug 24, 2012
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Since people are asking what's wrong with them, I took two minutes to rewrite them into something actually decent.
Fixed versions, from top to bottom:

1. Ruination can only be stopped through your rehabilitation. However, this cannot be accomplished without assistance.
2. But just today you crossed paths with someone who holds the same power, isn't that so?
3. Mr. Kamoshida's not so bad, most people wouldn't bother with that sort of punk!
4. Understood. I'll continue to strive to meet your expectations.
 

Zolo

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Might as well just have google translate do the job then. Why do we pay for them to.......you know, do their job translating.

The defending of crappy translation blows my mind

Because Japanese google translated tends to generate garbage.
 

Korigama

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Presumably some of these are intentional.
Cryptic velvet room talk.

You'd need to see these in context to really judge them. If they're by Velvet Room people who are supposed to speak weird than what's the issue?
The one I pointed out wasn't spoken by anyone from the Velvet Room. And even for the ones that are, dialogue associated with them has been known to be cryptic in past games, yet even then still not worded as awkwardly or incorrectly as the examples in the OP (one of which isn't a Velvet Room example, either).
 

zerokoolpsx

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Grammatically, its correct, but its clunky. Looks like a direct translation. No one talks like that and if they did, people think they're weird.
 

nynt9

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I prefer the air of otherness given by these lines. I actually really dislike it when games that obviously take place in Japan have characters that sound flat out American with no cultural traces of the original language.

What's the context for this?


The context is that that's a common phrase in Japanese appropriate for that situation :p

I get your point, but see my point above.
 

YianGaruga

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What's the context for this?


I don't know? Maybe it could have been translated better but I really don't see the point in judging single individual lines without playing the game.

Just seems like the typical gaming community thing of taking a few snapshots and saying everything is garbage
 

Blobbers

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Played for 40 minutes. There's missing subtitles. So far the biggest offender is the news lady reporting on (spoilers just in case)
an incident because she actually has a few lines.

Atlus por favor
 

SomTervo

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Jan 19, 2015
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Those examples don't seem too bad at all, though I have yet to dive into the game fully myself.

They are completely problematic. It is the very definition of bad English.

Grammatically, its correct, but its clunky. Looks like a direct translation. No one talks like that and if they did, people think they're weird.

What are you talking about?

It's completely grammatically incorrect.


The present singular verb "haven't" doesn't agree with the past tense "entered". It should be "didn't".

Not to mention other clunky stuff like the relational/prepositional phrase "to the same power", etc.

Every one of the OP examples have broken grammar and is clunky.

Since people are asking what's wrong with them, I took two minutes to rewrite them into something actually decent.
Fixed versions, from top to bottom:

1. Ruination can only be stopped if you've recovered completely. However, you can't do accomplish such a recovery on your own.
2. But just today you crossed paths with someone who holds the same power, isn't that so?
3. Mr. Kamoshida's not so bad, most people wouldn't bother with that sort of punk!
4. Understood. I'll continue to strive to meet your expectations.

Sorry
 

Z..

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Thread jack : are there subtitles for the original jp dub or are we stuck with subs for the english dub only?
 

moozoom

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Cutscenes, battle text, random chatter you name it. Mostly of background characters, but there's been a few times it was the only characters on the screen talking and no text.

Yeah, this is far more problematic for me as I watch my boyfriend play the game with Japanese voices, and already noticed during cutscenes some - long - dialogues are not subbed.

Exemple : something happens in the first moments of the game and you are taken to an anime cutscene with a guy watching a TV host reporting the news - and nothing she says is subbed or translated. And she says many things.
 
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