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

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encephalon

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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.

Clunky undermines faithful.

There's a よろしくお願いします if I ever saw one :p

This is so bizarre. This is exactly how the phrase was once explained to my class, back in school. But it's not a workable translation of the line.
 

Silvard

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What's the context for this?


The MC is now under the custody of the person they're talking to. It's a very Japanese thing to say, but then again it's a very Japanese setting.
 

Majora

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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.



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.

Sorry, but this is fundamentally missing the point of translation.

Yes, a good translation should capture as much of the flavour and intention of the original text as possible. A good translation should not, however, result in awkward sentence structure, grammatical errors, and clumsy phrasing.

As a translator your job is to ensure that you capture the essence of the source material while also ensuring that it adheres to basic standards of English. You can't excuse bad sentence structure or language usage by saying that it's more authentically Japanese. That isn't how language works. It has to make sense in English first and foremost.
 

nynt9

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Yeah those translations are really mediocre, it's really easy to tell it was translated from a different language.

Considering the game obviously takes place in Japan and is culturally very Japanese, can you not see why some would prefer that feeling? I don't like it when translations erase cultural characteristics.

Sorry, but this is fundamentally missing the point of translation.

Yes, a good translation should capture as much of the flavour and intention as the original text as possible. A good translation should not, however, result in awkward sentence structure, grammatical errors, and clumsy phrasing.

As a translator your job is to ensure that you capture the essence of the source material while also ensuring that it adheres to basic standards of English. You can't excuse bad sentence structure or language usage by saying that it's more authentically Japanese, That isn't how language works. It has to make sense in English first and foremost.

I understand your point of view, and I get why that is technically correct, but I prefer it otherwise. Sure, it requires some background understanding of the culture from the viewer, but that is a compromise I can personally live with.

As a counter-example, the rakugo case from the latest ace attorney game was borderline unplayable because of how much the translation erased cultural context.
 

Korigama

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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.



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.
The idea behind a good localization is for it to feel natural to the audience it's being localized for. If there's a sense of otherness in how everyone is communicating with each other or how information is being conveyed to the audience, then mistakes were made along the way.

Something like Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, which is also from Atlus, features plenty of voice acting, and is also set in Tokyo, doesn't have this same problem.
 

SomTervo

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The occasional poorly translated line or two from a 100+ hour game isn't too big of a deal.

They aren't just "poorly translated" - they are literally broken English. And I was specifically talking about the examples in the OP.

I doubt it's a big issue in the scope of the whole game, and I have no doubt the team have done a great job across the piece - plus the game looks amazing and I can't wait to play it - but the examples in the OP sholdn't be ignored.
 

dan2026

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The English dub is pretty middling.

Not that it really matters this time as we have access to the original voice acting.
 

Sillverrr

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I think the bottom two quotes are okay; they just read very formally.

The middle quote is just a bit awkward, but still makes sense. Specifically, my mind wants to substitute "haven't" for "didn't", or change the first instance of you to "you've". My English is probably worse than the translator's, though.

"Your rehabilitation determines if ruin can be stopped." - I don't even know what this means. Is this "ruin" a condition affecting your body? If so they definitely need some more words in there somewhere to describe it.
 

Kusagari

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It's the problem you see with a lot of fansubbed anime where they just literally translate the Japanese and you end up with broken sentence and a roundabout way of speaking that doesn't sound realistic or normal.
 

YianGaruga

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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.

I can see this one, but since english isn't my first language, can you explain what's gramatically incorrect about the other ones? To me they seem clunky, but not wrong
 

moozoom

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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 if you've recovered completely. However, you can't do accomplish such a recovery on your own.


You should have put more than 2 minutes into this sentence.
I'm ok with the other ones.
 

nynt9

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The idea behind a good localization is for it to feel natural to the audience it's being localized for. If there's a sense of otherness in how everyone is communicating with each other or how information is being conveyed to the audience, then mistakes were made along the way.

Something like Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, which is also from Atlus, features plenty of voice acting, and is also set in Tokyo, doesn't have this same problem.

I love SMTIV, but while it takes place in "Tokyo", it does not have an exceedingly "contemporary Japan" air to it. It's a fantasy setting first.

As a person who is not primarily an English language speaker, having watched movies originally in my own language that have been dubbed/subbed in English, I really do not appreciate how a very "natural" localization suppresses aspects of the original culture. As a comparison with Japanese, how people use honorifics can often times inform one of the power dynamics in relationships. If you just get rid of them to sound natural you sacrifice authenticity, context and suppress the culture.
 

black070

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They aren't just "poorly translated" - they are literally broken English. And I was specifically talking about the examples in the OP.

I doubt it's a big issue in the scope of the whole game, and I have no doubt the team have done a great job across the piece - plus the game looks amazing and I can't wait to play it - but the examples in the OP sholdn't be ignored.

I mean, I acknowledge them - but that's about it really, there's no use complaining when, like you said, it's not a big issue in the scope of the whole game. Terms like 'embarrassing' and such are overblown in my opinion, but if this really is just a thread purposed to vent about it then I'll show myself out.
 

SomTervo

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I think the bottom two quotes are okay; they just read very formally.

Nope:



They seem to have a problem with prepositional phrases. ". . . too nice for not abandoning a punk like that" – they're pretty much using "for" like a conjunction or verbal punctuation. You can't lead from a preposition like "for" into a whole new complex clause. Plus going into a participle like "abandoning" after a preposition is clunky – almost straight-up broken if you negate it with "not [abandoning]".

Cutting "for" entirely would almost fix it: ". . . he's too nice, not abandoning a punk like that".

Edit: plus "abandoning" doesn't seem like the right word here at all, although I don't know the context, soo



"To answer your expectations" is straight up broken English too - you can't "answer" expectations.

I mean, I acknowledge them - but that's about it really, there's no use complaining when, like you said, it's not a big issue in the scope of the whole game. Terms like 'embarrassing' and such are overblown in my opinion, but if it really is a thread purposed to vent about it then I'll show myself out.

In a game where the story and writing are major, major draws, the story and writing should be executed as well as possible. If I saw these lines it would definitely crack my immersion in and perspective on the game.

The issues, albeit minor, suggests that they skimped on the budget (management or staff) for the English localisation. That's their prerogative – perhaps they care more about ensuring the Japanese audience's experience is airtight, then fair enough.#

I can see this one, but since english isn't my first language, can you explain what's gramatically incorrect about the other ones? To me they seem clunky, but not wrong

See above re 'to answer your expectations'. It's semantics really, but that still links with how sentences fit together.

The other example is sort of like grammatical mishandling rather than full-blown errors. It betrays a lack of understanding about how formations of different types fit together. They have linked two clauses together with a preposition ("for") that doesn't really work like that - especially when you've thrown a negative right in after it.

Re this example:


A few little semantic breaks; someone's rehabilitation is a passive abstract concept, it can't determine anything (e.g. the "the completion of your rehabilitation" would work better); "determines if ruin can be stopped" should be "will determine if" and the verb "stopped" isn't right – "prevented" is more appropriate to the noun.
 

phoenix296

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Having played the game for several hours I have to say a noticeable percentage of the lines feels very stilted and it's obvious it was translated from another language.
 

mugwhump

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Considering the game obviously takes place in Japan and is culturally very Japanese, can you not see why some would prefer that feeling? I don't like it when translations erase cultural characteristics.

Those aren't important cultural characteristics being erased, it's just sentence structure that doesn't flow well in English. There's nothing worth preserving about that.
 

Bendo

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"Your rehabilitation determines if ruin can be stopped." - I don't even know what this means. Is this "ruin" a condition affecting your body? If so they definitely need some more words in there somewhere to describe it.
'Ruin' is intentionally left vague, you're not meant to understand what he's talking about other than as an omen of bad things to come if you fail.
 

encephalon

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Considering the game obviously takes place in Japan and is culturally very Japanese, can you not see why some would prefer that feeling? I don't like it when translations erase cultural characteristics.

It's not all or nothing and not every situation is the same. Attempts at translating things more literally usually result in obfuscating the feel and intent of the original content, rather than bringing the audience closer to the original Japanese.

Imagine attempting to translate "you're welcome" into a different language where they don't really have "you're welcome." What do you do? How do you translate a de facto response to "thank you," which is often more perfunctory than meaningful? Do you try to explain it to the audience? Attempting to do so won't capture the original intent of the dialogue. It creates something new entirely. If you really fuck it up you might create some mystical society where people are constantly letting each other know how welcome they want them to feel.

Maybe this is just my limited experience, but by and large "yoroshiku onegaishimasu" doesn't really seem best described by "please take care of me," but rather, "thanks in advance" (for doing this thing I want you to do or that you're obligated to do, etc etc).

I'd like to see the context for the screenshot shared in this thread.
 

Vital Tundra

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I love SMTIV, but while it takes place in "Tokyo", it does not have an exceedingly "contemporary Japan" air to it. It's a fantasy setting first.

As a person who is not primarily an English language speaker, having watched movies originally in my own language that have been dubbed/subbed in English, I really do not appreciate how a very "natural" localization suppresses aspects of the original culture. As a comparison with Japanese, how people use honorifics can often times inform one of the power dynamics in relationships. If you just get rid of them to sound natural you sacrifice authenticity, context and suppress the culture.
Im gonna say the majority don't know what the fuck any honorifics mean. Come on dude its a sub par localization and it shows.
 

Kusagari

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The fourth one would sound a billion times better if they just changed answer to meet.

I have no idea why they used the word answer in that sentence.
 

zerokoolpsx

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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".
You're right. "Haven't you" is incomplete, but with "didn't", makes more sense.
 

N30RYU

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Simple answer... David Cage translated it.

To be true thats how I would translate it directly from spanish without working on saying it better structured. So sounds akward but it's totally comprehensive for me.
 

Sillverrr

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Point taken by someone who has a much clearer understanding of the English language than me. Perhaps my expectations have been defined by years of playing similarly-translated Japanese games. The bottom two quotes seem like a direct translation, and so retain the formal flavour I'd expect from Japanese speakers/culture - if that makes sense.

I dunno, part of me prefers a clunky translation that's still understandable, to altering it so much that they become American teenagers. You'd lose that authenticity of Japanese culture, by having us parading around in a Japanese setting.
 

Omikaru

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I have noticed some stilted/clunky lines here and there, and I'm only a few hours in. Definitely more noticeable than any previous entries in the series had.
 

Silvard

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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 if you've recovered completely. However, you can't accomplish such a recovery on your own.

Eeh...this is why attempting to translate something you have no knowledge/context of doesn't work. Your "fix" conveys an entire different meaning from the original phrase. Awkward structure notwithstanding the words they use are chosen purposefully, especially "rehabilitation". It doesn't mean recovery.
 

nynt9

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Im gonna say the majority don't know what the fuck any honorifics mean. Come on dude its a sub par localization and it shows.

I said earlier up in the thread that I understand such translations require some background knowledge and that I'm ok with that. im also ok with people having a differing viewpoint on this and I respect that point, and all I wish is that people see alternative viewpoints as well. Given that my native language also has similar characteristics seeing those erased in translations upsets me. I'd even go further and say expecting every translation to be culturally flat is a very ethnocentric perspective that I find problematic.
 

artsi

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The fourth one would sound a billion times better if they just changed answer to meet.

I have no idea why they used the word answer in that sentence.

Same reason as the other things, in Japanese they use the word "answer" and even Google Translate would know better not to use that word.

期待に答える, "kitai ni kotaeru"
 
Aug 1, 2014
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They just forgot to swap in the localized lines:

"Damn, Mr. Kamoshida is a certified G for not 'bandoning a punk like that!"
"Rub a dub dub, I'll answer your expectations, bub."
 

Buckle

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Damn, hope the localization quality didn't fall off a cliff.

If so, thats a shame. Thought Persona 3 and 4 were really well done.
 

elhav

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When you learn Japanese, you notice how some translations take too many liberties. Kinda prefer it like this, but I understand why others don't like it.

It really doesn't feel natural in English, and having those lines appear in the English dub itself is a bad decision. But if you play with the Japanese dub, the subs feel more fitting.

I would just recommend playing the game with the Japanese dub. At least then it won't feel so unnatural.
 
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Eeh...this is why attempting to translate something you have no knowledge/context of doesn't work. Your "fix" conveys an entire different meaning from the original phrase. Awkward structure notwithstanding the words they use are chosen purposefully, especially "rehabilitation". It doesn't mean recovery.

Ah, right, this is referring to his sentence isn't it. It's been like four months since I beat the game so I wasn't thinking. Change "recover completely" to "been rehabilitated."

EDIT: どう? "Ruination can only be stopped through your rehabilitation. However, this cannot be accomplished without assistance."
 
Jun 19, 2013
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There's a happy medium between a direct translation and making everything up, and it's called competent localization.

I'm guessing they outsourced it to one of the lowest bidders and the people doing the work had little to no contact or correspondence with the writers, or even played the game
 

encephalon

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I said earlier up in the thread that I understand such translations require some background knowledge and that I'm ok with that. im also ok with people having a differing viewpoint on this and I respect that point, and all I wish is that people see alternative viewpoints as well. Given that my native language also has similar characteristics seeing those erased in translations upsets me. I'd even go further and say expecting every translation to be culturally flat is a very ethnocentric perspective that I find problematic.

But then you can run into the problem of having the audience overthink naming conventions and assume deep meanings and hints at power dynamics that don't actually exist.
 
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