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

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PsionBolt

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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.

Writing well is not cultural suppression. These lines are not capturing a part of Japanese style that would otherwise be erased. They are creating a style that did not exist in the original -- namely, broken and clunky speech. Poor localization, which very strongly includes literal translation, is less faithful to the original work than proper localization is.

If anything, it should be seen the other way around. Poor localization is much more reasonably considered "cultural suppression", because it erases the aesthetic value of the original and corrupts its style and impact.
 

purseowner

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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.

Hear, hear.

(And I am a native English-language speaker and dislike this. Frankly it's cultural colonialism and erasure and an embarrassing American practice.)
 

SomTervo

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Writing well is not cultural suppression. These lines are not capturing a part of Japanese style that would otherwise be erased. They are creating a style that did not exist in the original -- namely, broken and clunky speech. Poor localization, which very strongly includes literal translation, is less faithful to the original work than proper localization is.

If anything, it should be seen the other way around. Poor localization is much more reasonably considered "cultural suppression", because it erases the aesthetic value of the original and corrupts its style and impact.

Perfectly said.

If anything, it's a poorer representation of their culture to do it this way than to rewrite the lines in an effective and meaningful manner.
 

Majora

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I'm sure "answer your expectations" is used in real life.

Sorry but it really, really isn't.

Expectations can't be answered. You can meet expectations. You can live up to expectations. You can surpass expectations. You can fall short of expectations. You can't answer expectations.
 

encephalon

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Japanese media should not be exoticized to the point where it no longer resembles the original content.
 

SomTervo

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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.
Japanese media should not be exoticized to the point where it no longer resembles the original content.
But nobody wants to cull the honorifics or Japanese cultural aspects of the speech.

They just want the speech to make fucking sense and be clear and elegant, unlike it is here.

Doing this correctly and efficiently will enhance the culture that is being portrayed, not suppress it.

In another case of my ignorance showing I can't find a single fault with the lines in the OP.

My very thumbnail and rushed evaluation.

Also "haven't" should be "didn't".
 

Korigama

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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.
Again, the idea is to convey what the original material wished to say in a manner that's natural to the audience that it's being localized for in the first place. The only thing that being as literal as possible is good for is making a work more awkward or stilted, not preserving its cultural integrity.
But nobody wants to cull the honorifics or Japanese cultural aspects of the speech.

They just want the speech to make fucking sense and be clear and elegant, unlike it is here.

Doing this will enhance the culture that is being portrayed, not suppress it.
This right here (well, I could take or leave the honorifics, particularly when only the Persona series uses them in its localizations).
I'm sure "answer your expectations" is used in real life.
I have never heard anyone say that. Statements such as "meet your expectations" or "live up to your expectations", yes, "answer your expectations", definitely not.
 

Haunted

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Not only am I OK with this, but I applaud them for it.
8-4 :bow
 
D

Deleted member 518609

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What's the context for this?


Well actually, that one's fine. I've definitely felt that the translation's rather stilted, but this line doesn't deserve the criticism it's getting. His dialogue option in Japanese is not よろしくお願いします like many have speculated, it's 世話になりたい. It sounds just as weird in Japanese as it does in English.
 

LeleSocho

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What's the context for this?


I'm not a native English speaker and am too dumb anyway to see the problem with the other examples but i see nothing wrong with this to be honest, the context is easily understandable if you are used to Japanese media.
If you are not then you'll find it weird but how would do you translate it without conveying an altered message? One could argue that they should have used an equivalent phrase that English speaking people use in these situation but then again this is a Japanese game with Japanese people that takes place in Japan... i prefer it this way.
 

SomTervo

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Well actually, that one's fine. I've definitely felt that the translation's rather stilted, but this line doesn't deserve the criticism it's getting. His dialogue option in Japanese is not よろしくお願いします like many have speculated, it's 世話になりたい. It sounds just as weird in Japanese as it does in English.

Lol, so it's bad writing at the source rather than just in the localisation?

Fair play.
 

encephalon

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I actually don't really care for the decision to include honorifics, but I might be alone in that. : p

Well actually, that one's fine. I've definitely felt that the translation's rather stilted, but this line doesn't deserve the criticism it's getting. His dialogue option in Japanese is not よろしくお願いします like many have speculated, it's 世話になりたい. It sounds just as weird in Japanese as it does in English.

.
 
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The first two examples in the OP seem perfectly fine considering who's speaking.

The second two are a little awkward, but many Japanese social interactions are inherently awkward and people claim to want authenticity.


People here posting essays on the depths of the grammatical innacuracies do realize that these are excerpts from casual conversations being held in a video game and are not actually from a textbook, right?
 

matrix-cat

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Well actually, that one's fine. I've definitely felt that the translation's rather stilted, but this line doesn't deserve the criticism it's getting. His dialogue option in Japanese is not よろしくお願いします like many have speculated, it's 世話になりたい. It sounds just as weird in Japanese as it does in English.

Oh, wow, shut my mouth then :p
 

dadjumper

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I haven't played either version so I can't be sure, but if this tweet is anything to go by, then the original text isn't よろしくお願いします but 世話になりたい, which is much harder to translate, something like "I'd like to depend on you", but as a joke. It really doesn't carry over well because it's a play on a common polite expression.

Edit: oh, this got posted while I was writing this post, lol. It's not bad writing in Japanese, though, it's just a really hard joke to localize.
 

Silvard

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I'm not a native English speaker and am too dumb anyway to see the problem with the other examples but i see nothing wrong with this to be honest, the context is easily understandable if you are used to Japanese media.
If you are not then you'll find it weird but how would do you translate it without conveying an altered message? One could argue that they should have used an equivalent phrase that English speaking people use in these situation but then again this is a Japanese game with Japanese people that takes place in Japan... i prefer it this way.

"So I guess you're going to be my new dad, bro?"
 

SliceSabre

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I'm mean I'm not deep into the game, but I really haven't found fault with the translation. I mean I play an ungodly amount of jrpg and have certainly come across shoddy translations, i.e. Digimon Cyber Sleuth has a good game but its translation was half-assed.

I'm just not seeing the issue here and I say that as a native English speaker.
 

Majora

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I'm not a native English speaker and am too dumb anyway to see the problem with the other examples but i see nothing wrong with this to be honest, the context is easily understandable if you are used to Japanese media.
If you are not then you'll find it weird but how would do you translate it without conveying an altered message? One could argue that they should have used an equivalent phrase that English speaking people use in these situation but then again this is a Japanese game with Japanese people that takes place in Japan... i prefer it this way.

Yes but as an English person with no idea of the cultural context of that line, it flat out makes no sense to me.

Just to clarify, I have played the game for about 6 hours so I've passed that bit of the game already. The context (and this really isn't a spoiler, it's the entire basis of the game) is that he's been sent away from his hometown after being committed of a crime and ordered to go and live with the guy in the screenshot.

Now, having a teenager who has been legally obliged to go and live with a stranger say 'Please take care of me' after walking into his bar does not make sense. It's not what someone would say. It may have meaning in Japanese but this is irrelevant when translating for an English audience. You HAVE to make the line make sense for a native English person, otherwise you're doing a disservice to the original text by making it incomprehensible.
 

Joeku

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So, for those who played it in and know Japanese, do Igor and his assistants speak in a weird unnatural way that is otherworldly compared to the dialogue of the teenagers? Cuz if so, it would be strange for the translators to be able to somehow hold onto that intentionally while being unable to naturalize the teen dialogue.

Edit:
Well actually, that one's fine. I've definitely felt that the translation's rather stilted, but this line doesn't deserve the criticism it's getting. His dialogue option in Japanese is not よろしくお願いします like many have speculated, it's 世話になりたい. It sounds just as weird in Japanese as it does in English.

I haven't played either version so I can't be sure, but if this tweet is anything to go by, then the original text isn't よろしくお願いします but 世話になりたい, which is much harder to translate, something like "I'd like to depend on you", but as a joke. It really doesn't carry over well because it's a play on a common polite expression.

If that's the case, wouldn't something like an aloof "Well, guess I'll get settled then!" be a little cleaner?
 

Brat-Sampson

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It should be voicing the character. A literal and direct translation is frequently a very poor way to instruct a native English speaker as to the nature of the person speaking. It's not to say the translations in the OP are 'wrong', per se, maybe they're being spoken by a character with jilted speech patterns or even just one of a verbose or nerdy nature. Outside of context I won't judge, other than to say yes, they're clunky af. But even then stuff like 'you/you've = didn't/haven't you' should be like grade-school stuff. Similarly, you can't answer expectations. You can meet them, live up to them, or even exceed them, but answering them doesn't work.

EDIT: And I don't speak Japanese in any way, but to retort with something like 'but he used the Japanese word for Answer so this is more true to the original...' is a crap answer. You don't translate on a word-by-word basis. You need to take into account the whole sentence, the meaning and intent behind it, the character speaking it and their mood at the time etc.
 

Rwinterhalter

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Hear, hear.

(And I am a native English-language speaker and dislike this. Frankly it's cultural colonialism and erasure and an embarrassing American practice.)

It's not imperialism it's bad translations. Your exoticising a foreign culture and projecting that onto the awkward phrasing. There are people in this thread that speak both English and Japanese telling you that the original has no such nuance.
 

bomblord1

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But nobody wants to cull the honorifics or Japanese cultural aspects of the speech.

They just want the speech to make fucking sense and be clear and elegant, unlike it is here.

Doing this correctly and efficiently will enhance the culture that is being portrayed, not suppress it.



My very thumbnail and rushed evaluation.

Also "haven't" should be "didn't".

Going by your analysis claiming it is broken English. As native English speaker, it really doesn't sound remotely wrong to me. I've read the phrases out loud and they seem to make perfect sense. Im really just confused here.

I'll admit I did the very minimum to pass all of my English and Writing classes in College so I'm no authority on this but those don't sound different to anything I would hear most people speak. Unless we're going to an extreme and saying any conversational English is wrong.
 

Venfayth

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That line is one of the first things you say to him, it's super awkward in English, I noticed it immediately as sticking out. If they were trying to make a joke, it wasn't obvious to me.
 
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At least youve got it in english.
Im still waiting for another Atlus game to have EFIGS subtitles like Catherine and Trauma Center. You know, so my friends are able to enjoy it again and doesnt sell like shit in a country where anime is actually liked and sells well in any other forms of media.
 

dadjumper

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If that's the case, wouldn't something like an aloof "Well, guess I'll get settled then!" be a little cleaner?

Something like that, yes, but for this context that specific phrase doesn't work. I was trying to think of what you'd say to someone who is to be your guardian in English, and could only really come up with "thanks for taking me in", but then that's difficult to modify to be sarcastic and forceful like 世話になりたい is to お世話になります.
 
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The problem is the joke was translated directly and reads too straight to come across as the joke response compared to how it reads in the Japanese version.
 

Hasney

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I'm 30 hours in and didn't really notice any of this as "off" while playing it, but when quotes are taken out like this it doesn't look great. Maybe I just don't notice these things as much or got engrossed so much I didn't notice. The only thought I had about the localisation while playing was that it wasn't as good as Yakuza 0's, but then no-ones is.
 
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Yes but as an English person with no idea of the cultural context of that line, it flat out makes no sense to me.

It's completely incomprehensible for a sassy teenager to say something sarcastic like "(Oh) Please take care of me." to a guy who's giving you shit for having to take in a reprobate like you (the character)? Which is seemingly the intended meaning according to the original Japanese screenshot posted above.
 
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i understand that some people like it better this way. I very strongly disagree. This is a point of view that only seems to exist among non-native consumers of Japanese media. Perhaps it's because anime and video games have a long history of being poorly and cheaply translated. The desire for literal 1:1 translation, even at the expense of a quality localization, probably comes from having to play some of the most celebrated games of all time with lines like "he are dead" in them.

So, while I don't agree, I understand it on some level. There is a desire for an authentic experience. Nobody wants a game like Secret of Mana where half the text is missing.

I feel as such: a great localization will always be better than a great translation. But a bad localization will always be worse than a bad translation. That said, I would always take a chance on a localized effort than settle for a basic, but arguably functional translation.

A game as highly praised as P5 deserves better than linguistically bizarre 1:1 recreations of the Japanese script. In 2017, when we are all highly connected and the internet ensures maximum drama whenever possible, a script like this is going to reduce how seriously the game is taken. We all know how people hold on to bad voice acting. Bad text might not reach the same levels of social lambasting, but the potential is there. It is already happening.

And it's a real shame that a supposed masterwork like P5 will forever have to carry the burden of a mediocre translation. Because as much as the purists take comfort in 1:1 dialog, it will never be the game it was intended to be. Nobody in Japan is taking screenshots of their dialog options and laughing/complaining about how they border on the nonsensical. This is now the western experience. To have the same experience as them, where dialog does not make you scoff or raise an eyebrow, the game would need to be properly localized.

And a game like Persona 5 deserves that. A game like Persona 5 deserves better than "it doesn't bother me" or "it's fine."

That's my two cents.
 

Hoo-doo

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That line is one of the first things you say to him, it's super awkward in English, I noticed it immediately as sticking out. If they were trying to make a joke, it wasn't obvious to me.

Persona is filled with answers like these, intentionally weird or funny. It's part of the charm.

Like how you could start
button mashing on Morgana's head
on the train. (Tiny random event spoiler)
 

Brandon F

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After playing the first two hours, I am glad to see this thread because there have been numerous examples of questionable localization decisions all over the place that make conversations feel unnatural.

Glad the "please take care of me" pic is getting the rounds as it rubbed me wrong when I first saw it, but also every time the game cuts to the female intelligence agent/lawyer(?) interrogating the protagonist, those exchanges and response selections are barely intelligible in ANY language. I'm compelled to find screen caps for some of them myself and litter this thread as it's just just cluttered with awkwardness.
 

Venfayth

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The game's not a disaster, it's just a really mediocre localization (based on these screenshots and what I've seen myself in the first 6 hours or so, if it gets better obviously my opinion will change) and unworthy of something like Persona fucking 5.

Persona is filled with answers like these, intentionally weird or funny. It's part of the charm.

Like how you could start
button mashing on Morgana's head
on the train. (Tiny random event spoiler)

That is completely different, come on. Weird and funny answers are different than things that read like direct and stale literal translation of cliche'd lines.
 

SomTervo

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Goimg by your analysis claiming it I is broken English. As native English speaker it really doesn't sound remotely wrong to me. I've read the out loud and they seem to make perfect sense. Im really just confused here. I'll admit I did the very minimum to pass all of my English and Writing classes in College but those don't sound different to anything I would hear someone attempting to be formal say.

It's hard to break "sense". You can still understand something if it hits the right words in roughly the right order - that doesn't stop it from being grammatically or semantically broken.

"You entered a partnership with someone, haven't you?" is grammatically incorrect. It only works if we add another "have", e.g. "You have entered a partnership with someone, haven't you?" to make it present infinitive tense. Otherwise it should be past tense "did". "You entered a partnership with someone, didn't you?"

Sorry but if you have no interest or care about English/language, then there's not much to discuss here. Good writing and language should be clear and concise - half the lines in the OP either feature semantic breaks (you can't "answer" expectations) or grammatical incongruities (the active "will determine" is infinitely better than passive "determines").

The game's not a disaster, it's just a really mediocre localization (based on these screenshots and what I've seen myself in the first 6 hours or so, if it gets better obviously my opinion will change) and unworthy of something like Persona fucking 5.

Yeah, I think that's the beef. It's the fact that this is a top-tier series with a lot of attention and reverence.

Even though the loc isn't abysmal, it deserved better.
 

Joeku

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I'm 30 hours in and didn't really notice any of this as "off" while playing it, but when quotes are taken out like this it doesn't look great. Maybe I just don't notice these things as much or got engrossed so much I didn't notice. The only thought I had about the localisation while playing was that it wasn't as good as
Yakuza 0
's, but then no-ones is.

I've been watching Giant Bomb play through that and of the dozen or so hours of it I've seen, there's an offputting amount of anachronisms in the dialogue for the sake of a joke. Other than that though, it has been fantastic, yeah.
 

Aarglefarg

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i) never heard it in 10 years of editing and studying English ("meet your expectations" is the common formation)
ii) still bad English semantically

Sorry but it really, really isn't.

Expectations can't be answered. You can meet expectations. You can live up to expectations. You can surpass expectations. You can fall short of expectations. You can't answer expectations.

I have never heard anyone say that. Statements such as "meet your expectations" or "live up to your expectations", yes, "answer your expectations", definitely not.
You can Google "answer your expectations" or "answers your expectations" (with quotation marks!) to see many cases of it being used. Going three or four pages deep, there's a cluster of it being used in 19th Century books but also in the websites of modern companies.
 
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