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PS.Blog: "Keeping it authentic: Atlus on the localisation process for Persona 5"

WaterAstro

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Oct 27, 2015
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Duckroll hasn't played the game yet, according to his OP. So he's going off isolated Twitter examples.

There's definitely some outliers in terms of dialogue that just don't sit right when you read them.
But honestly, that's to be expected from a niche japanese game that's basically 100+ hours of straight dialogue. Persona games have always had this.
It's a storm in a teacup, IMO. I think as more people start playing the actual game the less people will care about the way the dialogue is written.

But i'll leave this thread lest I get labeled as a fanboy defender or worse. I'm just really, really enjoying this game.

Then is this appropriate?

 

duckroll

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Jun 7, 2004
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I really wish the article content actually reflected the title. He doesn't really talk about the process at all, but writes a fluff piece about their own work. It's not because it's a PS Blog thing either, I've read XSEED pieces from PS Blog which go into some nice details about the process and sites interesting examples of the challenges they faced and how they resolved them, to help people understand the thought process behind the actual work.

Saying "I always want to stay authentic and we all worked hard as a team" is saying nothing at all unfortunately.
 

Frumix

Suffering From Success
Oct 19, 2012
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Going from Japanese to English? No, a literal translation between those two languages is inherently impossible. There's a ton of missing information that you need to fill out.

People need to stop pretending that this is possible.

I feel that this argument often gets dragged down by arguing about what constitutes a "literal translation" and what a "localization" is. Frequent anime watchers (you're in a Persona thread) have probably noticed that interesting phrase, "are wa?" that shocked characters often utter at something unknown and mysterious. 90% of the time it will be translated as "This is..." But that's not a literal translation, that's just a bad one. What the characters are trying to convey by that is a simple question "What is that?" Yeah, Japanese is very heavy on implicative stuff. That doesn't however mean that an English text that would leave all those implicative things is a literal translation. On the contrary, it's a huge misrepresentation of the original text because the characters in Japanese just talk normally how a Japanese person would. So by translating it word by word you're not really being literal, you're being wrong. Another good example is proverbs. If you just translate a proverb straight up without using an analogous proverb from English colloquial speech or somehow otherwise representing it, you're not trying to convey some impossible Japanese wisdom, you're just being a bad translator.

It isn't an easy task to define what an accurate translation actually entails. It is however very easy to point out a translation that's straight up not good enough. I can't stress this point enough, looking up words in a dictionary and substituting them one for one is NOT (literal) translation. Writing the sentence you're translating in appropriate forms of colloquial or literature English is NOT a localization. Localization is an entirely extra-linguistic process. Even Wikipedia knows this. What's being discussed here, with this game, is not localization, well, not mostly. It's translation.
 
Jan 20, 2010
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I really wish the article content actually reflected the title. He doesn't really talk about the process at all, but writes a fluff piece about their own work. It's not because it's a PS Blog thing either, I've read XSEED pieces from PS Blog which go into some nice details about the process and sites interesting examples of the challenges they faced and how they resolved them, to help people understand the thought process behind the actual work.

Saying "I always want to stay authentic and we all worked hard as a team" is saying nothing at all unfortunately.

duckroll we need to talk about your NeoGAF.com posts localization...
 

sanhora

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P5 was a monster in terms of localisation scope. It boasted the most number of translators and editors on a team

I don't think this is something you should be proud of? Ideally you would only have 1 or 2 translators and an editor to maintain consistency.
 

duckroll

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I don't think this is something you should be proud of? Ideally you would only have 1 or 2 translators and an editor to maintain consistency.

That is not realistic for a game of any significant scale. I mean it's like saying you should only have one concept artist for all monster designs to maintain consistency. Sounds good on paper but when you have actual deadlines... not so much?
 

Frumix

Suffering From Success
Oct 19, 2012
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I don't think this is something you should be proud of? Ideally you would only have 1 or 2 translators and an editor to maintain consistency.

Impractical from a production standpoint. Depends on the project and how it's written of course...
 

Hoo-doo

Banned
Sep 29, 2011
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Non Igor quotes

I've played the game for 15+ hours. I'd say I got a pretty decent grasp of the game's writing by now. And most of it is great.

And while some lines do stand out in that they are constructed in a somewhat clunky manner, it's really not out of the ordinary for a Persona game. But some might disagree.
 

Son Of Sparda

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Was this a response to duckroll thread? The timing is almost too perfect.
Lol. That would be amazing.

"Oh shit, look at the thread that duckroll just made. Quick, write something about how amazing our localization is. We'll show it to that Lady Gaga fanboy."
 

Saphirax

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Apr 4, 2012
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The first two quotes are made by Igor, the keeper of the Velvet Room.

He talks like that in every game. He's otherworldly to explain it as simply as possible. There's nothing wrong with those 2 lines.

The second quote is grammatically incorrect. Should be 'didn't you' and not 'haven't you'.
 

Bronetta

Ask me about the moon landing or the temperature at which jet fuel burns. You may be surprised at what you learn.
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Just another case of GAF blowing things out of proportion.


Cant let a game be received entirely positively without some shit slinging.
 
Jan 20, 2010
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Just another case of GAF blowing things out of proportion.


Cant let a game be received entirely positively without some shit slinging.

It's possible to keep two thoughts in your head at once. It's possible to understand that a game is great in most aspects while acknowledging that the translation, specifically, is below-par. You don't have to defend every single aspect of a game you enjoy. It's ok.
 

Hoo-doo

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Sep 29, 2011
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It's possible to keep two thoughts in your head at once. It's possible to understand that a game is great in most aspects while acknowledging that the translation, specifically, is below-par. You don't have to defend every single aspect of a game you enjoy. It's ok.

It's not below par though. Unless the writing and dialogue in every Persona game before it was below par as well.

How much have you played of the game? I'm not trying to be a dick but I think it kinda matters. This game is nearly 100+ hours of dialogue. These examples are not representative of the average level of the game's writing.
 
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Atlus keeping it real or should I say that Atlus is maintaining the state of affairs surrounding this videogame in its truest form
 

Lunar15

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Jun 15, 2011
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One review pointed out that there was a line like "Have you been overdosing on psychotic drugs?" when "Are you high?" would have worked just fine.

Sounds like there was just a gigantic amount of stuff to translate and they didn't have time to really give it the special treatment. It's a shame, but I hear that most of it is pretty good.
 

Iksenpets

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Sep 3, 2007
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The first two quotes are made by Igor, the keeper of the Velvet Room.

He talks like that in every game. He's otherworldly to explain it as simply as possible. There's nothing wrong with those 2 lines.

I agree on the first one, but the second one has a tense mismatch that can't be explained away as just quirky over-formality or archaicism. Either "you" needs to shift to "you've" or "haven't" needs to shift to "didn't" to make those match. I don't know enough about the original Japanese to be sure, but screwing up the minutiae of English tenses definitely sounds like the sort of thing that would happen translating overly literally from a language that doesn't have as rigorous of a tense system.

And the third one seems pretty clear that they went with a word-for-word translation instead of tweaking it slightly for English. In English you meet expectations, you don't answer them.
 

Bronetta

Ask me about the moon landing or the temperature at which jet fuel burns. You may be surprised at what you learn.
Feb 24, 2013
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It's possible to keep two thoughts in your head at once. It's possible to understand that a game is great in most aspects while acknowledging that the translation, specifically, is below-par. You don't have to defend every single aspect of a game you enjoy. It's ok.

A handful of awkward stilted lines in a 100 hour text heavy game doesnt make the translation "sub-par".

Theres that shit slinging again.
 

jay

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Oct 25, 2006
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It's possible to keep two thoughts in your head at once. It's possible to understand that a game is great in most aspects while acknowledging that the translation, specifically, is below-par. You don't have to defend every single aspect of a game you enjoy. It's ok.

People define their identity by which products they like, so you are asking for a lot.
 

TheSeks

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The same can be said for localisation: it’s the best English rendition in the history of Atlus USA thus far.

*Duckrollthread.html*

Mmmmhmm. Sure, Atlus.
 

Nachos

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Jun 17, 2013
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The localisation of the UI is top notch though, the style is so cool.
I really disagree. The sound effects are about the only things I like, and Atlus didn't even translate all of them.

The game's still stylish, but that's despite the changes. You'd have to screw up really hard to gut the core of the game's identity, though, so that's not saying much.

There is nothing wrong with either of those lines.
"Intelligible through effort" isn't the same as "good".
 

M0nochromatic

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Oct 27, 2014
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I don't have an issue with the out of context snippets that have been shown around. It's on the same level of the other Persona titles.
 

Flipyap

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Going from Japanese to English? Yes, it does 100%.

A literal translation between those two languages is inherently impossible. There's a ton of missing information that you need to fill out.

People need to stop pretending that this is possible.
"Literal" as in accurate, not mechanically exact. I'm obviously not suggesting that Atlus could have hired a Google Translate robot.

I would say that literal translations have the most potential for unnatural cadence, syntax, and sentence structure. This is especially true with languages as different as English and Japanese. It is simply impossible to adapt the languages with 100% accuracy.

But even French to English produces really unappealing and stilted adaptations when taken too literally. Writing is about more than the information presented. Writing has personality and flow and feeling to it. These things do not automatically translate from language to language and most often do not.

Victor Hugo's novels, for example, require considerable localization to not be a horrible boring slog to read. His French prose "sings" very beautifully and this has to be restored by an equally talented English writer who understands what makes Hugo's writing unique. The literal translations, many of which are older, are really only used as reference materials. Sometimes, as a curiosity, it's interesting to see the same lines translated different ways. But when it comes to actually reading and enjoying a novel like that, you don't read the literal translations. You'd develop quite a poor opinion of Victor Hugo if you did.
It all depends on many factors and every kind of translation/localization has its place. I'm only objecting to the idea that P5's issues are endemic to this kind of translation and that it could/should be used as evidence in an argument against this approach.
Those P5 quotes are very strange, some read almost like textbook writing - the way you'd break down sentences before presenting a natural translation. That kind of clunky grammar is something one should subconsciously clean up the moment they start typing.

 

Venfayth

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Apr 11, 2011
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I don't think the article is a response to anything. It just seems like a launch day article by a team proud of their work.

It's not substantive at all, either. I think most of the perceived message people here are reading from it is just completely nonexistent.
 

Kyuur

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Both of those lines sound extremely unnatural to a native English speaker. Read them out loud for an even more convoluted experience!

"Intelligible through effort" isn't the same as "good".

Gonna have to disagree. Both of those lines had clear meaning on first read.

The only thing with the bus is that most people would call customers of transit "passengers", but that's a cultural thing. Even among English speaking countries you find discrepancies in how we refer to certain things.

The second one is wordy, "where were you?" works with context and tone aloud but alone it means nothing. Where was I just now? Where was I yesterday? Maybe you could switch out "this time" with "now" or something but it really doesn't matter. Again, people have different speaking styles even within English countries.
 

black070

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It's possible to keep two thoughts in your head at once. It's possible to understand that a game is great in most aspects while acknowledging that the translation, specifically, is below-par. You don't have to defend every single aspect of a game you enjoy. It's ok.

Below-par, lol.
 

4Tran

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Mar 10, 2013
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I don't mind honorifics in games where keeping honorifics make sense, but this seems a step too far. Making dialogue and text hard to parse is inexcusable in general, and that's what happens when a translation isn't localized properly. There's nothing wrong with keeping some Japanese flavor, but there isn't much reason to keep stuff like Japanese sentence structure and other language artifacts.

"Intelligible through effort" isn't the same as "good".
Precisely. Translation is an art more than a science. What you really need is for someone to literally translate from Japanese to English, and then to have someone else rewrite the whole thing so that it flows properly. A phrase like "please take care of me" as a greeting should never exist in a properly translated work unless the purpose is to make the speaker seem awkward.
 

Fancy Clown

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Dec 3, 2013
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There is nothing wrong with either of those lines.

Do you know a single human being who talks like that?

The first should be something like "a bus drove into oncoming traffic with its passengers still inside", and the second should be something as simple as "what were you up to today?" or whatever makes sense for the context.
 

Hoo-doo

Banned
Sep 29, 2011
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I mean, you're one of the people who prefer Final Fantasy Tactics's original translation (riddled with inaccuracies as it is) over the one made for War of the Lions, apparently because of a notion that the original translation is closer to the Japanese original

So you probably just has shit taste in localizations tbqh

Again, how many hours have you played thus far?

I mean, when you're calling the dialog of a 100+ hour game below-par, I have to think that this opinion stems from something more than the handful of screenshots in this thread.
 
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This is much better than being overly adaptive, so it could be worse. It's always best to ere on the side of authenticity.
 

luffeN

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That is not realistic for a game of any significant scale. I mean it's like saying you should only have one concept artist for all monster designs to maintain consistency. Sounds good on paper but when you have actual deadlines... not so much?

It is not realistic but it still bothers me that with some of the projects I work on it kind of feels like localization is an afterthought in their whole planning. Plan for it from the start so deadlines don't have to be tight.