Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think

Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think

Maybe one day, when the rapture comes, every single Japanese game will be instantly translated and localised for English-speaking audiences, and then they will be transmitted into our brains so we can experience them without moving from our fluffy heaven cloud-couches.

One day.

Today, we are stuck with publishers, and we can do nothing but awe at just how much work the best localisation companies put into their craft. Every time you play a Japanese game in English, remember that in order to make it happen, people had to translate, edit, copy-edit, licence, bug-test, market, promote, and grind their way through millions and millions of words. The text in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, for example, is 2.2 million Japanese characters, Nintendo says. That's over a million English words. For one game.

In other words, localisation is tough. Google Translate this ain't.

Earlier this week, a representative for the publisher XSEED asked if they could share some graphics to illustrate some of the challenges they have to face during the localisation process. They wanted to give us a granular perspective, and show off some of the nitty-gritty details that take up so much of their time.

"Sure!" I said. XSEED does some great work.

So on today's Very Special Edition of Random Encounters, here's XSEED production assistant Brittany Avery giving us a look at some of the work they had to do in order to localise Rune Factory 4, the RPG/sim that came out for 3DS this week. There's some fascinating stuff here. Exploding text boxes! Misplaced pronouns! Renamed shop categories!

(Click "expand" to see bigger versions of each image.)

Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think

Random Encounters is a weekly column dedicated to all things JRPG.


Comments

    I feel like a lot of these problems are because there are tables of stuff translated separately that are then correlated back together by the game (like there's a table of events in the calendar, and 'Calendar 0' is subsituted with whatever the translated event name is). If they have access to these then it should be possible to figure this out without having to insert the translated text.

    The root of the problem is that it's all in Excel. But that's how Japan likes to work on this sort of thing for some reason.

      Not just Japan, most of it is done this way. Excel actually makes it a hell of a lot easier. I've had to handle localisations for several games (here in Australia), some of which had 4 different languages and it certainly is a mammoth task!

      I'm really glad XSEED shared this information because people really don't understand that it's not that easy to localise game text. If it was, we'd probably see a lot more Japanese games in English.

    So when will this pass the invisible walls around Australia??????

    So wondering when or if it will be released in Australia?? Dying to knoww

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