So my twitter has been bombarded by compare & contrast pictures of Fire Emblem Fates English localization & a fan translated version of it. This has lead to people calling out Nintendo Tree House (the organization responsible for the localization) for it’s poor localization. The localization is filled with silly humor, has rewritten many characters personalities, lacks content in the Japanese version, and has ruined the tone of many dramatic scenes. I should have collected the pictures to show you guys. So much of it is makes me just go “Why?!?!”.
To make things worse, some reporters & anti-gamers have started ridiculing critics by saying “You should just learn Japanese then”. Yeah, cause that is just so easy to do *sarcasm*. Fans shouldn’t have to learn another language to enjoy your game. Fans shouldn’t have to translate your game cause your “localization” completely fails to respect the original intent of the story made by actual writers. Not to mention that region locking can make it impossible/very costly to have the Japanese version of some game.
I think this little snafu is going to spiral into a bigger discussion. Many people go to Japanese games, anime, & manga for the Japanese cultural influence. Localization focused translation compromises that key element. The question that is going to be asked is “Do we want something true to Japanese culture or do we just want to gut the story & fill it with our own culture?”. I know Japanese culture isn’t everyone’s cup of green tea & there is a lot of area to compromise/hybridize. It’s important to voice your opinion, because Nintendo has always viewed us Americans as too fragile for straight translations. They remove LGBT themes, they don’t translate difficult games, they call rice balls donuts. I think we’re mature enough to deal with ideas, themes, & tropes from a foreign culture. As weird as Japanese is, it’s not much weirder than the crazy stuff localizers make (makes Sailor Uranus & Sailor Neptune cousins, come on!). I think now is a good time to get rid of the localization nonsense & embrace a translation philosophy of trying to keep it as true to the original intent as possible.
"Now, I’ve forgiven the world and myself, too. I teach myself to smile again. One day I’ll get there, I know I will. Even if it takes me not nine, but nine hundred lives." -Susan Ashworth from The Cat Lady
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