Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think

Illustration for article titled 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 localized 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.

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One day.

Today, we are stuck with publishers, and we can do nothing but awe at just how much work the best localization 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, license, bug-test, market, promote, and grind their way through millions and millions of words. The text in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, for example, is 2.4 million Japanese characters, Nintendo says. That's over a million English words. For one game.

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In other words, localization 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 localization 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.

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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 localize 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.)

Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
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Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
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Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
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Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
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Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
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Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think
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Illustration for article titled Getting JRPGs Out In English Is Harder Than You Think

Random Encounters is a weekly column dedicated to all things JRPG. It runs every Friday at 3pm ET. You can reach Jason at jason@kotaku.com or on Twitter at @jasonschreier.

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DISCUSSION

jonnytheanswerboy
Phantom Banger

Surely it'd make things a hell of a lot easier if they worked on both languages at the same time? Rather than things coming out in Japan a year or two before anywhere else, just employ some people (which they probably already have) that can speak/read/write English and have it all done simultaneously. Obviously I know it's not as easy as I make it sound, but surely that'd be a much better option?
It would reduce piracy too (which someone is always going on about) as a lot of games that never got English translations then get fan translations, which usually requires people to pirate the game so they can apply the patch.