With the sweeping arrival of a bunch of new and great Japanese games this year, my mind has, naturally, come back to thinking about game translation and how interesting I find it. I won’t claim to be super knowledgeable about it, but it’s a fascinating exercise into the art of translation and game production, combining the logistical difficulties of overhauling a game’s language (which might involve changing a lot of the programming) with the dilemmas of different (and equally valid) approaches.
Given my fascination, I’d hope that other people in this community would also enjoy talking about it, so I’d love for folks to share their preferences. It’d be great if you could give examples and substantiate on why it’s your favourite (particularly interesting? Challenging? Just a lot of fun?). I do know that translation can be an, at times, controversial topic, so I would appreciate it if folks would stick to talking up good examples rather than tearing down those they’d disagree with. If you feel that you can add to another person’s post substantively, it costs nothing to be nice and recognise people’s preferences while making the point.
The most recent examples of great translations that I can think of is, of course, NieR: Automata (Japanese-to-English), which doesn’t feel like a translated game at all. Finding fun and accessible ways of translating a variety of different manners of speech while (hopefully) keeping the meaning intact is a hard task and 8-4 definitely pulled it off.
(P.S. As I only have a firm grasp of English, my knowledge is limited. If you have a great example using other languages, feel free to add, that would be absolutely enlightening!)