It’s already time for a reprint of Legends of Localization Book 2: EarthBound. Last week, we received the book proof from our printing company. This is the final step in book publishing before a book goes to print. We need to check each page and make sure nothing is wrong, and I especially watch out for pages that may accidentally be in there twice (a flub that happened to the MOTHER 3 Handbook many years back).
The proof comes spiral-bound and it’s printed on a lesser printer than the big machines that print the real books. The EarthBound book is THICK:
If we spot a problem on the proof, we need to mark it on the page with a sticky note, and also note it on the sign-off sheet so the printers know where to look. You really don’t want to have to make changes at this point, though, because they get expensive.
The proof of our book covers always looks really weird, as none of the color is there. Plus, there are additional transparencies laid on top for things like spot varnish and debossing effects (are these terms confusing yet? I’ll make a post explaining them later). The obi/book sash is also a separate part that we need to check.
We’re gonna send the proof back today, then the shipment of new LoL books should be here in about two months!
So much happens behind the scenes while working on Legends of Localization projects, but I’d say 99% of it never gets shown or shared. I’m always poring through research materials, magazines, sites, and more, and new things are always happening. So I thought it’d be nice to set up a side “dev blog” where I and my fellow LoL members (yep, it’s not just me anymore: Heidi/Poe and Tony are also on the team) can make quick posts about what we’re up to or share some cool stuff we’ve stumbled across.
First, here’s a not-so-quick look at the current projects and general goals. It’s a lot of stuff 😯
I receive a lot of e-mail every day, usually questions about specific localization issues in certain games. It takes a long time to answer each one, so I’ve become notoriously bad at taking forever to respond to e-mail in general. I feel it’s important to answer every one, though. I’ve been chipping away at my e-mail backlog and finally have it down to just 60 e-mails, down from ten times that just a few months ago. So if you sent something since 2015 but haven’t gotten a response, hopefully one will be coming in the near future.
The newest Legends of Localization book should be out in a few weeks! It’s not a standard LoL book, though – it’s something much lighter and easier for general audiences to get into. More details soon, but on our end we gotta do a bunch of prep (product photos, product page, promo video, outreach, etc.) before it releases. We’re also thinking of doing a promo stream for it, but I don’t know what that would entail yet.
Funky Fantasy IV Academic Paper
Late last year, my Funky Fantasy IV game translation experiment made a bunch of headlines around the world. I got invited to write about it in a fancy academic journal that focuses on translation, so I’ve gotta break the rust off of my academic-style writing soon if I’m gonna make this year’s deadline.
Funky Fantasy IV Book
I’ve also been prepping a book about the Funky Fantasy IV experiment. It’s set to focus on the particularly interesting and entertaining translations in the game, with accompanying info + explanations on how said translations even happened. It’ll also touch on the technical side of things, the responses I received from surprising organizations, and general info on why machine translation and video games don’t mix as things stand now. I’m considering making it part of a “Horrors of Localization” series, or some similar name.
I still need to iron out some issues + finish some missing text, but I do hope to release the Funky Fantasy IV patch sometime too. I’ll probably do that as the book is finishing up.
Mother 3 History Project
Early this year I started to put together a blog article on the history of EarthBound fans’ hopes for Mother 3 since 1995 all the way to 2017. As I wrote it, the post got so big that I realized it’d need to have its own dedicated web page instead. Even that’s started to get so big that it makes more sense to put it into some other format. It approaches the topic from an unusual angle that isn’t about the game, but rather about the fans and one of the most wanted game localizations of all time. It’ll materialize in some form someday – maybe as a book, or maybe as something else.
“I’m Stuck In A Video Game”
A while back, Nina Matsumoto and the creator of Game Center CX/Retro Game Master put together a children’s book about a girl who gets trapped inside a video game. Recently, it was announced that Fangamer is releasing the book in English. The announcement was even on Game Center CX itself!
Anyway, the Legends of Localization team is involved in a small way! Plus it’s not every day that Japanese children’s books get localized into English, so I also interviewed everyone involved to document the process. It’s been a dream come true for me in several ways. More info on all of this later, of course!
Zelda Patch Pages
I’ve been slowly putting together some content for the “patch pages” of our Zelda 1 LoL book. Stuff keeps happening, though! The latest example is when we discovered that Nintendo quietly fixed some text for the Zelda 1 NES Classic Mini release. This stuff is lower priority, but I’d like to get some patch pages out sometime. Basically, they’ll be released as free, downloadable files that you can print out for yourself. We’ve considered also offering them as professionally-printed stickers too, but I’m not sure there’d be enough demand for it. But maybe that’ll change if there’s enough hooting and hollering.
Super Mario Bros. book
The next big, main LoL book is about the first Super Mario Bros. Just as the Zelda and EarthBound books looked at localization in different ways, this one will take a different look at localization too. After last year’s EarthBound book, we decided “no RPGs in 2017” and that it’d be beneficial to try our hand at smaller paperback books on separate topics. As such, we’re still in the early research, planning, and buying phase of the SMB book. We’ve been buying games and consoles from all over the world for the book, and as each new thing arrives I always learn something new or get a new idea to add to the book.
The main Legends of Localization site has had a very ugly design since I first created it in 2013. I have no art or design sense, so it was all meant as a placeholder for something much better.
Tony did some design work for a redesign a few months back. I’ve slowly started implementing it in HTML, but it’ll be a while until it’s ready to go live, especially with 212+ posts that will likely need to be hand-tweaked to display properly afterward. I also gotta reprogram some technical stuff to work with the new layout. The good news is that it’ll work much better on mobile devices than it does now. No real estimate on when this’ll all be ready, but it’s something else that’s in the works.
The EarthBound LoL book is selling out fast and already needs to get a reprint, so we’re completing the final steps for a new run. We’ve fixed a few typos and such for this new edition. We also got about 1500 more bonus bookplates lying around, so we’re gonna try to sign them all before the second edition arrives. More info on all of this later. As always, if you ask in the order form, we’ll gladly sign one of our books and/or draw weird things in them!
Localizing Japanese-Only Games
It’s long been my dream to translate classic Japanese-only video games and release them in an official capacity. It’s still too early to say much of anything, but the quick story is that it’s become a less impossible-sounding prospect in recent months. We’ve been putting a good amount of effort into this, so if anything develops I’ll share what I can. It’s very possible nothing will come of this, but I’m personally optimistic about it.
Amid all the books and projects and whatnot, standard site updates are always on my mind. I have a big list of topics I want to cover but I’ve learned I gotta be choosy or they’ll take up all my time. I also have an update for the next Final Fantasy IV page about 30% done. I don’t know when it’ll be ready but I at least expect it to be up by the end of the year at the latest.
A recent addition to the current LoL site is the gallery section. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years now, and it offers a way for fans to help out too. After the first two galleries, I’ve learned that they take MUCH more work than they seem at first!
We’ve been trying to brainstorm other LoL merchandise lately that ISN’T a book, but I also want to make sure that whatever we make, it’ll be helpful or useful in some way. We’ve come up with a few ideas but nothing that I’m 100% sold on yet.
Custom Emulator Sidebar Thing
Last year I showed off an experimental program that allowed me to display the Japanese scripts for Breath of Fire II and A Link to the Past while I played the English versions. With this program, I was able to compare the Japanese and English scripts live on stream while interacting with stream viewers. The program later made a bunch of headlines on gaming and translation sites.
More recently, I’ve started to develop a much more powerful program that does the same thing with more reliability and flexibility. It’s still in the early development phase but it’s got an insane amount of potential for Legends of Localization projects. It could also be used by other people for completely unrelated purposes. It’s a really cool system and I hope to be able to share it when it’s more complete. For now, I’ve been slowly developing it with different projects in mind. At the moment I’ve used it in different ways with Final Fantasy IV, Super Mario All-Stars, Super Mario World, Tecmo Secret of the Stars, and Super Mario RPG.
This will deserve an entire site section of its own sometime, but after our Super Mario RPG translation comparison stream series ends, I’ll probably use my custom program to make Final Fantasy VI T-Edition (an amazing Japanese hack that’s supposedly insane to try to hack into English) sort of playable in English. It’ll take a good amount of time but be worth it; since the hack doesn’t change much of the existing text, I can also use the same setup to do a live comparison stream of FFVI at the same time.
Speaking of streams, after Super Mario RPG ends in a week or two, I’m not sure what we’ll move on to next. It’s possible we’ll pause our stream schedule for a good while, but I’m not sure. But I DO know that I want to stream these someday:
Final Fantasy VI T-Edition English translation + FFVI live translation comparison
Chrono Trigger stream that compares the original Japanese script, the original English translation, and the DS English translation all at once
Final Fantasy V stream that compares the Japanese script with the English fan translation, PS1 translation, GBA translation, and whatever else there might be
Funky Fantasy VI
I held a poll a few months ago about what games to stream someday. Here are the results:
The problem is that streams often take 3+ hours out of my day, which eats a ton of time out of my day. I like them, though, and many of the head-turning LoL projects wouldn’t have existed without the streams. Plus they basically involve what I already normally do anyway for LoL stuff (take a zillion screenshots of games while analyzing stuff live). It’s a weird problem, so I’m still trying to figure out what’s best for everything.
Last year we were lucky enough to get giant boxes of old Japanese gaming magazines that aren’t well known outside of Japan. I’ve skimmed through many of them, and Poe has been busy cataloging their info. There are so many cool little articles, pics, and more but it’s been awkward trying to share them on the main LoL site, so hopefully this new dev blog will be filled with scans soon!
I also occasionally dump game data from the Wii U Virtual Console to see how classic games have been modified since their original releases decades ago. I don’t know if anyone out there is doing this or cares about tiny little differences, but the topic is pretty important to my books and articles, so I try to do it whenever it’s relevant. For example, I found these changes in Breath of Fire II:
Super Mario RPG also features some changes, but no text changes that I’m aware of. I noticed one enemy got fixed so that it isn’t invincible under certain conditions. If you’re interested, here’s a big text file that lists all of the changed bytes: smrpg-diffs.
A Helping Hand
By accident, Legends of Localization got a lot of attention for covering one of the earliest Nintendo Switch games that featured a particularly bad translation. Even after the developer updated the game’s text in response to gamers’ reactions, the translation somehow got worse! The game’s short enough that I’ve considered offering them a competent translation for free, but I have yet to reach out. I’m thinking I might just get screenshots of all the text I can, translate them properly, and then send it all to the CEO (who’s also the game’s designer, head programmer, and translator). Between everything else, though, this is pretty low priority.
Legends of Localization has been donating prizes for the Games Done Quick events for a little while now, and this upcoming one will have LoL representation too. Poe’s been coordinating a lot of it so I’m not sure what exactly is going on, but she’s been busy with it recently. Look for it!
All of this is happening while I also continue with my regular translation job, advise people looking to become translators themselves, do interviews, etc. It’s all pretty exhausting, so lately I’ve started to slow down on everything. I’ve started to play the latest Zelda game to relax… but even then I take screenshots of all the Japanese text for future LoL use 😆
Anyway, this is all to say that Legends of Localization has a lot going on at the moment. Check back regularly for smaller updates about stuff we’re doing or stuff we’ve found!
So much is going on with Legends of Localization that I wanted to give a quick status update on a bunch of it. Lots of book stuff, site stuff, and more!
The Legend of Zelda
Last November Fangamer and I released the first-ever Legends of Localization book, and it sold out quick! We had a second run printed earlier this year so there should be plenty for a while now. Fangamer has the book on a celebration sale until the end of June 2016, so if you get a copy this week you’ll save some money! There’s also been so much demand for the book to be sold on Amazon that we’ve been experimenting with Amazon’s marketplace. Amazon’s fees are pretty steep so it costs more than buying it from Fangamer, but it’s an option if you prefer Amazon.
Buy on Amazon.com ($36, feel free to spread the word with Amazon affiliate codes & earn some of the fees they charge us)
The response has been great, and it’s gone farther than I ever expected – bookstores around the world have been picking it up, it’s been mentioned in several magazines, and it’s even being used in the classroom 😯 The reviews have been a lot of fun to read too, here are a couple:
“I had no idea that I could be learning so much new information about a game that I thought I already knew everything about!”
“I can’t stress enough how vital it is for the video game industry to have people like Mandelin taking on projects like this.”
“It’s also great that he digs into the ‘why’ of things, instead of just stating ‘they translated it this way, the end.’”
“It’s such a niche topic that I’m so thankful it got released. I hesitate to give it a rating because there’s nothing else quite like this out there.”
“Excellent offering and even got trolled in a pretty epic way. Highly recommend.”
“The Legend of Zelda seemed to have no secrets and my impression was that whatever an overzealous translator could nitpick out of the differences would lack much substance. […] I not only stand corrected by this excellent book but also excited to see that if so much content and information few of us were aware of can come of this title, what about others (games and authors)?”
These past few months I’ve been hard at work on the next Legends of Localization book: EarthBound. It’s finally nearing completion and should hopefully be out sometime this autumn. I’ve rewritten everything from scratch, done all-new research, and made sure that every page has something new or interesting that I never knew about before. Even better, the team has been in touch with the game’s head localizer, the game’s creator, and the game’s head marketer. This book is going to be epic.
Oh yeah, we’re trying to get scratch-n-sniff things included too.
Sign up here to get notified as soon as the book is available. We’re also planning an EarthBound “passport” similar to the Zelda passport, but it’s still in the planning phase.
The book team and I have been prepping for some Zelda II stuff, but nothing’s set in stone yet. It’s one of the most-bashed Zelda games, but in terms of localization it’s even more fascinating than the first game in many ways. In my sparse spare time I’ve been trying to master the game semi-speedrun style… but the English and Japanese versions are different enough that I’ll probably need to master them both separately. If you can think of any interesting tips or topics I should cover or whatever else, let me know.
Thanks to the success of the books I’ve been able to focus on Legends of Localization a little more than last year. I’ve been trying to post articles a little more frequently when I can. I want to get a few Final Fantasy IV comparison updates out this year too. I’m also considering some changes to the site and the site’s design. Having guest-written articles is another idea I’ve been toying with but haven’t put too much thought into yet.
A lot of the work I do for the site and for the books requires me to play games for weird, specific reasons. I realized it might be interesting to stream these kinds of things, so I’ve been doing some test streams on Twitch, separate from my usual Poemato CX streams. I’ve been archiving them on YouTube too if you can’t make it live:
My hope is that I can do these more often and regularly as a way to level up my game knowledge, get screenshots, and get outside advice on topics. It’s also been a nice way to show off our latest progress and the latest goodies we’ve acquired for book and article research. It’s all still in the early stages but should be fun.
I’ve been trying to stay on top of my e-mails but have fallen far behind. If you’ve e-mailed me but haven’t heard back, I’ll still try to respond, even if it’s super-late. If you send a question for me to answer on the site, though, I usually move those to my little database for future updates.
I recently wrote a Legends of Localization article for issue #21 of Nintendo Force Magazine. You can check that out here. I’ve been considering writing small articles like this for other sites and magazines and such, so if you have any suggestions or recommendations let me know!
That’s about it for right now, but for more day-to-day updates on our progress you can follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.
A lot’s been happening this year – I recently made a deal with Fangamer to release a series of Legends of Localization books, and the first one is well underway. Sign up for a pre-order notification here!
First Book: The Legend of Zelda!
The first book is going to set the standard for all future books in the series, so we decided to go with The Legend of Zelda. The book will feature what you can read and see here, but with even more information, new content, info fixes, and lots of improvements everywhere.
I’ve been working hard on updating the content, and Tony, one of Fangamer’s designers, has been working hard on the book layout. I can’t show off any work-in-progress stuff yet, but it looks AMAZING. It’s visually entertaining AND classy at the same time. Tony’s design style matches my presentation style perfectly – it’s going to be great!
I shared more details and pics about the book during a recent Poemato CX stream, check it out below!
Currently, the book’s content and layout needs to be finished by around the end of August 2015. Fangamer hopes to release the book in November or December 2015, with preorders opening probably in October.
For preorder bonuses, we’re thinking we’ll have a fancy bookmark that matches the theme of each Legends of Localization book, but we’re open to suggestions. Some other ideas I’ve thought of include:
Maybe some sort of small Japanese-to-English dictionary for the specific game in question, so gamers can play through Japanese versions of these games themselves
If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
The Zelda book is going to help us figure out the book-making process. After it, we’ll be moving on to the big one: EarthBound! This is going to be a HUGE book, and it’ll have a lot of new, updated content too. We have lots of cool plans for this one – I’ll post more about it when it gets going.
A Zelda II book is also in the works – in fact, most of my work on it is already done. This was going to be combined with the Zelda 1 book originally, but it wound up being so big that we had to break them apart!
Those are the three books I’m slated to do for Fangamer so far. Beyond that, I’m really looking forward to a MOTHER 3 book. I feel like I better hurry before Nintendo finally decides to release an official translation sometime 😛
What This All Means
For the most part, Legends of Localization has just been a hobby of mine for years and years. Technically, I started doing all this back in 1999, so that’s how long this has been a part of my life. These books mark the first time I’m turning my hobby into a serious job, so I wanted to thank everyone who’s supported my work here. Whether you’ve shared the site with friends, posted comments on here, e-mailed me with info, or donated in the past, thank you!
I’d love to continue to make Legends of Localization more and more of a serious endeavor – if these books do well enough, I’ll be able to focus more and more on this site and future books. I’ll also be able to update more frequently if everything goes well! I sometimes daydream of Legends of Localization being my ONLY focus… I’m not crazy enough to make that leap yet, but let’s see how well these books do first 😛
I’ve also considered turning on the “donate to unlock this page” thing that I did a few years ago. The only problem is that last time people would donate too much too fast! I couldn’t keep up, so I had to turn it off. What a fortunate problem to have 😛
But Patreon is a thing that exists these days, so that might be worth looking into instead. That’s a scary step to take, though. If you have any Patreon tips or suggestions, let me know! Maybe a high tier could get you each book for free as they’re released or something…
Other Questions and Topics
A common question I’ve gotten lately is: “Is Legends of Localization dead?”
The answer is no! 2015 has just been a crazy year. I had surgery a while back that I’m still recovering from, my professional translation work has been super-busy, there’ve been deaths in the family, I’m in the middle of buying a house, etc. Once things settle down – and if the books do well enough – I’ll be able to focus more time on updates here. I love this hobby of mine, so I want to get back to it!
I receive a LOT of e-mails about Legends of Localization every day, so I apologize if I haven’t replied to you. I do read all my e-mails and keep them organized, so even if I haven’t gotten back to you, you haven’t been ignored. My backlog of reader questions is huge, too! I feel so bad that I can’t keep up with them all… But I also feel glad that this little hobby means so much to other people.
Final Fantasy IV. I get asked this question more than any other: “When are you going to update with more Final Fantasy IV stuff?”
A few months ago I actually started to do some behind-the-scenes work to get updates rolling again. I’d like to get one or two updates out before the end of the year. It might be tough with everything else that’s going on, but I really miss FFIV.
I’d LOVE to do a book version of FFIV too, but I fear that it would literally wind up being thousands of pages. For reference, this page is currently 18 to 20 pages in our WIP Zelda book. I don’t want to do the math, but I think the current FFIV stuff would be several hundred pages, and it’s only halfway through the game!
Basically, I haven’t dropped FFIV. It means too much to me to ever drop it, don’t worry!
Fangamer’s “You Are Now EarthBound” Kickstarter is ending soon, and I’m involved with one of the final stretch goals! Indeed, if it gets high enough within the next three or so days, I’ll be able to make a book version of my EarthBound localization analysis!
Believe it or not, I’ve been comparing games and translations since way back in 1999, when I first started a site that compared EarthBound with its Japanese counterpart:
After I finished it, I dreamed of making it into a book somehow. There was also a lot of content that I skimmed over that I’ve always wanted to go back and cover, plus I’ve actually had the honor of meeting EarthBound’s head localizer, discussing details with him, and even chatting about MOTHER 3!
So with all this, now would be a wonderful chance to put EarthBound Legends of Localization into a book form!
If this Kickstarter stretch goal is met and I’m able to work on a book, I’d be able to:
Go back and look at stuff in more detail, especially in the first half of the game
Cover questions and topics that have sprung up since I finished the site – I might even do a call for questions beforehand!
Discuss topics that concern series continuity
Include new insights and answers from EarthBound’s head localizer himself!
And more, of course! I’m still trying to figure out how I could include secret image text, but I think it might be a lost cause 😛
Anyway, if the Kickstarter stretch goal is met and the book does well enough, it could open up opportunities to do more books on a more regular basis! I’d love to be able to focus my efforts on plenty of other games and series – my MOTHER 3 translations noteswould be a perfect start, for example.
And I’ve already had the groundwork laid for a good EarthBound Zero/MOTHER 1 analysis too:
And there are the other projects I always have on my mind but not enough time for usually:
And if things go REALLY well, I’d love the opportunity to go and seek out the various people responsible for localizations and see what their experiences were!
Of course, this all rides on whether or not this stretch goal gets hit and if the EarthBound book does well enough. Even if you don’t back the Kickstarter, if the goal DOES get met you’ll still be able to order the book from Fangamer, but if you do back it I think there’s probably a tier or something where you can get a copy of the book automatically.
Depending on how things go, I might do a smaller, simpler book before the EarthBound one just to get the kinks and everything worked out. But that’s getting ahead of myself – for now, if any of this interests you, consider backing Fangamer’s “You Are Now EarthBound” Kickstarter!
A few months ago I started working on an update for the MOTHER 3 fan translation patch. Before releasing it, though, it needed to be tested – so I played through the game on Twitch! While testing the game and fixing bugs, I also shared translation notes, memories of the project, and more. We also had guests on, including fellow team members. Even Marcus Lindblom, the head localizer for EarthBound, participated in the chat a few times!
This was pretty much our first time streaming so everything was pretty rough around the edges, but if you like MOTHER 3 or if you’ve wanted to know more about some of the translation choices that went into the patch, give it a watch. I also sometimes discussed professional experiences and the like, so if you’re into that sort of thing, you might like it!
The MOTHER 3 stream was a lot of fun, so my wife and I have gotten into streaming games more regularly. Here’s just a quick sample of recent stuff:
As of the time of this post, I’m about 48 hours in and I’ve STILL got a lot left to experience in this hack. While I’ve been playing it I’ve also been sharing bits and pieces of localization differences that I’m aware of. I’ve also been polishing my programming skills and making neat software that displays some translated text on the stream for viewers who don’t know Japanese. And, to everyone’s surprise, the Japanese creator of the patch showed up in the chat and has since become a regular. All in all, it’s been a really great experience and I hope you’ll join us sometime if you’re into Final Fantasy games!
I actually hope to share more Japanese ROM hacks like this in the future, so if you know of any that you think would be neat to get the live-translation treatment, let me know.
To celebrate America’s Independence Day, I streamed a bunch of Japanese games about America. I want to get practice doing live-translations of Japanese games, so I thought this would be a good start. Despite my bumbling around, it was a lot of fun – way more fun than I expected it to be!
I’m hoping that if I keep doing these sorts of streams, I’ll continually polish my live game-translating skills and be able to “streamlate” (yes, I just made that up, feel free to groan) more complicated Japanese games with ease!
I’m especially fond of this Japanese hamburger RPG:
And this game written entirely in English by a Japanese native:
Live-Translating Other Games for Weird Events
We also stream games for odd holidays and special events. Usually we end up playing a bunch of weird Japanese games and I’ll translate them live. For example, a friend of ours got married a few weeks ago, so after the wedding we played a bunch of wedding-themed games!
On my wife’s birthday, we streamed a bunch of Japanese yokai/youkai games, which I tried to translate:
And for World Population Day, we played a bunch of mostly-Japanese games with the word “world” in their titles:
We also did something similar for World Cat Day. We tried to have a “Sneak a Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day” – which is a real day – but couldn’t find any zucchini games, sadly.
Anyway, this is all to say that if you’d like to see more things like this, be sure to follow me on Twitch and follow me on YouTube, as that’s where all the fun and translating is happening. This streaming stuff isn’t always 100% Legends of Localization-related, but sometimes the two interwtine – my MOTHER 3 stream is on the MOTHER 3 localization section, for example. Some other things I’d love to stream in the future include:
More extensive Japanese ROM hacks
Streams of other games I’ve fan-translated, so I can share memories, translation notes, secrets, and more
Anyway, that aside, here’s a quick site status update!
For a while there, I was able to keep the updates flowing at a good rate, and even managed to do the big Final Fantasy IV and AVGN updates once a month. But alas, the work of a freelance translator can get crazily unpredictable, so right now Legends of Localization is back in the hectic “update whenever a hole in time opens up” mode. More specifically:
Final Fantasy IV: I posted an intermission thing here a while back. I’m not as burned out on FFIV anymore, so I look forward to getting back into this when I can!
MOTHER 3: I get asked about this a lot – for now it’s on hold. I *have* started putting together the version 1.2 patch this past week, though. No expected release date yet. It’ll mostly fix a lot of bugs that existed in the original game.
A Link Between Worlds: I announced this a few months back. I’ve fully played through both versions of the game, gathered all the screenshots and videos and stuff, and even have a good amount of work done on the layout and content, but freelance work overload last month put everything on hold.
Blog posts: I get requests for one-topic article posts all the time – if you’ve sent any in, don’t worry if I don’t respond! I put every single request in a spreadsheet, so you haven’t been ignored. The spreadsheet’s getting pretty big, it’s amazing!
Now that I think about it, I did recently do some small updates that you might’ve missed:
Pretty much every day I wake up thinking how swell it’d be if I could monetize Legends of Localization somehow so I could focus more time on it. I fear that a Kickstarter wouldn’t succeed, and I don’t think Patreon would have enough backers. If anyone has any suggestions, though, let me know! There are a million things I’d like to dig into and write articles about sometime – just off the top of my head:
Final Fantasy VI
MOTHER / EarthBound Zero
Other English->Japanese localizations
Symphony of the Night
Alex Kidd games
Pretty much every game ever I guess, especially 80s/90s games 😛
Maybe look at how some American shows got handled in translation
Live translations (on Youtube or wherever) of Japanese-only games
Anyway, while that’s the dream, in reality I’ve been working on lots of really cool and rewarding professional translation projects too, the most recent of which I can mention is Attack on Titan!
It’s crazy to think back to when I first started learning the language so many years ago, and now millions of people are watching the result of those studies. It’s actually kind of stage fright-y!
The past few days/weeks have been filled with some interesting and unexpected things for me and Legends of Localization, so I thought I’d share of them! I’ve forgotten about half of them now, so here are just the ones I can remember:
That’s right – apparently I was mentioned and quoted in an academic journal called The Journal of Internationalisation and Localisation 😯 This was actually from many years ago too, so it’s surprising that I’ve only now heard about it. You can check it out here and you can find the stuff about me by searching for my name.
You know, sometimes when I think back on some of my projects, I just remember, “Oh, that’s the game where I had to translate poop jokes,” so it’s a pretty crazy feeling to be a quotable source for academic writing, heh.
I’m also in the latest issue of Retro Gamer magazine! I swear, every time I see pictures of this magazine it makes me want to buy every issue ever. So it’s an honor to be within its pages! You can actually see a quick video preview of the issue here:
Haha, I just realized that the Japanese text next to “Key Figures” means that I’m an “important number” 😛
New Project in the Works
For the past many weeks I’ve been putting together a new project – a comparison of the latest Zelda game for the 3DS. Late last year I finally sat down to play through A Link Between Worlds and started thinking – since I’ve already taken a detailed look at the first Zelda game’s localization, it would be cool to look at the very latest game’s localization too to see how things have changed in all these years. So I’ve been doing just that, and it’s actually turning out to be a lot more fascinating than I expected!
Anyway, I don’t have a timeline for this project yet, but it’s coming along nicely. I originally wasn’t even going to mention it until it was ready, but the main reason is this: if you have any questions or suggestions for stuff I should look into, lemme know! I don’t want to miss anything if I can help it, since it won’t always be easy to go back and check things.
In fact, while playing through both versions of the game and gathering screenshots, I also decided to record video for future reference and to supplement any screenshots I miss. I also decided to start uploading them to YouTube, so if you’re interested in checking out videos of the Japanese and English version of A Link Between Worlds, I’ve started slowly posting them on my YouTube channel here!
When the time comes I’ll be adding these to the appropriate comparison pages too. Be sure to let me know if I’ve missed anything or if I should try not to miss certain things – as of writing this I’m about to get the Master Sword.
Final Fantasy IV
My Final Fantasy IV comparison section has turned into a huge monster over time! But my recent decision to try to do one update a month has made it a lot easier for me to handle, so I’ll probably keep doing it that way for a while. The next update is going to be the Tower of Zot… which means some serious stuff’s about to go down!
AVGN Section Stuff
The other week I posted a new section about Angry Video Game Nerd-related stuff, and it’s actually been one of the most-viewed section of the site since 😯 My aim is to do a new article every couple of weeks; the ones that don’t involve creating comparison videos are surprisingly quick for me to write up, so it’s pretty easy and fun. Next up will be Who Framed Roger Rabbit… ugh.
Xenoblade for Fun, Research, and Health!
Last year I played through Xenoblade, and after some initial frustration it went on to become one of my all-time favorite games. I spent about 150+ hours on it, and about half of those were actually while I was on my exercise bike. I actually mentioned this to some friends and they were like, “Holy crap that’s a great idea, I’m gonna do it too!”
Anyway, I wanted to get back in the swing of things, so I decided the other day to start a new game of Xenoblade. Then I realized, you know, maybe I should record my gameplay for future reference if I ever want to do a comparison project, or if I just want to do tiny mini-articles like this one. So I’ve started recording Xenoblade videos and uploading them too, in what I call a “Let’s Workout” 😛
It’s not especially exciting stuff to watch, but if you’re interested, it’s on my YouTube channel too. Eventually I hope to move on to the Japanese version and record it too, but that won’t be for a while I’m sure. But, again, if you have any suggestions on what I should look out for or what I should try not to miss, let me know!
(Just to be clear, I’m not announcing a Xenoblade comparison, but I’d love to do one someday, which is why I’m recording these videos.)
Man, I know there’s a lot more that I ought to mention, but I can’t remember it right now. But anyway, if you have any info or suggestions or whatever, please share them with me~
Also, after writing all this up, I’m amazed at how I rarely play games how they’re meant to be played anymore – I play them for research purposes and workouts now? Man, what a weirdo.
It’s almost the end of 2013, so I thought it’d be neat to take a look back and see how the Legends of Localization site has done!
Legends of Localization used to just be a small section of my personal blog, but around March of 2013 I moved it and my separate EarthBound/MOTHER 2 comparison stuff to its own dedicated site. I also started doing smaller, blog-like articles around the middle part of the year – in fact, this is actually my 100th article! Man, I can’t believe I’ve written so many in such a short amount of time 😯
A Look at 2013
For fun, I decided to take a look at the site’s stats for 2013 – originally I wasn’t going to share this stuff, but for the sake of entertainment and future reference, here’s some of the more interesting data!
First, here’s a look at the site’s visitor count over the year:
I forgot what that giant spike was near the end of November, it turns out my article about the tourist lady in Pokemon X/Y hit the Reddit front page or some big sub-Reddit! I was mostly amazed that my site stayed functional; usually in the past Reddit would crash my other sites, even with caching plugins activated!
I’m 100% honestly amazed at how many people visit the site on a regular basis – thanks for always coming and commenting and sending in your interesting questions! It’s also incredibly humbling to think that this dinky little site got enough unique visitors to fill a couple stadiums!
Next, here were the most visited parts of the site:
Holy Giygas I had no idea EarthBound dominated the site so much 😯 I guess the fact that I run EarthBound Central plays a big part in that, but wow. It’s also interesting to see that Pokemon tourist lady post ranked so high!
And lastly, I was curious to see what the most common search engine searches were:
There are a couple eyebrow-raising entries in there, but I’m mostly surprised that so many folks were looking for Strawberry Tofu stuff on the site!
A Look at 2014
I’m having a lot of fun with Legends of Localization, and here are a few things I’d like to accomplish in 2014!
Continue to make small blog posts – these keep me from getting burned out on the bigger projects, and I enjoy finding answers to readers’ localization questions! Right now my update queue has about 100 questions in it, so already I got lots to write about 😯A few weeks ago I had a Twitter poll for what I should do my next blog update about, and it went over pretty well. It’s got me wondering if I should do similar things more often, or if there’s some way to help prioritize some questions that readers most want to see answered. I’ll have to figure something out.
Finish my thorough article about Vivian in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door – I love this game and this is a common question I get, so I’m aiming for a really clear and informative article.
Continue to update the Final Fantasy IV section at the rate of about one section a month, or more if a section is shorter. I feel that’s a good pace for the amount of detail I go into… I just gotta tell myself never to go into such detail again for future projects 😛
MOTHER 3 is in a really weird place for me right now, so I don’t know about the MOTHER 3 notes just yet. I’m not going to drop them, though.
Figure out how to speed up the comparison process to get a few more full comparison sections finished next year – right now I’m leaning toward something Zelda (a new-ish one probably) and/or Pokemon, but I’m planning to put up a poll later on. For now, if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments or message on Twitter!
Maybe not in 2014, but someday I want to do a detailed look at some of my own early fan translations, as they’re full of funny bloopers and laughably amateur fan translator mistakes. It’s interesting, insightful stuff!
Get a new site design for the front page and the blog stuff – what I have now is pretty blegh. But I’m not sure who to ask about this, as being a gamer who understands the site is a big prerequisite, and if I ask around I’ll just get a bunch of marketing guys bugging me.
Create a section for really interesting external articles and videos – I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time but haven’t gotten around to it. There’s so much cool stuff here that I’ve never even touched on yet!
Create dedicated pages for control code mistakes in official games, games with untranslated lines in them, and more. Readers have been sending me these, so I need to compile them eventually!
Earlier this year I tried an experiment with progress meters and donations; I might try to improve that system to help keep things running smoothly and so I can focus more time on the site and update more!
I just remembered I still need to come up with a good hashtag for my updates on Twitter and Facebook. #lol obviously isn’t an option… but everything else I can think of sounds pretty wacky and unclear. #legofloc? Sounds like some kind of food or a badly translated wrestling move 😛
I’d like to at least publish one Legends of Localization book just to say I’ve done it. I think it’d be a neat experience, and it’d be fun to design!
Continue to get in touch with industry veterans and legends, maybe even do interviews with some of them – maybe I could even ask them some reader-submitted stuff!
I don’t know how yet, but I’d like to do some sort of videos. I think even just playing games side-by-side might be interesting, or at the very least they’ll be useful for reference. Videos take so much time that whatever I do will have to be something simple and light.
Give some more inside looks at how localization works and how you can get into the industry for those who are interested – which seems to be a lot of people, actually!
Similarly, for years I’ve wanted to come up with a small site or tiny page or book or something to help out a lot of the people who ask about how to start learning Japanese. If I can find the time, I’d like to finally make this happen!
There are a number of other projects and mini-projects I’d like to get done for Legends of Localization, but I don’t want to make any promises or get any big hopes up yet. I think some readers might already have some ideas about some of them, though, so mum’s the word!
This past year has been a blast for me, and I hope it has been for you too! Here’s to 2014 being even more legendary than 2013!