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 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.
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!