Hey, it’s been quiet around here lately! That’s because I was on vacation last week and I completely cut myself off from anything work-related. It was a great experience and I encourage everyone who’s able to take vacations to leave your work at work and enjoy your time off! Also, delete the Slack app on your phone and keep it off your phone forever.
Anyway, while I was away in a completely different state (and a different state of mind), I came across some interesting noodles:
I’d heard about these noodles before, but I never expected to find them at a gas station in the middle of nowhere! Like any good video game fan, instead of eating these noodles, I’m gonna display them on a shelf until the heat death of the universe.
We have a new section on the website! Now you can browse articles by series. Take a look here~
Most of the old thumbnails need to be replaced, so I’ve been working on that today. I’m a novice at photo editing software, so I spent a long time messing around with gradients to make this simple thumbnail for the Final Fantasy section:
That took longer that I was hoping, but it came out nice. Hopefully I’ll be fully done with thumbnails by tomorrow!
Working on the Funky Fantasy book got me thinking about this old video.
Three years ago, Mato drew pictures of the entire plot of Final Fantasy 4. And then he had me watch this video and narrate what was happening. And I barely remembered the plot of Final Fantasy 4 back then.
Ever since Mato & I streamed Funky Fantasy 4, people have been asking for a Funky Fantasy 6. Because Final Fantasy 6 uses kanji in its script, machine translations are pretty competent and a lot less entertaining. AI is still pretty far behind the skills of human translators, though.
As a test, Mato ran Final Fantasy 6’s script through Google Translate and I’m combing through it now trying to see if it would be worth streaming. I’m only a fifth of the way done (god it’s huge), but here are some funny lines I’ve found so far:
“Okay, the thinking should be stopped [NEWLINE] with the power of the head brain. [NEWLINE]
Actually, I met an example girl.
Kefuka “Hey, shoes of sand!
Tina “Oh … my brother? [NEWLINE] Wow, I … I guess it’s a big bear ….
[NEWLINE] I do not have ears to hear …
Kefuka “Hey Cuts!” [NEWLINE] I will definitely return this mulberry!
Cayenne “Somebody does not exist [NEWLINE] It’s been a while!
Rock “ぐ [PAUSE_60] ぐ ぐ ひ ひ ~
Let me tell you how to chocobo!
Cayenne “As I thought [NEWLINE] I was a credible woman!
Even if the world got fucked up [NEWLINE], even with such a stone [NEWLINE] ginger noodle …
The funny lines are few and far between, unfortunately! Not sure if we’ll stream this, but I’ll continue to post more funny goofs as I scrub through the script.
A distant goal is to create a script for my custom emulator project that will allow fans to play the Japanese Final Fantasy VI T-Edition hack in English. The hack is incredibly complex and thorny, enough that a full translation patch is considered to be impossible. Personally, I say it’s possible but just excessively work-intensive to do a patch. In any case, I started laying the groundwork for a non-patch translation project (which uses my custom emulator sidebar stuff as a base) a few weeks back but I needed to determine some info ahead of time in order to save myself a ton of work later.
First, the original FF6 script contained about 3000 lines of text. The FF6T script clearly has many more, and after doing the necessary reverse engineering, I learned that it’s around 4600 lines of text. Most of the original script was left intact, though, so I decided to run a comparison to see which of the original FF6 lines matched the FF6T lines. In these cases, since nothing was changed, I simply display the equivalent line from the SNES English translation. This alone will save me a lot of time – otherwise I’d be retranslating the entire original game from scratch (which has already been done to death) AND the entire new hack!
But I soon discovered that many of the changed lines simply had kana words changed into kanji – in other words, no meaning was changed. So I wanted to find a way to identify these lines too and avoid having to manually translate them. So I made a big HTML file of text lines that were different in FF6 and FF6T, which you can see here if you’re interested:
Using this file, I then manually made a list of the line #s that were essentially the same despite kanji differences. In all, about 440 original lines were changed, and adding in the number of completely brand new lines, I have about 1600 lines of text to translate. Oh man. That’s on top of all the other programming, enemy/item/spells/technique names, and whatever else I’m forgetting. But I think it’ll be worth it in the end… whenever that comes.
I’m currently using FF6T version 2.5 as a base, but it gets updated often enough that by the time I finish it’ll be beyond 3.0. Hopefully not TOO much will change between those versions, or we’ll just be stuck using 2.5.
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!