Stock is running low on the second edition of the Zelda book, so it’s time to get ready to print the third edition! First, we gotta do some edits. Mato realized how often he overused exclamation points throughout the book, so I’m going through right now and changing most of them to regular ol’ periods. There will be some additional edits after this, but nothing too major.
This is also my first time working with InDesign. I was already impressed with Tony’s design work, but this InDesign experience is adding another layer of respect to his talent. There are so many things to keep track of in a design document like this. Tony is magical (╯✧∇✧)╯
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!
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!