OPINION What Is “Good” Video Game Localization? Ft. Avalanche Reviews

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Avalanche Reviews joins us to give their opinion on when video game localization can be good, as well as bad. Make sure you check their channel out: https://www.youtube.com/user/AvalancheReviews
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  1. Good Localisation:
    1. If an idea, event, or phrase doesn't make sense, it is up to you whether or not to explain it, but LEAVE THE DAMN THING IN.
    2. 'Age censorship' (not displaying the age of 'minor' characters) is fine, to me, as long as nothing is actually cut or censored from the character. Xenoblade Chronicles X, I'm giving you the stink eye again.
    3. If you absolutely HAVE to change something due to licensing/copyright, it's understandable, but be conservative about it if you have to, and make sure to try pretty much anything to get said stuff in the localisation. Don't change it if you don't absolutely need to.

    That's the extent of exceptions I make to my personal 'no censorship' rule. Just a well-done straight translation would work, and so far, XSEED has been really good with the Senran Kagura series, and Team Ninja (with some exceptions) with the DOA and Ninja Gaiden franchises.

    Bad Localisation:
    Say what you want, I know it's a jelly-filled donut. Brock said so.

  2. No, I'd rather have stifled direct translation in my Japanese games rather than them being filled to the brim with SJW Feminazi propaganda done by localization teams.

    And BTW, funny you brought the Pokemon anime up. 4Kids obviously didn't have a problem actually showing Onigiri in the 1st season of Pokemon, but did call it a "jelly donut" anyway for…."localization"?…idk, that never made sense to me. Localization like that just makes things more confusing.

  3. Why do video games even need to be localized? Just translate it like you'd translate a book. If they do the same to book and change the setting in, for example, Murakami's novels to America, then I guess it can't be helped.

  4. There's this thing called translators notes that allows a translator to add in extra bit of text to explain things like a cultural difference…. Why don't gaming companies just do that….?

  5. Localization need to take liberties when translating dialogs. But one thing is adding some taste to the dialog so it doesn't sound robotic. And the other is completely changing what the message originally was.

  6. 2:45 so what? That just gives us a reason to learn about another culture. You realize it's almost 2017 and people generally have easy access to the internet, right? All you did was make excuses for why some changes are "necessary" and point out poor translation. Other examples you used, such as at 4:02, seem just fine to me. The translation in the example at 4:02 actually makes more sense to me. It's more clear and direct with what he's saying. The localization is just more wordy for seemingly no reason, not to mention the change of "Divine Dragon" to "First Dragons".

  7. Good localization, as some other people have pointed out here, is called "Translation" (also, don't change the music, and the original voice acting should remain as an option before any voice can be heard in the game, not like Bravely Default which forces a terrible English cutscene on you before giving you the option of switching…)

  8. I'm a bit surprised that your channel would be open-minded to more liberal localizations. "Localizations", nowadays, and well pretty much the entire time, are a form of sideways-censorship, that is, not intended to be censorship, but has pretty much the effect.

    If a cultural context exists in the game that is unfamiliar to non-native players, that gives it more reason to leave it in the localization, not remove it. Removing that piece of context won't make people aware, and it destroys the opportunity for those that would care to look it up if they had gotten the chance of encountering it because it was taken out of the localization. And the more localizations do it, the more they have to do it. The way to cure ignorance is the exposure and spread of the subject of the ignorance.

    It's like with censorship, removing something that is deemed "offensive" not only doesn't help matters, it doesn't make the people whom would claim to be "offended" at that kind of material be more tolerant. Like I said in the last paragraph, exposure and spread is what cures this intolerance.

    In regards to the necessary changes mentioned in the vid, while I can agree in theory, in practice, a truly necessary change is very few and far between, if it even exists. Translations, and especially localizations, are inherently inferior to the original under the sole reason that it is not truly the original, so perfect translations exist in concept but not really in reality. Throwing "necessary changes" into the mix only furthers the gap of difference between the two versions.

    Anyway, hope you had fun at TGS!

  9. The day I can play a video game localized that keeps everything intact. Sexual themes, dialogue, sexual themes, actually getting localized at all…did I mention sexual themes already? I think I did.

    But, yeah, this is legit one of the main reasons why I have not given up my Japanese studies. I want to learn it for more reasons than just games, but games are certainly a crucial part of why I'm learning it.

  10. Atlus is one of the few who does it right, really, really right, while Nintendo Treehouse is pretty much the worst you can get, without actual, actual removal of content and censorship like 4Kids did with anime back in the day. I think that authencity should be the highest goal, and sometimes a change can lead to more of it, rather than direct translation, so I'm all for occasional Wolseyism, but only when the goal is to give more meaning, not less meaning and ADD FUCKING MEMES.

  11. There's something that angers me a lot.
    When a game is localized, almost every videogame is released in English, because of that, not only you get a new game in a languaje that you can undestand, the game get fans from other languajes.
    Because there's not so much game translated in [insert languaje here], we have to learn english if we want to play something.
    You'all whine a lot.
    And sometimes, it's even worse for the non-english languaje native players.
    The most powerful example is Animal Crossing New Leaf.
    The game has spanish translation, but it's spanish from Spain, making the game kinda hard to understand because there's a lot of slangs that aren't used in American Spanish,making the game confusing and we often have to search the meaning of a word on google. And it's even worse in Pokémon games.

  12. All those comments about "ruined localizations of Japanese Material"… Here's some food for thought: Spyro the Dragon had changes to the camera system in the Japanese version which only made the camera getting stuck more frequent than before. Gruntilda's rhyming in Banjo-Kazooie was lost in the Japanese version because rhyming isn't a thing in Japanese Grammar. Battletoads was made noticibly easier in the Famicom version. Call of Duty was censored in Japan regarding any Axis Powers imagery and No Russian was given a new fail condition for shooting civilians. In Japan, Perfect Dark was renamed "Red and Black", had blood removed followed by fade-out bodies, and the Combat Knife was downright removed. (All changes minus the name change were reverted in the XBOX 360 release.) I could go on, but you would all ignore me or chew me out over this, claiming I'm defending the opinions shown in the video.

  13. If any of you think that localization serves an overall good higher purpose, that's not necessarily true. Sure, it can give more exposure to a wider audience, but in the end, it can also lead to a lot of misinterpretations and misunderstandings of what the games were trying to achieve. I mean when you see a lot of foreign live action movies, you don't see people using English appropriated terms to make things familiar, do you? Or change objects in the film that looks foreign so that people can understand what it is? So why should games be any different?

  14. I was working with a theater group to put on beuty and the beast and throughout the entire play, both the songs and dialogue were littered with french words, many most people wouldn't know the meaning to. I spent the whole time thinking "if these were japanese words they would be changed to english". The elephant in the room no one address is that eastern entertainment receives a hell of a lot more censorship and "localization" than any other part of the world.

  15. Even with localization as a factor there can still be a good franchise you'll enjoy no matter what! MY example LUNAR Eternal Blue: for I first fell in love with it while in Japan and still play it today on my Saturn Sega CD and even PlayStation versions. I do agree with you 100% about attempting to have a true faithful version of a game instead of localizing it. It does come across as a futile effort because many businesses may try to change the views of the title but I do agree that some localization is necessary for our own Shores but I do applaud the companies that offer both languages and versions! Hell, Im glad this has been happening more often, as their was a time I was forced to buy 3 versions of Castlevania Symphony of the Night, just so I could see what the differences were for my PlayStation & Saturn.

  16. Video Games are declared as Art, and art should be shown in it's true form. We don't see people changing Mona Lisa's eyes because we don't like it, we dont see us changing Beethoven's music to our tastes! Why should we change this form of art?

  17. Things that should change in localization should be things that some people don't and/or understand, but not too much to the point that they're not in the same place. It kinda sucks that Phoenix Wright did this because it's a great series and the only localization issues I have with it are that it's in a different location than originally intended and that the dialogue is usually misspelled or grammatically incorrect (PW3 has many charges pressed for the former, no pun intended). I'm really glad that they kept the spirit and themes of all the games in it though, and I honestly loved that the games showed some Japanese cultures in the second and third games.

    There are some Japanese jokes that fly over our heads at times because some words are similar sounding or are exactly the same and mean something different. And sometimes, in Japanese dialogue, it's really boring. Sometimes localization can spice up the game like in Kid Icarus Uprising, comparing the Thanatos scene in Chapter 5 (The "I'm not Tanatos now, I'm Thanatos" scene) which wasn't in Japan, but instead it's like "yup that's thanatos, oh yes that's thanatos."

  18. It's one thing to reword stuff so that it sounds more natural in English or change a joke that's completely lost in translation. It's a completely different thing to make changes to a piece of media that are based on "cultural norms".  If an American encounters stuff that's literally foreign to them, like the concept of honorifics or onigiri, then they'll have learned something new and possibly be inclined to do some further research on such subjects. If you change things just because they're not conventional to a Western audience, then you're basically saying that your audience is stupid and they should remain ignorant of anything that's outside their peripheral vision.


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