Do you prefer literal or liberal translations?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Steve_Doido, Jan 12, 2017.

?

Do you like when translations take liberties?

  1. Yes, and I prefer when a translation takes them in order to make a better product.

    37.9%
  2. No, translation should only do that, translate. The original vision should always be preserved.

    20.7%
  3. I have no preference, it just has to be well executed for what it is.

    41.4%
  1. Steve_Doido
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    Steve_Doido GBAtemp Regular

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    I'd say translation is an art in itself. Creating an engaging experience for players (by not making them get out of their way to understand it), making it relatable to your target audience and aiming to make a better product is always honorable. I'm a strong believer that it should be achieved by any means deemed necessary, and translators should have full creative control over their products to change whatever they feel is for the better. It just has to be handled by competent people, like Ted Woolsey and his amazing job with RPGs back in the SNES days (FFVI, SMRPG and CT), or the Ace Attorney team, who are absolute masters when it comes to this.
     
    Last edited by Steve_Doido, Jan 13, 2017
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  2. sarkwalvein

    sarkwalvein More coffee, please!

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    Ace Attorney is quite an example that a liberal translation can make a good game.
     
  3. RemixDeluxe

    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Liberal translations but done by fans. If that makes sense.

    However neither choice is bad and its mostly subjective.
     
  4. Steve_Doido
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    Steve_Doido GBAtemp Regular

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    I guess you could say so. Not sure about what you meant with the "made by fans part". Does that mean you "prefer" when companies do the more straight jobs?
     
  5. sarkwalvein

    sarkwalvein More coffee, please!

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    Talking about liberal translations made by fans back in the old times, I really liked the DeJap version of TOP. I don't know, it had its particular sense of humor.
     
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  6. RemixDeluxe

    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    It means I don't trust localizers to deliver a faithful translation of what the original source material has and I feel fans put our best interest in delivering rather than being careful not to "offend" anyone.
     
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  7. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

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    I...don't get the meaning of the poll. Sorry, but those who prefer literal translations (luckily none so far) simply don't have a clear enough grasp of the concept of translations to be able to give a proper opinion. And while that may sound arrogant, that is just how things are.

    I mean...languages don't just differentiate between words but also how sentences are made. And who would really want to play a translated game where everyone spoke like Yoda? (I've known a Russian programmer who communicated that way...he knew his English resembled Yoda speaking, but it was the best he could do)
    A lot harder - and mentioned in the OP - are the little intricacies. Take any given word and look up their synonyms. To a foreigner, they're all alike, but as a native speaker it usually has some conotations, context and meanings (I'd give examples but I only really know Dutch ones). As such, "literal translation" is sometimes impossible, as it sometimes literally comes down to choosing an alternative word from a list of synonyms.

    For video games, things are extra bad as interfaces, text lines or lip syncing means that the translation has to have roughly the same amount of characters or lip movement. And that can lead to some unintentionally strange situations (e.g. spoony experiment's review on final fantasy 13 iirc...he points out how lips move really different, as the game is originally made in Japan)
     
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  8. Steve_Doido
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    Steve_Doido GBAtemp Regular

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    I did this because there are died hard purists that will claim all changes are form of censorship.
    Rewriting is the basic of the basics in translation, to avoid stuff like "Prince Darkness Ganon"
     
  9. Returnofganon

    Returnofganon I pretend like I know what I'm talking about

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    Literal translations can be confusing as there are many cultural things/references that only a native speaker would understand. Jokes end up lost in translation. A good translate knows the language well and knows what should and shouldn't be preserved. As for "censorship" based on a region I think this is kinda bs. The only time something should be completely removed from a game is when the average player wouldn't know what it is. In situations like this I think translators should add something to replace it, just removing something is lazy imo. Other things like censorship of "lewd" costumes (or what ever) shouldn't happen, instead the games ERSB rating (or whatever rating system) should be altered accordingly. I know that in some places, such as Australia, games could be altered greatly (The Stick of Truth comes to mind) which is also terrible. I don't like when the government gets involved with censorship. An M rated game should be treated as an M rated game in all regions. People should expect what an M rated game should bring and shouldn't have to be sheltered from that if they want to play it. This kinda got off topic lmao just my opinion on the whole thing
     
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  10. Steve_Doido
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    Steve_Doido GBAtemp Regular

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    Also sidetracking, but I believe we should just scrap the current rating system and go for one that rates each thing individually and let you decide if you want it. That way they wouldn't have to worry about having to change a few things to fit an arbitrary age rating (a lot of the time VERY small things are enough to change it and have an audience potentially misguided and lost in sales.).
     
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  11. Lilith Valentine

    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolfdog™ ☠️Grunt☠️

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    I take the latter on this one. On one hand I would prefer to keep the story, lines, ect. stock and original. But on the other hand I can see why things can be changed due to cultural differences.
    Like the Ace Attorney games did a great job with a liberal translation and still keeping the cultural references. Compared to say 4Kids, who used to edit out everything related to Japanese culture. I know 4Kids was an "anime dubbing" studio, but it's the best example of Liberal translations gone wrong.
     
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  12. Steve_Doido
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    Steve_Doido GBAtemp Regular

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    4Kids' version of Sonic X literally removed all english text (which actually was most of it) that was there. They were poison and I'm glad they are gone.

    "Well, we have 10 animators to change things, they have to do SOMETHING."
     
  13. sunnaryt

    sunnaryt GBAtemp Regular

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    As someone who understands quite a bit of Japanese but is not at a level where they can understand everything quite yet and definitely cannot read well, I get pretty annoyed at the many times where text and audio or subtitles and audio are not representative of what's currently being said in undubbed versions of games or anime, but I'm aware this is probably a small percentage of people.

    What I don't think is acceptable is "cultural translation", that is changing something to be seen as something equivalent to a western audience or changing something to be "more acceptable" with cultural quirks in mind, often resulting in portions of western releases being removed or retextured or censored or outright changed for a western release. I'm aware outrage culture is a fucking mess in the west but god do I hate that companies perpetuate that bullshit, the west's continued insistence that cultural relativism is a sham and their view on the world is the ultimate objectively true value system (whether it be left or right mind you) is a poison and a clear remnant of our imperialist "past".
    You say a "better product" and I say an "easy to swallow pill for baby people".
     
  14. Steve_Doido
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    Steve_Doido GBAtemp Regular

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    Eh, subtitles and dubs are never on point for most media, as they are generally done by different people (at least in Brazil the dub and the subtitles never match). Video games are an exception to that, as text and audio are integrated together. It's impossible to have subtitles that don't match the dub for that reason.

    Let's say there's a pop culture joke or one about food. Due to obscurity or lack of context (a fancy meal in your country might be fast food garbage in another), to keep the joke a joke they would have to make it about something the target audience actually recognizes. They can also make a completely different joke or remove it entirely, but that would be going as far away from the source material as you can get (again, I'm all for that if the localization team finds it favorable).

    And I can say it's not only America that does it. The Brazilian translation (or fan translation, not sure if there was an official) of Day of The Tentacle changed a series of jokes surrounding American celebrities (none of which I knew) and made them about popular figures here. Had they not done that, the joke would have completely missed the people playing it. Heck, our fan translation of Ace Attorney (which you should totally check out, btw ;)) is doing what the US and French versions did, changing thing to keep the joke essence intact. You may say "well, if you don't understand it, google it", but if I have to stop playing just to understand a simple joke, your localization job failed. Miserably.
     
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  15. Tomato Hentai

    Tomato Hentai baja boner blast

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    I guess it really depends.

    With FE:if/Fates, I played the fan translation--which was, AFAIK, pretty literal--all the way through, all three paths, and it was absolutely amazing. When I attempted to play the official English localisation, the dialogue felt awkward and it felt like the characters weren't even the same people, and the dialogue felt extremely boring too. I couldn't even get past the first chapter.

    On the other hand, I really like what Capcom's localisation team has done with Ace Attorney, the dialogue never feels flat, it's fairly entertaining and I never have a "there are other better games I could be playing right now" moment. It makes sense that they would change things like pop culture references, since a western audience likely wouldn't get very many Japanese pop culture references (if any at all) and would likely be left confused, especially if it were impossible to even look up what the heck the thing they referenced was, because it's not something that's well-known enough outside of Japan. There is, however, the issue of them saying AA takes place in America, because it's pretty obvious is doesn't, and from the looks of it, the way AA was localised for western audiences is why we never got an official localisation of Dai Gyakuten Saiban.

    TL;DR
    I guess that if a game has very little to no Japanese pop culture references (or something similar), then a more literal translation would probably be better, but games with pop culture and other types of references that only people who live in the game's country of origin would understand should have a localisation that's a little more on the liberal side.
     
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  16. sunnaryt

    sunnaryt GBAtemp Regular

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    Off the top of my head, SMT IV and Tokyo Mirage Sessions both have English subs and Japanese audio.

    Petty stuff like that is fine, I was more speaking of radical changes because they are afraid of western responses.
     
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  17. Xiphiidae

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    I prefer translations to be as literal as functionally possible. Liberal translations tend to introduce the biased and ideology of the translator(s), and this is especially true if they like to think of themselves as actual writers. This seems to be a disappointingly growing trend in a number of Nintendo games, whether it be the complete SJW rewrite of FE Fates, or the introduction of memes in the US version of Triforce Heroes. For these reasons, I consider liberal translations to often be disrespectful towards the source material.

    Sonic Adventure 2 has the option to use English or Japanese voice regardless of what language you had the text set to.
     
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  18. Steve_Doido
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    Steve_Doido GBAtemp Regular

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    @sunnaryt @Xiphiidae I meant subtitles that don't match the english dub. you of course would be able to switch the dubs, but the subtitles won't adapt to your preference.
     
  19. Steve_Doido
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    I'm against changes done because "it might offend someone", after all, the content is likely not for them in the first place.
    Now, I did not play FE:Fates, so I can't opinionate, but the Triforce Heroes thing from was I've heard was a result of bad writing. I'm actually not against the inclusion memes on principle (if they consider it's somewhat appropriate, who am I to judge), it just has to be done right (which they apparently didn't).
    However, I do see translators as writers. They ARE writing the script after all, just using another as a basis. You are, above all, selling a product, and if a product is not appealing enough, you gotta make it be. That's why I trust translators to improve on what they were given and do the changes they deem favorable. Kefka is a great example of how it worked out. He's a completely different character in the west, a character that they ended up liking so much, the japonese ended up using it in future titles.
     
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  20. Hungry Friend

    Hungry Friend It was my destiny to be here; in the box.

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    I generally prefer something in between. Now I don't know any Japanese just as a discalimer but take the RPGOne trans of the JP version of FFVI. It's apparently a very literal translation and the hacking job is phenomenal, but the dialogue sometimes comes off as dry and unnatural, unlike the goofy, charming FF3US version done by Woolsey. I've only sampled it but the Ted Woolsey Uncensored hack would be my definition of the perfect balance between literal and very liberally translated ala the J2e FF4 hack. The Doctor L Chrono Trigger retrans fits the bill as well along with the DS version, but since the DS port is a port of the PS1 version, it has inferior sound. The Doctor L hack takes the fairly awkward Chrono Compendium hack which is apparently very literal and essentially makes it more of a localization which is why I voted option #3. Both extremes are usually pretty bad which also applies to politics and pretty much everything under the sun.
     
    Last edited by Hungry Friend, Jan 15, 2017
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