The Final Fantasy series has long been known for its highly addictive properties, though this has never been highlighted quite as well as in a Square Enix GDC presentation held on Friday. Localization director for the RPG powerhouse, Richard Honeywood, talked extensively about the challenges faced in the alteration of a Japanese game for Western audiences. Of course, the transition is often less than perfect, as evidenced by the English title of a scrapped Final Fantasy compilation -- Final Fantasy Heroins.
The rest of the talk, which was notably devoid of substance abuse, centered on Square Enix's central localization philosophy. The key element, said Honeywood, is constant communication between the translators and the game developers. He also pointed out several examples of why this concept, in conjunction with extended release schedules, can result in a superior game for Western audiences. Dragon Quest VIII, for instance, benefited from an overhauled interface, voice acting and an orchestral soundtrack during its localization process. Frequently, even a game's animations are motion captured again so as to include more culturally appropriate motions -- Final Fantasy X's blitzball greeting was cited as being a little questionable in the Japanese release.
Towards the end of the presentation, Richard Honeywood acknowledged the efforts of fan translators who spend so much of their personal time converting games which may not see English releases. "Legally we can't condone these fan translations," he said, "but we like reading them and seeing how others interpret the text." For a quick demonstration of why localization is so important, check out a direct machine translation of this post after the break.
Translation into Japanese via Babelfish:
Translation back into English via Google Translate:
The final imaginative series was known however with the presentation of GDC in the Enix square where this directly Friday is kept very long because of habit characteristic quality, in addition it is not rather emphasized under any condition. Richard Honeywood who speaks widely concerning the challenge which faces, with change of the Japanese for the localization director western audience for the power plant of RPG game. Naturally, as for transfer, accumulation of the final imagination which is thrown away-- In order to be proven by the English of final imagination Heroins title, perfection it is little at times frequently.
Remainder of the story which especially has been lacking in medicine abuse concentrated on the philosophy of the central localization of Enix in square. The principal element is Honeywood, it is the communication which between of the translator and the developer of the game fixes. In addition as for him with schedule of extension release with the excellent game for the western audience, why it can originate this concept, plural examples were pointed out. For example search VIII for the dragon contributed from function and orchestral sound track of interface and the voice which are overhauled during localization process. Frequently, from life of the game because the appropriate movement is included in culture another way is the movement which is captured,-- The greeting of blitzball of final imagination X is quoted and assuming that the Japanese release a little it is doubtful.
In method of ending the presentation, as for Richard Honeywood effort of the translator of the fan which uses so many of the game of conversion of their private times perhaps you do not look at the English release, was recognized. "Legally as for us cannot pardon these fan translations" he who said, "to read we those, the other people the text." The fact that you see is liked, but be broken and this post after the eye inspect directly from machine translation how it interprets, fast demonstration localization very the importance why is.