This week, we’re talking about translation and localization in Dragon Quest games. It’s a bit of a touchy subject with some fans. I compared it to putting my hand in a beartrap a while back. It’s like, you can’t please everyone, and no matter, you’re losing a few fingers. So let’s put our hands into that bear trap!
It all goes back to early Dragon Quest games. Everyone talked in Ye Olde English. Which we both kinda hate. Turns out, Yuji Horii does too! Here's the link to Polygon article where he says this
Since then, it’s been a weird contention with a lot of fans. People either think the translators stray too far from a direct translation – or they prefer certain translators over others.
Luckily, Austin got to interview an actual DQ translator. So we talk about Austin’s interview with Nob Ogasawara. Not only did he work on DQ, but he also did most of the Pokemon games that made us love the series.
Then Paul Handelman came around and basically united everything under a new Western translation canon. That’s how you got Torneko Taloon’s full name and differences in Gabo/Ruff and such.
Why do fans get so mad about translation/localization?
I kinda get it. I mean, if I’d played a game for sixteen years and then characters I knew and loved suddenly had new names, I might be a little ticked too. But, honestly, I don’t really care. I’m just like…you know what, it’s clear they’re trying to get more involved with localizations now. Yuji Horii has basically said until DQ8 he wasn’t super involved directly with translation, so it’s kinda a George Lucas/Star Wars scenario. Do you say Greedo shot first, or do you go with the creator’s new vision?