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British English localisation in games


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  • A lot of Level-5's games had British-flavoured localisations. The aforementioned Dragon Quest games they worked on (which appears to have continued onto XI despite that being a Square Enix developed title), Ni No Kuni and Inazuma Eleven. I'm sure parts of Fantasy Life and Rogue Galaxy from my recollection have small elements too. My personal favourite of these is Dragon Quest IX, as there is zero voice acting in that game. They've gone to the ridiculous lengths of having dialogue written in accented form, which was an absolute delight for me to vocalise internally. As this was pre-Ni No Kuni, I got a real kick when I arrived at Porth Llafan and found nearby areas called Tywll Cave and Cuddiedig Cliff, with a boss called the Lleviathan. Never thought I would see such Welsh appreciation in a videogame.
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I'm still unclear whether it's just the English language release is either done by a UK or US company rather than the UK having it's own entire localisation like into German though?

 

I just can't see that being remotely viable - to have a US and UK English release?

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7 hours ago, Garwoofoo said:

Final Fantasy XIV is pretty good. It's written in a kind of flowery medieval English but it's decently done. It definitely feels like it's been translated by Brits rather than Americans.

 

You're spot on: the in-house lead of translation is a British chap (or ex-British, as he is a Japanese resident now). You can see interviews with him on the various making of FFXIV documentaries. He actually translated/wrote a lot of the text in the main game (original FFXI and A Realm Reborn), now of course they have a wee team but he's still in charge and has editorial sway over the text in the game. He also seems to get quite involved in the dev process so he may well be influencing character dialogue in Japanese as well.

 

On a similar note to the Resi 4 question, I am really curious about other languages. Spanish for example is spoken in so many countries in different variants, yet gamers only get the standard Spanish localisation (which is presumably usually handled by Spaniards). I wonder how much cultural stuff, expressions etc all the other Spanish speaking countries are being fed from these translations. Although I'm guessing a lot of other Spanish media makes the rounds of all the countries so maybe they're used to it?

 

 

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34 minutes ago, b00dles said:

I'm still unclear whether it's just the English language release is either done by a UK or US company rather than the UK having it's own entire localisation like into German though?

 

I just can't see that being remotely viable - to have a US and UK English release?

 

This can actually happen and its sometimes because the regional arms of a publisher make different deals as to when to release a game and what budget or team to put on translation. And as we've seen in the examples above as well, sometimes the UK will translate a game for European release with their own team, and then later the US decides to release it but doesn't want to use the UK English translation. Presumably they're afraid Americans will be put off by the accents/cultural terms they don't know, and will more likely buy a US localised version.

 

I have to guess though that this may be in the past, because we're seeing more and more games with UK based localisations that make their way overseas intact. There's been a ton of British actors, shows, films etc that have been really popular in the last decade in the US and I feel like Americans appreciate UK localisation more these days. 

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I know they're looking into machine learning localisation at the moment as well, so in the future it will all be just like operation stealth on the amiga using workbench to do text to speech. 

 

I think it's probably less generic to have UK accents and I think it sells better to have UK dialect as "olde timey" speech to a lot of markets.  Much like the pirate accent being solely from the movies using cornish actors and it sticking, game of thrones and lotr (and Sean bean generally I think :D ) have made the standard voice for a lot of fantasy stuff being UK dialects. 

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Looks like Bravely Default 2 is going down the range of British accents route, although the main character seems to be American. Whether they're actually any good is another matter: 

 

 

I always thought it was pretty funny the way they did it in DQIX, without voiceovers but writing all the text phonetically in various dialects. 

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11 hours ago, Cheyenne said:
  • A lot of Level-5's games had British-flavoured localisations. The aforementioned Dragon Quest games they worked on (which appears to have continued onto XI despite that being a Square Enix developed title), Ni No Kuni and Inazuma Eleven. I'm sure parts of Fantasy Life and Rogue Galaxy from my recollection have small elements too. My personal favourite of these is Dragon Quest IX, as there is zero voice acting in that game. They've gone to the ridiculous lengths of having dialogue written in accented form, which was an absolute delight for me to vocalise internally. As this was pre-Ni No Kuni, I got a real kick when I arrived at Porth Llafan and found nearby areas called Tywll Cave and Cuddiedig Cliff, with a boss called the Lleviathan. Never thought I would see such Welsh appreciation in a videogame.

 

I’m pretty sure one of the people on the localisation team for the two Ni No Kuni games is a Welsh speaker. Drippy bunged in the odd Welsh word (although that could have been Steffan Rhodri ad-libbing) and in the second game there’s an uninhabited island called Cwsg y Ddraig (Welsh for the Dragon Sleeps).

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10 hours ago, Monkeyspill said:

How do Portuguese translations work?
 

Do Brazil have to deal with European Portuguese or do the Portuguese have to deal with Brazilian Portuguese, or do they have proper localisation? 

 

This assumes they’d bother translating into Portuguese. It wasn’t a thing for years. They’d usually get the English release (full English packaging) which makes Portugal a good place to look for retro games (where there’s strangely a premium for games with English packaging).

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I seem to remember Max Payne 3 being criticised for having loads of in-game dialogue in Portuguese, but using Portuguese rather than Brazilian actors. Obviously it sounded authentic to any non-Portuguese speakers, but must have seemed insultingly wrong to anyone who did speak the language - like having a game set in London, but getting Don Cheadle and Karl Urban to do the voices. 
 

Although to be honest, if you’re Brazilian, I would imagine the accents are probably the least offensive thing about Max Payne 3 given that it portrays Brazil as being an irredeemably violent and corrupt hellhole where you can just gun down people in public with few or no repercussions. 

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20 hours ago, Ran said:

Not sure this is entirely what you were asking for, but I've been playing Ni No Kuni and though I knew the main fairy companion had a welsh accent in the english translation I am pretty blown away/amused at how deep they've gone with his various exclamations and terminology. 

I didn't get on with the actual game but the way they localised Drippy was nothing short of amazing. It made me wonder if they let the VO guy add in more Welshness, but it's even in the unspoken dialogue, so it's clearly scripted. Full marks to whoever thought that would be a good idea. 

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2 hours ago, gossi the dog said:

 

This assumes they’d bother translating into Portuguese. It wasn’t a thing for years. They’d usually get the English release (full English packaging) which makes Portugal a good place to look for retro games (where there’s strangely a premium for games with English packaging).

 

Yeah, while the rare Master System games are about the same in Portuguese and English releases (the packaging is very distinctly different), there seems to be a baseline that any old crap goes for £30 if it's the Portugal one.

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For some reason, the voice actor playing Luke in the Professor Layton games is different in the US and UK versions.

 

EDIT:  The reason is that the US voice is very bad.

 

EDIT EDIT: Completely off topic, but the book 'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' by Stephen King is rendered hilarious in the UK since the story takes place in a forest and the main character is constantly encountering 'clouds of flying midges', which in America seem to be unfortunately known as 'minges.'

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4 hours ago, K said:


 

Although to be honest, if you’re Brazilian, I would imagine the accents are probably the least offensive thing about Max Payne 3 given that it portrays Brazil as being an irredeemably violent and corrupt hellhole where you can just gun down people in public with few or no repercussions. 

 

Considering Bolsonaro's current policy making it may be less insulting and more prescient by the day.

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7 hours ago, BadgerFarmer said:

Looks like Bravely Default 2 is going down the range of British accents route, although the main character seems to be American. Whether they're actually any good is another matter: 

 

 

I always thought it was pretty funny the way they did it in DQIX, without voiceovers but writing all the text phonetically in various dialects. 


Sound mostly like posh/upper middle-class or stage-school trained RP accents, apart from one Scots accent I heard in there.

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21 hours ago, Monkeyspill said:

How do Portuguese translations work?
 

Do Brazil have to deal with European Portuguese or do the Portuguese have to deal with Brazilian Portuguese, or do they have proper localisation? 

To my knowledge any Portuguese localisation included tends to more often be the Brazilian variety, at least from a script POV

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