Few of them are as fascinating as the one Wired published yesterday, though. That's because this one features a Q&A with Marcus Lindblom, the man who translated--and in many cases, re-wrote--the game’s text from Japanese to English.
Here's my favorite passage in the piece--in which Lindblom chats about the difficulty of this particular localization--although there are a number of other sections that are just (or nearly) as compelling.
"We had to go back and forth and figure out what would be the best thing to do in some of the stranger situations in the game.
|I believe this illustration was created |
by the person behind this tumblr.
"So those two objects, I knew just wouldn’t play in the U.S. I mean, I couldn’t do an octopus because people here don’t really care about octopi (laughs). Whereas they’re really important in Japan and they’re this… You know there’s a group of people in Japan where octopus and sealife is a big deal in their life and culture.
"Then the kokeshi doll was more of a play on words in Japanese, because the word keshi means to erase. So Mr. Itoi did this clever pun in the Japanese game where you get an item called the 'kokeshi keshi.'
"So when I was trying to figure out how to handle that, the guy from Japan was like, 'I have no idea what you want to do here. You can make it weird if you want.'
"Then I said 'Well, there needs to be something that’s an eraser,' and I thought, 'Well, if the item is called the ‘pencil eraser’ then it’s kind of funny if there’s just a big metal pencil.' So that worked and then the next thing was like, okay let’s just call it the 'eraser eraser.' Which ended up playing off the 'kokeshi keshi' idea.
"It worked out but that was one of those cases where I had to come up with something odd that didn’t really have all that much to do with the original Japanese."
Another series of questions and answers reveals that Itoi himself wasn’t all that involved in the localization process, which I find more a bit shocking considering how much the game has always seems like such a labor of love for the famed writer.