Fate/Extra localization editor, Mike Engler, recently answered questions from our community regarding the game. We put part 1 of this feature up yesterday. You can read the remaining portion of it below:


In some cases, already-released manga and anime have been localized by a different company there are inconsistencies in the naming scheme of attacks, areas, or side characters. How would you approach this? Would you go for a “truer” translation or stick to the consistent, if slightly less accurate, localization?


As a rule, I tend to ignore what others have done for the simple fact that I don’t want to be accused of plagiarism. Also, there are other factors that come into play such as character limits and context within the game itself. However, in the case of Fate/Extra, there were a number of English names that I was pretty much required to keep such as Noble Phantasm, Reality Marble, et al. There were other things in the game that needed to be tweaked in order to make character limits and to keep things coherent. I made it a point to stay as close to the intent of the original as possible, so hopefully people won’t notice when I had to take certain (unavoidable) liberties.


And as for the translation versus interpretation/localization debate, I always fall towards the latter. My job is to make the game accessible and enjoyable to the widest possible audience. Straight translations aren’t always accurate as they tend to simply show the words being said, but not the meaning/thought/feeling those words are trying to convey. Also, there are a number of things in Japanese that don’t exist or aren’t used in English, honorifics being the most obvious example. In fact, here is an easy example that illustrates just how badly inaccurate literal translations can be.


The only context I will give you is that it’s a (bad) joke:

Person A: おーい。なんじ?

Person B: きんかくじ

Person A: さーむい。


This example is also a good example of why localizing humor can be so difficult. Kudos to those who can pull it off. I’ve actually had to do almost this very joke in another game. If anyone is interested I’ll post the different version of this I came up with.


I can go for hours on this topic, but I will end with something that I said in the Aksys forums regarding localization in general: If you need a dictionary or Wikipedia to play a game I worked on, I didn’t do my job.


Since the game is only going to contain Japanese audio and no English dub, do you think this will limit your fanbase? Or is your main focus just selling it to the already established fans of the series?


I hope the decision to keep the original voices won’t turn people away from Fate/Extra as there are a number of bits that I think fans of good games will enjoy.


What made you decide to localize Fate/Extra?


Call it destiny, call it kismet. However you want to think of it, we thought it was a good game worthy of the effort of bringing over. And now that its day of release approaches, I hope that others will think as highly of the game as we do.


When localizing Fate/Extra, how many kittens were glued together with jam and inserted into the text? Can we hope for a palatable flavor of jam? And, can we expect the localization lead for this game to cosplay as Saber at next year’s anime expo?


I’d like to take the time to assure our fans that unlike our rather disturbed compatriots at <redacted>; we do not condone the gluing together of kittens with jam, or anything else for that matter. We here at Aksys prefer to knit fashionable sweaters for small yappy dogs…and corgis. However, if we were to affix defenseless felines to one another, we’d use boysenberry jam for its superior adhesive properties. And as for the lead editor dressing up as Saber for AX2012… be very careful what you wish for.


Philosophical question for the translator: Fate always makes me think of “hope.” If “hope” were a person, would it be male or female?


Ah yes, the one thing that all localization editors yearn for next to reasonable deadlines and generous character limits. Fate was a huge game with a lot of text (1.14 million characters, give or take) and I was given about 5-6 months to do it in. So instead of me doing insane hours like my fellow editor, Mistress Boxhead of XSeedlania, I was given hope. Or more accurately, Hope. As in Hope Donovan, my fellow editor on this project. In addition to being an extraordinarily talented editor, she also worked on the Fate manga for TokyoPop, so she became another resource to turn to when my TYPE-MOON power failed me. She went from assistant editor to co-conspirator almost immediately and I want to take this time to acknowledge her hard work on this game. Oh, and I can’t forget Sanabu-a-tron and Asuka, the translators who performed miracles in getting Fate/Extra translated ahead of schedule.


Oh yes… Hope is definitely female. And can make functional armor.


Anyway, that’s it for now. Hopefully I didn’t wear out my welcome. Also, don’t forget to pre-order the game to insure you get one of the Limited Editions and uber-cool (and slightly spoiler-y) Fate/the Fact books. Also, if you don’t pre-order early and often, I won’t get my ration of nutrient-rich sludge pumped into my cubicle…


Thanks to Mike for taking the time to address the community’s questions.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and a contributing writer at GamesIndustry.biz. He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.

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