Azur Lane is a series with a fleet that has been steadily growing worldwide. People have been introduced to the idea of ship girls, and Azur Lane: Crosswave docking on consoles gave an even greater opportunity to add more fans to the ranks. But how does a company prepare this kind of title for a wider release, especially if people aren’t familiar with the mobile game? Siliconera caught up with Idea Factory International Translator and Localization Coordinator Justina to find out what it was like going through basic training and getting this ship to shore.
Jenni Lada, Siliconera: How experienced were you with Azur Lane before starting the localization process, and what kinds of research did you do to help prepare yourself for the task?
Justina Lange: We really had no prior experience with the franchise, so we did have to do some research, both by playing the actual mobile game and getting terminology from Yostar. Playing the mobile game really helped me understand the usual world and characters of Azur Lane, which then helped me understand how Crosswave itself deviated from that–being a version of the world where no wars had actually occurred, and everyone was at least on amicable terms.
Given the naval elements, how did you decide to tackle any technical elements that people unfamiliar with naval concepts or Azur Lane might not understand?
Lange: I did do some digging around on the internet for nautical and ship terminology, since I’m not well-versed with it myself. For the most part though, if a term was already something used within the mobile game, we made sure to use it within the game itself as well, to keep parity with the existing content. It was important for us to keep with the same terminology, both for people who are already fans of the mobile game, and for those who might feel like picking up the mobile game after playing Crosswave.
Both Shimakaze and Suruga are original heroines created specifically for Azur Lane: Crosswave. What challenges did you face during the localization process with them that you may not have had with the established characters?
Lange: Since they didn’t exist within the original mobile game originally, we were tasked with localizing them for the first time, which felt like a big responsibility! I wanted to make sure that when I translated both Shimakaze and Suruga, that I would get their quirks and personalities across clearly for Localization Editor, Alex Valles.
It’s the same with any title we do, but we also talk early during the localization process about a character’s traits and motivations, as well as any contextual information which might influence how a character acts in a particular moment.
In my translations, I wanted to stay true to Shimakaze’s bright, energetic personality, and for Suruga I wanted to make sure I got across not only her snarky demeanor, but her kinder, more awkward side as well.
Were there any characters you found exceptionally easy or difficult to localize? Why?
Lange: For many of the characters, there were some real-life, historical context for some of their dialogue, so it was an interesting challenge to go research what had happened and how that applied to the character. I definitely learned more about nautical history working on this game than I ever did in high school.
How would you say the localization of something like Azur Lane: Crosswave compares to a more text-heavy Idea Factory International game like Dragon Star Varnir or DATE A LIVE: Rio Reincarnation?
Lange: With more visual novel, text-heavy games, there’s definitely a lot more narration, which can be dense and slow to translate at times. With Azur Lane however, the Story and Episode text were all conversations with characters, which are faster and enjoyable to translate.
I always have fun going through conversation dialogue, and thinking about how to translate them in a way that best gets across the intent of the scene, as well as preserving the personality of each character.
Which ship girl did you end up liking best once you finished working on the project?
Lange: To be honest, it’s hard for me to choose between Shimakaze and Suruga! I really enjoyed their friendship unfolding during the game, and how they end up opening up to each other. Their banter was fun, and always enjoyable to translate. If I absolutely had to choose though… I guess Suruga would win out, just because I relate to her stage fright.
Azur Lane: Crosswave is available on the PlayStation 4 and PC.