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    Struggling with the Demons…

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    In our last post, we introduced you all to the basics of Guilty ~The Sin~. This time, we’re going to talk a bit about the translation, specifically three items of note…Now, when you’re releasing a product, the most important question (after if it’s worth selling) is what to call it. A snappy title is important for a game, but it also has to reflect the content. This is especially true in Guilty, as we weren’t given a specific English title from Tactics and the kanji can be read in two ways: as ‘guilty‘, or as ‘prisoner‘. Given the nature of the game and the initial event which causes everything to take place, it was a bit of a no-brainer: while the characters may be prisoners of their fate, they’re also guilty of far, FAR more.

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    Of course, every story needs a villain, and Guilty has a plethora of supernatural baddies in all shapes and sorts. The problem, however, is working out what to call them in general. The Japanese term, ‘akuma’, literally translates to devil in most cases (witness Devilman), but it’s not…well…colloquial. It’s an Engrishy translation supplied by one of five members of our translation team on this game. Other suggestions and terms included monster, ghoul, and Kouryuu’s D&D inspired suggestion of fiend. However, one of our other translators used the term we ultimately agreed on, one that keeps the religious theme throughout the text and naming. The term in question? Demon. And it’s still accurate.

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    Last but not least, I wanted to give the game a bit of flavour in terms of the general use of language. Guilty is a horror game with mystery elements, so it needed something to make it a bit more unreal, and for the characters to be a bit rougher. In order to bring this to fruition, I edited the game using British English. Most of the differences (outside of properly spelling words like colour) will be minor, if entirely unnoticeable, but it does allow for some more colourful expressions to be used, a bit more swearing, and a grubbier working class aesthetic to a few scenes. I’m rather proud of how it reads, and hope that our European readers find it nice to have something local (well, local-ish, I did my best as a foreigner) and that it approaches a sort of new weird style in the writing.

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    23 Responses to “Struggling with the Demons…”

    1. Might be interesting.
      I can’t say that I’ve been all that interested in this game, but I am interested in its translation, especially the use of British English (or English as we tend to call it, lol.).

      In terms of actual translations, I have to say I tend to lean toward translation rather than localisation in that, in my opinion and I’m pretty certain many (if not most) would disagree with me, but often by localising text it can, completely accidentally, change the context of the translation and make a product, whatever it may be being translated, only really fully accessible to one region of dialect rather than to all who speak the language.

      Anyway, I have to say I’m quite interested in how this goes for you guys, and hope it goes well (and then maybe we’ll see more things in proper English ;) ). If not, you could always try International English.

    2. An interesting concept, to intentionally use a dialect you don’t typically translate into. And I fully support the grittier dialogue you hinted at, keep on chugging!

    3. check some of the British demonology books

    4. Of course, every story needs a villain, and Guilty has a plethora of supernatural baddies in all shapes and sorts. The problem, however, is working out what to call them in general. The Japanese term, ‘akuma’, literally translates to devil in most cases (witness Devilman), but it’s not…well…colloquial. It’s an Engrishy translation supplied by one of five members of our translation team on this game. Other suggestions and terms included monster, ghoul, and Kouryuu’s D&D inspired suggestion of fiend. However, one of our other translators used the term we ultimately agreed on, one that keeps the religious theme throughout the text and naming. The term in question? Demon. And it’s still accurate.
      You does maintain the term as the original(akuma),translate the term letter-for-letter sounds much bad u_u

    5. Intentional British English?

      Dude, that’s trippy. :P

    6. I would not recommend doing this (localization) for most games and I can almost guarantee many fans would not be happy.

      In regards to this game though if it works it will be interesting…if it works.

      Too often in localization of a game you happen to lose something and gain little. I will admit I prefer a simple translation (keep certain japanese terms and the like) and make it work. This game was made in Japan not elsewhere and I’m not sure whether or not I like this idea.

      I completely agree with L-rouge and will say this; be careful. I’m sure you knew what you were doing but be assured that people will definitely point out anything that doesn’t work…the fan base tends to do that.

      In regards to akuma. Could you have not just kept akuma? Was there any real reason to change it? Not colloquial does not cut it in my opinion. Mind you demon does fit nicely and nothing is really lost. Hell when I read akuma I don’t think devil I think demon. So good choice in this regard.

      In regards to the title Guilty is definitely a better translation than prisoner and to be honest guilty garners more interest. It makes people wonder what they are guilty of. A lot more interesting than prisoner.

      I’m probably going to pick this game up, but for a download only copy of the game in which you only have 3-5 downloads I’m still a little annoyed that the games cost so much. It’s not like mangagamer must make up the difference of distribution or cd creations so why make it cost so much. People go through computers about once ever 2-4 years and in the long run this is not a good idea. The price will determine whether I pick this game up or whether I sit back and wait for a sale (whenever that may be). The more I hear about it though the more interested I become.

      • If I had to read out “akuma” in my _English_ translation, I’d be annoyed very fast.

        • Yes, this. It’s a term with a perfectly good translation (“devil” or “demon” depending on context). There’s no reason at all to leave it in Japanese. It’s like people who propose leaving “Arigatou” in Japanese rather than translating it. What’s the point?

    7. Since I’m not native English, I don’t even understand the difference between a demon and a devil. Can anyone enlighten?

      • In D&D Terms, one’s Chaotic Evil, and one’s Lawful Evil.

        Anyways, no, in English Demon tends to have a bit more of a supernatural connotation–closer to fairies and imps, while devils have a religious connotation and are usually more inherently related to punishment and sin.

      • i consider devil like higher demons the japanese equivalency would be mao and demons are lower beings

    8. I really don’t care too read british english instead of ‘usual’ english.
      As for untranslated words like ‘akuma’, even if I’m able to understand a lot of japanese words and low level japanese grammar I hate when people mix up languages… I tolerate honourifics but anything besides that gets annoying… I remember clearly one time I was watching twelve kindoms and the fansub did a “great” job letting ‘nakama’ in the “translation” – IT SURE WAS ANNOYING!!!

      I also would really like to see some ういんどみる(Windmill) titles getting translated, like “Shukufuku no Campanella” or “Iro ni Ide ni keri Waga koi wa”.

      • “I really don’t care too read british english instead of ‘usual’ english”

        British English is the international form, used in more countries than American “English” is, so I would argue it is the ‘usual’ English.

        Just because you’re not used to it doesn’t make it bad, that’s a very ignorant way of looking at the world.

    9. Keep akuma the way it is.

      Keeps it original feel……..

      • I would say the opposite, personally. As this is a PROFESSIONAL translate, they have to do the job PROFESSIONALLY. That means not leaving things untranslated. It’s true that “fan translations” often pick and choose some terms to keep in Japanese, and that works for them because they aren’t getting paid for it.

        As a professional job though, they’re both required and expected to do things properly rather than use Japanese terminology to save on time and effort. You might think it “keeps the original feel”, but it’s more of an incidental thing.

        tl;dr: I’m of the exact opposite opinion, and believe that they should translate everything that is practical to translate. If there really isn’t an equivalent, like the suffix stuff, I can accept that, but I really think that if it’s something like “Akuma”, they kind of have a responsibility to translate it, and it’s interesting to see what the other options were.

        I’m glad they didn’t pick Ghoul, though. Thanks to WoD, ghoul automatically makes me think of vampire slaves, which… yeah.

    10. Or simply have demon above the word akuma.

    11. And akuma keeps its “culture feel”

      • If you want to keep the “cultural feel” you should just learn japanese. Most words are not ‘points’ of meaning they are more like ‘clouds’ of meaning therefore it’s impossible to translate something keeping 100% of the original meaning. If you go around picking words that “can’t be translated” you’ll end up translating only words like ‘car’ and ‘tree’. This is problem is even bigger because japanese and english have no common roots. The job of a translator is to transport something from one language to another leaving the same ‘feel’ to the reader – which means that they are suposed not to simple translate the text but to make you understand it the same way a japanese would understand it(like choosing equivalent proverbs instead of translating them). Leaving a lot of culture in the work is okay for non-professional translations BUT for professional translations they can’t do it since not every player will know what exactly one japanese word actualy means(and of course not every player will be really interested in japanese culture).
        Well, I guess you understood what I’m talking about.

    12. I do not have the time nor money to learn jap.

      on the other hand here one more point..

      A girls name Is Yuki

      Now do you translate her name to snow?

      No.

      • A person’s given name is a proper noun, different rules apply to it.

        We’re not talking about a name or even a title here, but a species or race. A better comparison would be ‘should they translate the word for “human” or leave it in Japanese?’

    13. lol let’s teach Americans how to speak English. I look forward to “colour” being spelt correctly.

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