下手の横好き世界5 by William Van Hecke

Atelier Iris 2: Bilingual Mode

Offering the original Japanese voices with the translated English text is one of the greatest gifts NIS America has given gamers. They should be applauded and thanked. But this bilingual mode exposes the accuracy of the translation to judgment.

For the most part, the translation is good. Sometimes I encounter bits I would have treated differently, especially when a character’s whole demeanor or intention is obscured: Beggur in the first Atelier Iris, a melodramatically chivalrous knight, talks smack like a wiseass teenager in the English version; often, plot points are dropped on the floor beween the languages. But other times a line is simply wrong: The unnamed subject is misunderstood, or one word is mistaken for another.

What’s cruel is that in a game localized by any other company, we’d never know the difference. The only reason we catch it is because NIS America has the guts to let us see the original side by side with their interpretation of it. I’m sure that with tight schedules and limited budgets, it’s impossible to get everything right. So I’m doing my best to appreciate that these lovely games came out in my home country at all, and cherish the inspired translations, while letting the blunders slide.

Maybe I’m just taking the chance to say that I’ve looked at a professionally-made product and, after having done amateur translation for 4 years and written professionally for 2 years, felt that I had some authority on its quality. Maybe next time I’ll critique the user interface. :D