Well, it’s been a little under a week since we announced our translation project, and what a week it’s been.
We ended up reaching far more eyes than we had ever imagined and generating far, far more discussion than we had ever anticipated. We’ve been praised, and we’ve been decried; we’ve been bashed for sounding awkward and unnatural, and we’ve been hailed for sounding natural and realistic; we’ve been accused of translating too literally, and we’ve been accused of translating too liberally. But you know what? That’s cool. We’re happy that there are so many people out there who care so much about one of our favorite games that they’re willing to get so vocal about how we’re handling things. The worst thing that could have happened is that no one cared and no one said anything.
Now, one thing I want to do with this post is address some of the suggestions/criticism we’ve received, but before I do that, I have a couple announcements to make.
Our ranks are growing!
As some of you might already be aware, we joined forces with /a/non scanlations. He’s helping us hack Danganronpa, and he’ll also be lending a hand translating Super Danganronpa 2 when we get to that. It’s only been a few days, and he’s already done some great work squashing some pesky bugs in the game’s code.
We’ve also pretty much settled on an image editor. However, they’re going to be away for about a week, so we’ll hold off the announcement until they’re back.
Progress, progress, progress!
Despite being incredibly busy, Rito edited a good chunk of chapter two this week. He’s a little ways into the Class Trial right now.
LS was sick, for the most part, so TLC progress has been a little slower, but it’s still moving nicely.
(A small note about the table on the sidebar: a good chunk of the Free Time progress that was added this week was actually from before the announcement. I neglected to count their FT work when filling out the table, so about 1.5% of the total progress for both TLC and ED is not from this week.)
I, BlackDragonHunt, spent most of the week programming, working on something I’ll talk a little more about at the end of the post. As a result, there hasn’t been any progress translating Danganronpa/Zero, but I’ll be back to that soon enough.
anonscans fixed the text centering issues on the map screen, and he’s presently working on ironing out some centering and alignment weirdness on the ammo/present menus.
Translation and other concerns
As I mentioned, there has been a lot of discussion regarding some of the translation decisions we made, and I’d like to address some of that.
One thing we’ve been asked a lot is why we aren’t translating certain names, like Monokuma to Monobear or Kibougamine to Hope’s Peak. The answer to that is fairly simple: it’s standard practice. There are, of course, exceptions, but we don’t feel like there’s any good reason for Danganronpa to be one of those exceptions.
Take the Ace Attorney games for example. Names are punny and playful, but usually in an indirect, abstract way. There’s no way someone who doesn’t speak Japanese is going to understand what the name Naruhodo (“I see”) contributes to the image of the main character. (Read this section of the Wiki article on the character if you want a detailed explanation.)
On the other hand, “kuma” just means “bear.” That’s a detail you can glean in about two seconds. Translating his name doesn’t contribute anything to his character. It just tells you he’s a monochrome bear, and we trust our readers are intelligent enough to figure that much out on their own.
And then there’s Kibougamine, or Hope’s Peak. Seven lines into the game, we’re told that the academy is sometimes referred to as Hope’s Academy. Its students are constantly said to be the best of the best, at the very top of their respective fields. All the information you could take from the name is spelled out in the text. At best, it’s an interesting little tidbit worth a line in the translation notes.
In fact, you could argue there are more nuggets of information to be found in the character names. Makoto Naegi means “Honest Sapling.” That actually does provide a little insight into his character. Hifumi means “One Two Three.” Togami means “Ten Gods.” Oogami means “Large God.” Hagakure means “Hidden Leaf” or “Hiding in the Leaves” or something to that effect. Fukawa means “Rotten River.”
However, we don’t think even that’s enough to justify breaking away from standard translation practice and creating an Ace Attorney-style localization. The game’s set in Japan and deeply rooted in Japanese culture, so Harry Dumont bragging about how he sold 10,000 copies of his fanfic at a flea market just doesn’t ring true.
Another thing we’ve received a lot of feedback on are the titles, some of it very helpful and constructive. We, as a group, have spent a lot of time talking about this, mulling over the suggestions and the comments and deciding what we want to do with them. By and large, we’ve decided to leave most everything how it is, but a few things are on the table.
Super Duper High School is staying. We explained how we came up with it in our translation notes, and nothing we’ve seen has sold us on anything else. Yes, it’s silly. Yes, it’s ridiculous. Yes, that’s the point. The entire game is silly and ridiculous, and SDHS is nothing compared to some terminology that comes up later.
Luckster is staying. We love it, and nobody has given us a good reason not to love it.
Aristocrat might be changing. One comment we received on our announcement post reminded us of an incredible word that, somehow, had slipped entirely under our radar: Scion. Not only is it more accurate to his Japanese title, it has an almost pretentious air to it that’s perfect for Togami’s character.
One Percenter isn’t changing. While we understand where the confusion is coming from, none of the proposed alternatives quite do it for us. Biker is too general–not all bikers are in gangs/clubs, and not all of them who are are outlaws (hence the term “one percenter“). Gangster/Gang Leader/Delinquent both miss the biker aspect and run the risk of causing unnecessary confusion with Kuzuryuu in Super Danganronpa 2. Straight Bousouzoku is probably the best alternative, but that just seems lazy.
Our hope here is that most of the confusion is alleviated by the fact that all but one time the phrase is used in the main script, it’s accompanied by a CG of Oowada on his bike with his gang.
Fireballer is probably changing to All Star. All Star is both more accurate and it has a more obvious baseball vibe to it.
Shaman probably isn’t changing. We’ve heard a lot of people say, “But Hagakure says he doesn’t like the occult/supernatural.” Except that’s kind of the point. It’s meant to be ironic. His Free Time events also tell us he does some exorcism on the side, so he’s more than just a fortune-teller. Soothsayer is also on the table, but we like Shaman so much it’s probably not budging.
Bookworm is not changing. Most of what we’ve heard about this is that it doesn’t imply Fukawa writes books. The Japanese title doesn’t either. 文学少女, which literally translates to “literature girl,” just means “a girl who likes literature.”
Heavyweight is probably changing to Fighter. We received an incredibly informative comment on our announcement post that detailed some really good reasons why Heavyweight wasn’t necessarily the best decision.
Supermodel is probably not changing. We understand that gyaru is not what one typically associates with supermodels, and that–in many ways–they’re two cultures that are at odds with each other. However, the fact of the matter is, Enoshima is a model, and she is extremely famous for it. By all accounts, she is a supermodel. As much as we would love for her title translation to take into account the gyaru aspect, as far as we can tell, there’s really no good way to do it.
Celestia Ludenberg‘s name might be changing. It has come to our attention that Rudenberg is the more common German surname and that Ludenberg doesn’t have the most flattering meaning. Since it’s possible to romanize ルーデンベルク either way, we’re going to assume they were going for a name people actually use. [BDH edit: this is still up in the air. We’re not experts on German surnames, so we’d appreciate any input we can get on this.]
Fonts. There have been some comments saying the font we use for names is a bit difficult to read. This is fair, and we totally agree. Nearly all of the image editing for the demo was done by a programmer (namely me), not an artist. We definitely plan to iron things like this out with our image editor.
One last announcement…
And, to wrap this up, there’s one last announcement I’d like to make concerning what I’ve been doing instead of translating.
Something we, as a group, would really like to do is help make Danganronpa available in many languages, not just English. So we’re going to be releasing our script editor to the public sometime in the near future. There are a few things that still need done in order to make it as simple and easy-to-use as possible, but once that’s taken care of, expect another post about it. Until then, here are a few screenshots of the editor in action to give you a taste of what it can do.
WARNING: DEMO SPOILERS
Oh, and in case you didn’t hear…
Apparently, there’s going to be a Danganronpa anime!