It seems that over the last year I found a lot of articles on games localization, creativity, and literary translation. These articles range from old and more recent articles. I have tried to organize them by relevance to each other and divide them by subject.
Ted Woolsey Remembers Final Fantasy 6, Evading Nintendo’s Censorship Rules, and the Early Days of Localization
This is a recent article (published May, 2020) about Ted Woolsey and his work translating Final Fantasy VI after he joined the team in 1991. This is a mixture of an interview with Woolsey’s experiences localizing FFVI and an article about the general video game climate in the West during the 1990s. With a lot of focus on translation choices in the face of limitations.
GameSpite Interview with Richard Honeywood
This is an interview with Richard Mark Honeywood in 2011 about his career and experience building up the localization department at Square Enix. Honeywood joined Squaresoft after Ted Woolsey (in the above interview) left.
It’s a fascinating look at the limitations video game localization faced in the 1990s and 2000s. As well as how those limitations led to Richard creating the Best Practices for Game Localization. (This includes best practices for developers as well as translators.)
He introduced the practice of using editors and localization QA staff, style guides, and familiarization of the game! It also led to his development of a macro system for translators.
There’s also some advice at the bottom for anyone interested in a career in game localization.
Why localisation is a vital part of games writing
This article is a summary of a panel from LudoNarraCon 2020. It involved a group of video game localizers discussing localization and writing.
They discussed some excellent questions including; What is the criteria of a good translation? How do you approach things that don’t exist in your target language? What about cultural elements that are deemed “inappropriate”? And how do you translate accents and idioms?
Games culturalisation: What does it involve?
This is a very short article from Gamasutra (who I find always has super short articles) looking at what culturalisation is and its importance. It highlights some great examples of where culturalisation worked. As well as some examples where the lack of culturalisation led to huge failures.
Why culturalisation matters as much as localisation
This article discusses Kate Edwards’ (one of my all-time idols) breaks down of culturalisation. (And discusses it in much more depth and detail than the above Gamasura article.)
It’s a long article which breaks down why video game developers should consider other people’s cultures in their games. It is not just a matter of culturalization during the localization process, but during development too!
This article pretty much summerizes everything Edwards discusses in a podcast I’ve shared before. So if you’d rather listen to the importance of culturalization I recommend you check out this Wordbee interview with her.
Discussing Creative Translation
7 Ways Professional Translators Share their Creativity with the World
This is a great article that discusses how translation is creative in different ways.
Here’s a great quote; “Considering that writing is a creative act, there can be no doubt that, equally, translation is a creative act as well. A creatively written text is a text creatively translated.”
Localising Musashi’s Five Rings
Maisy Hatchard discusses how her choices behind her translation of the 2020 edition of Five Rings: The Classic Text on Mastery in Swordsmanship, Leadership and Conflict.
I have never read Five Rings but I really want to read Hatchard’s version after reading this article! She clearly explains her approaches to translation and specific choices; drawing on specific examples from the Japanese and English. Her writing style in the article is personable and entertaining.
Highly suggest giving this a read if you’re interested in translation!
Interview with Susan Bernofsky
This article was shared with my just today! Specifically because of a translation technique called “stealth gloss”. (I had never heard this term before although I knew the practice.)
Stealth glossing is when the translator keeps the original “foreign” idea, but adds a sneaky yet natural explanation to the translation. (Such as “she took out her bento lunch box”.)
It’s a great way to keep “foreign” ideas while also educating the reader in case they don’t know what it is. It also removes the need to footnotes, which can interrupt the flow of reading.
Between worlds: in praise of the literary translator
This is a dense but beautifully written discussion of literary translation and what it involves. (I personally find articles like this really inspiring.)
Miranda France discusses collaboration; how people talk about literary translation (including critics lack of mentioning translators); the literary translation industry; expectation anxiety; translation challenges; and different styles.
Good Translators Don’t Work Alone
Why translators should use reviewers in their workflow. This is actually a great point! It’s incredibly useful to have someone who you can discuss your translation and writing with.
Podcast: How Netflix Localizes (Brilliantly!) for Kids in Japan – Discussion with Yuka Ogasawa
Pretty much what the title says! Give it a listen if you like podcasts.
Cover Story: Teaching Creative Thought and Expression Through Video Games
This 2016 article is by the same author as the Ted Woolsey interview above. This article is more about the celebration of video games as tools for learning. Specifically, for enticing creativity which has led to famous authors creating amazing novels with inspiration from games. Specifically quoting Scott Lynch, the author of the Gentleman Bastard book series, which is a fantastic series of novels!
In the World of Otome Games, All Routes Lead To Romance
An absolutely fantastic article by video game translator Molly Lee on romantic otome games.
Even if you have no interest in otome games, you should check this article out! I love Lee’s style of writing (in her translations and articles); it is an incredibly entertaining and educational read. And if you didn’t want to play otome games before, you might by the end of this article.
The Less Easy But More Realistic Guide to Becoming a Content Writer
This is an amazing article that breaks down the various steps to becoming a content writer. It is written by translator and content writer, Maeva. All her articles on content marketing for translators and how agencies pick translators, are all FANTASTIC!
Anyway, this article is particularly great for translators because the advice can be adjusted to freelance translation career. In fact, content writing and translation is incredibly similar (just look at the creative translation article above.) This article might be quite long, but I highly recommend freelance translators read this article.
I tend to share more random article on Twitter at JENTranslations too!