Translation chat is a podcast on Japanese to English media translation where your host, Jennifer O’Donnell, chats with translators and editors in the Japanese to English localization industry about their favorite translations of Japanese media.

Music by Alex Valles
Logo by Katherine Soldevilla

Season 1 (2021)
Season 2 (2022)


About Translation Chat

I wanted to do a podcast about translation for a few years now, but could never pin down something I was happy with. At first I thought an advice podcast for freelancers would be good, but there are already so many great podcasts out there for freelance translators it felt like I’d just be repeating what is already well covered. (Check out Smart Habits for Translators, Speaking of Translation, The ATA Podcast, and SlatorPod for general advice and industry news!)

I knew I wanted it to be about Japanese media translation (as that’s my specialty) and decided instead to focus on a celebration of amazing translations. It’s so easy to complain about why a translation isn’t great, which means most discussions surrounding translation are about what’s wrong with it. (Just look at the controversy over the Squid Game translation last year!) As a Nerdfighter who aims to “decrease world suck”, I wanted to create positive discussions about translations.

So I created Translation Chat (previously named Honyaku Chat until I realized that would be inaccessible for non-Japanese speakers).

In this series I interview people who work in the Japanese to English media localization industry about their favorite translations by other people. We discuss why the translations are so good, and how the translation has impacted their own work and views on translation.

I hope people continue to take these away to have positive conversations about translation.


Season 1

There are 10 episodes in Season 1. Episodes were recorded in 2021 then released over 2021-2022.

You can listen to episodes via the links below, on Anchor, or anywhere else you get your podcasts!


01 – Daniel Morales chats about Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Media type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy, sci-fi

Daniel Morales is a writer, translator and former association professional based in Chicago. He writes the website and is a regular contributor to the Japan Times Bilingual page.

Daniel chose to chat about Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, translated by Alfred Birnbaum and edited by Elmer Luke.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami,


02 – Anne Lee chats about Taisho x Alice

Media type: Video game, visual novel, otome game
Genre: Fantasy

Anne Lee is a freelance Japanese to English translator and editor. She also writes and podcasts about Japanese pop culture at in addition to her day job in communications. She’s particularly passionate about otome games, which is why she chose to chat about Taisho x Alice by Primula, translated by Molly Lee.

Taisho x Alice


03 – Katrina Leonoudakis chats about Odd Taxi

Media type: Anime (subtitles)
Genre: Mystery, noir

Katrina Leonoudakis is a professional translator and localization specialist. In addition to working full-time at SEGA as a project coordinator, she subtitles anime for Funimation and Sentai Filmworks, as well as translates manga for Seven Seas.

Katrina shares with us her passion for anime translation by talking about the subtitle translation for the anime Odd Taxi, released in the West by Crunchyroll and translated by Mikka Stifler.

Odd Taxi


04 – Liz Bushouse chats about Final Fantasy VII Remake

Media type: Video game, JRPG
Genre: Fantasy, action

Liz Bushouse is a Japanese to English video game translator. She has a masters degree in translation and loves to talk about translation theory.

Liz shares her insight from her excessive research into the Final Fantasy localizations by talking about how the Final Fantasy VII Remake localization was handled. The English of which was translated by Ben Sabin, John Crow, Noriko Iwahara, Philip D. Gibbon, and Ryan Patterson, and edited by Morgan Rushton and Tim Law.

Final Fantasy VII Remake


05 – Andrew Echeverria chats about Silent Hill 2

Media type: Video game, JRPG
Genre: Horror

Andrew Echeverria is a Japanese-to-English media translator with a focus in games. He’s been in the industry for half a decade, in which time he has had the opportunity to work on manga, tourism, tech, and games. He also loves all things horror, especially the more surreal, cerebral, and phantasmagoric entries in the canon.

Andrew chose to chat about the 2001 survival horror game Silent Hill 2 which was localized by Jeremy Blaustein.

Silent Hill 2


06 – Rook (Nathaniel Thrasher) chats about Spy x Family

Media type: Manga
Genre: Historic fantasy, spy thriller, comedy

Nathaniel Hiroshi Thrasher, also known as Rook, is a light novel and manga translator.

Rook chose to chat about the popular Shonen Jump manga Spy x Family, written and illustrated by Tatsuya Endoand, and translated through Viz Media by Casey Loe.

Spy x Family manga


07 – Wesley Bishop chats about Final Fantasy XII

Media type: Video game, JRPG
Genre: Fantasy

Wesley Bishop is a localization director at video game developer and publisher Capcom.

He decided to chat about the English localization of Final Fantasy XII, which was translated by Alexander O. Smith and Joseph Reeder.

Final Fantasy XII the Zodiac Age


08 – Morgan Watchorn chats about Black Cat

Media type: Anime (dub)
Genre: Mystery, crime thriller

Morgan Watchorn is a manga translator for Seven Seas Entertainment.

She chose to talk about the English dub adaptation for the 2005 anime Black Cat, which was translated by Masako Ollivier, then adapted by Andrew Rye and Eric Vale for dubbing.

Black Cat anime


09 – Gavin Greene chats about Harmony by Project Itoh

Media type: Novel
Genre: Sci-fi, mystery, thriller

Gavin Greene is a freelance localization director, translator, and interpreter specializing in video games. In his ten years in the industry, he’s translated more games than he can count (he’s better at writing than math). As a localization director, he organizes multilingual teams bringing fun and games to various corners of the world. And as an interpreter, he talks and sometimes people listen.

For this episode he chose to chat about the sci-fi novel Harmony by Project Itoh, translated by Alexander O. Smith.

Harmony by Project Itoh


10 – Daniel McCalla chats about The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

Media type: Video game
Genre: Mystery, visual novel

Daniel McCalla is a Japanese to English video game translator and (occasional) editor. In this episode he chose to chat about The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, which was released in English (and sadly English only) for the first time on the Switch, PS4 and Steam in 2021.

The localization was directed by Janet Hsu, with English localization by Plus Alpha with translation by Will Blatchley and edited by Clare Saracine.



Season 2

11 – Christina Rose chats about Final Fantasy XIV

Media type: Video game
Genre: Fantasy, MMORPG

Christina Rose is a video game and manga translator who enjoys demystifying the J-E media translation industry and its practices for people new to the field or looking to break in.

Christina chats about the localization of the dwarfs from the Shadowbringers expansion of the online role play game Final Fantasy XIV.


12 – Kaylyn Wylie chats about Monster Hunter World

Media type: Video game
Genre: Fantasy, JRPG

Kaylyn S. Wylie (she/they) is a Japanese to English media localization specialist working primarily with video games. You can see her work most recently in Ender Lilies and Artesnaut.

Kaylyn chats about Monster Hunter World and lorechology—how good localization effectively reflects the world to the player.


13 – Mercedez Clewis chats about Super Cub

Media type: Anime
Genre: Slice of life

Mercedez (Meru) Clewis (they/their) is a Japanese to English translation and localization editor working primarily with light novels and visual novels, such as Idea Factory’s Cupid Parasite. They’re also a pop culture critic, anime and manga reviewer, and a freelance journalist.

Mercedez chose to chat about the subtitle translation of Spring 2021’s Super Cub, an anime produced by Studio Kai based on the Super Cub novel by author Tone Kouken.


14 – Keith Spencer chats about The Emissary

Media type: Literary, novel
Genre: Literary fiction, post-apocalyptic

Keith Spencer is a visual artist and translator based in Kyoto. His artwork has been exhibited in the US, Japan, and Canada, while his translations have appeared in artist books, galleries, and numerous art-related online publications.

Keith chose to chat about the novel The Emissary (also known in the USA as The Last Children of Tokyo), by Yoko Tawada and translated by Margaret Mitsutani.


15 – Alexander O. Smith chats about All You Need Is Kill

Media type: Novel
Genre: Sci-fi, action

Alexander O. Smith—who goes by Alex—is a translator, writer, and photographer living in Kamakura, Japan. As a translator, he’s worked on games like Final Fantasy 12, novels in the fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery genres, and manga. He’s written for Magic: The Gathering, DeNA mobile games, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and is currently writing at game studio Camouflaj on an unannounced VR title.

Alex chose to chat about the sci-fi novel—which later became a blockbuster movie staring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow—All You Need Is Kill, by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and translated from Japanese by Joseph Reeder and edited by Alexander O. Smith.


16 – Stephen Meyerink chats about Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions

Media type: Video game
Genre: Fantasy, tactics RPG

Stephen Meyerink is a freelance Japanese to English translator, writer, and author who has worked on video games, books, albums, manga, and more. He is a massive fan of video game music (in terms of both a historical practice and a listener), loves cooking (and eating) all kinds of food except meat loaf, and Final Fantasy.

Stephen chats about the English localizations of 1998’s Final Fantasy Tactics and 2007’s updated localization Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, which was translated by Tom Slattery and Joseph Reeder.


Translation Chat 17 – Erica Friedman chats about Whisper Me a Love Song

Media type: Manga
Genre: Romance, yuri

Erica Friedman is the Founder of Yuricon and has run the world’s oldest and most comprehensive blog on Yuri, Okazu, since 2002. She has edited manga for JManga, Seven Seas and Udon Entertainment, most recently Riyoko Ikeda’s epic historical classic, The Rose of Versailles. She is also the author of By Your Side: The First 100 Year of Yuri Anime and Manga, out now from Journey Press.

Erica chats with us about the English translation of the manga for Whisper Me a Love Song, by Eku Takeshima, translated by Kevin Steinbach, edited by Tiff Ferentini, with lettering by Jennifer Skarupa.


Translation Chat 18 – Taylor Drew chats about Tokyo Ueno Station

Media type: Novel
Genre: Literary novel

Taylor Drew is a translator, writer, and manga proofreader based in Tokyo. She writes book reviews for her personal blog A Basket of Words and also does interview translations for Febri. Passionate for all things written and everything to do with Northeastern Japan, she chose to talk about the award-winning Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri and translated by Morgan Giles.


Translation Chat 19 – Wesley O’Donnell chats about Paper Mario and the Origami King

Media type: Video Game
Genre: Adventure, roleplay, RPG

Wesley O’Donnell is a freelance Japanese to English translator living in Japan. He’s worked on a variety of manga and light novels with penchant towards fantasy and comedy.

Wesley chats about the amazing characterization and comedy in the English localization of Nindento’s Paper Mario and the Origami King.


Translation Chat 20 – Janet Hsu chats about Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (999)

Media type: Video Game
Genre: Mystery, escape room, visual novel

Janet Hsu is a localization director that has worked in the video game industry for almost two decades.

They chat about the English localization of the Nintendo DS Game Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors by director Kotaro Uchikoshi from Chunshoft. Localization by Aksys Games with translation by Nobara Nakayama and editing by Ben Bateman.


That’s the end of Translation Chat for now! I took a break in 2023 because of burnout.
There may or may not be a season 3.