What is this site?
Lost in Localization takes a close look at the way our favorite games, TV shows, and more changed when being brought overseas. Due to idiosyncrasies of both English and Japanese, as well as imperfect tools, rushed timelines, and cultural differences, the original intent or meaning of a phrase doesn’t always make it through the localization process intact. Basically, if you’ve ever wondered why a Bagrisk drops Vagyrisk Claws, why calling someone “auntie” would be offensive, or why you can wear Fire Breath, you’ve come to the right place.
Who are you?
We’re Star Fox! The site’s current contributors are Anthony and Matthew but there may be articles by other contributors in the future. Broadly, our contributors are people interested in the “how” and “why” of localization. We each have some background in the arts, and a few years of Japanese study under our belts. Most importantly, we have a deep passion for many of the subjects we write about, and a desire to see them properly appreciated and preserved.
What is localization, and why does it matter?
When translating between two languages, there are always going to be difficulties. Synonyms, idiomatic expressions, and cultural differences are just a few things that prevent 1:1 translation from always being perfectly adequate. Localization is a concept designed to solve this problem. Translators take a literal translation that may not sound natural in the target language and edit it to try and make the target audience more comfortable consuming it. This process is quite contentious, with passionate debate on just how much the original wording should be preserved, and just how much should be changed for comfort.
While the appropriate amount of localization is—in my opinion—ever-shifting, I try to bear in mind the authorial intent, and who the target audience post-localization is. Writers often have a specific tone and message in mind when writing, and, to me, the most important thing is preserving that impression in the audience’s mind. To that end, some text may necessitate more of a rewrite than others, and some audiences will be more or less comfortable with a more literal translation than others. In other words, a period drama might be best-served by less localization, while a sitcom might be served by more.
I want you to write an article for me!