#1 Edited by yyninja (59 posts) -

Pretty surprised there hasn't been a thread about this yet. On Christmas Day, a fan translated patch of Valkryia Chronicles 3 was released. You can check it out at http://vc3translationproject.wordpress.com/

Currently the patch isn't 100% perfect. The translated patch covers the main plot threads, character names, menus, items and basically everything you need to play the game from start to finish. If you haven't done so already, I strongly recommend playing VC2 before going into VC3 so that you're comfortable with the mechanics.

In addition, you can do this all legally if you purchase the game from the Japanese PSN, then use PSP CFW to export the ISO. The game is on sale right now until Jan 8th for ¥980 (or roughly $9.32). If you need more info there are directions on the site on how to do this. AFAIK, you can only play the patched game on a PSP or PSP emulator, I don't think it's possible to play on a Vita.

So my initial impressions are overwhelmingly positive.

The game starts off much better than VC2. The game throws you right in the thick of things rather than training at a military school. The protagonist is leagues better than the one in VC2 who had this creepy obsession with his brother.

There are also several visual improvements over VC2. The character models are diverse. There isn't simply a male and female model with different heads strapped in this time. Characters wield different looking equipment and clothing even if two characters are the same class and gender. Cutscenes and battles take place on an war map. It's much easier to see how one cutscene leads to another rather than shifting through menus with dates on them. The game just feels more cohesive and well put together than its' predecessor. It's a shame that Sega didn't bring this overseas.

Not an image from the fan translated version, just wanted to show how the cutscenes are integrated on the war map.

The only downside I've encountered so far are the maps. I played roughly 4 hours now and 75% of the maps are identical to the ones featured in VC2. The camp and bunker locations, construction points and the grass/shrubs are completely point for point identical to the maps in VC2. I know "lore-wise" it makes sense since the game does take place in the same setting as VC2, but it seems like a cheap copout by SEGA.

Overall though, I still highly recommend getting this game if you looking for something to play during the winter break.

#2 Posted by White (1341 posts) -

VC2 and VC3 should've been PS3 games.

#3 Edited by Pepsiman (2470 posts) -

As somebody who played this to completion and did a decent amount of postgame content in Japanese, I have somewhat mixed feelings on this patch. On the one hand, I'm super excited that fellow series fans who don't speak Japanese can finally play through this game, as it's my personal favorite in the series. Really refined mechanics and my personal favorite story in the series make for good times all around with VC3. On the other hand, from what I've seen of the translation while watching a Twitch stream of it, I feel like a lot of the soul and vivaciousness of the original dialog has been lost. VC games have never been examples of literary profundity in any language, but they always had solid localizations that made for fun reads, especially when it came to character banter. So far, this translation seems to have prioritized one-to-one academic "accuracy" with the Japanese over a smooth, natural-sounding script in English and, knowing what I do about this game's plot, I think that makes the game unnecessarily suffer as a result. VC3 has a pretty complex storyline that deserves a really polished translation in order for the emotional aspects and allegory to be fully appreciated and I worry some of those nuances have been lost judging by what I've looked at. Maybe it's a consequence of who they managed to recruit to the team, but it's still disappointing that they couldn't find somebody within the fanbase who's a solid writer that could give it some extra punch and polish because it totally deserves it. As it is, it reads much like I'd expect a ragtag fan translation would, competent in terms of getting all the basics of the original Japanese across, but lacking in conveying the heart and nuance of the source material. It honestly reminds me of a lot of the attempts by fans to retranslate the Ted Woolsey-era SNES Final Fantasies and that's not something I enjoy being reminded about.

That's not to say that this patch's release isn't worth celebrating. I'll always be of the mind that more translated games are better than less and certainly given the choice between fans having a stiff-reading English version of VC3 versus no translation at all, I'd naturally go with the former. I'm just a bit bummed that the translation that I'm seeing doesn't really mesh all that much with what that game evokes to me personally when I play it in Japanese. But I'm obviously biased since I don't need this patch at all to play it and enjoy the story, so maybe I'm being unnecessarily hard. I'd be interested to hear the impressions of OP and other people as they get deeper into the game as to whether the script is as dry to them as I personally see it. I don't doubt I sound pretentious on some level since I work as a translator myself and naturally that bestows some privilege with regards to how I can play these sorts of games, but I do really like VC3 and wish nothing but the best for it in terms of translations.

Ah well, at least it'll be nice to actually be able to discuss this game's plot with English speakers without worrying about spoilers as much.

#4 Posted by TruthTellah (8802 posts) -

@pepsiman: Yeah, translations can really suffer from that, but I'm hoping that they're just trying to get it understandable first before maybe tweaking it to have more of the actual personality. The main point is of course to convey the information and help people understand the game and story, but as you said, it loses a bit of that character if you don't really work on placing it in the translation.

#5 Edited by Bocam (3721 posts) -

@pepsiman: I had some qualms with the way Sega chose to translate some things in the other two VC games, seemed a little too liberal for my taste.

I haven't actually seen the translation so I can't comment on that but their patch code fucking sucks.

#6 Posted by Pepsiman (2470 posts) -

@bocam: For sure, I'm not saying Sega's work was always perfect. I just appreciated that their English scripts were good about maintaining the series' sense of whimsy, which I've found pretty lacking in this translation for 3. But yeah, that patch is absolutely abysmal to make work. I'm not surprised in the least that it's a custom program, but I've never gotten it to work. I still wanna give it a whirl so I can more thoroughly dissect their translation work, but they really need a more elegant solution if even tech-savvy people like you and me have trouble with it. I continue to be baffled as to why it's bundled with a copy of JPCSP, for instance.

#7 Posted by yyninja (59 posts) -

@bocam said:

I haven't actually seen the translation so I can't comment on that but their patch code fucking sucks.

Unfortunately getting the game patched is very shotty and it took a couple tries to get it working. I had to update the 7-zip files, modify the JVM allocated memory and place the files in a folder named "1" on the C: drive. If the patched ISO comes out roughly the same size as the original that means it worked.

@pepsiman said:

So far, this translation seems to have prioritized one-to-one academic "accuracy" with the Japanese over a smooth, natural-sounding script in English and, knowing what I do about this game's plot, I think that makes the game unnecessarily suffer as a result.

The translation seems pretty good, but there hasn't been many long conversations yet. The only long conversation I did run into was this part.

Kurt is cooking food with herbs in his cabin and Riela stops by to ask him what's he doing. Kurt explains how he loves cooking and shortly after Riela bored by his long-winded talk about cooking falls asleep. Riela wakes up to see Kurt still cooking. Kurt tells her that he didn't touch her but she panics anyway and leaves. In another scene the other squadmates spread rumors that Kurt and Riela slept together.

It's hard to judge whether they did a good translation since I don't know how it supposed to play out in Japanese, but other than the use of "cooking food with herbs" instead of "grinding herbs" I thought the translation was good.

I haven't played VC2 recently, but maybe I'll play it again just to see how Sega did the translation work compared to this fan translation.

#8 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

Panty shot on the cover? Not quite as impressive as Remember Me, but reasonably close.

#9 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@pepsiman said:

So far, this translation seems to have prioritized one-to-one academic "accuracy" with the Japanese over a smooth, natural-sounding script in English and, knowing what I do about this game's plot, I think that makes the game unnecessarily suffer as a result.

Isn't that how pretty much all fan translations work?

#10 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

I'm a little over 20 hours into Valkyria Chronicles 2, and after a slow and bland start, it really takes off, especially gameplay-wise. Such a shame SEGA didn't push the third game through to Western Markets.

I'll not go out of my way to play it though, I've roughly two lifetimes worth of games on my Vita already.

#12 Posted by TobbRobb (4603 posts) -

@video_game_king: Nah. There are people on both sides of literal versus liberal. And neither understand that you need to consider both as viable depending on the source...

#13 Posted by mosespippy (4121 posts) -

I'm not sure I want to try this. I played and liked VC2 until I played it in English. I played and liked VC3 as well. What if being able to understand the characters makes them worse characters again?

#14 Edited by Pepsiman (2470 posts) -

Before I ramble at length about translation philosophies, I'll just quickly throw up a link to an old interview Hardcore Gaming 101 did with Agness Kaku, the woman behind the localizations for Metal Gear Solid 2, the Katamari Damacy series, and a whole host of other games. I think she does a better job of articulating what's often at stake when translating games like VC3 than I do and my general translation philosophies more or less line up completely with hers. Just so there's a little bit more background on where someone like me might be coming from when voicing concerns about this stuff.

@yyninja: It's entirely possible my experience with the source material is biasing my views on the translation to a degree. On some level, as a translator, I approach the original Japanese like I would a reader does of most any piece of fiction in general, bringing to bear my interpretations of characters and events, which in turn influences how I emotionally react to the material and, when I'm translating said material into English, reinterpreting it for another language. Coming from experience, you'll never get two translators to agree entirely about how to go about translating a given work since we all have different ideas about what needs to be emphasized, what can be safely dropped, and what needs a little imaginative massaging to make the underlying messages viable in the new language. In that sense, I feel that the translation is mostly successful in terms of technical consistency with the official Sega localizations since the basic terminology and whatnot is the same, but is perhaps lacking from my perspective in terms of respective Sega's stylistic approaches to dialog and whatnot. I'm sure some people will disagree with me on this, but when there's already some sort of precedence to work with in cases like this where you're dealing in untranslated sequels or supplementary material for works that have previously had translations and that precedence has been adequately well-received, I personally err on the side of caution and try to replicate that existing style, largely because it's what that foreign audience has come to expect. Maybe I'm still asking a lot of a free fan effort, but these are the sorts of questions that run through my mind personally as someone who's done this sort of work professionally before. Obviously there are compromises that have be made in part because of various technical limitations that are usually inherent to game translations specifically, but even knowing that, I feel like this patch could have really benefitted from some extra editing passes. I don't even necessarily mean from another translator like me; oftentimes when it's possible, it's good to just have a regular editor versed only in the target language go through the translated materials and punch stuff up. They're often the secret sauce behind the best localizations like what Nier and Hotel Dusk have gotten.

@video_game_king: I rarely dabble in translation patches since obviously I'm not their audience anymore, but I'd argue that there are definitely patches that avoid going the completely literal route and benefit hugely from it. Mother 3 is a case where a professional translator actually worked on that game for free and that game's patch was extremely well received in English in part because it's just well-written in its own respect. In cases where games are written by proper authors like Shigesato Itoi, that extra nuance and deftness in translating is necessary even more so than usual since going a purely literal route means that foreign players risk missing out on the sense of the depth that's present in the original Japanese. Preserving the heart and emotional substance in such translations is a lot more important than pure semantics. It's easy to find words with analogous meanings across languages if you brute force it with a dictionary, but it's another thing altogether to make a foreign audience react the same way as the native audience did to a given passage.

@tobbrobb: To be certain, I agree that more overtly literal translations and more overtly creative ones each have their place. If I'm working on academic or legal materials, I'm absolutely going to play my translations pretty straight and narrow and not really mess around with semantics and word choice. If there's a generally accepted translation for a given wording or phrase, I'll adhere to those standards unless I have a good reason to deviate and then I'll still make sure that change is noted accordingly. But speaking from experience, in the end, you never really have purely one type of translation. Human languages didn't all grow up side-by-side in the same ways; historical and cultural divergences over the course of hundreds and hundreds of years has resulted in different languages approaching the same sorts of situations from different philosophical perspectives, which influences the underlying meanings of even the most basic words to native speakers amongst the various languages. It's most obvious when you deal in something like Japanese and English like I do where it's readily apparent just how isolated the two cultures have historically been, but it's true even for languages that are related to them. It doesn't take much for languages to end up on different tangents that affect how their speakers look at the world around them and interact with it. So to some degree, the way I see it as a translator myself, translation is always a bit more of an art than a science because what's ultimately being transferred between languages isn't merely words, but a whole mindset, so to speak.

The end goal of translation, fundamentally, speaking is to evoke the original material's embedded thoughts and sentiments using analogous language that the new audience can find relatable. In that sense, being too literal (ie: formulaically translating specific words the same way time and again) is often problematic because it can neglect things like connotations, whether that's because something critical has been lost in translation or the wrong thing has been added in the new language altogether because of carelessness. It's true even for seemingly rigid documents like in those academic and legal cases I cited earlier; the right sort of rigidity needs to present across languages or misunderstandings can occur really fast. That's why despite the perceived blandness of that sort of translation work those people are among the best paid in the business because they need to be aware of those potential pitfalls and compose their translations accordingly. Similarly, overly liberal translations obviously risk losing sight of the intentions and sentiments present in the original material, as that wording and structure in the source naturally has to exist in the state that it does for some reason. That source needs to be consulted as a sort of foundation or else the translation risks veering so far away from the creative charms that defined the source material that it might as well be considered original work in its own right. It's tricky work and far be it for me to claim that I'm perfect as a translator, either. I'm just disappointed in the approach I've seen the team take with this game when I don't think it was particularly suitable given the medium and thematic ground it covers.

So yeah, I guess this is my way of saying that I ultimately agree with you. The best case scenario for translations is where you strike that balance and the new audience doesn't notice that there's an inherent balance towards one over the other. For me personally, since I mostly work in fiction, that means I pay close attention to the semantics and whatnot of the original material, but essentially reconstruct it so the same basic meanings and emotions can be conveyed anew in the most natural-sounding manner possible, all without dropping any critical connecting plot threads that specifically make that work what it is. You probably inferred it already, but that does mean that I'm normally more liberal-minded when it comes to my approaches to translation, although I make sure I don't get wanton about it. If I can read my new work and it preserves the same basic beats as the source material, all without the wording and structure immediately reminding me of how the Japanese reads, that's when I feel I've succeeded. Whether I actually manage to do that in the eyes of readers and players is another matter altogether, but it's at least what I strive for.

#15 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@pepsiman:

I feel like Mother 3 is the super obvious answer. Other than that, I'm having a hard time coming up with answers (something that XSEED licensed for an actual release?).

#16 Edited by Pepsiman (2470 posts) -

@video_game_king: I'm not trying to deny what you said, just that there is precedence for not going the completely literal route and that I think it needs to be lessened where possible. I would otherwise agree that you're much more likely to find more balanced translations in licensed localizations since the people working on those are more professional and, if nothing else, tend to have a longer history working on that sort of stuff and a better perspective on which approaches work in what sorts of situations. In the end, I'm ultimately just being an idealist. Like I said, I'd rather more translated games exist than less and while super literal ones tend to rustle my feathers personally, it's at least better than making interested players learn Japanese from scratch to at least understand the basics of what's going on.

#17 Posted by TruthTellah (8802 posts) -

I watched a bit of the Valkyria 3 translation, and I have to say, it was decent. They've said it's a first, functional pass on the translation, and for that, it's good. Sounds like they intend to keep improving it. :)

#18 Posted by Bocam (3721 posts) -

@pepsiman:

I feel like Mother 3 is the super obvious answer. Other than that, I'm having a hard time coming up with answers (something that XSEED licensed for an actual release?).

Grisaia no Kajitsu has a pretty great translation

#19 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@bocam:

I think I know what my next screenshot thread's going to be.

#20 Posted by Bocam (3721 posts) -
#21 Posted by DocHaus (1325 posts) -

@pepsiman: Part of the problem, as someone on the patch team mentioned, is that English characters take up a lot more space than Japanese characters to say the same thing, so they had to shrink down some extra words in the interest of getting some meaning across while making them fit within the speech bubbles they had to work with. It's also why the background story in the articles is untranslated, as they're trying to find a way to translate it while also making the text fit.

Having said that, from the little I've played so far, it feels a lot like a reskinned VC2 with a new map or two and better story. But I've only spent an hour on-and-off so we'll see how it goes.

Oh, and thanks @yyninja for making this thread! Now when SEGA slaps the translators with a C&D I'll tell them it was your fault.

#22 Posted by Pepsiman (2470 posts) -

@dochaus: Yeah, I definitely know they have technical issues facing them as well. At some level I know I'm being a privileged idealist about all of this. I may not be pleased with how some of it specifically turned out, but I am ultimately glad people can now play a good chunk of the game without being someone like me who has a degree in the language and has the school loans to prove it, ahaha.

#23 Posted by Zeik (2368 posts) -

I might have to give this a try, but I'm a little hesitant since I didn't love the first game (good ideas, but flawed execution), so if this game doesn't feel like an improvement over that I'm not sure it will maintain my interest. And while I have to give props for putting the time and effort into making a translation for this game, I'm really not a fan of literal translations.

#24 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11630 posts) -

I might check this out. No matter how dry or overly-literal this fan translation may be... it will hopefully still be better than anything that came out of VC2.

#25 Posted by amlabella (323 posts) -

Did anyone get this to work? Haven't been able to properly patch the file, so any help would be appreciated.

#26 Edited by LentFilms (171 posts) -

@pepsiman: It is also worth noting again that this is a beta patch that still has a lot of work to be done on it. I've played up to chapter 4 with the patch and the translation is very dry but the final patch could be completely different for all we know. Overall I'm pretty happy with the team's progress on this translation.

Also if anyone is having trouble applying the patch to their iso then try one of three things: Make sure the directory to the patch is as short as possible (try putting your files on your C drive and make the name of your iso a single character). The patch also uses a version of 7zip that only works with certain versions of Windows, if you get an error message in the 3rd stage of the patching process then replace the contents of the 7zip folder with a version that works on your computer. Finally make sure the names of your patch folder and your iso do not have any spaces in them. If you're still having problems then read the comments on the project's blog for more help.

#27 Posted by AlexGBRO (296 posts) -

men sony should bring these games to the west i know that sega owns them but the last 2 will be perfect on the vita