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Pepsiman

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I can vouch for the translations of his tweets about Pocket Camp being legit, for those curious. His Japanese Twitter posts are beautiful and go the sorts of places you'd hope they go and then some.

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Pepsiman

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Edited By Pepsiman

ba da bum ba da bum

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Pepsiman

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Edited By Pepsiman

@nonesun said:

Still no NieR? They kept saying nice things about it weeks ago before they'd really got into it... I guess it'll be something they come back to hopefully.

Ending felt really flat because it kinda come out of nowhere for me, things felt they were drawing to some kind of major plot point but not necessarily the end, and looking at some percentages on side quest and weapon completion it seemed I was still indeed a ways off, which really threw me off. But they have 4 more major endings though? And you probably want to see them all to get everything? But I don't know if each one is mostly similar to the first playthrough? Man, I feel like they should have messaged this better.

I was really into the game but the sudden ending really took all the wind out of my sales. Looking forward to getting back to it and seeing what's up with 9S sometime when my appetite is back.

You should absolutely go back and attain the other major endings. If all you got was ending A, there's a lot of story you have yet to uncover. Ending B has you replay through the events of ending A as a different character, 9S, whose combat is pretty significantly different from 2B and also has some unique main story and side content not present during ending A. Endings C, D, and E, meanwhile, are all entirely new chapters of the game that don't retread over existing story content and even let you play as yet another character. It's in those endings that things really take a turn for the dramatic and you get an idea about the real nature of the world; it's also where the game becomes its most subversive in terms of how its played.

It's not an exaggeration to say that you've only really seen the beginning of the game if all you got was ending A. I don't blame you at all for being confused because ending usually means ending, but the expectation from a design perspective is that you keep playing after ending A. The game has only just barely begun to play its hand at that point.

Basically, don't think of the endings as actual endings, but rather chapters. (Yoko Taro has a bit of a history of doing this exact narrative tactic.) You don't need to do anything special to access every ending/chapter now that you've cleared ending A. Just continue the game from that same save file and you'll automatically load into the next ending/chapter. And once you get ending B, you'll access endings C, D, and E, the same way.

Keep trucking! Ending A is meant to be anticlimactic by design. You'll get your real closure and then some if you keep going. :) It's actually much better about making the other endings more readily accessible than the previous Nier, that's for sure.

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Pepsiman

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Edited By Pepsiman

Regarding the taxation sidequest, it's referring to the real issue of Japan's national sales/consumption tax. Given the constant state of recession Japan has been in for the last few decades since the bubble economy burst in the early 90s, the extent of the tax and when to enact any changes to it one way or the other is always a thorny issue that crops up time and again, especially during election seasons. Japan famously has a pretty serious debt problem for a variety of reasons and raising the sales tax is often proposed as a means of trying to at least stabilize the debt being undertaken. As it stands, I believe the current rate is at 8%. It was supposed to have gone up to 10% by now, but the implementation date keeps getting pushed back because of poor public reception and whatnot that who knows when it'll actually happen at this point. Wikipedia has a decent, if brief, article about the matter here and a (slightly outdated) overview of how the tax has evolved here.

Anyway, so it's in this game largely because to the Japanese audience, it would be something of a humorous novelty to actually have an opportunity to have some sway over such a contentious issue that persists to this day. There's also the part where, depending on how you choose to read the ending, you could argue that, within the canon of the series, Majima is responsible for the already unpopular tax hikes that have happened in previous years, something I found to be pretty funny when I played through this part of the game myself.

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Pepsiman

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Edited By Pepsiman

Regarding how closely the localization hews to the Japanese script, it's a little of column A and a little of column B. During voiced scenes, it definitely has a tendency to replicate the Japanese wording in that insofar as if someone says a familiar word an English speaker would understand, that'll generally be in the English script, too. It's ostensibly designed to ensure players don't have a case of dissonance like, "I heard this loan word, why isn't it in the translated script?" but as an overall approach, it has its plusses and minuses depending on how it's applied. (In my opinion, this game is one of the better ones about how it's used and when, even if it's generally not something I do myself when I'm translating something.) But overall, there's still a lot of editing polishing and punching up going on in the English script. The Japanese script in most every Yakuza game is already strong as it is, so during localization, it's more of a creative question of how to make it just as fun and engaging in English. Stuff like Majima's dialect offer a lot of wiggle room to have some fun with the English while still being true to what the Japanese script offers in spirit.

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@efesell said:

@l1ama: I think it's just the Tokyo dialect as filtered through varying degrees of gangster slang. Kuze and Awano seem to lay it on especially thick.

This is correct. The trilled Rs are a very gruff and masculine affectation that you only really hear from yakuza and other rough types and even then, it's pretty exaggerated in media like this. Some characters who show up later in the game do speak in genuinely thick accents from other regions that you do actually hear in Japan, but in this case, people in the Dojima clan are basically speaking standard Japanese aside from those quirks.

That being said, all of that does make these games pretty decent learning material for getting exposed to more fringe dialects and slang that typical classroom Japanese won't teach to non-learners. Even as a translator, I always learn new things here and there from playing these games!

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Pepsiman

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Edited By Pepsiman

@genericbrotagonist said:

This makes me want to get into DDR. If I were to get a ps2 mat, would I be able play ps1 games on my ps2 using that?

I haven't done it myself, but yes, generally speaking, PS1 and PS2 controllers can play nicely on either system and from what I've read, that does include dance pads, which makes sense since at a technical level, they're just giant d-pads. One thing you should be careful about, though: the song lists for the PS2 DDR games that made it overseas are somewhat different from the original Japanese releases because of licensing issues. I think they still have a decent chunk of the classic songs everybody remembers, but if you want a really pure DDR experience, it's best to import the original Japanese games, although that obviously entails a little extra work getting those games to run if you don't have a Japanese PS2 on hand.

Edit: Forgot that you mentioned wanting to play the PS1 games specifically. What's important to note is that region locking still applies to PS1 games on PS2 consoles, so you can't play Japanese PS1 games on US PS2 games out of the box. There are ways to circumvent this protection, of course, but they're a bit of a hassle. Some PS1 DDR games I believe came out in PAL territories (again, with somewhat modified song lists than what you saw in this video, I believe), so obviously if that's what your PS2 is, then forget I warned you at all, but otherwise it's going to take a little work to get the games up and running on your PS2 since it's a little more complex than running import PS2 games.

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Pepsiman

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@lanerobertlane: @poke__egg: Thank you for the insight. In persona 4 it always seemed kind of like the person was being intentionally mysterious by not saying what "THAT" is and instead referring to it as "THAT" usually followed by the character asking what they mean by "THAT".

It feels like the kind of people in real life who will word their sentences in order to bait you in to asking them about something rather than just saying what they want to say, but I've at least given japanese stuff the benefit of things not translating to english well.

I work in Japanese->English game localizations as a freelance translator, so let me add a few more technical wrinkles that can influence these sorts of things in addition to the more broad linguistic that's already been covered.

  • Lack of documented context for lines in materials being translated. I've worked on about ten game localizations at this point and every developer and sometimes even every project from the same developer is different in terms of how its dialogue, UI text, etc. is compiled for translator use. I've had games that give very specific stage directions that help us imagine what's happening on screen as we write our material. I've had games that just give a simple label for who's saying what and when. And I've had games that didn't do either. You never really know what you're getting until you get the files and start digging in. Likewise, how much access you'll have to the development team to ask questions can vary wildly depending on various circumstances.

    In cases where contextual documentation is lacking and especially in nightmare scenarios where dialogue lines might not necessarily be arranged in sequential order—it happens more often than you think even today—sometimes we translators will play it safe upfront just so we're not necessarily adding any wrong information that might potentially mislead players in any number of ways, particularly when we don't otherwise have access to playable development builds to try and clarify things ourselves. Good translators will still find ways to write around those issues and then hopefully that polish will come during the editing phases as your material is examined by people further up the chain, but that's not always a guarantee. The vast majority of the time, you only have one shot to get a commercial translation "right," so to speak, so in such cases, at the very least, you want to make sure it's not aggressively wrong, even if there would be room for improvement under better circumstances.

    In Shenmue's case specifically, there's a very strong possibility based on its development background that it was a rush job, possibly one done by non-English speaking natives. (I don't know if the translators are credited in any of the Shenmue games, so while I can't otherwise confirm this, the material that's there has a particular cadence that screams of such circumstances.) At the very least, from what I've gathered about what its voice acting recording sessions were like, very little editing was likely on the material beyond probably a basic initial pass for technical accuracy. Shenmue's not really the sort of game where you can get away with that, especially today, but from the stories I've read, it's something of a miracle the game ever came out in English to begin with, so maybe the fact it's at least not Engrishy is something of an accomplishment.

  • Voice acting limitations probably severely hampered how flexible the translators and voice actors could even be in terms of how things are worded. Think of the basic lip syncing issues that film and animation dubbings inherently run into, but made even harder by the fact you've got a game program running in the background that probably expects every line to be timed a certain way for stability. While localizations increasingly have developers being more accommodating of different languages' speaking speed and word length in recent years, when you're dealing with dubbing over real time cutscenes, very often you have to be careful about how much time you afford every line, lest things either get out of sync or the game just outright crashes. Some developers are willing to rework in-engine cutscene timers to make life on the localizers' side a little easy, but it's usually such a significant endeavor as to not be financially viable.

    And in Shenmue's heyday, to my knowledge, such reworking was unheard of considering how localizations were still an afterthought to most Japanese companies back then. All of this is to say that certain verbal ticks like the word "that" can be in games solely as a matter of efficiency and just not breaking the game, even if it's not the most eloquent approach. More often than not, if you think something's weird or off about a game translation, but it's otherwise not grammatically broken or anything similarly bad, chances are we on the localization side are aware of those quirks, too, but just can't necessarily speak to them for various business and legal reasons.

Hopefully that all makes sense! I'm writing this as my day winds down and I can't be bothered to proofread it for the time being, but I just thought I'd interject as someone whose work deals in these sorts of issues on a day to day basis.

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Pepsiman

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Chiming in with a quick clarification on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test since Alexa brought it up. (Good luck to you on that, by the way! That test can get rough for sure!) The test itself was originally primarily designed for foreigners wanting to study at Japanese universities to ostensibly do coursework natively in Japanese, although it's since apparently been superseded by other standardized tests for that specific purpose. Nowadays, while it's often used as a general gauge of language fluency, certain structural issues with it (e.g.: the lack of any written or speaking sections) make its results arguably of limited use depending on what you want to get out of it. In particular, parts of the business sector are increasingly moving towards other, more specialized tests that provide a more contextual evaluation of a speaker's fluency rather than the very broad, general strokes that the JLPT covers.

More importantly, it's worth noting that attaining a Japanese work visa is not contingent upon taking and/or passing the JLPT. To my knowledge, proven language fluency is, in fact, not a requirement for attaining any of the work visa types. While it is true that many employment listings from Japanese companies that target foreigners often request JLPT certification as part of the application process, it's not otherwise a legal requirement that you have any such certification in order to attain the visa itself. Those inexperienced in these sorts of matters might see this as something of a moot point, but there are actually a lot of valid circumstantial reasons why someone who's bilingual wouldn't necessarily have official certification noting such things. (It's probably not worth someone's time to take the test if they're born in a bilingual household and have grown up around both languages, for instance.)

In a nutshell, while yes, if you're studying Japanese seriously and will almost inevitably give taking the JLPT some serious thought, its importance is increasingly relative and N1 certification specifically as the highest level you can attain isn't needed for most jobs that aspiring speakers would want to get into over in Japan to begin with. It can be a useful guideline for those studying the language for sure, especially those in the intermediate levels like Alexa seems to be, but eventually the returns diminish pretty quickly the higher up you go. Most any respectable prospective employer will gauge your fluency by just outright talking to you, rather than relying on you writing whether or not you have certification in your resume, at least in my experience working in game localization.

Just thought I'd chime in since I thought the work visa remarks especially might otherwise scare some people off from potentially looking into it as an aspirational thing!

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Pepsiman

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Regarding pachinko emulation, there's actually a pretty popular online service in Japan called 777town, which gets regularly advertised in the Yakuza games, even the English localizations. It simulates most of the major licensed pachinko machines you'd remotely hear about, barring I believe Konami's stuff and some other pachinko-exclusive "series," so to speak. Basically, there's a free version which lets you play a handful of lower end machines (mainly slot machines, rather than proper pachinko, if I recall), or you can pay a monthly subscription fee of like $10 for access to either all the pachinko or slot machines or $18 a month to have the whole run of everything.

Not that I endorse getting anywhere near that stuff, speaking as someone burdened with the unfortunate knowledge of how to play the damned things and what makes different units distinct, but you can find the list of machines they have here. They recently even added the Persona 4 anime pachinko machine to remind you that no Japanese property is truly above being pachinko'd!

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