This week for my RocketNews24 W.T.F. Japan article, I wrote about the top five most perfectly translated Pokémon names. I always like it when I can write about translation, since there are surprisingly few articles out there about the topic. When it comes to gaming in particular, there are tons of articles and videos on game design, graphics, user interface, and everything else, but translation is one aspect that’s always lacking.
When you think about it, that’s kind of crazy since translation is one of the most important steps when it comes to introducing media to a new country. You could have the best book, movie, or video game ever, but if it’s translated/localized poorly into the new language/culture, then it’s going to flop.
All throughout my time in college, I was interested in historic translation. Yeah sure, learning about the politics and economics of the West coming to Japan and China for the first time was fine, but I wanted to know who was doing the translation between the languages, and even more importantly, how on Earth were they doing it? My professors never had satisfactory answers, and my own research never led anywhere, but I’m still hopeful that someday I can bring to light these important translators.
But for now, I’ll settle for just showing off how awesome the translators for the original Pokémon games were, because they were a huge part in how successful the franchise still is even today.