From the 15th to the 30th of April, the LocJAM gave amateurs and professionals a chance to compete in a video game translation contest. Mate and I participated together.
This year’s game was called Ikinari Maou by Shintaro Ito. It was first translated from Japanese to English in a previous game jam. This time, there were many more target languages.
It’s a puzzle game, dressed as an old-school RPG (complete with NES graphics). It’s a parody of both genre and the final result is a fun and twisted little entertainment. The main challenge of the translation was the blending of the game’s heroic-fantasy vocabulary with its humor. Apart from navigating the menus, the core of the game resides in the dialogs between the characters and the items descriptions. As such, we had to be careful with translating the clues hidden within them and make sure they weren’t obvious.
The translation file was delivered as a classic Excel file. I contained 1700 words. Because of a compatibility problem with the game, we used OpenOffice. It took us a little under a day to translate and two more days to test our translations and correct them. We had to be careful with the lengh of the lines and after a few adjustments, the final result was both clear and satisfying.