A while ago, I wrote a post to aid Namco in their localization of Tales of Graces F. Too bad they didn’t read it!
I am told that Tales of Graces mentions the Hearts characters, as well as other characters from the franchise, in the form of Carta cards. Kohack– err, Kohaku– err, Amber, is also a cameo boss. Obsessed fans of the series waited with bated breath to see how they would handle these characters. And handle them they did. By which I mean they manhandled them. Let’s see how they did:
Okay, just kidding. Last time, I commented on how his name references stars (Xing/星 in Chinese) and how “Shing” reminds me of herpes. These are still true. However, I have uncovered new evidence that suggests that Shing is totally legit. Or rather… Shung.
If this site is to be believed, shungite is an “elementary noncrystalline carbon with a metastable structure incapable of graphitization”. I don’t want to give any undue spoilers, but I think this sounds suspiciously like it’s the mineral theme basis for Shing’s name. This lends some creedence to the choice of Shung– I mean, Shing– as the guy’s name.
Verdict: Namco obviously just went with whatever the Japanese said his name was instead of reasoning it out. Nevertheless, I’m pretty okay with it.
Whew! They localized this one nicely. I’m not clear on whether they followed the efforts of Absolute Zero, that “other” group, my own project, or none of the above, but it turned out as I (and many others) had hoped.
Verdict: Some of you posted on the Tales Facebook wall whining about this change. You know who you are. Welcome to the Hall of Shame.
Now I’m wondering if they simply lifted all the names from Absolute Zero’s teaser screenshot. Localizing the name and making sure it doesn’t conflict with preexisting names is certainly a start, but consideration for how it sounds is important, too. Jadeite? What the Heck kind of name Is That? The only one with an awkward-sounding name like that (Shing aside) is Kunzite, the party’s resident Mechanoid Guardian robot dude. It fits him fine. But Jadeite? He’s a hot-blooded dude who is ultra super awesome, as I may have previously mentioned. I don’t think having a robotic/awkward name suits him at all. My own suggestion was Jaden, and another interesting one I heard thrown around was Jasper (it goes nicely with Amber). Hell, they could have named him Jerome for all I care, as long as it’s not Jadeite. The resulting parallels to Sailor Moon only make it that much more ridiculous.
Verdict: Why must you do this to me, Namco.
Bonus: Tales of Innocence
Not content with only ripping Tales of the Heart: Translator’s Cut: American Edition a new one, they decided to mess with names from a game whose full fantranslation has already been released. Let’s see here… Ruca Milda. God damn it. Well, there goes my “they’re just copying Absolute Zero” theory. C’mon, Ruca, really? It’s such a lame non-name, and Luca fits in with the theme naming of Innocence much better. Well, okay, I guess they just stuck to the Japanese names– Illia Animi? What the heck? It’s not even a bad choice, just… why defy the Honorable Japanese Engrish for Iria and not for Ruca? Ruca and Iria would have made sense, Luca and Iria would have made sense, Luca and Illia would have made sense… but this?
Allow me to pretty much copy and paste something from my original post:
Based on Gurenken/紅蓮剣/Hell Pyre.
My Localized Name: Pyre Ring
Welp, that’s a pretty straightforward Arte name. I imagine Namco came up with something pretty similar, or maybe Hell Ring or something. Let’s see here–
Namco’s Localized Name: Crimson Disk
Verdict: pro trollan
That’s it, I give up, I’m done. Actually, from what I’ve heard, Tales of Graces F’s localization is overall quite good… it’s just that these nitpicky details weren’t handled well. I don’t even blame them for it; they have a massive game to translate and can’t really be bothered spending time to figure out if minor stuff meshes well with other games in the series that haven’t even been translated yet. They’re professional translators, not obsessive Tales series fanboys/fangirls. Still, though, it raises some interesting questions: Should the fanbase be bound to abide by official localization conventions that likely weren’t all that carefully considered? Are serious business Tales series fans better judges of these sorts of things than pros bound by time constraints? Is there a good way for the localization team to somehow cross-check names, terminology, etc. with the fanbase to make sure they’re not missing any subtle nuances? If you find this sort of thing interesting, I welcome discussion in the comments below. Thanks!
Finally, some of you have been clamoring for an update on progress. I am glad you asked! I have been working on Jerome– err, Jadeite– err, Lucio’s high ohgee (that’s Japanese for Mystic Arte) and have gotten the main animation down, but need to code quite a bit of glue to get it to trigger right and interact with enemies properly. I am hoping that some of you who have played some of the newer localized Tales will find his new high ohgee quite familiar, though of course he has his own twist on it. Also, I think my translator may have translated some stuff, not sure.
Well, I must go to bed now, so I need bid you Gute Nacht. Until next time, everyone!