Camp Hyrule 2003 - Localization Team Guest Chat

Camp Hyrule 2003
Localization Team Guest Chat

Tuesday, August 12, 3:00pm PDT
Before a game is released in North America, the NOA Localization Team works closely with the game developers to make sure the game is perfect for the English-speaking audience. These guys know Nintendo games better than anyone, so don't miss this opportunity to chat with the experts!

Transcript typed by Dryth from Independent Zelda
Another transcript is available at Nintendo Insider

NOA_ANDY: *looks around, dusts off the podium and gets ready for the big event.

NOA_ANDY: *also makes sure that the other NOAs' deli trays are adequately stocked with pimento-free olive loaf.

NOA_RICK: we've got olive loaf?

NOA_ANDY: *gives the NOAs large glasses of water.

*** the input queue is now open to new questions.

NOA_BILL: Hi! Just to get the explanation out of the way, here is what we do: we are the team at NOA that is responsible for making Nintendo's Japanese games and turning them into the Americanized versions you all know and love. We handle first party and second party games on both the Gamecube and Gameboy Advance. So, Zelda, Smash, Animal Crossing, Advance Wars, Golden Sun, Mario... We've worked on them all. Text, manuals, voice scripts, and more. Some of us are translators, some of us are writers, and some of us are editors, but we all get to play the games before anybody else.

NOA_RICH: Hello all.

NOA_RICH: Give us a sec here to get ourselves sorted. ;)

NOA_TIM: Hi campers. All happy I hope.

Howdy everyone.

NOA_ANDY: Please welcome Rich, Time, Nate, and Bill!

NOA_ANDY: They're just visitors, so don't expect them to be warming up around the campfire later.

NOA_ANDY: This is a moderated chat, so only approved questions will appear!

NOA_ANDY: Bill already took care of the big intro, so let's get right down to it.

NOA_BILL: Sounds good, Andy! Where are the questions?

NOA_TIM: Geez, and I wanted to sing songs around the campfire...

NOA_ANDY: Tim, you can stay as long as you want, of course.

NOA_RICH: What am I supposed to do with all these marshmallows, huh?

NOA_NATE: *tap tap* Is this thing on or what?

NOA_ANDY: Maybe we'll make an honorary cabin for you!

NOA_TIM: Hey, Rich's name isn't really Rich.

BOUDY: Hey guys, I know you have all met Miyamoto. And he is totally awesome, so what did you think of meeting him? I envy you by the way.


NOA_RICH: quiet, you.

NOA_BILL: Miyamoto is the coolest guy in the world. Fortunately, I get to translate for him when he comes to the U.S., so I get to see and talk to him fairly regularly.

NOA_TIM: My. Miyamoto is not only an awesome game creator, he's a really niec guy. And he likes to garden a lot.

NOA_BILL: If you met Miyamoto on the street, you would never guess that he was the creator of Mario, just because he's so down-to-earth.

BABYWONG: What is olive loaf?

NOA_RICH: I understand he plays the banjo, too.

NOA_RICH: Olive loaf is a compressed meat product. It's... somewhat unpleasant.

TSA: Question: When translating a text heavy game like Zelda, what are the steps you take to bring it to English, and what is the goal of the localization team?

NOA_BILL: The first thing we do when localize a game is play the Japanese version to the end.

NOA_ANDY: Reply to TSA

NOA_BILL: Once we figure out the story, we get the text files and start working on the translation.

NOA_TIM: We also look at the graphics and anything that might not suit our market.

NOA_NATE: And then we play some more.

NOA_RICH: and more.

NOA_RICH: and more.

NOA_BILL: Oops, Out of order. First we name all the people, places and things in the game that need naming, then we translate. After that, guys like Nate and Rich go in and rewrite the text and make it funny and interesting.

NOA_NATE: And then we play Smash Bros. to take a break and not get burned out.

NOA_ANDY: I'll be rude and ask a question of my own ... What's everyone's current favorite game?

NOA_BILL: Rich moves a few commas around, and presto, it's done!

NOA_NATE: Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

NOA_RICH: So we've got translators, and then we've got writers... We work hand-in-hand (it's sweet, really) to make sure we understand the game, the characters, all that stuff.

NOA_RICH: And then Bill hurts my feelings.

NOA_BILL: Yes! We just got done playing Double Dash right before this chat started! It's FUN!!!

NOA_NATE: Say it right, it's CHOWDAH!

NINTENDO_JAKE: why don't the people who do the transformations to U.S. of the original games leave some Japanese attributes in? Such as Shine Get! on SMS those don't seem to hurt anyone

NOA_BILL: Nate's from Boston, by the way. thus, he can't pronounce "r"

NOA_NATE: I can pronounce it sometimes, jeRk.

Shine Get ... hee hee hee.

NOA_RICH: Yeah, Bill... tell us about Shine Get!

NOA_NATE: Yeah, I liked that too, but Bill is about to explain.



NOA_BILL: Ahh, Shine Get. We thought about leaving it in or gamers who know all about bad English in video games, but we decided that most people who play Mario wouldn't get it, thus it was changed.

NOA_TIM: I'd suggested Shine Getting, but I was shot down.

What was it finally?


NOA_ANDY: Ah yes.

NOA_NATE: Let's shine getting adventure!

MOKIE-(JU$+1N_B4IL3Y): How long before release do you usually receive a game from the Japanese developer?

NOA_RICH: Depends on the game, really...

NOA_RICH: Animal Crossing took a really LONG time. There's a lot of writing in there, as you probably know...

NOA_RICH: So that one took eight months to do.

NOA_RICH: Golden Sun was shorter... A couple of months, if I remember correctly.

NOA_RICH: Nate, how long was SMS?

NOA_BILL: Animal Crossing was a lot of fun though, because we spent almost all of our time exclusively on that game. Usually we are working on multiple titles at once.

BLSTRK32: At the end of a game, during the credits, I've noticed the name "Bill". Is that you, NOA Bill?

NOA_NATE: We saw SMS about four months before launch, I think. Maybe even earlier.

NOA_TIM: Sometimes we're working as the game is being developed, so we'll catch up to the developer and then have to wait until we receive more info.

NOA_BILL: In the credits? Just Bill? Not Bill...something? It might be me...

NOA_ANDY: Bullet Bill


NOA_NATE: He's like Cher-- he just goes by one name.

NOA_BILL: Actually, if you check the credits of your favorite game, odds are at least one of us is probably in it.

BLACK_MAGE: Would you say Animal Crossing was a difficult game to translate? And Can you give any information on Animal Crossing 2?

NOA_BILL: Animal Crossing 2? Well, Japan just released Animal Crossing e+. It uses SD cards, which lets people trade their towns over the internet. Pretty cool.

NOA_BILL: We're going to be going to Kyoto sometime this fall, so expect we'll learn more about AC2 then.


TSA: A Link to the Past sufferred a bunch of changes from it's Japanese counterpart, Triforce of the Gods. One example is the Japanese manual says the Master Sword was forged before the Imprisoning War, where in the US version it says during the Imprisoning War. Which version is usually more accurate for the games and manuals and why are such big discrepancies made?

NOA_RICH: "we"? Am I going, too? Nobody tells me anything.

NOA_TIM: AC was tough because the game was SO Japanese. The used different regional dialects, Japanese holidays, etc. We had to go in and rebuild huge portions of the game. Luck for us the development team was really nice and cooperative.

NOA_BILL: Uh-oh! Zelda fanatic on the loose! We actually went back and introduced some consistencies to the LttP text on Game Boy Advance.

NOA_BILL: The question about the Master Sword is a tough one. Legends are things that are passed down over time. In the telling, certain details tend to... change.

NOA_NATE: Smooth, Bill.

NOA_ANDY: Reply to TSA
Nice. I'm sure TSA will NOT be satisfied ... :P

4SWORDSLINK: How did you guys get jobs at Nintendo then?

NOA_RICH: I sent in an application. Dull story, really.

NOA_TIM: They found me under a rock.

NOA_BILL: Uh... I studied Japanese for almost 13 years, and when I came back from Japan I kind of accidentally ended up working here.

NOA_RICH: Found, dug up... to-may-to, to-mah-to.

NOA_NATE: I was the regional champion of the Boston-area Super Smash Bros. Syndicate, and they were forced to hire me.

NOA_BILL: Nate I started at the same time: Ocarina of Time debug. Nate was actually the fastest Zelda tester. He could beat Ocarina in 5 hours flat.

NOA_TIM: My rock was in Japan, too. I lived in the Osaka area for 8 years before ending up at Nintendo.

NOA_NATE: LIAR! What I said!

MEDDMAWAMM: What games are you currently localizing? (that you can tell us about at least)

NOA_RICH: I studied English in college, spent some time working in the game industry for a while, and just kinda stumbled on this job from our website's job postings, to be honest...

NOA_BILL: Nate is actually the worst at Smash in the office. We're nice, though, and let him once in a while.

NOA_TIM: Nate's actually an android that we built in Chowder's basement. He does play a mean game of Smash, though.

NOA_RICH: Let him what, Bill? You left out a word again.

NOA_NATE: Bill types so slow because he lost four fingers to me in ill-advised Smash bets.

NOA_BILL: Actually, I'm supposed to be translating Pikmin 2 as we speak. Fun game. And guess what, no day limit!

NOA_RICH: I'm working on Fire Emblem, since no one else will answer the question...

NOA_TIM: I'm working on Fire Emblem, Mario Kart: Double Dash, and Hamtaro.

NOA_BILL: We're also working on Mario & Luigi. Think Mario RPG on your handheld.

NOA_TIM: Anyone play Fire Emblem at E3?

NOA_NATE: I'm working on Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Pikmin 2, Kirby Air Ride, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and something else I can't remember right now.

NOA_BILL: And then there's that Kid Ic... HAH! Just kidding!

NOA_NATE: BILL! You, sir, are an idiot.

NOA_RICH: Fire Emblem's a huge fantasy war game... Just amazing. Good strategy, great characters, and good story (he says, patting himself on the back).

... and thus the latest internet rumor began.

LINK64GOGETTA: Have there ever been times when a game wasn't released in the US because it was "too hard" to translate

NOA_RICH: note to our readers: NEVER BELIEVE BILL. I learned that the hard way.

NOA_TIM: If anyone of you liked Advance Wars, you'll LOVE Fire Emblem!!!

NOA_TIM: NO!NO!NO!NO!NO! We can translate anything!!!

NOA_RICH: If Animal Crossing wasn't too hard, NOTHING is.

DBZFAN2: Hey guys! Just wondering, when you translated the text for Super Smash Brothers Melee, did you do the voices too? If you did, did you have to get people like the person who does Mario's voice to come in and voice for it? Thanks.

NOA_TIM: Sorry, we can LOCALIZE anything. Translating's only part of the job.

NOA_RICH: Good point, tim... You also wrote me out of a job.

NOA_TIM: Nate, Bill and I are all part of the crowd cheering in the background. We do hire professional voice actors for a lot of our voice recording, though.

NOA_NATE: Yeah, we hire voice actors here for some voices (like Charles Martinet, who does Mario, Luigi, Wario, etc.) and others get voiced over in Japan. We also fill in the blanks (out voices are in the crowd noise).

MUSICMAN2059: Normally when I finish a game by Nintendo, I see Mike "Fukuda" in the credits. Who the heck is this guy?

NOA_BILL: I saw a question about Double Dash. Don't tell me you guys are worried about Mario Kart being slow! Do you think Nintendo would take one of the most fun Multiplayer games ever and take the fun out by dropping the speed. Don't believe everything an editor on a game site tels you.

NOA_NATE: It's an anagram.

NOA_NATE: Psych.

... unless it's

NOA_RICH: Bill's going off the script!

NOA_TIM: Double Dash IS fast!

NOA_BILL: Mike Fukuda? He's our boss... or at least our boss's boss's boss. He chooses when games get released, basically. He's a Senior VP here at NOA.

NOA_NATE: Double Dash rocks hard.

ZELDA_DUDE: When is Mario Kart Double Dash coming out?

NOA_NATE: November 17.

NOA_TIM: November 17

NOA_RICH: November 17


NOA_TIM: You owe me a carbonated beverage.

NOSFERATUALUCARD: ous to play Mario Kart: Double Dash. What are some of the things that you can do on there that seem to be revolutionary on there? If any?

NOA_BILL: Umm... I think it might be out November 17. But if you live in Seattle and are going to Toy Test, you can play after 8/20.

NOA_NATE: Switching characters is huge--you can hoard items in the front seat until the end of the race and swap players out to get good character-specific weapons (like Baby Mario's Chain Chomp--it rules).

What exactly doe the Chain Chomp do?

NOA_NATE: Oh yeah, go to Toy Test, and you'll see a bunch of other stuff that we can't say just yet.

NOA_NATE: Chomp attaches to the front of your ride and drags you along at high speed, demolishing everybody in front of you.


JAKEBOB: how much of the japanese game is changed when it come to america, besides translations

NOA_RICH: Sometimes, there are visuals in the background, graphics and things like that, that have Japanese in them. We try to change those when we can.

NOA_BILL: Jakebob, again, depends on the game. (End stock answer.) Sometimes we'll make game play recommendations, but beyond that, games don't change much.

NOA_RICH: Also, in Animal Crossing, there were a number of Japanese holidays that we replaced with American ones to make it more accessible to the US audience.

NOA_TIM: Basically, we try and stay true to the spirit of the original game, but at the same time make it accessible to our market.

NOA_BILL: Yeah, Animal Crossing was a huge exception to the rule, on every front.

NOA_RICH: What Tim said.

NOA_TIM: Thanks, Rich!

LORDKEV: Who translated Waluigi's "Don't Whiff?" in Mario Golf - and what does it mean?

NOA_TIM: The most common changes are character, item, and place names.

NOA_NATE: We wrote most of the taunts here--in that case, "Don't whiff!" means "Don't miss!"--y'know, like miss the ball?

NOA_BILL: Did you guys like the opening movie for Golf?

NOA_TIM: I think Waluigi translated his own text!

OK, you guys are going to love this question...

It reminds me of being at a Star Trek convention...

NOA_RICH: That doesn't sound good, andy...

MIKEMN: In Animal Crossing, I noticed an error. When Officer Copper finds out Gracie is coming to town, he talks about a "Bust Illegal Parkers" campaign, yet the word campaign is spelled wrong "no g in campaign). I just wanted to inform you guys of that mistake.

NOA_RICH: We'll get on it.

NOA_NATE: I hate you.


NOA_TIM: Shhh! We'll be fired!

NOA_ANDY: Think we should do a recall?

NOA_BILL: Uh, who would let that guy in here? Security!!!

NOA_NATE: *weeping*

NOA_RICH: Are we hiring testers right now?

NOA_TIM: Yeah! Blame the testers!!

NOA_NATE: We spel fiennes.

NOA_ANDY: We only have five more minutes left, guys!

NOA_BILL: I think we should start a bust illegal editors campaiGn

NOA_RICH: I'm pretty sure that was in the translation, BILL.

MUSICMAN2059: I know most of the time NOAs are hard at work, but of course you guys gotta stray at one point (everyone does). How much time a day do you people spend "slacking" and playing video games? ;)

NOA_BILL: Um... We only play smash about 4 hours a day..

NOA_RICH: Seriously, though, we're pretty "cutting edge" with our spelling. You're getting a glimpse into THE WRITING OF TOMORROW!!!

NOA_TIM: We have our daily fix of Smash at lunch and then again at the end of the day.

NOA_BILL: Actually, we only play at lunch. And after six. Usually until midnight.

NOA_BILL: We all work very late, though, when we aren't playing Smash.

NOA_ANDY: Any parting words for these Nintendo fanatics?

NOA_RICH: um... bye?

NOA_TIM: Thanks for supporting Nintendo! We've got a lot of good stuff coming your way.

NOA_RICH: yeah, what tim said (again).

NOA_NATE: We're just as big fans of Nintendo as you guys.

NOA_RICH: Ah, they love the chowdah.

NOA_TIM: That's right, Nate!

NOA_ANDY: Aiight. Thanks a lot you guys! I know that all of the campers really appreciate it!

NOA_RICH: thank you andy : )

NOA_TIM: C-ya!!

NOA_NATE: Bye all.

NOA_BILL: Mario Kart is fun and fast! Don't believe everything you read! And when you play it see how fun and fast it is, call out the naysayers!

NOA_TIM: Word!!!

NOA_ANDY: Now quit slackin' and GET BACK TO WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOA_RICH: sir, yes, sir!


*** The input queue is now closed to new questions.

NOA_BILL: Bye, everybody! Back to translating the words of Capt. Olimar!

NOA_RICH: oh, and my boss said to tell you that I love my job.

NOA_ANDY: *turns off the mic and cleans up the olive loaf.

*** Disconnected.