Jun 08

The Name Of The Game is… ILLGAZE!

FT3 comments • 154 views

Great article at atlus.com from the Head of Localization on what sort of issues and workarounds people come up with in translating and localizing games for different audiences. Here he talks about things encountered in translating the Etrian Odyssey games. Hard limits on character names prove fantastic linguistic challenges from long and complex names in kanji over to good ole phonetic English!

“…. we had a hard limit of 8 characters for player skills, enemy skills, and enemy names, and a generous 10 for item and equipment names. The hard part is that 8 characters in Japanese can give you enemy names like 憤怒の眼光主, which romanizes as “Fundo No Gankou-Nushi” and translates as the even lengthier “Owner of the Malicious Glare.”

That’s a lot to pack into 8 English letters. So in this case, we jettisoned the word “Owner” as being the least meaningful word in the name, and were left with “Malicious Glare.” Casting about for some shorter synonyms for “malicious” gives us words like “evil” and “bad,” which are both short enough to fit. But Evilglare and Badglare have that slightly clumsy air that went hand-in-hand with the old NES days, and we try to produce localizations more natural than that, even with character limits as tough as these.

Read more of the article for weapons workarounds and maintaining historical authenticity! Sigh – I so wish this was my job…


  1. 1
    anatol_merklich on 13 Jun 2008 #

    We should translate some of our beloved indie bands into such game characters of max 8 letters!

    Arctic Monkeys -> CHILLAPE
    Band of Horses -> NAGCREW
    Panic! At The Disco -> BALLFUNK
    Pigeon Detectives -> DOVEDICK

  2. 2
    Mark G on 13 Jun 2008 #

    Panic at the Disco -> PANDISCO
    We’ve got a fuzzbox and we’re gonna use it -> FUZZGOT
    I love you but I’ve chosen darkness -> DARKNESS

  3. 3
    DJ Punctum on 13 Jun 2008 #

    FT RIP

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