There has been a lot of buzz about Tri-Force Hereos’ localization in North America versus that in Europe. A notable example was a meme included in the NoA version that was non existent in the Japanese and NoE versions. This split people down whether it is wise to include a meme into a game and risk losing the “timeless” factor. You can read a great article on Legends of Localization about that.
For me, I’m just looking at other smaller things that still stand out in odd ways. One of my friends is playing through the NoE localized version, and did me a favor and found the same part of the game in NoA. Look at the differences:
“Isn’t it adorbs?”is interesting. NoE has shown to be more accurate to the Japanese, while NoA seems to be taking a more liberal approach. This is not always a problem, of course, as sometimes localization can add a charm that the original text may not really convey, but it can be a double edged sword.
However, I see people that are okay with the localization of NoA, and some even enjoy it more so. in fact, some go as far as saying a literal translation is never what localization is supposed to be –which I agree with, except that is not a literal translation NoE does (yet people are claiming it does and is so “boring” as a result). The point is a literal translation would, literally, be a mess. However, what NoE does is convey the original idea in a way that sounds like proper English to the player. A literal translation would be, “Is it not great?” for instance (I would have to see the original to give a more accurate instance), to which they corrected appropriately (it’s great, isn’t it?), where as NoA takes a step farther, going “Isn’t it adorbs?” Which, while a similar meaning, starts to deviate in word usage (adorbs vs great is a pretty different idea). In other articles, I often explore how the smallest difference in word usage can lead to big results.
Localization is to bring the idea more than the literal meaning over, yes, but “adorbs” to what else could have been used is a little iffy when thinking of the image one is trying to convey to their audience. It is like how Lucina’s victory lines in Super Smash Bros. 4 have a similar meaning to the Japanese, but the nuances in the way she says them and the exact word choice changes her personality/image to the audience completely. The small things matter! (Well, relatively. This is all, in the end, quite trivial! But among the trivialities, it matters!)
This post is not an attack on either team. But it is a post that displays some differences and the resulting nuances that can change impressions between the two localizations. I doubt many even read this deeply into it (nor should they) and should just enjoy the games for what they are! But for those curious about this sort of thing (or those planning a career in such things as translation and localization), it may be something to take into consideration when translating your own material. Take a more liberal or literal approach? Just remember: literal does not mean conveying the same idea in proper English. Literal would be, well, literally writing what it means.
Lastly, on a more minor note, it seems NoA’s dialogue went for a more wordy approach compared to NoE’s more concise approach. Which do you prefer?
Anyway, just a small post on it. There may be more in the future if my friend runs into anymore as she plays!