Zelda – Windwaker: Is the “Hero’s New Clothes” a reference to “The Emperor’s New Clothes?” [JPN vs ENG]


My friends over at Source Gaming are doing a special Zelda week (February 22nd through March 1st) to celebrate the upcoming release of Breath of the Wild on the Switch.

They have made plenty of Zelda-themed content for the week, such as various facts about the first game of the series, and a piece on defending Skyward Sword  from backlash.

So, today, on my end, I look at a great example of localization found within Windwaker. The localization team behind the game managed to place a fitting cultural reference to an old story in an appropriately humorous moment in the game.

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Zelda – Ocarina of Time: How does Ruto refer to Sheik in Japanese? [JPN vs ENG]

My friends over at Source Gaming are doing a special Zelda week (February 22nd through March 1st) to celebrate the upcoming release of Breath of the Wild on the Switch.

They have written various articles already, from interviews with known Zelda speedrunners to discussing what new Zelda characters could be added to Hyrule Warriors.

So, today I decided to take a look at a hotly debated topic: Sheik’s gender!

But! I am not looking at the debate as a whole. Rather, I am simply looking at two lines of dialogue that are often referred to that caused said debate.

I do not explain the debate in great detail or all the arguments, nor do I really take any sides on it. I am simply looking at two bits of dialogue that are often cited when talking about it.

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Zelda Windwaker: What are the island names in Japanese? [JPN vs ENG]

My friends over at Source Gaming are doing a special Zelda week (February 22nd through March 1st) to celebrate the upcoming release of Breath of the Wild on the Switch.

They have written various articles already, from interviews with known Zelda speedrunners to discussing what new Zelda content should be in a hypothetical Smash Bros Switch game.

As such, I decided to spend today on a Zelda related comparison: the islands of Windwaker! We’ll take a look at how the localization team (for the North American version) tackled island names, and what they were originally in Japanese. I suggest some alternate names for them based on the literal translation, or on other factors of the island along with the translation, but by no means claim them to be superior to the official localization in anyway. It is purely for educational purposes, and is not intended to demean the hard work in anyway.

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Legends of Localization Book 1 Out Now! (Happy Thanksgiving!)

This is just an FYI! For anyone who follows this blog, you will know I am an aspiring translator/localizer. If you share a similar interest (or are just a curious mind in seeing Japanese to English comparisons) AND are a fan of the Legend of Zelda series, then this book is for you.

Legends of Localization’s first book has been released, with plenty of goodies for those who place early orders. You can place an order for it yourself here. I highly recommend getting this book to help Clyde (the author) produce more works of similar sorts in the future.

This will be a Happy Thanksgiving indeed! Thanks Clyde!

Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes NoA VS NoE Localization (1)

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?” Yikes. I never knew Link talked like that. Imagine it with voice acting! But besides that, look at the length of dialogue there versus the other. 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).

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, you know? 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.

This post is not an attack on either team, really. 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!

Zelda – (Fan Made) “I love you Zelda” Reaction Page Translations

Today’s translation is just a curiosity one. A friend sent a page of various Zelda’s throughout the Legend of Zelda series and their predicted responses to (presumably Link) saying “I love you” to them.

It is fan done, and is just meant to be in good fun I assume rather than anything serious. You can see the translation below. If anybody knows the source of the original (also provided), please be sure to tell me so I may add it to this post!

UPDATE: Here is the source!


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Zelda – Skyward Sword: Groose’s Name Origin

I was really busy today, but came across a brief article on NintendoEverything which discusses very interesting localization trivia being Groose’s name from Skyward Sword! So I summarize the points below.

In Japanese, his name is Bado バド which is straightforwardly “Bird” in English and fits the Skyward Sword theme of the sky/birds (but can also be “bad”). So, former Nintendo Treehouse member Mike Drucker did the following:

During a naming meeting, Drucker was told that Groose was a jock and sort of a jerk. Nintendo was also trying to stick with a bird theme with Skyward Sword. With that information, he went from “Bruce” to “Goose” to “Groose”.

That’s as straightforward as fans predicted, but still nice to know!

Read the full article (and hear the podcast featuring Mike Drucker) here at NintendoEverything.