Presentation Title

Translator or Cultural Mediator?: The Localization of Video Games from Japan to North America

Presenter Information

Savannah IsonFollow

Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

Japan, Video Game Localization, Translation Studies

Biography

Savannah Ison is a Japanese major and Political Science minor at Marshall University.

Major

Japanese

Advisor for this project

Zelideth Maria Rivas

Start Date

22-4-2021 3:30 PM

Abstract

By observing video game localization—the process of transforming a game for global releases while taking into consideration the target audience's culture—this paper aims to question the role of localization when translating what Western audiences may perceive as controversial and potentially harmful content. Using Persona 5 Royal and Catherine: Full Body—two games created by the Japanese company Atlus—as case studies, this paper will explain how the North American localization teams dealt with such content. I will also discuss the implications of the changes that were or were not made in the North American releases of these games. This serves to demonstrate a pertinent issue that localizers, as translators, must address. Is it more important to appease consumers at the expense of providing a genuine depiction of the game's content? Or should localization be a faithful reflection of the source content, regardless of the potential consequences it may have? This paper will be addressing this ethical quandary.

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Apr 22nd, 3:30 PM

Translator or Cultural Mediator?: The Localization of Video Games from Japan to North America

By observing video game localization—the process of transforming a game for global releases while taking into consideration the target audience's culture—this paper aims to question the role of localization when translating what Western audiences may perceive as controversial and potentially harmful content. Using Persona 5 Royal and Catherine: Full Body—two games created by the Japanese company Atlus—as case studies, this paper will explain how the North American localization teams dealt with such content. I will also discuss the implications of the changes that were or were not made in the North American releases of these games. This serves to demonstrate a pertinent issue that localizers, as translators, must address. Is it more important to appease consumers at the expense of providing a genuine depiction of the game's content? Or should localization be a faithful reflection of the source content, regardless of the potential consequences it may have? This paper will be addressing this ethical quandary.