Translating has to be the least stressful job you could have at Atlus. Not to say we are in a stressful work environment - we're pretty easy going. In fact, our building is on a ten degree incline, so we're always laid back. But we do have our crunch moments when things just suck and deadlines are near. Even then, I often find myself at peace while across from me editors curse at their monitors, the angry voice of the project lead ricochets off the walls, and the happiness and life get sucked out of the testers as they play the game for the 2,340,987th time. I thought about the possible reasons why being a translator is so much easier.
1. We get to play through the game we're working on, so we're like testers, except we don't have to report bugs, and we don't have to play through it so many times that we lose our souls.
(Testers are threatened and bullied daily by their vicious boss... It's heart breaking.)
2. We don't have to deal with all of the headaches that a project lead has to deal with, so we are pretty stress-free. After translation is finished on one game, we get put on another project, or shred CDs in the warehouse, or dance through the aisles, so work is pretty versatile.
(Project leads sometimes get quarantined in bubble wrap so that the insanity they go through does not rub off on others around them.)
3. We don't have to deal with character limits. In games, there is limited space for all kinds of text, so there are limits to how long certain text can be. Not us. We just get to translate the heck out of a sentence and leave it for the editors to clean up.
(Oh! Look at us as we leap OUTSIDE the text box! OHHH! Let's see the editors do that! Hah!)
4. We get to have fun. It's a translator's job to make sure nothing gets "lost in translation", that all the information presented in a single sentence gets out there. Thus, much is left up to the discretion of the translator, and we really need to be sure that what a character says is exactly what they're saying based on context, and... stuff. I got ridiculed many times for my translations for Eternal Poison. One of our favorites:
Literal translation: ...It doesn't seem that easy of a matter.
Glynne, a character, is responding to something another character, Reyna, said. Glynne and Reyna basically hate each other and bicker all through the game. Here, Reyna is being a know-it-all and explaining something to Glynne, to which Glynne responds, literally, "...It doesn't seem that easy of a matter."
I decided to take this line into my own hands. I thought long and hard about what this line actually meant. They hate each other. Reyna is noble and a bit uptight. Then, the glorious line came to me: "Well, at least I don't have anything up my butt." Yes! It was perfect. That was what he really wanted to say! Right after that, I got a message from my project lead saying, "Who translated this!? Come report at once!" He gave me a piece of candy.
(It's chocolate, silly. Brought to you from the Atlus lunch room.)
5. We get to fill our heads with strange and interesting facts. Part of a translator's job is research. There are a lot of times weapons or foods or customs in a game really exist, and in that case, we have to research it and come up with information about it so editors know what it's talking about. Thus, I have knowledge about medieval weapons, Japanese burial sites, Polish cuisine, and how to convert Japanese bra sizes to U.S. ones.
So after we're done, it's off to the editors, who have to do the real work. It is during this time that I like to look in the mirror in the Atlus girls' bathroom (which is smaller than the guys's, which is preposterous. Don't ask me how I know), smile, tell myself, "I am powerful! I am a translating machine! I am Japan!", growl, sing and act out the Japanese version of "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid for victims eating lunch, talk to the giant baby seal stuffed animal, trip on someone's leg, and go back to my desk.
I even turned my experiences into a song. Enjoy!
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