Hyrule Historia – Translating a Legend

As many of you may know Aria Tanner, also known as GlitterBerri, the unofficial leader of the Hyrule Historia fan translation cause started work on the official translation about five months ago. Our article in August covered the details of that, and though I’m sure many of you, like me, were sad to see the halt of a great fan movement, the general consensus was that the official localization gained a great member by having Aria on the team.

Well, with barely more than a week before Dark Horse Comics unleashes the English translation of the legend of a book to the world, an interview with Aria was conducted to ask some questions about herself and how the translation process works. At some point between the beginning of the fan translations and now you must’ve asked yourself how one goes about transforming Japanese to English, and this interview at least covers what Aria does. Hit the jump if you’re curious to read the interview!

In the interview, Aria covers many aspects of translating, such as how she learned Japanese, how she started translating, why she joined Dark Horse Comics, and a little of her own thoughts on the Zelda franchise. Here’s a short excerpt from the interview:

DHC: I have heard translation runs smoother with context. What were some of the most challenging pieces to work on in this book?

AT: Even though it has nothing to do with context, I think the most difficulty I had was deciphering the terrible handwriting of the developers. The staff of the Zelda games may be visionaries, but their penmanship rivals that of doctors. When it came to the handwritten notes on the concept art, I had three or four native speakers doing their best to help me puzzle out the characters, at times, and there are one or two utterly unreadable characters that still haunt me to this day. I won’t name names, but one developer in particular is notorious for spelling errors and questionable grammar. Luckily he’s a creative genius to make up for it!

If you’d like to read the rest of the interview, check out the page on Dark Horse Comics’ website.

Though I’m assuming at some point this messy handwriting issue was worked through, I can only imagine the difficultly if even native speakers have trouble reading the handwriting. If it’s as bad as it sounds, maybe some of Nintendo’s developers’ penmanship caused a few of the mistakes or glitches in some of their games.

Interestingly enough about this, though, is that at one point I believed that the handwritten scans that appeared throughout the Japanese Hyrule Historia would be the main roadblock for a localization. So much so that I thought a localization would never be released, and I wrote about it in an older post. I am, however, glad that I’ve been proven wrong.

And like many of you, I’m glad enough that I’ve preordered myself a copy of the localization. I’m personally excited to compare the Japanese and English versions, and see how similar the two are. Perhaps I could use Hyrule Historia as a sort of Rosetta Stone and teach myself Japanese (a highly video game centered Japanese). If you’re planning on buying Hyrule Historia, I strongly suggest you pre-order a copy now, as the price will be much cheaper than after it releases in a few days.

What did you think of the interview? Are you excited for the release of Hyrule Historia? Tell us in the comments!

Source: Dark Horse Comics