Undubbing is a type of video game hacking that restores the original language audio content of a game that has been localized for export while retaining the translated text of the language into which it has been localized.Undubbing is not sanctioned by game publishers.
A typical candidate for an undub is a Japanese game which has been published in the United States, with voice acting dubbed in English and text content translated into English, but lacking an in-game option to use the original Japanese audio. The process of undubbing consists of identifying the location and format of the relevant audio content in both the localized and the original versions of the game, then grafting the audio data extracted from the original language version into the localised game.
Oftentimes, dialogue will be completely rewritten in translation, which prompts for some to do a total or partial retranslation of the game in order for the displayed text to fit the actual context of the audio content. Content present in the original game, but cut in the process of localization (due to reasons such as censorship, or, in some cases, a lack of time) may also be restored in an undub.
Voice acting is a considerably bigger business in Japan than it currently is in English-speaking countries (see also Voice acting in Japan). It is not uncommon for acclaimed TV animation voice actors to be signed by a video game publisher to provide voice acting for a high-profile game. In the west, on the other hand, voice localization projects usually have smaller budgets, and as such, do not have as professional a market as the Japanese one. Due to this, there is a perceived notion that Japanese voice acting is of higher quality, and as such many fans prefer to listen to the Japanese audio track while playing the game, even if they do not speak or understand the Japanese language. Undubbing thus caters either to an audience who does not speak the original language or has not mastered it well enough to enjoy the untranslated text in an imported version of the original game, but still prefers the original audio for the reasons mentioned above, or to an audience that speaks the original language, but prefers to read in the Latin alphabet (or simply hear the original voice-actors chosen by the original studio, as it's not uncommon in Japan to create a character with a specific voice-actor in mind). Because the localized text is left in place where present, an undubbed game can usually still be fully played by those who could not play the import.
The U.S. versions of some Final Fantasy games have been undubbed, including Final Fantasy X-2 , a PlayStation 2 game by Square, released in 2003 and undubbed in 2008.
Other series that have been undubbed include Mega Man (Rockman in Japan), .hack , Xeno , Megami Tensei , Persona , and Tales .
Dubbing, mixing or re-recording, is a post-production process used in filmmaking and video production in which additional or supplementary recordings are lip-synced and "mixed" with original production sound to create the finished soundtrack.
Voice-over is a production technique where a voice—that is not part of the narrative (non-diegetic)—is used in a radio, television production, filmmaking, theatre, or other presentations. The voice-over is read from a script and may be spoken by someone who appears elsewhere in the production or by a specialist voice talent. Synchronous dialogue, where the voice-over is narrating the action that is taking place at the same time, remains the most common technique in voice-overs. Asynchronous, however, is also used in cinema. It is usually prerecorded and placed over the top of a film or video and commonly used in documentaries or news reports to explain information. Voice-overs are used in video games and on-hold messages, as well as for announcements and information at events and tourist destinations. It may also be read live for events such as award presentations.
Voice acting is the art of performing voice-overs to represent a character or provide information to an audience. Performers are called voice actors/actresses, voice artists, or voice talent. In the UK, voice acting is recognised as a specialized dramatic profession, primarily due to the BBC's long tradition of radio drama production.
In video gaming, a fan translation is an unofficial translation of a video game made by fans.
A ROM image, or ROM file, is a computer file which contains a copy of the data from a read-only memory chip, often from a video game cartridge, or used to contain a computer's firmware, or from an arcade game's main board. The term is frequently used in the context of emulation, whereby older games or firmware are copied to ROM files on modern computers and can, using a piece of software known as an emulator, be run on a different device than which they were designed for. ROM burners are used to copy ROM images to hardware, such as ROM cartridges, or ROM chips, for debugging and QA testing.
ROM hacking is the process of modifying a ROM image or ROM file of a video game to alter the game's graphics, dialogue, levels, gameplay, and/or other elements. This is usually done by technically inclined video game fans to breathe new life into a cherished old game, as a creative outlet, or to make essentially new unofficial games using the old game's engine.
Alexander O. Smith is a professional English–Japanese translator and author. While his output covers many areas such as adaptation of Japanese novels, manga, song lyrics, anime scripts, and various academic works, he is best known for his software localizations of Japanese video games including Vagrant Story, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and Final Fantasy XII. He currently resides in Kamakura, Japan, where he operates his own contract localization business, Kajiya Productions, and is co-founder of a translation and publishing company, Bento Books.
Ted Woolsey is an American video game translator and producer. He had the primary role in the North American production and localization of Square's role-playing video games released for the Super NES between 1991 and 1996. He is best known for translating Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger during his time at Square. Limitations on text length and strict content guidelines forced Woolsey to make many script changes in his translation work, which became known as "Woolseyisms" in popular culture and were both praised and criticized.
Import gamers are a subset of the video game player community that take part in the practice of playing video games from another region, usually from Japan where the majority of games for certain systems originate.
Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers is a role-playing video game developed by Atlus. Forming part of the Megami Tensei series, Soul Hackers is the second game in the Devil Summoner subseries. Originally published by Atlus for the Sega Saturn in 1997, it was later ported to the PlayStation in 1999, and Nintendo 3DS in 2012.
Subtitles are text derived from either a transcript or screenplay of the dialogue or commentary in films, television programs, video games, and the like, usually displayed at the bottom of the screen, but can also be at the top of the screen if there is already text at the bottom of the screen. They can either be a form of written translation of a dialogue in a foreign language, or a written rendering of the dialogue in the same language, with or without added information to help viewers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, who cannot understand the spoken language, or who have accent recognition problems to follow the dialogue.
Video game localization is the preparation of video game software and hardware for sale in a new region or country. Although translating the text is a large part of localization, the process includes any changes made to a game, including altering art assets, creating new packaging and manuals, recording new audio, transforming hardware, cutting out whole portions of the game due to differing cultural sensitivities and/or local legal requirements, and even adding sections to replace cut content.
Fan translation refers to the unofficial translation of various forms of written or multimedia products made by fans, often into a language in which an official translated version is not yet available. Generally, fans do not have formal training as translators but they volunteer to participate in translation projects based on interest in a specific audiovisual genre, TV series, movie, etc.
A fandub is a fan-made dub or redub of a live-action or animated production. Dubbing is the act of re-recording of a live-action or animated production, typically in a language other than the original. Most productions are translated from different languages, but some fandubs are for productions that were produced in the fandubber's native language. The dialogue can range from being a close translation to a completely-altered version of the original script's story and plots, as well as the personalities of protagonists.
The Japanese video game developer and publisher Square Enix has been translating its games for North America since the late 1980s, and the PAL region and Asia since the late 1990s. It has not always released all of its games in all major regions, and continues to selectively release games even today depending on multiple factors such as the viability of platforms or the condition of the game itself. The process of localization has changed during that time from having a one-person team with a short time and tight memory capacities to having a team of translators preparing simultaneous launches in multiple languages.
Catherine is a puzzle video game developed by Atlus. The game was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in Japan and North America in 2011, in PAL regions by Deep Silver in 2012, and for Microsoft Windows by Sega in 2019. A re-release with additional content, titled Catherine: Full Body, was released in 2019 for the PlayStation 4 worldwide and for the PlayStation Vita only in Japan, and a Nintendo Switch version released worldwide in 2020.
Atlus U.S.A., Inc. is the North American publishing branch of Japanese video game company Atlus, primarily known for localizing titles for both them and other third-party developers. Its first original role-playing title was Revelations: Persona on the PlayStation, described by staff as an attempt to break into the Western role-playing game market and establish the company's Megami Tensei franchise through its Persona sub-series.
The Mother 3 fan translation is a complete English-language localization of the 2006 Japanese video game Mother 3 by members of the EarthBound fan community led by Clyde "Tomato" Mandelin. The original game was released in Japan after a decade of development hell. When fan interest in an English localization went unanswered, members of the EarthBound fansite Starmen.net announced their own fan translation in November 2006.
Richard Mark Honeywood is a video game localization director and professional English/Japanese translator. He grew up in Australia and moved to Japan after graduating with degrees in computer science and Japanese from the University of Sydney. Honeywood initially worked for several Japanese video game developers as a programmer, but transitioned to localization after joining Square in 1997. He is credited with founding the localization department at the company which has been praised for its high quality translations. During his tenure at Square, Honeywood expanded the team's role from text translation to becoming a partner of the development team, creating localized text and graphics and ensuring that the video game code supported multiple languages easily. In 2007, Honeywood left Square Enix for Blizzard Entertainment, where he served as the global localization manager for World of Warcraft until November 2010. He then moved to be the translation director for Level-5.
Judgment is an action-adventure video game developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and published by Sega for the PlayStation 4. A spin off to the Yakuza series, initial development of the game began in 2015 under the codename Project Judge. Sega released it on December 13, 2018, in Japan, and on June 25, 2019, worldwide. The game follows lawyer-turned-detective Takayuki Yagami as he and his allies explore a case involving corpses whose eyes have been removed. The player controls Yagami in the fictional Tokyo district of Kamurocho, where he fights thugs and yakuza while carrying out side missions which involving chasing, stealth and searching for clues.