I still remember how it felt when I first started studying Japanese and when I first started studying to be a translator, so I wrote these articles with that feeling firmly in mind.
Whether you’re studying Japanese, translation, or just want to know more about how this stuff works, hopefully you’ll find these articles helpful and interesting.
Video Games and Japan’s Three Main Writing Systems
Japanese game text has transformed in a unique way since the 1970s. Here's a look at how and why.
The Problem with L, R, and Other Letters in Japanese Translation
There's actual logic behind all those Japanese game typos, and it goes beyond L and R.
Japan’s Mysterious Love of the Word “Let’s”
The English word "let's" appears in Japanese stuff everywhere, including video games. Here's why!
Japan’s Surprising Love of the Word “LABO”
Step foot in Japan and you'll find yourself surrounded by the word "Labo" written in English. What's the deal?
Why Japanese Games Have Small Text on Top of Normal Text
Japanese writing sometimes has smaller writing on top of it. This explains what it is, and why it exists.
How to Tell the Difference Between Chinese and Japanese Writing
If you don't know Chinese or Japanese, these easy tips will help you differentiate the two.
How Japanese Ellipsis Usage Compares with English
Play any Japanese game and you'll probably find an avalanche of ellipses. What's the deal?
How Items and Names Get Sorted in Japanese Games
The first Final Fantasy game organizes items in a weird order, but why? And how are words sorted in Japanese anyway?
Wanderbar SNES and NES Overview
I glued a Super NES and NES emulator to a web browser to create a useful tool for fans, students, and others.
When Is It Okay to Localize and Not Localize?
Why does anything need to be changed in translation? Why can't everything just be a straight translation?
Is This Snowy Translation Really Literal?
A line of dialogue includes a translator's note about literal translations. What *is* a "literal translation", anyway?
Tricky Translations #1: Maou & Daimaou
These two simple words are tricky to translate. Here's why, and how they've been translated since the 1980s!
Tricky Translations #2: The Four Heavenly Kings
Here's why the phrase "Four Heavenly Kings" appears in so many translations and why it's surprisingly tough to translate.
Tricky Translations #3: False Friends & Japanese Hips
Jumping between languages is a tricky process. Here's one type of trap that fools every translator at least once.
The Many Translations of the “Lost Woods”
Zelda, Mario, Pokémon, and many other games have the same forest name in Japanese, but not in English. Here's why.
How Corpse Party’s Infamous “Pooper” and “Retard” Lines Worked in Japanese
Were these crude, offensive lines added to the English translation? What are they in Japanese?
Game Localization and Nintendo of America’s Content Policies in the 1990s (NSFW)
Nintendo altered lots of games in the 1990s, but how did those changes affect Japanese games localized into English?
Common Problems When Translating Games into Japanese
Terrible things can happen when you try to translate your game into Japanese - here's how to avoid disaster.
Games with Famous Bad Translations INTO Japanese
English-speaking gamers have "All Your Base", but what do Japanese gamers have?
Popular, Infamous, and Surprising Game Localizations into Japanese
Japanese gamers play a lot of Western-made games, so which ones have the best localizations?
How 2 Grand Theft Auto Scenes Were Localized in Japanese
How are modern, AAA English games localized into Japanese? Here are some specific examples.
Learning Japanese & Becoming a Translator
If you've ever considered studying Japanese or translation, this information will be useful to know.
Here’s What Being a Translator Is Like, Business-Wise
Pro translators have to do more than just translate - the business side of things is a challenge too.
How “Control Code” Mistakes Can Wreck Game Translations
Game translation involves more than just text. If you're not careful, you could end up with problems like these.
The Growing Pains of the Translation (and Professional) World
If you're hoping to learn a skill or start a career in any field, this is a helpful experience to learn from.
The Exciting Ups and Painful Downs of Game Localization
Every professional starts from somewhere. This professional translator shares an early misstep in his career.
Fan Translation: Does It Help or Hurt Getting Professional Work?
Here's a quick summary of my own experiences as a professional translator and a fan translator.
How One Fan Translation Team Turned Official
To some degree, most professional translators start out as hobbyists. Here's one such story.