Monday, July 9, 2012

Lost in transla... Oh wait, I almost did it again, didn't I?

Crap. And here I thought I wouldn't actually have to type this post.

Ah well, here we go then, in case someone would give a rat's tail about what I did translate, will possibly translate, certainly not when I did; as well as what to expect and not to expect from me.

I started translation back in a time when quite a few people reading this post weren't even born. As a matter of fact, I couldn't remember when I started to save my poor hide.

I'll usually say I'm a language nerd. Fact is, I learned to read and write French while in the kindergarten. Or so I've been told, and I probably won't go against that version, given I later browsed through the books that were used in the process at a later point in time (Tinou & Nanou... Holy crap, my goldfish memory actually retained that).

The second language I learned, still by myself, was English. With good reason given, as any nerd of those times of yore, I had a C64, and nothing was translated. So I took a Harrap's Shorter and ground away at the thing until I dropped. Or rather, until I didn't need it anymore.

As an amusing side note, I also tried to learn pronounciation that way, which left me with quite a few flaws on that side of things for a long, long while. And I'm still correcting those as we sp... as you read.

The third one was Dutch, though I never gave much of a damn about it. Uninteresting. Fugly. Inconsistent. I can't exactly remember who said "Dutch is the bastard son of English and German. Worst problem with it is, it only inherited the flaws of its parents". I couldn't phrase it any better.

So, what would one little nerd do with an  english-only computer, time to spare and an unhealthy taste for words?

Why, modify games and translate them (kind of) of course. And learn the full Trivial Pursuit question blocks by heart, but that's another story entirely.

Later went on with games and the irritating inability to translate them on consoles.

And a long, long while later, came back to the roots, for reasons I do not wish to expose here. Suffice to say that I have as unhealthy a hatred for so-called pros who couldn't tell word gender or spell their own name as I have the same love for words I always had.

'twas the fine year 1996.

I can't say I've been hyperactive, or that I've released much. What I can say, on the other hand, is that I usually proofread my work to the point it is as flawless as I can make it, one-man army style. Which is, flawed. But readable. And with hardly a spelling or grammar error in it.

On to my list of works, succinctly and in no particular order given I have a hard time remembering when I did what.

The only exceptions would be:
* 2006 - POV (Half-Life mod) under the nickname NightWolf
* 2011 - Conquest: Divide & Conquer by Proxy Studios (there should be a post about it on this very blog)
* 2011 - Monster RPG 2 by Nooskewl (same thing)
* 2012 - Rijn the Specpyre in Manor of the Damned by Hideout Games

Apart from those, here's a quick and fugly list:
* The Dark Mod, v1.0 back in... 2009 or 2010, then v1.6 or 1.7, can't remember, around 2011 IIRC. That's the core mod, as well as a few missions (which lack accented characters as they were done in the time of v1.0, which was more of a hack than a full-fledged translation)
* A LOT of Thief I, Thief II and Thief: Deadly Shadows fan missions, complete with audio and video editing, map editing, subtitling, audio/video syncing, video redubbing, discovery and documentation of the tools needed (FWIW, before I did it, the only tool usually used was EDIT.COM. Yes, that EDIT.COM.)
* Cytadela (which was, and probably still is, more of a draft than a complete translation. Still, it's usable, which is a start, and the project is FOSS.)
* Correction of Terminus Traductions' latest version of the French translation of Final Fantasy VI (and I dare say it must be the only translation by them which isn't mind-numbingly ridden with mistakes, unfortunately)
* A bunch of unreleased work, from a re-translation of Darwinia (which was done before and WAS more accurate than the official one, much to my (all too usual) dismay) to a POC translation of Farland Story 1 on PC-98; along with a translation of Ardentryst (never released due to the author never answering my request for authorization), correction of Metagolf (actually released, but it's fairly minor, not going to bulletpoint that one :)) , translation of Star Traders RPG for Android (discontinued given the author never answered after the core translation was done), and probably a bit more.
* Possible future translations: DROD. Yes, that DROD.
* Confirmed future translations: more Dark Mod missions. The Journey Down: Chapter 1.

It's only since 2011 that I've been willing to go public with this... business. One may ask why. Short answer: I'm not one of those goofballs pretenders. I may not have a diploma, but I've been honing my skills for around 20 years now, and honing my skills on "current-gen" videogames and mods for 6 years. I loathe the official translation business. I hate with every last drop of my blood to see translations scorched, fucked up, miserably failed. Be it for AAA games or for indie games. I've been grinding at words for countless hours, tracking down mistakes for hours on end, learning to copycat the original styles, making sure my work was as perfect as the original deserved. Picking works of a progressively difficult and grand scope.

After The Dark Mod, I felt I was about ready. After Conquest, Monster RPG 2 and Manor of the Damned, I *know* I am ready. I *know* I am better than most pros taken individually. I *know* I can be better than a full pro team.

Just like I know where my limits are. The Dark Mod taught me that. I am able to grind. To learn. To hack. Modify. Edit. Gimp. Play around with stuff. But my limits are the same ones I always had, and probably always will be: I may be a hacker. But I'm no coder. And code wears me down very, very quickly.

Just like I know a fraud when I see one. Which, in this business, is very, very, VERY often. Just like I'll go to any lengths to provide as good a work as I can. Just like I'll update until everything is readable by my kids.

Just like I now know when to call it quits. Just like I know I have to release early, release often.

Long story short, I'm as indie as your average dev out there, if in a different field. My work may not be perfect or grand, but I may take pride in calling it mine. In calling it a labour of love.

I may or may not be the man for the job. But remember this: any translation that isn't mine, I'm usually able to catch a dozen mistakes in under an hour, if not under a quarter, of playing your game (and that includes some quite lauded ones, e.g. Amnesia: The Dark Descent).

And you'll wish I was joking right there. You'll seriously damn wish.

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