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ALEX: Hi, everybody! Welcome to another episode of Open World. Today we will be interviewing Yuhei Nasu, from Bonus Stage. But before we go to the interview, let’s check out the LocFact of today.
LORE: Hi, guys! Welcome to a new Open Word LocFact!
FLOR: Hi, everyone!
LORE: This time we are going to be talking about one of the most famous franchises of all time: Pokémon!
SINGER: Pokémon! Gotta catch them all! It’s you and me I know it’s my destiny!
FLOR: More specifically, we’ll be discussing how Pokémon are named in different languages.
LORE: Exactly. Did you know that not every country knows these cute and incredible little creatures by the same names? So where do their names come from, and what can they tell us about each creature?
FLOR: Well, there are a few exceptions, though, such as Pikachu, which is the most iconic Pokémon, as everyone knows, whose name has never been transcreated even though it might sound weird in some languages.
PIKACHU: I’ve been so lonely!
LORE: Right. So let’s get into it. Our first case is the legendary bird trio Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres. Their English names clearly show a combination of Spanish numbers, well, to those who know the Spanish numbers, “uno” (one), “dos” (two) and “tres” (three), but since the game is originally in Japanese, what are their original names?
FLOR: Well, their Japanese names are Freezer (フリーザー), as you can see in the screen, Thunder (サンダー) and Fire (ファイヤー). Quite straightforward names, right? And in German, these powerful bird Pokémon are called Arktos (and in German, “Arktis” is “Arctic”), Zapdos and Lavados. In German, as I said, “Arktis” means “Arctic” and Lavados comes from “lava,” of course. Other than that, the names have remained quite similar to English and have been adapted to rhyme to “tos-dos-dos.”
LORE: Right. Lickitung is another Pokémon that has a peculiar name in German: it’s Shlurp. This is the German onomatopoeia of a lick, which makes the creature’s name a clear definition of what it actually does. Another case of onomatopoeia in Pokémon names is Golduck’s French equivalent: Akwakwak. This is a really adorable name since it’s more or less how a child would pronounce a duck’s quack. So cute!
FLOR: Yeah, it is so cute. But these names are really creative and easy for children to remember, so I wonder if that’s the main reason behind their etymology. But enough with old school generation. What about Gen 8 Pokémon? Corviknight is as awesome as it is scary. Here on the screen, you can see how Corviknight is called in Japanese. Which is pronounced as, and I’m sorry if I’m pronouncing it wrong, “amaga” and literally means “armor.”
LORE: Right. In English, “corvi” comes from “corvus,” a big variety of crow, and “knight,” which makes complete sense since this fearful crow Pokémon possesses steel body, feathers and a steel peck, which make up its armor. In German, it’s called “Krarmor.” The “Kr” stands for “Krähe”— “Es tut mir leid” [I’m sorry, in German]. I’m not a German speaker. Please, please, please correct us on this. Somebody comment and tell us how to pronounce this correctly next time. A small sized body crow variety and, well, the “armor” part of it is obvious.
FLOR: As many of you may know, there are more than 800 Pokémon now. We could go on for days with these names, but I think you’ve got the idea. There’s a lot of transcreation going on behind these adorable creatures.
LORE: Absolutely. So thank you so much for joining us today. Add a comment about what other Pokémon names are unique in your languages so we can keep up the conversation about this iconic franchise. And see you next time on another Open World LocFact! Bye!
FLOR: See you next time!
SINGER: Gotta catch them all! Pokémon!
FLOR: Hi, everyone! Welcome to the new episode of Open World. Today here with us, we have Yuhei Nasu. Hi, Yuhei! How are you?
ALEX: Hey, Yuhei!
YUHEI: I’m very good. Thank you for having me.
FLOR: Welcome. So we wanted to introduce you to this amazing guest that we have today here with us. Yuhei is a veteran of the game localization industry with 12 years of experience under his belt, most recently as a localization producer for EA. Born in Japan and raised in England, Germany and the US, Yuhei returned to Japan in 2006 to pursue a career in localization. Yuhei has had a healthy obsession with videogames since he received his first Game Boy at the age of five, and when he’s not gaming, Yuhei spends his time on music and skateboarding. So, hi, Yuhei. Welcome. How are you today?
YUHEI: Hello. I’m very good and thank you for the introduction.
FLOR: Oh, please. We are super excited to have you. And well, first of all, I wanted to start like, well, I wanted to learn how does a localization producer day look like? I mean, what does it take to be a localization producer? And if there were any tools or specific skills that you had to learn to master this role.
YUHEI: Right. Very good question. The day of a localization producer really depends on which part of the localization process or the game development process the project is in at that moment, because the localization producer is involved in almost every step of the dev cycle. So, for example, you know, early on in the game development cycle, the developer might come to us for consultation regarding some of the game content. So, for example, you know, if there’s some kind of artwork that they want to check would be culturally suitable for Japan, they would check with us. Or even, you know, it might be a question regarding the Japanese ratings board, if any content is suitable for, you know, the rating that they want, they would come to us. We’re also involved in the translation and review process quite heavily. And we’re also… we also supervise audio recording sessions. So it can be quite a busy day, taking into account that we’re not always necessarily working on one project at a time. At times, it can be hectic, but it’s always a fun day, which is most important to me.
FLOR: Oh, yeah. Definitely.
YUHEI: Yeah. In terms of the skill sets necessary for a localization producer, I would say that communication skills is quite crucial, whether it be verbal or through text, because we… basically, most of our work involves communicating with multiple teams, whether it be the devs, the testing team, the audio recording studio, the ratings board. We communicate with a lot of teams. So it’s crucial that, when we do communicate, we communicate the necessary information in one go. This is especially the case if you’re working with someone in a different time zone, because one bad email could be night and day, quite literally, because you could lose one entire day.
ALEX: One entire day.
FLOR: Oh, yeah. Just in a question of minutes, you lose an entire day.
YUHEI: Yeah, exactly. Especially, you know, if, for example, the time difference is 12 hours, you barely have any overlap. So maybe you send an email at the end of your day, the reply comes in your morning. If the email was perfect, that’s fine, right? Because you gave the necessary info and you would receive the required feedback. But if that email is bad, you have to wait an additional 12 hours to follow up on that email. So I think, yeah, communication skills is key. It’s one of the big things that I learned in my 13 years as a localization producer.
FLOR: Right. Well, thank you so much for that insight. And I wanted to follow up on the rating system, because I’m familiar with that, but I’m pretty sure that many of the people that are gonna be watching this are not familiar with the rating system that you have in place in Japan. So would you mind explaining that in more detail?
YUHEI: Sure. So the Japanese rating system is an organization called CERO. It’s spelled C-E-R-O. And whenever you release a game on a console in Japan, this CERO rating is required. And so the challenge, I think, for indie devs or actually any triple-A, maybe, devs that want to release their games in Japan, I think the challenge is that CERO only operates in Japanese, so it can be a big challenge to really communicate with them in the first place. So I think that’s a big hurdle that, you know, the devs have to overcome when they want to get a rating in Japan. Yeah. What else? Yeah. And compared to ratings boards like ESRB, maybe, the Japanese ratings board is known to be a little more strict. “A little more” might be an understatement. It’s quite a bit more strict than what you would see in the West, you know? Without going into too much detail, the Japanese… In Japan, we tend to be more strict in regards to gore. So, you know, games like The Last of Us, you know, it can be quite gory.
FLOR: Yeah. For sure.
YUHEI: In some cases, a lot of softening. Softening is when you take out certain content that wouldn’t be accepted by the Japanese rating board. This softening is required for a lot of games that release in Japan.
FLOR: Yeah. And I was wondering, how do the players react to that in Japan? Are they used to it? Because I know that, as you mentioned, that there’s a board that actually evaluates and assesses the content of each game. But how do players react to that softening?
YUHEI: So I think a handful of players understand that something was done to their game. As in, like, some content was taken out because it had to comply with the ratings board. So obviously, you know, for a game like maybe Doom or something like that, the violence is, you know, a pretty big part of that game. So, once you tone that down, I understand that some users aren’t happy with, you know, that they would rather buy the Western version.
FLOR: Yeah, it’s funny that you brought up Doom because it’s basically the essence of it, you know?
YUHEI: Exactly. And in some cases, you know, for example, Mortal Kombat, that’s a game that cannot be released in Japan because, if you soften that game, you don’t have a game.
ALEX: You have players doing friendships all the time.
FLOR: Yeah. No more fatality for you.
ALEX: No. No more fatality.
YUHEI: Yeah. So it’s a shame because there’s a lot of games that I personally love, Dead Space being one of them. And, you know.
ALEX: That’s a franchise that needs to come back.
YUHEI: Yeah, definitely. I’d love to see a Dead Space sequel. But, yeah, it’s a shame that we don’t see these games released in Japan just because of the gore. Which is quite unusual, seeing that a lot of anime in Japan is very gory.
FLOR: Yeah, exactly.
YUHEI: Like, compared to cartoons or even movies, they’re very gory and graphic. So, yeah, it’s… I can’t say I understand the decision fully, but, yeah, it’s there and we have to follow it, so… Yeah.
FLOR: Do you ever see this changing or those rules to be less strict in the near future?
YUHEI: In the near future… I can’t say I do, unfortunately. CERO has been around for a long time and… you know. Yeah, and I’ve worked with them a lot, too. And I understand, you know, some of the decisions they make, because, yes, some content should not be played by, you know, younger audiences.
FLOR: Oh, yeah, definitely.
YUHEI: So I completely agree with them on some of it.
FLOR: Yeah, there’s a thin line of looking after the players and the young audience and actually censoring or maybe losing the whole essence of a game.
YUHEI: Exactly. Yes.
FLOR: Thank you so much for your insight on that.
YUHEI: No problem.
FLOR: I took over because I was so interested in what you were saying.
ALEX: Yeah, we didn’t prepare any questions about that. But yeah, I’m glad that you took that away.
YUHEI: Yeah, no. Surprise me.
ALEX: Well, here’s another surprise for you. No. I want to know…. Well, you worked for EA, right? But now you have your own company, you have your own baby. So can you please tell me what it’s like to run your own company? How was that change for you, right? If you’re still there like an octopus managing many different things. And how was that process? I mean, was it something that you just jumped for it, or did you have it in your mind for a while? Can you please elaborate a little bit on that?
YUHEI: Of course. So I was in EA Japan for 12 years, and then unfortunately, in 2019, EA Japan closed its doors. And, yeah, so it was… I started Bonus Stage basically the day after EA Japan closed down.
ALEX: You didn’t lose any time.
YUHEI: No, I didn’t wanna lose time. I just wanted to go for it straight away. So I pretty much dove into it headfirst into the deep end. And of course, there’s a lot of challenges with running a company, you know. So it’s very different from my experience at EAJ. But, at the same time, you know, the 12 years of experience I had at EA really helped me start the localization company because, you know, I’ve gone through the entire localization process while I was at EA. So as well as running the company, because we’re such a small team, I still am the localization producer as well. So sometimes juggling that can be a challenge for sure, because, you know, back when I was, you know, didn’t have my company, I didn’t really have to worry about taxes or, you know, the boring side of running a company. But that is a big, big part of what you have to do when you run a company. You have to, you know, worry about taxes and, you know, bookkeeping and accounting and everything like that. So, yeah, and it’s like juggling a few things.
FLOR: Yeah, and at the same time, taking care of your team, right? It’s not just you anymore.
YUHEI: That’s a huge difference for sure.
ALEX: But now, you started your own company the day after you left EA. EA closed down, right? You didn’t left. EA left you.
ALEX: So how did you get into EA like 30-something years ago. How was the backstory of it?
YUHEI: Right. That is a very interesting story, actually.
FLOR: We’re all about interesting stories.
YUHEI: I was always into games. Like you mentioned in my profile, I got my first Game Boy when I was five.
ALEX: And your healthy obsession.
YUHEI: My healthy obsession with games. So I loved games all my life, basically, but I never really considered making it my career. So I like music almost as equally as I like games. So I used to work at a music venue as a… just at the bar, making, you know, serving beer to the customers and things like that. And this is when my mom contacted me saying she’d found an ad…
ALEX: Go, Mom.
YUHEI: Yeah, my… Thank you, Mom, if you’re watching.
YUHEI: And the ad was about…
ALEX: Hi, Yuhei’s mom!
YUHEI: Hi, Mom! And the ad was for a position at EA, and it required some linguistic skills. And since I was bilingual, she thought, you know, it would be a good fit for me. So… Yeah, that’s when I just thought I should go for this, because working at a music venue, you really don’t make much money.
YUHEI: Unfortunately. So I took the opportunity. I wanted to test my linguistic skills as well. So yeah, I joined EA as a translator in the beginning.And then, you know, a position for assistant localization producer opened, so I applied. And that’s basically, you know, then the dominos started falling in and here I am now.
ALEX: That’s amazing.
FLOR: How old were you when your mom showed you this ad?
YUHEI: Uh, I think I was 21.
FLOR: Oh, you were just a baby.
YUHEI: It was a very long time ago. I think I was 21. Yeah, it was a long time ago.
ALEX: That’s the coolest story ever.
LORE: You were right, that’s a good story.
ALEX: “How did you start working at EA? Thanks to my mom.” It’s amazing!
FLOR: Yeah, she saw video games, like, bilingual skills, and she was like, “Yeah, this is for Yuhei.”
ALEX: “This is for my kid.”
YUHEI: Yeah. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that earlier, and I had to rely on my mom to come up with that for me.
ALEX: You’re not alone, man. I mean, plenty of us didn’t think about pursuing a career in the localization industry or in the video game industry until we were much older than 21. Well, not much.
FLOR: Yeah, but it’s amazing that your mom saw that there was potential in the video game industry. It wasn’t just a hobby or a healthy obsession, right?
YUHEI: Yeah. Yeah. I think she saw me playing the Nintendo 64 for like six, eight hours a day, and she must have thought, “This is the job for you.”
FLOR: This needs to pay off.
LORE: Did she ever play any games with you or did she when you were younger?
YUHEI: Oh, she actually, she used to play Animal Crossing on the Nintendo 64.
LORE: Love it.
YUHEI: That’s an old game.
ALEX: Lore is a huge Animal Crossing fan.
LORE: Yes, I spent a lot of the, again, early stages of lockdown playing that one.
YUHEI: The Switch version?
LORE: Yeah, when it just came out on the Switch. Absolutely.
YUHEI: Yeah. Can’t buy a Switch anymore. In Japan, at least.
FLOR: Oh, really?
YUHEI: Yeah, it sold out. Yeah.
FLOR: Well, thank you for, well, that story. We loved it. I mean… What’s the name of your mom, by the way? Because she’s amazing.
YUHEI: My mom’s name is Taiko.
LORE: We love you.
FLOR: Hi, Tiko. Thank you for…
ALEX: Thank you, Taiko, for what you did way back then.
FLOR: …bringing Yuhei to the industry.
YUHEI: That’s an unexpected cameo.
FLOR: But a cute one, though.
LORE: We’ll be interviewing her next week.
YUHEI: Oh, great. Great. She’ll love that.
LORE: Well, I wanted to take it back a little bit to the culture discussion that we were having earlier, because I have heard from a few different people in the localization industry that it’s often easier to localize games from Japanese into English rather than from English into Japanese, since the English speaking world just kind of eats up the entire Japanese esthetic and culture. So what do you think it is about Japanese gaming or Japanese entertainment in general that appeals so strongly to English speaking audiences?
YUHEI: I think the major difference is the exposure the Western audience has to Japanese material when they were young. I lived in the U.K. when I was very small. I went to the UK when I was four and I stayed there seven years, so I experienced this firsthand as well. But in Europe, there aren’t many domestic animations, so a lot of what comes into Europe is exports from the US or Japan. For example, Power Rangers was huge when I was a kid, and that is a Japanese export.
YUHEI: And Dragon Ball, of course, and animes like that. Oh, you wore a T-shirt. Okay.
FLOR: We’re big fans of Dragon Ball as well. We grew up with Dragon Ball.
ALEX: Yes, that’s right.
YUHEI: And yeah, I heard from my friends in Italy and France, you know, they told me that Dragon Ball was on TV, you know, on Saturday mornings. So I think, compared to, you know, Japanese people, I think the Western audience had a lot of opportunities to be exposed to this new culture, which is Japanese culture, when they were small. So, you know, now they’re grown up and, you know, if a game contains very Japanese things like, for example, you know, Persona 5, that’s a very Japanese game. That’s a very Japanese game because… And they’re not even, you know, they don’t try to domesticate the content. They don’t hide the fact that everyone is Japanese and they go to this Japanese school and they live in Shibuya.
ALEX: Shibuya, yeah.
YUHEI: Shibuya, yeah. And so I think the Western audience, they can take that in more than a Japanese person can with Western content because they’ve been exposed to these kinds of Japanese culture since they were young. Now, on the flip side, not a lot of cartoons make it over to Japan, so everything, almost everything is foreign to a Japanese audience, mostly because there’s so much domestic content, games, anime, movies. So, you know, they didn’t really grow up watching anything outside Japanese things. So I think that’s the major difference.
LORE: That’s interesting. I guess it makes a lot of sense when you put it like that. I mean, you’re naming shows and things, and I’m like, “Oh yeah, that was from my childhood. Oh, yeah! I remember that!” So yeah, I guess it really was… having that Japanese entertainment was a big part of our childhoods here in the U.S. And we do still love it as adults.
YUHEI: Yeah, that’s a big… that’s a big thing.
LORE: So thank you. And thank you to Japan for all the awesome games and shows.
ALEX: Yes. Yes, because it might be like, “Oh, yeah, this was whatever I did, whatever I watched when I was a kid,” but it was the same thing that we watched as kids as well. So your export quality is top notch, Yuhei. Thank you very much. Thank you.
YUHEI: Well, yeah. I’m not sure if I can take credit for all of that.
LORE: Take it! Yuhei is personally responsible for all the good games and shows coming from Japan. You heard it here first.
ALEX: Well, he has been for quite a while right now, for all of his work at EA and now at his own company. So yeah, man, take it.
YUHEI: Yeah, I’ll take what I can. Thank you very much. I’m responsible for everything.
LORE: Well done.
FLOR: But yeah, we wanted to know, what do you think are the main challenges? Because we already talked about going from Japanese into English. So what are the main challenges for indie devs to go from English into Japanese and to localize their game? Are there any specific adaptations? I mean, you talked about the rating system and all, but from your experience, have you seen any specific mistakes or common mistakes throughout the years that people make when they develop their games? Not thinking about, of course, the target audience.
YUHEI: Right. So yeah, a common challenge is dialect, you know? Obviously, English has so many dialects, you know, and each of them are specific to that region, and that specific dialect has its own specific slang. So it’s really difficult for a translator to be able to understand all these different English dialects and slang terminology. So, yeah. You know, for example, if a character has a, you know, a very heavy Cockney accent, let’s say the character’s from, you know, London or something, a lot of the things that he’s saying the translator will miss because they haven’t grown up around, you know, this kind of English. A lot of times, people who study to become translators, they, you know, read the English from books, they hear the English from tapes. Obviously, no one is gonna start swearing in a textbook or on the tape. But, you know, a game isn’t a textbook. The characters speak like normal people. And normal people, you know, they swear and they don’t use clean English. So, yeah, one challenge I faced is just searching for translators that can understand this kind of language. I’d like to think that we have a strength there because, you know, everyone on the team, very diverse backgrounds. I grew up in London and moved to Germany, then Illinois. So if you’re wondering…
ALEX: Very diverse.
LORE: That’s quite a shift.
YUHEI: So you might be thinking my accent is hard to put a finger on. That’s because it’s American Midwestern British, I would say.
YUHEI: Midwest. Oh, really?
LORE: Yeah. I’m in Wisconsin right now.
YUHEI: Oh, nice.
LORE: Nice. That just came out by accident. I’m sorry.
YUHEI: So, yeah. Finding a translator that can do that is very challenging. So having a team that is diverse, you know? My team has people from the States, England, Ireland, New Zealand. So in terms of slang and dialects, we have quite a few of the bases covered, I would say.
FLOR: That’s amazing.
YUHEI: Yeah. And on the topic of dialects, it’s always challenging to translate a dialect when the devs want the dialect to be portrayed in Japanese. So let’s say a character speaks in a Scottish accent, and the devs want us to portray that in Japanese. There is no Scottish Japanese accent. So what do we do?
ALEX: How do you translate it?
YUHEI: Yeah. So, you know, does it simply mean, you know, Scotland is the northern region of England… Not England, the UK. The northern region of the UK. So do we just pick a dialect that is the northern region of Japan? And of course, it’s not that simple.
FLOR: Not at all.
YUHEI: No. So, you know, in our case, what we do is we try and figure out why the devs chose this particular dialect for this character. The Scottish accent, it’s usually seen as, you know, a little rough. You know, obviously, it’s an archetype. It’s not true, not every Scottish person is rough. But when you think about why the devs chose it, you can kind of see the characteristic they were trying to go for. So we try and focus on that characteristic as opposed to the actual dialect, because translating that dialect directly is impossible. So just focus on the character and make that come through in the translation. And then, I think, you know, we can translate it the way that devs wanted.
FLOR: And that takes us back to communication. Communication is key to fully understand the backstory of each character and then try to portray it the best you can for the target audience to get the same feel, you know?
YUHEI: Right. So it’s always a discussion with the devs, because in the end we need to, you know, deliver what’s best for the players, yes, but we also need to deliver the message that the devs were going for. So it’s… Yeah. We always ask questions to the devs, and they always give us really good answers and information. So, you know, based on that information, we try to translate and localize the content the best we can.
LORE: Well, that was a nicely diplomatic answer at the end there. “We always get good answers back.”
YUHEI: Always. Always. 100% of the time.
LORE: Love it.
ALEX: Yuhei, you might have given a bit of something away for what I mean to ask next. But as you know, many indie devs usually want to get their games known worldwide, right? But they just don’t know where to start when it comes to localization, right? So what sort of advice could you give indie devs when it comes to localization?
YUHEI: Yeah. The main advice I would give to indie developers is negotiation. Indie devs, you know, compared to triple-A or double-A companies, they have a limit on the budget, more often than not. So I think some indie devs might stop there. They might just say, “We don’t have money to localize it, so we can’t.” But that’s a shame because you could be missing out on a very big market and a very big player base. So I would have to say, you know, just negotiate with the localization team you wanna work with, you know? Let’s say you don’t have a budget, then maybe you have something else to offer. Let’s say, for example, we localize your game, so maybe you can put our logo on the splash screen or something like that, you know? That could be a win-win scenario without involving money. So I would say just ask for a quote and see if it fits your budget. And if it doesn’t, just negotiate, you know, because there’s really… you won’t lose anything from negotiating. So.
YUHEI: So that would be one advice.
ALEX: Communication, again. Talk.
YUHEI: Communication, yes.
LORE: Time and time again.
YUHEI: Yeah, sorry. I’ll stop talking about communication now.
ALEX: No, please.
LORE: That would be against our rule of communication, communication.
ALEX: No, but you’re shedding so much light into something that it sounds like it should be just common change, right? But it doesn’t…. It’s not that common, I mean.
FLOR: Yeah, if it was, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because sometimes indie devs, for example, are super… maybe there’s just a one team person or maybe two or three, if they’re lucky, and they don’t even know where to start. And sometimes it’s good to share these stories for them to know that there are other ways.
LORE: Yeah, don’t just rule it out.
YUHEI: I would say, like, if you Google “localization,” you know, a lot of companies come up. And as an indie dev, you might be intimidated by that because, you know, obviously the ones that come up on the top, they’ve handled all these triple-A games, you know? Maybe they worked with NASA or something like that. So it’s easy to get intimidated by that. And, of course, if you ask for a quote, it might be on the high end. But I think it’s important to search outside of, you know, the big names as well, because there are a lot of small indie studios that would be willing to negotiate a little more than the, you know, the more bigger companies would. So a good starting point, I think, would be to join, just join an indie community. There’s a very good one in Japan called Asobu. They have a huge presence on Discord as well. And it’s just a group of indie devs coming together, talking about their own games, asking for help. So just, yeah, just join a group and then make connections. And then you’d be surprised like how many people, how many, you know, localization studios there might be.
FLOR: Yeah, that’s great advice. Thank you.
ALEX: That’s great advice, Yuhei. Thanks.
LORE: It really is such a nice community, too. So like you said, reaching out I think is a really good idea.
YUHEI: Yeah, it is. Yeah.
LORE: So in addition to gaming, we know you also dabble in music and skateboarding. Is it snowboarding as well or just skateboarding?
YUHEI: Oh, it’s just skateboarding.
LORE: And skateboarding. Which are, I mean, both just very classic cool guy attributes that I’m totally digging. And we know that you’ve assembled a team at Bonus Stage that have backgrounds in music and other arts as well, in addition to their gaming background. So as somebody with negative musical talent myself, I’m wondering… Admittedly. Does the music in games tend to work regardless of the international audience, or is that something that you find really benefits from the localization treatment, you know, specializing it for a certain linguistic group in every game?
YUHEI: Let me first clarify that I got into music and skateboarding for the pure reason of looking cool.
LORE: Yeah. Makes sense.
FLOR: Don’t we all?
YUHEI: Um… So, sorry, your question was music and video games?
LORE: Yeah. So the music in games, when you’re localizing these games, you know, music is often such a big part of the games that we play. And so, is that something that generally translates well when you’re localizing a game to an international audience?
YUHEI: Yeah. I mean, Japan tends to follow the trend of the US in terms of musical, you know, what’s big right now. So… For example, I’m gonna sound out of touch with guys. You know, obviously dubstep was very big a few years ago. Maybe not a few years ago, maybe quite a while ago. And then, you know, a few months later, it’s big in Japan as well. So, you know, back when dubstep was big, a lot of video games were incorporating dubstep into their soundtrack. So the Japanese audience, you know, they didn’t really have any trouble getting into that either, because we tend to like a similar genre to what everyone in the US likes.
LORE: That’s nice, then. You kind of… You don’t have to completely come up with a new soundtrack every time you’re localizing a game.
YUHEI: That would be a whole new additional step to the localization process if we had to re-write the music. It might be fun, though.
LORE: Could be just for some games. Maybe not every game.
YUHEI: Yeah, not every game, please.
ALEX: Please. It’s too much work.
LORE: I won’t make you do it.
FLOR: Yeah. And now that you said “fun,” we’re gonna go to the fun part of our interview. Even though I had a great time during this session.
YUHEI: Yeah, me too.
FLOR: We asked you to share with us a set of memes, your favorite memes. So I’m gonna share my screen now. Yes. So, well, thank you so much, Yuhei, for sharing your memes. So this is the first one.
YUHEI: Oh, I love memes.
FLOR: “No, no. I didn’t get anything.”
ALEX: The guy was loaded.
YUHEI: This is a true story. My friends do this to me all the time.
FLOR: Oh, really?
YUHEI: My “friends” do this to me.
ALEX: Yeah. With friends like that, you don’t need enemies.
FLOR: I know, right? And what are you playing with your friends right now?
YUHEI: I’m playing Apex Legends, like everyone else in Japan. Even if I wanted to play anything else, my friends are playing Apex, so I don’t really have much of a choice.
LORE: It’s Apex or Apex.
YUHEI: Apex or Apex, yeah. I mean, any time I play Apex… By the way, I’m terrible at Apex.
ALEX: Oh, I suck at Apex.
YUHEI: It’s such a difficult game. But every time I go into a game, I end up running around with two scopes and no gun while my friends are just decked out in the best gear, so…
FLOR: So everyone can tell whenever you got something from the vault.
YUHEI: Yeah, exactly. And I have to keep reminding them that this is a team game, you now? So maybe help me?
ALEX: By the way, who… what character do you pick, usually?
YUHEI: Bangalore, because I don’t have… Anyone else is locked. You know, the new legends? I don’t have them unlocked, so I usually stick to Bangalore because she’s one of the closest characters to like, you know, a common FPS, you know, where the abilities are, you know, relatively simple compared to the other legends. So I tend to stick with her because she’s the only one I can use.
LORE: It narrows down the options, as well.
FLOR: So the next one.
YUHEI: Oh, I love this one. “Donuts are great.”
LORE: I did always want to eat the food watching this show, though. Like, for some reason, the food always looked so good.
FLOR: Every single time.
YUHEI: Japanese sweets, maybe? They look good, don’t they? Yeah.
FLOR: Well, it happened to me a lot with Dragon Ball as well. Every single time that they are eating, it’s like, “I’m hungry.”
YUHEI: Oh, Dragon Ball, yeah.
FLOR: Having those huge feasts.
YUHEI: The huge, like, the dinosaur tails.
ALEX: The dinosaur tail. Yeah.
FLOR: And that brings us to the next one.
LORE: Oh! I love it!
YUHEI: I had to ask Alex to sneak this one in because it’s not related to games and it’s not related to localization. But I like Dragon Ball, so.
ALEX: I believe that Goku has a free pass.
LORE: Yeah. Always. Always. And I had to sneak one for the sake of it, because when I saw that you’re a big fan of Dragon Ball, I had to include this one as well.
ALEX: I wasn’t expecting this one!
FLOR: I know. Surprise factor.
YUHEI: Poor Yamcha.
ALEX: Wait, that’s the pronunciation in Japanese? Like the proper one?
YUHEI: Well, the proper one would be “Yamucha.” What is it in your region?
ALEX: No, “Yamcha.” But I thought I heard something… I thought I heard “Yamca”?
YUHEI: No, that might be somewhere different. It’s “Yamucha” in Japan. And “Yamucha” actually means a Chinese dish or a Chinese buffet. Dragon Ball names. Dragon ball names are all based on food or clothing items.
FLOR: That’s why I love them so much.
ALEX: “Gohan” is “rice” or something like that?
LORE: We’re gonna have to have a separate talk about this, ’cause I was not aware and I would like to get educated on this.
YUHEI: Oh, I would love to talk about Dragon Ball for another 3 hours or something.
YUHEI: “Gohan” literally…
LORE: Next week.
YUHEI: Next week, let’s do that.
LORE: I’d happily interview your mom.
YUHEI: Oh, yeah. I forgot my mom. Yeah.
FLOR: Yeah. After her session, we’ll have our Dragon Ball session.
YUHEI: Okay. Okay.
ALEX: But I wanna know what Gohan… if I got Gohan right.
YUHEI: Gohan is right. And that literally means “food.” Well, not “food,” but “dinner.”
FLOR: Oh! I love it. I love it. When I thought I couldn’t love Dragon Ball any more, like, you come and share this information and it’s like, of course their names are related to food.
YUHEI: The names are fascinating. Yes.
FLOR: Well, that’s the end. Oh, and Mr. Business came to say hi!
LORE: He’s trying to put his paw in my coffee, so now he gets to sit on my lap and time out.
FLOR: Perfect timing.
ALEX: Time out.
FLOR: Look at his face, he’s all grumpy. “I need my coffee.”
ALEX: “I want coffee.”
LORE: This poor, abused cat. I’m so sorry you had to see this here at the end of the session.
FLOR: Well, Yuhei, it was lovely to have you with us today.
YUHEI: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you so much.
FLOR: And, well, we hope to continue discussing Goku or any other characters or Gohan. Or even the names, I would love to learn more about that. And as you said, I could be talking for hours about Dragon Ball. So, hopefully, we can meet again and… meet in person, maybe? Next year.
YUHEI: Yeah, that would be wonderful.
ALEX: That would be amazing.
YUHEI: I’ll bring my mom.
LORE: We love her already.
FLOR: Yeah. We already love her, and say hi and thank her for bringing you to the localization industry. And, well, we hope you have a lovely weekend, because we’re recording this on a Friday. So thank you for staying up this late for us.
YUHEI: Oh, no problem. No problem. Thank you so much.
FLOR: It was amazing to have you. So stay safe. And thank you, everyone, for watching. Stay tuned for the next episode.
YUHEI: Thank you, everyone!
ALEX: See you next time!