Example of how Shantae HGH’s bad localization could be improved

Based on what I’ve read, Shantae games have always been translated badly. No need to even review the localization when the basic translation is already bad. While I can’t confirm that it’s always been bad, I know it’s not good in both Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse and the last entry, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. And the Ultimate Edition of Half-Genie Hero doesn’t change the translation at all, so it’s still really bad. This seems to apply to every language available since I read reviews from Japanese users stating that, while the gameplay is good, the text has issues.

To show how bad the current translation is and how the localization could be improved, I decided to copy two parts of the game’s original (English) script and then translate and localize them to Spanish myself. After that, I decided to copy the current Spanish translation just so that it can be compared with my translation. I also translated the current Spanish script back to English to compare it with the original English script and also so that people who know English but not Spanish can see how bad it is.

The two parts I grabbed to do this are from the beginning of the game. The first one is from Shantae’s dream. Here’s the original English script first.

Shantae = S
Messenger = M
——
Shantae’s dream sequence
——
[Original English script]

S – What is this place?

S – Does Uncle even know it’s down here?

S – There goes that voice again!

M – Welcome, DAUGHTER of the GENIES.

s – Who… Who said that?

S – Whoever you are, you had better come out right now!

M – Don’t be afraid…

S – Gasp! Who are you?

M – A MESSENGER from the GENIE REALM.

M – I have summoned you here to warn you of a GREAT DANGER!

M – Very soon an AGENT OF DARKNESS will STRIKE at the HEART of our world.

M – It seeks to CORRUPT our magic and USE IT for its own selfish gain.

M – With our power at its disposal…

M – …This AGENT OF DARKNESS will REIGN SUPREME over BOTH our worlds…

M – …and NO ONE will escape its wrath.

S – Oh no… this sounds serious!

S – How do we stop it?

M – As a DAUGHTER of the GENIES, ONLY YOU have the power to do this.

S – Me? But HOW?

M – I will help you where I can. Listen for my voice, and follow your HEART as you always have.

M – Only then can BOTH OUR WORLDS…

M – …be saved.

S – Wait… don’t go!

S – What about my MOTHER? Is she there with you?

M – …

S – I can barely hear you!

S – Is she in DANGER, too? Please tell me!

M – …

S – Please, I have to know!

S – Don’t leave me!

Now here’s how I have translated it.

[Proper English translation/localization to Spanish]

S – ¿Que es este lugar?

S – ¿Sabrá al menos Tío que esta aquí abajo?

S – ¡Ahí va esa voz otra vez!

M – Bienvenida, HIJA de las GENIOS.

s – ¿Quien… Quien dijo eso?

S – ¡Quien quiera que seas, más te vale salir ahora mismo!

M – No tengas miedo…

S – ¡Ahh! ¿Quién eres?

M – Una MENSAJERA del REINO DE LAS GENIOS.
(Note: I’m assuming the messenger is female since its also from the genie realm where all are females.)

M – ¡Te he invocado aquí para advertirte de un GRAN PELIGRO!

M – Muy pronto, un AGENTE DE LA OSCURIDAD ATACARA en el CORAZON de nuestro mundo.

M – Busca CORROMPER nuestra magia y USARLA para su propio beneficio.

M – Con nuestro poder a su disposición…

M – Este AGENTE DE LA OSCURIDAD será el REY SUPREMO sobre nuestros DOS mundos…

M – …y NADIE podrá escapar su ira.

S – ¡Oh no… esto suena serio!

S – ¿Cómo lo detenemos?

M – Como una HIJA de las GENIOS, SOLO TU tienes el poder para hacer esto.

S – ¿Yo? ¿Pero COMO?

M – Yo te ayudare donde pueda. Busca mi voz, y sigue tu CORAZON como siempre lo has hecho.

M – Solo así podrán NUESTROS DOS MUNDOS…

M – …salvarse.

S – ¡Espera… no te vayas!

S – ¿Que hay sobre mi MADRE? ¿Esta ahí con ustedes?

M – …

S – ¡Casi no te escucho!

S – ¿Está en PELIGRO también? ¡Por favor, dime!

M – …

S – ¡Por favor, tengo que saberlo!

S – ¡No me dejes!

Finally, here’s how the current Spanish localization looks like followed by a translation of it back to English.

[Original Spanish script]

S – ¿Qué es este lugar?

S – ¿Sabe el Tío siquiera que esto es ahí abajo?

S – ¡Ahí va esa voz otra vez!

M – Bienvenido HIJA de los GENIOS.

S – ¿Quién?… ¿Quién dijo eso?

S – ¡Quienquiera que seas, más te vale salir ahora mismo!

M – No tengas miedo…

S – Vamos, que no te haremos daño.

M – Un MENSAJERO del REINO DEL GENIO.

M – Te he convocado aqui para advertirte de un GRAN PELIGRO!

M – Muy pronto un AGENTE DE LA OSCURIDAD GOLPEARA en el CORAZON de nuestro mundo.

M – Busca CORROMPER nuestra magia y USARLA para su propio beneficio.

M – Con nuestro poder a su disposicion…

M – …Este AGENTE DE LA OSCURIDAD| REINARÁ SUPREMACIA sobre TODOS nuestros mundos…

M – … y NADIE escapará de su ira.

S – Oh no… ¡Esto suena serio!

S – ¿Cómo lo paramos?

M – Como HIJA de los GENIOS, SOLO TU tienes el poder para hacer esto.

S – ¿Yo? Pero ¿CÓMO?

M – Te ayudare donde pueda. Escucha mi voz y sigue tu CORAZÓN como has hecho siempre.

M – Solo entonces podrán TODOS NUESTROS MUNDOS…

M – …salvarse.

S – Espera… ¡No te vayas!

S – ¿Qué pasa con mi MADRE? ¿Está alli contigo?

M – …

S – ¡Casi no puedo oirte!

S – ¿Está en PELIGRO, tambien? Por favor, ¡dime!

M – …

S – Por favor, ¡Lo tengo que saber!

S – ¡No me abandones!

 

[Spanish script translated back to English]

S – What is this place?

S – Does the Uncle even know this is down there?

S – There goes that voice again!

M – Welcome DAUGHTER of the GENIES.
(Note: It is implied that NOT all genies are female whenever the game refers to GENIES.)

S – Who?… Who said that?

S – Whoever you are, you better come out right now!

M – Don’t be afraid…

S – Come on, we won’t harm you.
(Note: Yes, this is said by Shantae.)

M – A MESSENGER from the REIGN OF THE GENIE.

M – I have convened you here to warn you of a GREAT DANGER!

M – Very soon an AGENT OF DARKNESS WILL HIT at the HEART of our world.

M – It looks to CORRUPT our magic and USE IT to its own benefit.

M – With our power at its disposal…

M – This AGENT OF DARKNESS| WILL REIGN SUPREME over ALL our worlds…

M – … and NO ONE will escape its wrath.

S – Oh no… This sounds serious!

S – ¿How do we stop it?

M – As DAUGHTER of the GENIES, ONLY YOU have the power to do this.

S – Me? But HOW?

M – I will help you wherever I can. Hear my voice and follow your HEART like you always have.

M – Only then can ALL OUR WORLDS…

M – … be saved.

S – Wait… Don’t leave!

S – What happens with my MOTHER? Is she there with you?

M – …

S – I can barely hear you!

S – Is she in DANGER, too? Please, tell me!

M – …

S – Please, I have to know!

S – Do not abandon me!

As you can see, there’s quite a lot of differences and stuff that doesn’t make sense. Some people are even mentioning that the current translation of HGH was done using Google Translate or some sort of machine translator, which wouldn’t really surprise me considering how bad the current translation is.

For the second part, I grabbed the text from the first conversation that Shantae has with Uncle Mimic. Here’s the original text.

Shantae = S
Uncle Mimic = U
——–
First conversation with Uncle Mimic
——–
[Original English script]

S – Good morning, Uncle!

U – Um-hmmm…

S – Say, I had the WIERDEST dream last night!

U – And you can tell me all about it!

U – But first..

U – Give your ol’ Uncle Mimic a hand, will you?

S – Sure. Is this something to do with your new invention?

U – You’ll see!

U – I’ve got a mechanical part on backorder. Should’ve arrived today.

U – I sent your pal BOLO over to the ITEM SHOP to pick it up…

U – but he hasn’t come back yet.

U – That was over an hour ago!

U – Always his head in the clouds, that boy.

U – Would you mind picking up the PART for me?

U – Sure thing, Uncle!

And now my translation to Spanish.

[Proper English translation/localization to Spanish]

S – ¡Buenos días, Tío!

U – Um-hmmm…

S – ¡Oye, tuve el sueño MAS RARO DE TODOS anoche!

U – ¡Y me podrás contar todo sobre el!

U – Pero primero…

U – Échale una mano a tu viejo Tío Mimic. ¿Lo harás?

S – Claro. ¿Es algo que tiene que ver con tu nuevo invento?

U – ¡Ya verás!

U – Espero una orden de una parte mecánica. Debió haber llegado hoy.

U – Envié a tu amigo BOLO a la TIENDA DE ARTICULOS a recogerla…

U – …pero no ha regresado aún.

U – ¡Eso fue hace más de una hora!

U – Siempre con la cabeza en las nubes, ese niño.

U – ¿Te importaría recoger la PARTE por mí?

S – ¡Claro que sí, Tío!

And now for the current Spanish translation with it’s translation back to English

[Original Spanish script]

S – ¡Buenos dias, Tío!

U – Um-hmmm…

S – Digo, ¡que he tenido el sueño MAS RARO esta noche!

U – ¡Y tú no me lo puedes contar todo!

U – Pero primero…

U – Échale una mano a tu viejo Tío Mimic, ¿lo harás?

S – Por supuesto. ¿Tiene algo que ver con tus intenciones mas recientes?

U – ¡Ya lo veras!

U – Tengo un pedido pendiente de una parte mecánica. Deberia haber llegado hoy.

U – Envie a tu amigo BOLO a la TIENDA DE ARTICULOS a recogerlo…

U – …pero no ha vuelto todavia.

U – ¡Fue hace mas de una hora!

U – Siempre tiene la cabeza en la nubes, ese niño.

U – ¿Te importaria recoger la PARTE por mi?

S – ¡Por supuesto que no, Tío!

 

[Spanish script translated back to English]

S – Good morning, Uncle!

U – Um-hmmm…

S – I say, that I’ve had the WIERDER dream this night!

U – And you can’t say it all!

U – But first…

U – Give a hand to your old Uncle Mimic, will you?

S – Of course. Does it have to do with your most recent intentions?

U – You will see!

U – I have a pending order of a mechanical part. It should have arrived today.

U – I sent your friend BOLO to the ITEM SHOP to pick it up…
(Note: There is a mistake here too. Since we already know the order is a mechanical part, and the word “part” is female, then “pick it up” should be in female form too but it’s in male form. This is lost in the English translation since English doesn’t specify male or female for objects.)

U – …but he has not came back still.

U – It was over an hour ago!

U – Always has his head in the clouds, that boy.

U – Would you mind picking up the PART for me?

S – Of course not, Uncle!

While my translations may have a few spelling issues since I did them really quick and without double checking, you can easily notice how they are a lot better than what is currently in the game (or games if you count the Ultimate Edition as a separate thing). I really hope the next Shantae game receives a proper localization in all languages so that the franchise can easily become better known in places where English isn’t spoken. (There was also the hope for a patch to fix HGH’s localization but, sadly, that doesn’t seem to be happening.)

Author: Link-NM

Link-NM is the administrator of N Masters, Makendo Central, and indie game developer at NovaFan Games. His favorite game franchises include Mega Man X, The Legend of Zelda, and Mario Kart.

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