Welcome to the newly-revamped sekai.insani.org. Over the course of several months of 2006, we wrote an in-depth production journal, filled with tutorials and advice for up-and-coming novel game translation teams. We are not planning on writing any further entries in this journal; we merely present it “as it was” for the benefit of history. This journal is organized into 4 series, which are detailed below. Series Debriefs There were only two articles in this category, comprising a comprehensive postmortem of one of our projects: Visions from the Other Side.
During al|together 2006, I had the honor of serving in a mentorship role to five different translators, all of whom are affiliated in one way or another to my amateur visual novel localization circle, insani. Each translator came to me from a different walk of life — there was not a single common factor to be found among any of them save for the fact that they were attempting, in one way or another, to translate a piece to be presented at festival’s end.
During the al|together 2006 game translation festival, I tackled the short visual novel Mukou no Yume, retitled Visions from the Other Side. This was my second excursion as a game translator, after last year’s The Poor Little Bird, and I wouldn’t have dreamed of attempting it without having gp32 around to sanity-check my work. During the month of the festival, I kept a brief log of my progress, so I thought this might be interesting to post, to show what goes on behind the scenes of the game translation process.
Part IV: Compression Formats Game data archives almost always employ some type of compression for their contents, and sometimes will even mix and match different algorithms for different types of files. Understanding the typical compression formats is therefore crucial to the success of a game hacker. Moreover, you need to be able to recognize the common algorithms just from their compressed data alone, so when you’re staring at hex dumps, you will know how to proceed.
Part III: Code Prototyping (Historian’s note: this tutorial was written during a time when Python 3 was not yet out, and Python 2 was dominant. These Python script files may not run in Python 3; use Python 2 for best results.) In the last installment, we analyzed the CROSS†CHANNEL archive format with our trusty hex editor, and after a proof-of-concept manual image extraction, we believe we know what’s going on in that file.
Part III: 翻訳者に大切な事 Dear X, Greetings in haste. I was surprised to see how quickly you responded to my last letter, and I was gratified to see that you were putting many, many thoughts on paper. This is wonderful — you are beginning to develop, no doubt, a sense of your place as a translator, and by some of the often-pointed questions you ask I see that you are beginning to come to your own conclusions about the validity of what you are doing and saying — and also what I am doing and saying.
Part II: Tacticians and Strategists Dear X, It has been some time since our last correspondence, and I hope this letter finds you well. You say that you have spent a good deal of time reading through the piece that you hope to translate, and for this I applaud you. All the time you spend in this lonely task, straining to see and hear all that which is most unseeable and unhearable about a piece, will prove its own reward.
A short parable (?) by Marie Noël Translated from the French by Seung Park [ As told by Stop-Dog to his little brothers ] As soon as the Dog was created, he licked the hand of God and God patted him on the head. “What do you desire, Dog?” “Oh, Good Lord, I want to live with You, in Heaven, on the doormat maybe.” “Oh, heavens, no!” God exclaimed. “I have no need of a dog, as I have not yet created thieves.
A short story by Hugo de Haan Translated from the French by Seung Park Part II of II The young man sat almost in spite of himself. He was so little used to talking about what he loved that soon enough, a veritable deluge of words flooded from his mouth, as if some dike in his soul had broken at last. He recounted everything: the addresses, the candle, the melodic phrases, the harsh light … and the other listened to him without saying a single word.
Part II: The Hex Editor Let’s get started, then. Today we’ll be looking at a simple example archive format, as a springboard to talk about the “standard” parts of a game data file. Keeping this sort of template in mind as you gaze at an unknown format will be a great help to try to make sense of the random-looking bytes you run across. The game we’ll be looking at for the moment is CROSS†CHANNEL (the trial edition download link is at the bottom of that page), which has a translation project already in progress.