I like the idea of old untranslated games being playable in any language
May 15, 2019 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Universal Game Translator: This Tool Can Translate Japanese RPGs as You Play [Code Dojo] “I’m a retro gaming nut. I love consuming books, blogs, and podcasts about gaming history. The cherry on top is being able to experience the identical game, bit for bit, on original hardware. It’s like time traveling to the 80s. Living in Japan means it’s quite hard to get my hands on certain things (good luck finding a local Speccy or Apple IIe for sale) but easy and cheap to score retro Japanese games. [...] There is one obvious problem, however. It’s all in Japanese. Despite living here over fifteen years, my Japanese reading skills are not great. (don’t judge me!) I messed around with using Google Translate on my phone to help out, but that’s annoying and slow to try to use for games. So I wrote something to do the job called UGT (Universal Game Translator).” [Download available here (64-bit).zip] [via: Vice Gaming]
posted by Fizz (11 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Java, C, Mumps, SNOBOL, Erlang?
posted by sammyo at 12:29 PM on May 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm wondering if this can be used to translate YouTube videos too - YouTube's auto-translate of spoken language is unusable, but Japanese videos often have native-language subtitles on-screen. I've been looking for a plug-in that I can use to translate the text on-screen instead of having to use the Google Translate live view on my phone.
posted by Gortuk at 1:39 PM on May 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Very cool! I just finished watching Tim Rogers' amazing video series comparing the Japanese & English versions of Final Fantasy 7, which is definitely worth a look if you're interested & haven't seen it.
posted by taquito sunrise at 2:34 PM on May 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I instinctively and legitimately want to be agin this because it's achieved via Google, but honestly I'm simply wowed by the concept. What a cool idea and what a great use of the tools at their disposal!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 4:40 PM on May 15, 2019

I want to see its translation of Zero Wing.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:55 PM on May 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

I want to see its translation of Zero Wing.

Someone set us up the ROM
posted by tommasz at 5:28 PM on May 15, 2019 [14 favorites]

I fucking hate you, tommasz. I really didn't need to completely lose my shit laughing right then. :D
posted by robotmachine at 6:50 PM on May 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is a really cool project, but in its current form it's maybe not the most useful.

What I want to know is whether the same approach can be leveraged to overlay fan translations instead. They're still not going to be perfect, but it'd be a hell of a lot better than machine translation, in theory possibly easier because the context is already known, and on the fan translation side it could significantly reduce the amount of effort and expertise required to product a fan translation patch.
posted by chrominance at 6:58 PM on May 15, 2019

Also, I am totally going to use this on the convenience store simulator I bought for PSP in Japan a few years ago, because you know The Combini Portable is NEVER GETTING A FAN TRANSLATION.
posted by chrominance at 7:00 PM on May 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Nice! The #1 game series I would love to play that has no translation I'm aware of, is Boku no Natsuyasumi (My Summer Vacation), a sweet, nostalgic series that started on PS1:

The game revolves around Boku, a 9-year-old boy sent to his aunt and uncle in Japan's wooded countryside and the daily adventures he encounters there. Boku is there because his Mother is in her final month of pregnancy. The player controls him for the 31 days of August 1975 (In Japan, a Summer Vacation, called natsuyasumi (なつやすみ) lasts for one month). You explore the game's area and can catch bugs and pit them against each other, collect bottle caps, fly a kite, or just relax.

Sounds a bit like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley, but with even less pressure to do anything games-y - there's characters, dialogue, and a semblance of a story, but there's not much going on other than being a kid and doing the sorts of things kids did on their countryside summer vacations in 70s Japan.
posted by naju at 10:12 PM on May 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

This is relevant to my interests! Machine translation, yes, but still the kind of thing I'd consider as proof of Living in the FutureTM a couple of decades ago.
posted by ersatz at 3:15 PM on May 25, 2019

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