A fan translation is an unofficial translation of a computer game or video game into a language that it was never officially translated into. This is usually accomplished by modifying the binary ROM image of the game, and utilizing an emulator to play it if it is a console game. It is sometimes an option for releasing a game outside its homeland. For fan translations of computer and video games, Japanese is usually the source language, and English is usually the target language, and fan translation is an answer to a Japanese's company's regional decision to keep a game exclusive to Japan. Most fan translators translate computer and video games into their native tongue.
Fan translation is perceived as having a number of advantages; in particular, it allows gamers to play, and understand, games that were never released in their native language. Many video games are marketed exclusively in Japan, for example; the text encoded in the ROM images of these Japan-only games can be translated to English or another language, for the enjoyment of English-speaking players and players who speak neither Japanese nor English. Not only is the practice fo fan translation is considered by many video game players to be a reaction to a disappointing regional decision, or the answer to a Japnaese's company's decision to keep a game exclusive to Japan, but it is also consider a sign of a demand for companies to start translating games into languages that the never bothered to translate into. Another reason for fan translation is that the English release is considered inferior to the Japanese release as to gameplay or script content or if the Japan-only game is an enhanced remake of a game that was released outside Japan or that has an original version that was already fan-translated into English. Some of the Japan-only games that have been translated into English through emulation include Dragon Quest V (SNES), Dragon Quest I & II Reprise (SNES), Cosmo Police Galivan (NES), Adventure Island 4 (NES), Tales of Phantasia (SNES), Final Fantasy II (NES, remade for Final Fantasy Origins), Final Fantasy III (NES), Final Fantasy V (SNES), Seiken Densetsu 3 (SNES), Live-A-Live (SNES), Bahamut Lagoon (SNES), and Radical Dreamers (SNES). In addition to English, other fan translations have also been translations into other languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Latin, Norwegian, German, Dutch, Russian, and Serbian. American subsidiaries of Japanese video game companies translate their games only into English. They do not bother to translate into Spanish, although Spanish is a widely spoken language in the United States. European video game companies seldom bother to translate their games into languages other than Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
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2 See Also
3 List of Fan-Translated Japan-only Video Games
List of Fan-Translated Japan-only Video Games
YoJR = Year of Japanese Release. YoFTR = Year of Fan Translation Release.
Game Title Platform Game Publisher Fan Translator YoJR YoFTR Reason for Japan-onlyness Alcahest Super NES Squaresoft F.H. 1994 2002 Reason unknown Bahamut Lagoon Super NES Squaresoft DeJap Translations 1995 2002 Reason unknown Cosmo Police Galivan NES Nihon Bussan Jair 1988 1998 No localization rights or subsidiary Cyber Knight Super NES Tonkinhouse Aeon Genesis Translation Proclamation 1993 2002 No localization rights, power, or subsidiary.
Dragon Quest I&II Super NES Enix RPG-One Translations 1993 2002 Enix of America was closed Dragon Quest III Super NES Enix DeJap Translations and RPG-One Translations 1996 2003 Enix of America was closed Dragon Quest V Super NES Enix DeJap Translations 1992 2002 Enix of America was closed Dragon Quest VI Super NES Enix DeJap Translations and NoPrgress 1994 2001 Enix of America was closed Final Fantasy II NES Squaresoft NeoDemiforce 1988 1998 Squaresoft had problems with Nintendo. Playstation version was released in the United States under Final Fantasy Origins. Final Fantasy III NES Squaresoft Neill Corlett and Alex W. Jackson 1990 1999 Squaresoft did not have the resources to translate the game and the Super NES was released around the same time. Final Fantasy V Super NES Squaresoft RPGe 1992 1998 Squaresoft opted for Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest and did not have the resources to translate Final Fantasy V. Playstation port of Final Fantasy V was released in the United States under Final Fantasy Anthology.
Front Mission Super NES Squaresoft F.H. 1995 2000 The developer decided that it would be denied a North American release.
Radical Dreamers Super NES Squaresoft NeoDemiforce 1998 2003 Reason unknown.
Rudora no Hihou Super NES Squaresoft Aeon Genesis Translation Proclamation 1996 2003 Squaresoft had localization problems at the time.
Seiken Densetsu 3 Super NES Squaresoft Neill Corlett and others 1995 2000 Squaresoft cancelled localization in favor of Secret of Evermore. Shin Nekketsu Kouha: Kunio tachi no Banka Super NES Technos Japan Corporation Aeon Genesis Translation Proclamation 1994 2003 American Technos did not have the resources to translate the game. Star Ocean Super NES Enix DeJap Translations 1996 2004 Enix of America was closed. Tales of Phantasia Super NES Namco DeJap Translations 1994 2001 Namco refused to have the game released outside Japan. Ys IV: Mask of the Sun Super NES Nihon Falcom Aeon Genesis Translation Proclamation 1993 2000 No localization rights, power, or subsidiary.