This pains me to the Kor

By • April 21, 2014

What is this I don’t even

Localization is a tricky business. It’s definitely more of an art than a science, but if you think that means a localization can’t be wrong, you’d be mistaken.

Apparently for Tales of Hearts R, we’re skipping the JV team and going straight to putting in the freshmen for the translation. My hope for a good localization has been crushed within three days. That has to be a new record.

Kor: This is the most baffling thing I’ve ever seen. Like, okay, the references for this name are not as obvious as some of the other characters. Kaji has a number of possibilities he throws around for Xing/Shing, all of which make infinitely more sense than Kor, which I can only assume was pulled out of a hat or divined from a ouija board.

Kohaku: I’ve ranted about this before. I’ll at least be thankful that we avoided the atrocity of Kohak, which has no meaning in any language, but why would you change Shing and not Kohaku? Amber is a super obvious reference. Literally every character in the whole game that has a name and isn’t Shing has a name that references a mineral. Why would you not translate this one, especially when you ALREADY DID IT IN GRACES F!?

Hisui: Seriously, did none of you play Graces F? It literally is like 2 years old.

Bamco is intentionally being opaque about whether the game is getting dubbed or not, but this makes very little sense either way. If they aren’t dubbing the game, why did they change the main character’s name to something random that sounds nothing like it? If they are dubbing the game, why did they leave two of the main characters’ names in Japanese? English speakers trying to pronounce Japanese names is physically painful, so a game without a dub would almost be a blessing in disguise at this point…

Seriously, help me out here, Bamco. We’re trying to be supportive of this localization, but could you meet us part way and at least try a tiny little bit? I don’t know if this is cost cutting or if you just don’t care, but get your shit together. Peter Garza would be rolling over in his grave if he weren’t still alive. My jimmies are seriously rustled.

About the Author

I'm the translator for Absolute Zero. I also take care of the project updates.

31 Responses to “This pains me to the Kor”

  1. Oh man, a crappy translation… Dude, just continue the project behind the curtains and release it a while after the vita release is out.

  2. Not only the DS is the superior one production and gameplay wise but if your patch was released it would have the superior translation as well.

    I can only hope that you consider Mike’s proposal or plan to go back to this project soon.

  3. “English speakers trying to pronounce Japanese names is physically painful, so a game without a dub would almost be a blessing in disguise at this point…”

    Seriously, throughhim? I didn’t expect you of all people to resort to such a weabooish-elitist comment. No, just…no.

  4. @Sahgo: Why’s that elitist? I don’t expect untrained people to be able to pronounce words in languages they don’t speak. In your native language, you get used to certain combinations of letters being pronounced certain ways. In my experience, the biggest problem is when people try to over-pronounce Japanese, making it sound forced and lowering the quality of the dub. If they pronounce a name incorrectly but naturally, I don’t take much issue with it. I just don’t want to see a dub suffer because someone is going out of their way to treat Japanese names and words like they’re special and unique.

  5. @Sahgo – It’s true though. Japanese trying to pronounce English words is often labelled Engrish (see the majority of spell names in the entire Tales series). I’m sure it’s vice versa for English speakers attempting to pronounce Japanese words.

  6. I was also kinda shocked that they changed Shing’s name but not Kohaku’s. Although, I liked Kohak. I thought it sounded more unique, as I didn’t realize that names HAD to have literal meanings.

    Kor, or cor, means ‘heart’ in Latin, which is what I’m assuming they were going for. Still not sure why they felt the need to change the name though.

    I’ve heard many English voice actors pronounce Japanese words just fine, so long as said words are not over the top ridiculous, and ‘Hisui’ and ‘Kohaku’ are really not complicated. That sounded a bit like arrogant opinion there, but I do get your point, there is a risk involved regarding pronunciation. You probably could have said it better like that but whatever.

    Although, I don’t recall Namco actually stating Hisui’s name, so do we really know if it’s changed or not?

    Regardless Namco may have reasons for whatever they are doing; many their PR guys found throughout the dangers of the internet that people were complaining about ‘Amber’ and ‘Jadeite’ in Graces so decided to change the names back or maybe they thought Kor sounded manlier and more acceptable to westerners than ‘Shing’, who knows?

  7. To give a simple example from a mainstream show:

    Sakura’s VA is natural about it; “Kakashi-sensei” sounds like it’s completely in her native accent. Sai’s VA puts every Japanese name he says in italics. You can HEAR how tryhard he’s being about pronouncing the names exactly as the Japanese scriptwriters intended it while watching cherry blossoms scatter in the shadow of Mt. Fuji while drinking warm sake. It’s painful to listen to in casual entertainment media.

  8. Ok, but let’s put it this way: if the incapacity of a voice actor to pronounce a foreign name makes a dub unworthy of EXISTING, than hell, half of the dubs of the world would be unworthy of existing. Disney dubs? Screw that, non-[insert country here] can’t pronounce “Rapunzel” for shit! Or we could apply that for Japan itself — they can’t pronounce English words well, so that would mean that, what, half of all Tales games are unworthy of having a Japanese track? And what about anime that take place in Western-influenced fantasy/real locations?

    And now you tell me that, in the instances I mentioned above, the “incorrect pronunciation” severely *hinders* the entertainment values of those products in those languages? Seriously, now.

    (also, the majority of the Tales of Hearts cast still has English-sounding names, so it technically is more deserving of an English track than a Japanese track. This train of thought is INSANE)

  9. *then

    In other words (sorry for this double post), I don’t disagree with your claim that English voice actors have problems pronouncing non-English names. I do disagree with the part in which you implied that having such problems meant that a dub should not exist altogether.

  10. First, let me apologize for my initial hyperbole. I was venting and obviously threw this entire conversation off in my frustration.

    Now on to your points, I can’t really speak to every language. I can only speak to English, my native language, and Japanese, my acquired second language.

    When I am experience some form of media in English (or any language, really) I want to focus on the content, not on the medium. When there is bad voice acting or untimely music or a poor choice of camera angle, I am pulled out of the experience and forced to focus on the presentation instead of the ideas and message being presented. A character accentuating a foreign name or word is that kind of disruptive element. It obviously doesn’t destroy the whole experience, but it takes away from it.

    Now, at least in the case of pronunciation, Japanese doesn’t have an issue with foreign words because of its phonetic nature. Pronunciation in Japanese is fundamentally the same whether you’re pronouncing a foreign word or a native Japanese one. Now, the word may get ground up and muddled during the transition to Japanese and end up totally unrecognizable to a non-Japanese person, but that’s a limitation of kana and not of pronunciation. Each language has its own unique issues when bringing in loan words, I just feel like English hasn’t quite worked out all of the kinks when it’s adopting Japanese.

    Regardless, I went too far in implying that bad pronunciation was reason enough not to dub a game. That’s obviously not the case. I’m still of the opinion that if this localization were being done properly then pronouncing Japanese words wouldn’t be an problem to begin with, but that’s another issue entirely.

  11. I see what you mean. I’m sorry too for the way I worded my complaints, I got too carried away.

  12. It’s probably another team which is probably clueless about the series that are translating. It’s the only explanation.

    Wait now they dropping the french names on Aonghas moveset and Kuzite being named Kunzo.

  13. I think the distinct point to be made here is not that foreign names in an English dub are unbearable, but that foreign names that are either butchered in pronunciation or overly emphasized in pronunciation are ear-bleedingly annoying. For example, in the Naruto clip I linked:

    “Suh-KOOH-ruh” is very annoying
    “Sakura” is fine
    Sakura” is very annoying <-- how Sai pronounced it in that clip There's a fine balance to be had. Basically, don't wildly change accents mid-sentence just to pronounce the name in a more Japanese style. No one does that in Real World English and we shouldn't have to endure it in dubbed media, either.

  14. Personally, I don’t mind these.

    I hear Kor is latin for Heart, and that Shing had the kanji for Heart somewhere in his name, so they were likely trying to translate that over.

    As for Kohaku/Amber thing, both sound like great names to me, so I’m fine with either.

    I also feel its not right to act like the entire translation will be horrible just because of a few weird name choices.

  15. My real name is Correy, and my nickname is Cor…so…Kor…I’m okay with this. Good call NB. *puts on aviators*

  16. @Pokenar: The reason that I am judging harshly is that Tales of Hearts is completely packed with references, even compared to other Tales games. The choice to ignore the Amber reference indicates to me that either they didn’t do enough research or that they simply don’t care. Either one, I think, is cause for concern in a localization.

  17. This localization looks rushed as hell, the subtitles on the trailer is worse than google translated.

    Also Kor Meteor, called it.

  18. is like Trap all over again, those who have played it knows about the inconcistency with the name of the main character, i just stupid and rushed

  19. If you’re still working on the translation, just don’t announce that you are. If you do, then you’ll get a C&D demanding that you stop the translation altogether.

  20. @Sahgo:
    “Screw that, non-[insert country here] can’t pronounce “Rapunzel” for shit!”
    Just for your information, in France her name is Raiponce. We’re not stupid, we adapt. That’s one of the point here.
    Well they’re just stupid mistakes. I’ll buy it anyway but damn that’ll be horrible to read.

  21. Can’t wait for more NDX updates.

  22. After this, there’s no telling what Bamco is going to do to Hearts R. I honestly think you should just work on the translation regardless, unless Bamco decides where their priorities are.

  23. Tales of hearts r is going to be great no matter what so the tales of hearts ds patch should just be canceled just like the other patches when the game got an official release like graces f cause the patch is holding up others that will never get a release im tired of unappreciative ppl the game is coming to the west now and you finally get to read and hear it in english all we hear now is complaining o its not going to sound good enough or the acting sucks most of the time japanese voices sound way out of character of what the character seems his\her voice would sound like so stop complaining and appreciate Destiny DC and Destiny 2 also Rebirth need to be done hearts is coming along with extras and way better graphics and its portable so great i cant wait i think it will be the best tales along side Destiny DC so throughim please continue with Destiny and cancel Hearts ds patch theres no need for more of your time to goto waste put your great talent to good use to the other great tales games that will never see are shores thank.

  24. pokenar thats exactly what im saying people nowadays are sooo UNAPPRECIATIVE and whine like nerds or lil babys cause of ONE lil thing does not sound to there expectations or standards alot of you act like prefectionists when you still buy the game thinking or knowing theres something thats going to ruin the game for you like a NAME or a WORD or VOICE so dont hate appreciate

  25. Realistically, Tales of Hearts DS would have taken at least 2 more years to complete. By then Tales of Hearts R would have been released long ago and every Tales fan would have bought it. So I guess there would not be a real problem if the translation team decides to release Hearts DS after the Hearts R demand is saturated. To think of it, Phantasia is officially available in english on the GBA but that didn’t prevent the fan translation scene to release their own translation for other ports. Hope is not all lost for the DS version it seems (I hope).

  26. Kaji you should keep working behind the scenes because your obviously not gonna finish it until after Hearts R is out, you could just not update it. And are you going to change the move names to accommodate for the localization? Please don’t.

  27. The ender you should go jump off a cliff because you sound like a narcissist who’s trying to start drama. There are plenty of reasons why people should be upset since like innocence r, hearts r did very bad in japan and Ive done enough research to know that the ds counter parts still reign as the most unique and best versions. Just the cameo appearances and the choice of cgi or anime is something you miss out on the vita version and just like another title that im disappointed about would have had no effect on sales due to them being on completely different systems. I really hope throughhim you still work on this sometime in the future like you did with the psx phantasia.

  28. I don’t mean to sound like a dick but maybe if you guys focused on a single project instead of multiple ones and got a translation finished once in a while we would have had a better translation then the shitty one Bamco is going to be putting out. Hell in 2 years VC3 was translated fully, and 2 years for Type-0 to be translated fully. And these are solid translations we’re talking about, they weren’t half-assed. It’s been going on 5 years for a ToDDX translation with next to no progress.

    I love you guys and what you do for the community and encourage you to keep at it so the Tales community can enjoy these games, but when projects get started then thrown on perma-hiatus it makes it really hard to take you guys seriously.

  29. @Aklein: I’ve always wondered what it is about Tales of Destiny that makes people completely lose sight of the bigger picture. If I had been focusing solely on Tales of Destiny, it would be in the exact same place as it is now and two complete Tales translation patches wouldn’t exist. When I run out of text to translate, all I can do is wait. Destiny hit technical roadblocks several years ago and has been stuck ever since. There’s nothing I can do to change that because I don’t have the skills. As a translator all I can do is work on the text that I have available and cheer on my programming partners. So rather than focus on Tales of Destiny (a.k.a. do nothing), I chose to work on several other projects with different people in the mean time. Tales of the Tempest and Tales of Innocence have complete patches now because of that decision. Tales of Destiny is on hiatus because of Tales of Destiny and not, as you assume, because I’m working on other projects. I’m not sure what makes you take someone seriously, but I’m just going to continue doing the best I can to make Tales games available to people in English.

  30. Ah okay, I understand better now, sorry.

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