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What does it take to translate a Japanese-made game for an American audience?

By James Stevenson     December 03, 2001

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
© 2001 Konami

Like most videogames, METAL GEAR SOLID 2: SONS OF LIBERTY is being developed in Japan. Therefore, a great deal of work needs to be done on the title before it is ready for release in the United States. Some people may believe that "localization" is a simple translation of a game, but that's just the beginning of the process according to Ken Ogasawara, localization producer for Konami of America.

"Localization goes much beyond mere translation," says Ogasawara about bringing METAL GEAR SOLID 2 to a U.S. audience. "Questions about the content have to be considered, such as what sort of visuals are appropriate. With MGS, since the setting was in New York, several of the team members went to New York to get a feel for the city, the buildings and the skyline. The translation itself is then rewritten to make sure that it flows correctly, with spot changes made when the actual recording of the VO is done. Localization of a product with the level of sophistication that is happening in games now starts when a game is first thought of conceptually. It's an ongoing part of development, rather than the sort of afterthought that it once was."


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