The global nature of the Pokémon games has no doubt been quite a headache for localisation teams over the years. Many of the creaturess names are much more than just arbitrary labels, often having some sort of cultural or self-referential elements reflected in the spelling or pronunciation of the names. Naturally, localisation of these games in multiple different countries that speak different languages means that it’s not as simple as plugging text into Google Translate and calling it a day.
Evidently, the localisation in Hong Kong is being conducted differently from now on, and this has led to a protest movement by Hong Kong Pokéfans. Pokémon Sun and Moon will be the first games translated to simplified Chinese, but this carries with it some costs. Pokémon media aside from the games has been available in the greater Chinese area for some time now, but it has always featured language that’s tailored to the local dialect of each region
With Sun and Moon, that will no longer be the case, as it will all be under one common language. While this means that the franchise will be more unified in the East, it also inevitably means there will be a loss of local traditions that have been prevalent in translations in the past. This has led to protests at the Japanese Consulate by local fans, along with online petitions and protests on Nintendo’s Hong Kong Facebook page. Whether the company will change course remains to be seen, but it’s certainly interesting to see how complex localisation can be at times.
What do you think? Did Nintendo do the right thing by “unifying” the region? Do you think the protests will change anything? Share your thoughts in the comments below.