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Targeted translation

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Japanese popular culture in the form of anime, manga, and videogames, enjoys significant popularity with diehard international fan groups, who have often become acquainted with aspects of Japanese culture through fan-translated media. However, this base of knowledgeable fans stands unique amongst standard translation practice, which seeks to iron out cultural specificities to create a text that reads flawlessly for a mass audience. This article therefore sets out to explain how videogame translators adopt targeted translation strategies to make their products more marketable to either a mass audience, the members of which may be ignorant, ambivalent, or even hostile to Japanese pop culture products, or to dedicated niche fan groups whose interest in Japan has been stoked by unofficial translations that frequently position themselves as the only avenue for accessing an “authentic” text. The final releases for eight pairs of Japanese games from the Role-Playing Game genre will be analysed to illustrate how far-reaching translation decisions have been used to make individual games more marketable to either group.
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Keywords: Japanese-English translation; fan translation; localisation; translation strategy; videogames

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2017

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  • Research related with internationalization and localization is new and is more and more solicited by language businesses, software developers, translation agencies, international multilingual organizations, universities, language planning policy makers and standardization institutes. The Journal of Internationalization and Localization (JIAL) aims at establishing a worldwide discussion forum for both professionals and academics in the area of internationalization and localization. The scope of the journal is as broad as possible in order to target all the players in the internationalization and localization profession. The specific aim of the journal is to leverage the full range of information, from academic research results to the floor of today's language industries, and, conversely, to leverage business experiences in order to inform academic research. JIAL addresses an interdisciplinary readership in that it focuses on contributions that generate an impact on the localization and translation industry. A link between professionals and academics is assured by the specific content of the articles and the members of the editorial board. Each issue is reviewed by both academics and professionals.
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