I mentioned this in one of the giveaway topics, but I was wondering on what people thought about different languages in games. Do you prefer to hear it in its ‘native’ language (EG Japanese), or would you rather hear it in English? I know there are many who prefer whichever is the more quality translation, but are there exceptions to this rule in your mind?
When it comes to japanese in particular I so far have always opted for having that over english translations. Now the japanese VA could be terrible but it’s kind of masked a fair bit by me not actually understanding japanese. I’m sure I’ve played a few games with bad japanese VA without really noticing where as I would always be able to tell if english VA was bad.
As a general rule I prefer subtitles and listening to the original language. With exceptions of course.
I’d actually always prefer an english version as long as the quality is good. I would use a japanese voiceover only if the english one is not bearable (considering the japanese is).
I’m from Germany, where nearly every game gets a german translation including voiceover, and they tend to be worse than the english version nearly every time, so I came to prefer these as soon as I understood it well enough. The only exception to that rule are games developed in Germany, where it’s the other way around sometimes.
I was actually expecting you to ask to end the topic’s title. My suggestions would have been “…usually sucks!”. I can’t speak for newer games released in the last 4-5 years or so, but so far in my life I have constantly been disappointed by how bad voiceovers in video games mostly are. Even if the script and the actors are good enough, and they know what to do, if nothing else the programming will fail and there will be no natural flow in the conversation and awkward pauses. I have yet to see a game with actually somewhat life-like dialogues.
Native language always, the only exception for me being for 3D animation movies (except japanese), there’s a great effort from the dubbing teams here to make the best of it and entertaining for us, it’s not always that localizing jokes works, but heyyy, at least they tried!
I understand that some people don’t enjoy reading subtitles, but it’s not a problem for me and when it’s English language I can ignore the subs.
Playing games in English was self taughting, I didn’t have English class in school until much later and when I did I was already ahead of the rest. Games like Pokemon R/B/Y, RPGs in general, you couldn’t get around without knowing the language a little, I had my notebook and an English dictionary on my side when solving puzzles and I also enjoy using devices in other language to learn from.
Even though today is much easier to do that, it saddens me when I see people begging for localization in steam reviews and discussion boards. I know my English may not be perfect, but it’s something that gets me around!
Definitely the original language, there is such a difference in emotional expression that gets lost in translation. Of course, there are good voice overs, but whatever language they were written in is what I would prefer.
I usually prefer the original language unless it’s some dumb crap I have nostalgia for.
The best is always to have the option to choose your language in game, which somehow still isn’t in every game.
In video games I will always pick the English dub. In television or film I will always pick the original language.
The way I see it, cartoons, games, and animation in general doesn’t lose out from a dub as the characters are of no nationality. There’s going to be lip flap whatever, and I can more readily empathise with the characters if they’re speaking my own language.
This. I fondly remember Vittorio Gassman dubbing Mufasa, for the italian version of The lion King.
I know that the english dubbing is really great, but the man was a legend and the performance truly emotional.
And here’s Gassman reading a box of cookies.
Talking about videogames, I don’t mind english dubbing, but having the choice to play in your native tongue would be the best option. This is especially true here in Italy, where everything is translated and dubbed and very few people talks or reads english.
You probably know Life is strange, the game from Dontnod. When the last episode came out, a friend of mine asked me to play that game togheter. He wasn’t able to understand the plot by himself, up to that episode he followed a YouTube walkthrough while playing the game.
We then arranged the thing via Xbox Live chat and played the last episode in coordination, where I was translating in real time all the dialogues for him. After a couple hours the episode was over and I had earned myself a beer to relieve my sour throat.
If you’re a game dev, willing to publish here in Italy, please think of the dubbing if sales matters to you, or at least localize the interface and add some subs.
These are some really mixed responses, which is great! I for one tend to enjoy the english dubs of games I have nostalgia for, and used to only play with the english language on. But, I’ve been branching out more language wise recently, which has been pretty cool too.
Here are my thoughts on this matter:
And that pretty much sums it up.
I think I could enjoy a game in its original voice with subtitles, however depending on the game, it may also distract the immersion of a game if I am reading subtitles that disappear before I have completed reading or If I am reading while some awesome action is occurring. Two things I find very frustrating with most things, I’m just not the fastest reader and I haven’t become faster after multiple anime watchings.
I usually like characters having voice in games so that I don’t have to read text but given the choice I will switch subtitles on, there is something about having both that I enjoy.
The one and only time I’ve considered switching languages for a game from English was with Mars: War Logs. It got REALLY bad in the intro cutscene. You know when there’s a few scenes that stand out as awful in something, despite everything else being great? It was that kind of scene.
Most of the time, I’ll just tolerate English dubs. If they screw it up to so-bad-it’s-good territory, that’s on them. Not to mention, the English language has generally great actors of every accent you can think of, ESPECIALLY when you get into Russian and European languages-- Metro 2033’s VO is incredible for a studio with very little presence in the US.
I’m going to say something really unpopular… I don’t like Dragonball. It’s a good anime, but I personally enjoyed the first season the most, where you can see the best Toriyama.
Today is mostly meme material, regardless of the language.
To me that’s an example of the dubbing being of the lowest standard possible. So the problem there isn’t the language, but the fact that they recorded it using the lowest quality of everything they could.
I think we have to make a distinction between the effort put into localisation vs the impact a different language has on the source material. Personally I find that the difference in cultures has an impact upon my enjoyment too. For instance Japanese dubs tend to have an over emphasis of squealing girls and over expressive older men. There’s a different in the way we communicate within our languages, and the way we convey emotion using language. Because of that I find that the sound of some languages doesn’t tally with what I’m reading and find it harder to connect.
[Posting from work]
With me English even with anime’s i need it dubbed in English because i just don’t really pay attention to what’s happening on screen when I’m reading the subtitles.
I did have that problem initially as well. But as I got used to reading subtitles quicker, I was able to appreciate the other things on the screen more and more. It is definitely a detraction to have a good chunk of the screen taken up by subtitles, since who knows if there’s something underneath that I am missing.