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Translation Difficulty Tiers—by Moogy

This list is pretty good. Just note that Moogy’s standards are not the normal person’s standards.

Posted 30 October 2012 by Moogy

Hello. This is a very dumb thing I made which ranks every eroge I have played by difficulty of translation (aka how much of a pain in the ass I think translating it would be), accompanied by some notes on the subject. It’s just for fun so please don’t take it too seriously.

Requires Being An Intelligent Human Being Tier (Normal)

  • Aiyoku no Eustia – Nothing really hard. Some fantasy/political vocabulary.
  • Akatsuki no Goei – Lots of manzai that might not come across well in a translation.
  • A Profile – N/A
  • atled – N/A
  • Baldr Force – Insane shitloads of Engrish furigana, probably like an average of 2 or 3 words with furigana a line. Not to mention random German. Definitely loses some charm in a translation.
  • Baldr Sky – See above, but less severe.
  • Cartagra – Hope you enjoy translating hilarious guro scenes.
  • Dalk Gaiden – N/A
  • eden* – Might require some fancy writing tricks but no difficult concepts or anything.
  • Furuiro Meikyuu Rondo – Could honestly improve the game in a translation, latter half really needs some more attention paid to it in general.
  • Harumade, Kururu – Lots and lots of crazy sci-fi ideas but nothing hard to understand or translate.
  • Himawari – See above!
  • Hoshizora no Memoria – Could do this while you’re asleep honestly. Just make sure Mare’s conversations with Yoh at the tenboudai at night remain funny okay.
  • Kagura Douchuuki – Why did I even play this anyway. Like 50% of the script is gross monster rape so have fun.
  • Kamidori – Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
  • Konna Ko ga Itara Boku ha mou – Mostly braindead but make sure the protagonist is a funny dick.
  • Kono Yo no Hate de Koi wo Utau Shoujo YU-NO – Lots and lots of bad puns.
  • Kourin no Machi – Braindead but hope you enjoy a lot of boring as fuck scenes and fencing.
  • Magica Ride – N/A
  • Midori no Umi – Narration is kind of “faggy” for lack of a better term.
  • Only You – Make sure it’s hot.
  • Piano no Mori no Mankai no Shita – teru played this without knowing who Mephistopheles was. True story.
  • Quartett – Hope you like translating dull manga/anime dialogue.
  • Rance series – Nothing hard in the whole thing. Fantasy vocab.
  • Renai 0 Kilometer – Like the entire thing is boke/tsukkomi so I dunno how well it would come across in English.
  • Shoin, Aruiha Ushinawareta Yume no Monogatari (and 2nd Love while we’re at it) – An absolutely fucking ludicrous amount of major typos and scripting errors, some of which make the script a bit harder to understand in places. Room to improve the game in a translation here too.
  • Soukoku no Arterial – Not as bad as Kamidori!
  • Steins;Gate – See Himawari/Harukuru.
  • Symphonic Rain – I seem to remember the script having a fair number of typos. Make sure you preserve the very casual writing style, because it’s part of what makes the game unique.
  • Toushin Toshi III – Genichirou would be pretty fun to translate.
  • Tsuyokiss – Try not to fall asleep after the common route.

Basically A Pain in the Ass Tier (Hard)

  • ‘&’ – Easiest Hino game by far but still some pretty tricky sections here and there. Not really enough to justify any higher than this rank though.
  • CARNIVAL and anything else by Setoguchi Renya – Requires actually being a (very) good writer so good luck with this one folks. Nothing terribly difficult to actually adapt though IMO.
  • Draculius – Script is really crazy and has a lot of power to it, might not seem very difficult but you need to be able to carry it all the way like Fujisaki did and I think that would take a fair deal of writing prowess.
  • Forest – Dialogue is extremely theatrical, requiring some talent to pull off effectively in English. Lots of very vague parts of the script too.
  • Grisaia series – Extremely verbose with a huge vocabulary level and tons and tons of jargon and specialized concepts. You’ll need to be a good writer and either very keen on all things military and vehicle related or willing to spend a lot of time researching them in English. Also fucking long.
  • Kusarihime – Meteor is weird. Also the plot is very hard to follow.
  • Mari-kuri and other HAIN games – Super super weirdo writing style, nothing but metafiction.
  • Moekan – Some pretty crazy battles. SCA-Ji’s parts occasionally veer off into philosophic territory.
  • Muv-Luv series – I hope you’re basically supreme overlord of the United States military or something because goddamn is the dialogue in this stuff hardcore. The imperial characters all speak in super duper fancy Japanese too so it’s not just military jargon. Just a really huge pain all around but nothing uniquely Japanese I suppose other than that letter in chapter 6 of Alternative.
  • Nekonade Distortion – Incomprehensible plot, philosophy spam.
  • Rewrite – Moon and Terra need to be handled with real care; rest of the game is extremely long.
  • Sayonara wo Oshiete – Written like a novel.
  • Seven-Bridge – Meteor.
  • Sharin no Kuni – Very very quotable game so you need to preserve that. The translation’s that out there is pretty shitty I know.
  • Tenshi no Hane wo Fumanaide – Easiest Shumon game to translate by far, but that’s not really saying much. Fairly verbose with a lot of complicated concepts to explain to the reader. The ending has kanji dickery integrated into the characters’ names so have fun with that.
  • Trample on Schatten – Text is extremely idiosyncratic to say the least. Very fancy Japanese here and there and you have to deal with the Kagefumi stuff as well.
  • Tsui no Sora – Basically a random philosophy wankfest + denpa.
  • Umineko – Everybody knows Ryuukishi’s style by now I guess.
  • White Album 2 – Am I the only one who finds Maruto’s style kinda similar to Shumon’s? Very emotionally charged language, Japanese is probably a more suitable language in the end.

Holy Shit Fuck This Tier (Very Hard)

  • Comyu – Hahaha I hope you fucking have fun translating gigantic Hino monologues that never ever fucking end. Not as hard to translate as Ruitomo by itself but I’d probably have a brain aneurysm by the end.
  • Demonbane – Haganeya’s style is ridiculously incompatible with the English language and this game is long as hell so you’ll be basically rewriting every line from scratch the entire way. I’m not even considering translating anything this guy writes ever again.
  • Dra+KoI – See above, but with less length and more language that’s simply painful to translate.
  • Fate series – Good old Nasu. Wonder if we’ll ever see a decent translation of anything he wrote.
  • Hanachirasu – I think most people should be able to understand the difficulty inherent in translating this.
  • JQV – Faux-Romeo that’s only slightly less of a pain in the ass to deal with. Jokes are probably a lost cause entirely.
  • Kazoku Keikaku – Actual Romeo an
    d it’s still a pain in the ass to deal with. Again, jokes are most likely a lost cause.
  • Kikokugai – Urobuchi’s incredibly expressive and detailed descriptive text combined with tons and tons of crazy wuxia shit? No thank you.
  • Mahoutsukai no Yoru – Again, Nasu.
  • Meguri, Hitohira – Endless Shintou concepts and lots of etymology discussion, pretty much par for the course with Shumon. Writing itself isn’t quite as bad to deal with as Asairo and there’s not as much fucking insanity as Itsusora though.
  • Saya no Uta – Urobuchi.
  • Shinju no Yakata – Mareni and Romeo? Written in third person? Enormous vocabulary and tons of Japanese culture? Boy, I can’t wait to work on this!
  • Sorechiru – Jackson, but you only have one writing style to deal with as opposed to several in Oretsuba. Not that that’s much consolation, I know.
  • Soukou Akki Muramasa – I hesitated on whether to put this here or in the next tier up, but the writing style itself is usually not terribly difficult to deal with. Everything else, though, oh boy.
  • Steampunk series – See comments about Haganeya above; Sakurai has a fairly similar writing style to his. And it’s even less fit for the English language. How great.
  • Zoku Satsuriku no Django – Urobuchi.

Impossible Tier (Impossible)

  • Cross+Channel – Anyone who attempts this is doomed to weep inconsolably throughout, filled with self-hatred as Romeo’s beautiful words are disfigured by their very own hands. I would probably commit suicide before finishing.
  • Dies irae – Wow. Where do I even start? Not only do you need to somehow figure out a way to be impossibly chuu2 in English, but you need to do this in the most grandiose manner possible while still writing something that can be taken seriously. And you need do to this for 4mb of text. That’s not even getting into the distinct speech pattern each and every single character has, either. Mercurius’s lines especially are just… how can anyone write like that? Makoto himself agreed that he considered the prospect of translating Dies irae way more difficult than translating Muramasa, so there’s some food for thought.
  • Itsuka, Todoku, Ano Sora ni. – Oh dear lord. A ludicrously complex writing style that is alternately methodical and impassioned, kanji puzzles as part of the setting, unbelievably over the top fight scenes – including one with fucking mathematical formulas, every type of Japanese history you can imagine, an intentionally misleading and roundabout method of presenting the plot for most of the game, huge infodumps at every turn, archaic speech styles, Norse mythology… the list just goes on and on. Everything that would be annoying to translate is all here in one neat package. The one saving grace is that it’s not especially long, I suppose.
  • Oretachi ni Tsubasa ha Nai – Here it is folks, the big one. Nothing that’s especially difficult from an adaptation standpoint, so this one is just a straight up test of how good of a writer you are. Are you man enough to handle the six distinct voices Jackson has on display in this one? Probably not unless you’re fucking Nabokov or somebody, since his (incredibly verbose) writing style is one of the cleanest and most expressive you’ll find from any writer in any language. Every time I reread parts of Oretsuba I gain a greater appreciation of just how fucking well-written it is – this is definitely not something to be approached lightly and I think anyone who really loves the game will agree that it’s something that should never be attempted by the kind of people who translate visual novels, professionally or otherwise. More than anything this is the game that needs a real, proven writer to work on a theoretical translation. And that simply won’t happen.
  • Rui ha Tomo wo Yobu – The letter in the second script is far more difficult to translate (or properly comprehend) than anything else from any other game in this post. Otherwise you just have to deal with a writing style that alternates between not working in English and not working in any language period but somehow sounding really cool and poignant no matter what. Also tons of crazy humor and denpa dialogue.
  • Saihate no Ima – Substantially more complicated text than any of the above (by Romeo, to boot), including 300kb of encyclopedia entries on a comically wide range of subjects and disciplines. There’s not really much more to say beyond the fact that this is definitely the single most difficult piece of Japanese writing I’ve come across in eroge. Your brain would explode long before you made headway in this.
  • Subarashiki Hibi – A number of factors combine to put this at the top with other games that might seem much harder at first glance. For one, SCA-Ji’s style isn’t something you’re going to be able to preserve well in English – Jabberwocky II is going to end up as a mere shadow of its former self in English no matter how hard you try, in particular. On top of just the writing style, however, is the fact that, to put it very simply, SCA-Ji is far more intelligent than anyone reading this blog entry, including myself. There are a great deal of very high level concepts in SubaHibi and any aspiring translator is going to need to accept that he probably doesn’t understand it all. From there, you reach the point of actually researching and interpreting all this shit, which could take years, honestly. You’ll also have to deal with knowing that the vast majority of people who read visual novels in English don’t have the level of reading comprehension or education necessary to really start to approach interpreting and understanding SubaHibi on anything but a surface level, so your efforts in translating it will be mostly wasted. The amount of effort you’d have to put into translating SubaHibi isn’t really worth the payoff in other words. Also there’s a shitload of horrible ero so have fun with that.

Literally Impossible Tier (I have no idea how anyone would even begin to translate these games)

  • Kajiri Kamui Kagura -I believe these videos say it all. If anyone has any idea how to start approaching this shit do let me know, lol. Otherwise it’s the same difficulty as Dies.
  • Kitto, Sumiwataru Asairo Yorimo, – Critical thematic elements and underlying plot points rely on concepts exclusive to the Japanese language, making it impossible to translate into English in a seamless fashion. If you can look past all of that it still sits on the Impossible Tier because it’s really not much better than ItsuSora with regards to everything else.

I think that should be everything for now. Perhaps I will update this post in the future. Or maybe not, because it’s really stupid.

I would add an Easy-tier for casuals if I could.

About the author

Tay

I'm the Fuwanovel community admin and a big fan of Visual Novels. The easiest way to get a hold of me is via a PM on the Fuwanovel Forums, by twitter (@ArchmageTay), or by email.

5 Comments

  • Translation is serious business. I can kinda understand Dies Irae is a good game though I can kinda understand not being translated, since it looks like it’s going to take a lot of work.

    Good to see Rewrite’s still somewhat plausible xD

  • Totally not surprised to see SubaHibi on that list, and I pretty much agree with everything he said about it. Split my head open, it sure did (and it probably still will, even if I read it in English).

  • I lol’d at cross channel’s description. I personally love how amaterasu took care of the writing however.

  • SubaHibi got translated, I’d be interested to hear what people who read the original VN think of it… Like said here, it’s probably not as impressive as the original Japanese but I found it pretty dang engaging throughout anyway.

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