Digimerce reached out through e-mail to notify me that the Nintendo Switch otome games “Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku -Forbidden Romance with Mysterious Spirit-” and “Iris School of Wizardry -Vinculum Hearts-” have been given patches to iron out the odd Japanese-to-English translations that seemed like they were translated by a machine.
I guess you could call this a little free PR from me but here’s my little take away from this news.
For some background information, Digimerce Inc. is the company in charge of porting some of Opera House’s mobile otome games to the Nintendo Switch in the Japanese eShop. A couple months after those games were on the Japanese eShop, Digimerce Inc made it available to purchase in English based eShops as well as translating the games into English. Their first game to arrive to English based eShops was “Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku -Forbidden Romance with Mysterious Spirit-“.
When Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku -Forbidden Romance with Mysterious Spirit- was released in English it was poorly received by reviewers, some saying it was unplayable as a visual novel as the translations were hard to understand. Few months later Iris School of Wizardry -Vinculum Hearts- was released in English, while there was some improvement in translation quality it was still overshadowed by the frequency of grammar and punctuation mistakes, awkwardly phrased sentences and strange translation choices.
—Thoughts on the Patch
I remember hearing that Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku got a patch a while back but I didn’t think about covering it until now that I’ve got word that they have also made a translation patch for Iris School of Wizardry.
While I only had a small check, I can really tell that there has been some improvements, especially for Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku which suffered the most from poor translation. I can’t exactly go through both of the games from start to finish to find the differences as it’ll take another 20 or more hours from my life, I can show some comparisons of before and after.
Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku’s before and after the patch:
Left image you can see the incorrect use of punctuation, especially when the first sentence needs a question mark rather than two exclamation marks as the speaker is asking a question. The phrase “Follow me!!” while is a correct translation of ついてこい (tsuitekoi = come with me / follow me), it just seems a bit awkward/unnatural as it is a direct translation rather than keeping in mind the context of the word/phrase while translating. The right image is the improved version with fixed punctuation and a more natural English phrase as an equivalent to ついてこい.
Iris School of Wizardry’s before and after the patch:
I have two examples to show, these two being my favourite screenshots I took while playing Iris School of Wizardry for the first time. They’re my favourite mainly because of the interesting way these sentences were translated that made me chuckle.
Left image is the game before the patch, this happens in the prologue and the first sentence is quite confusing with its “admission rate to enter this school is highly 300%”. The patch fixes this by replacing “highly 300%” to “very high”, however “admission rate” may not be the best way to describe it. When you think of a school having a very high admission rate you’d think that it’s an easy school to get accepted in as the acceptance rate is high, though the later sentence seems to give a contradiction saying 90% of the students are from well known and wealthy families… which makes you wonder if there is that many wealthy families in this kingdom.
I switched the English text to Japanese text to see what was really going on with the sentence and I can see where they got the “the admission rate is highly 300%” from, though “300倍” more or less translates to “300 times [more]”.
I’m not very good with kanji/vocab I haven’t learnt so this might be an inaccurate translation so please forgive me, but the admission rate sentence in question translates to “The admission competition rate for this school is 300 times [possibly 300 times more than other schools?]” which changes the meaning of it a bit. Rather than the admission rate being very high as in its easy for a lot of students to get in (but at least 90% of those students are from elite + wealthy families so that’s a contradiction as it isn’t easy to get in if you’re poor or just a middle class student)–instead it becomes “there’s just a whole lot more students applying to this school and the competition to get admitted is higher than most schools”.
Anyway I’m lingering on this too much, maybe it just means that the admission rate is high for that school and accepts a lot of students?
This one is my no.1 favorite mainly because of the strange use of “impregnated with my tears”. Now it’s just “wet with my tears”. Good job on fixing it so it doesn’t seem so strange.
I think its great for companies specialising in releasing visual novel games to patch and fix spelling mistakes and awkward translations after the games release. It really helps for players to really enjoy your game if it has little to none translation errors and it makes the company look professional. I wish more companies did this often when it comes to visual novel games (I’m looking at you, Aksys Games).
The patch Digimerce released for Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku and Iris School of Wizardry has improved the game quite significantly and has made it more enjoyable to read. Though there still are some mistakes here and there like improper use of punctuation or using the wrong word (like the image below):
There are still some sentences that have a disruptive flow to it and can be hard to read in English:
There are quite a few sentences that may sound natural in Japanese can sound strange in English. This tends to be a hurdle for translators to make sentences that are in Japanese sound just as natural in English, it may take some experience and time but maybe Digimerce can get there.
If you’re not too pressed about some translation mistakes or grammatical errors then I’d probably recommend that its ok to get these games. Though if you’re a nitpicker like me you might notice a couple of errors.
Personal thanks to Digimerce for making these patches so it’ll be easier for future and past players to play and enjoy these games. Usually some companies just leave their game alone after releasing it with abysmal translations so its nice to see some companies striving to improve their players experience. After all, the players did pay good money for a product they want to enjoy playing.
I wish Digimerce all the best with their future endeavours with publishing otome games to the Nintendo Switch. I also hope the translations keep improving from now on.
Thank you for reading.