And one that already has a fan translation.


As most people reading this know, Cave Story started off as 洞窟物語 (doukutsu monogatari). Amaya-san never anticipated it would become popular enough to warrant a fan-translation into English. But it did. In 2005, Andrew Davis would spend three weeks translating the Japanese script into English and the rest of us would end up with Cave Story for freeware PC.

We were in discussions with Andrew about possibly using his translation for the WiiWare version. Ultimately we decided that we wanted to give the fans and WiiWare an "official" translation with Amaya-san involved as much as possible. That meant translating the entire Japanese script, from scratch into English. And we did it. We wanted to put this off as long as possible as one of the last surprises.

For anyone who isn't familiar with video game localization, the process is relatively straight forward.

It goes something like this:
1. In our case, two translators go through files translating them from Japanese into English
2. After the dialogue has been translated it's cleaned up and edited
3. The text is then integrated into the game source files
4. We test the revised text, finding errors, typos or other issues
5. Changes are made and we go back to step 3 and repeat

Depending on how many companies are involved, the process can be very time-consuming. In our case, we're lucky as it's all internal. However, Cave Story has A LOT of dialogue and, more importantly, we wanted to make sure that Amaya-san's vision was retained.

We're literally trying to retain as much of the original Japanese meaning as possible. That's why, for example, the erroneous translation of クサムラ (kusamura) went from "Grass Town" to Bushlands. It's an easy mistake to make for an American translating from Japanese to English, クサ (kusa) means grass and ムラ (mura) does mean village, but the important thing to see is that Amaya-san wrote them in Katakana and not hiragana or Kanji. This changes their meaning. Whether you like the new name or not, it's correct according to the creator--and that's what matters most. Another example is Chaco is actually Chako or Chin Fish is... well, maybe I should save some of this.

Having two native Japanese speakers who are also very good in English has helped tremendously. It's still been a huge challenge because we've consulted heavily with Amaya-san on the more-vital parts of the script so that has taken more time. We didn't want to leave anything to chance or simple guessing when it comes to communicating his message; it'd be a disservice to Amaya-san, Cave Story and you, the fans. Those of you who are intimately familiar with the script will notice differences with the freeware PC version. I think that you will appreciate the revised English dialogue as much as the rest of the game.

I hope this makes absolute sense.