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Ninja Gaiden is an institution in the Hack & Slash genre.
The celebrated franchise kicked off in Japan in 1988. Since then, Tecmo has been taking gamers through ninja Ryu Hayabusa’s everyday life combining excellent playability with buckets of blood and action-packed scenes.
This project was particularly stimulating in that the theme was more adult-based than usual. Each new change came with reference material for me to make sure the text was suitable. That allowed me to hit the spot in terms of integrating subtitles and cinematics, on the one hand, and, on the other, I think I also subconsciously learnt a few ninja techniques.
Working on the last installment of a long-established franchise really makes you up your game. Consistency with the other installments was not only a professional requirement; I also owed it to the fans of the franchise.
In addition, this was a multi-platform game, so it was crucial to know the specific terms used for each device.
As an external translator, it was essential to ensure fluid communications with the client and resolve any ambiguities that might appear, especially since I was working with English texts that had been written for voice-over and my Spanish texts were going to be adapted as subtitles.
I owed it to the fans of the franchise to maintain consistency with the other installments
Spanish translation of the tutorial
One of the biggest advantages when I started working on the project was the huge amount of additional information I received from the localization project manager. That really helped me understand the context for each situation. It was also really helpful to become poor Ryu in all the installments and prove to myself why I don’t make a living playing games.
Nevertheless, there are always certain elements that require an in-depth explanation and I decided to send the client all my queries. Turns out I wasn’t being as paranoid as I thought, and we actually picked up on some errors in the English text that were corrected before the game was launched.
A dialogue that works as a voice-over might not cut it as a subtitle. Therefore, I focused on making texts short and sweet, with just the right amount of insults, and a rhythm that flowed with the spectacular action-packed scenes.
It was a genuine challenge that lasted eight intense months, but it was worth it to see the terrible bunch of killing machines that inhabit the Ninja Gaiden universe spewing out the curses that I had written in Spanish.
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