The Ace Attorney series is FILLED with dialogue and jokes, so it’s no surprise it takes a good deal of work to localize it from Japanese into other languages. In North America, the games have become well known for their language specific puns and humor.

In a new interview with Kotaku, Ace Attorney localization team member Janet Hsu discusses just how decisions are made on what to keep and what to change. While many changes were deemed necessary, they say that modern players are more comfortable allowing aspects of Japanese culture into their game experiences. Because of this, more and more Japanese concepts have started making their way into later entries.

Had this trilogy been localized into English today, the localization might be slightly different, but I assumed people would only become more and more familiar with Japanese culture.

I frequently used the word “yokai,” and the demon Tenma Taro remained Tenma Taro in the localization of The Monstrous Turnabout. I didn’t try to turn the rakugo storyteller aspect into a more Western idea of a stand-up comedian, for example.

[Janet Hsu, Kotaku]

Another interesting example of something that needed to be changed for English speaking audiences was the use of the Japanese phrase “yare, yare”, which is frequently used as a way of saying “good grief”. Hsu says that “most ‘yare, yare’ lines are translated into a snarky, sarcastic remark in English because of this difference in language and culture”.

The newly remastered Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice Trilogy uses the original English translation of the games, so don’t expect any updates there. However, several other language translations are brand new! Perhaps bilingual players seeking a fresh experience should consider changing their region settings to see what’s different in a new playthrough…

Click here to read more insights into Ace Attorney’s localization process, as well as some vague thoughts on where the series might go next.


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