Zarla matched dialog with audio files to translate the speech:
In the beginning of January 2010, I got my hands of the Japanese version of Star Control II. Although I don’t understand Japanese, it’s a great addition to anyone’s collection.
Here are some things I noticed in this version:
- The default name of the flagship is Kamui. It is a Japanese word that can be used to describe a god or divine spirit.
- The default name of the captain is Isamu.
- The paper starmap is not included; instead there is a hint book at the back of the manual listing the coordinates of each star system. Everything is packaged in a double CD case, like the ones for 2-disc PlayStation games.
- The VUX are the only race not translated in Japanese.
- The screenshots in the manual and packaging are from the English version.
I thought about translating some Japanese text such as the the game’s translated title and names of the aliens. Since I don’t understand any other languages other than English, I opened Microsoft Word and pulled out some Japanese characters so that I can enter it into an online Japanese-English dictionary. Unfortunately, it was a tedious process; I looked at each symbol and matched them one at a time. In addition, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is still impractical to use for this purpose. With the time I spent on this, I was able to translate two things: Star Control II is called Star Kosotororu II and the Orz are called Orth.
I remember a few years ago I wrote a letter to Alex Ness on my 19th birthday and he told me that when he was 19, he worked at Crystal Dynamics as a lead tester. The first game he tested was the Japanese version of Star Control II:
Hey that just reminded me. You know what I did when I was 19? Became a lead tester at Crystal Dynamics. So what, right? Well guess what my first game as lead was? The Japanese version of Star Control 2!
That was also when I met Paul Reiche and Fred Ford. I was a huge fan of Archon and Mail Order Monsters as well so meeting them was like some kind of crazy dream. I remember seeing Paul's picture on the Archon box when I used to play it religiously on the Commodore 64. It's still weird to think that I now work with that dude.
‐ Alex Ness
When I got this game in the mail, I asked Alex what is was like testing the Japanese version:
Nice going with that Japanese version of SCII. I remember thinking the voices were pretty good although a ton of the humor was lost in translation. I used to sit with the Japanese translators and play through the game, asking them what each thing said and the way they explained it to me never quite sounded right. I think that’s just because our languages are so different and Paul’s style of writing is very American so they didn’t really understand it. Especially when it came to creatures like the Orz/Orth! The Mycon turned out pretty well, as I recall. What do you think of the voices?
‐ Alex Ness
Alex took on the role of producer at TFB in 2000, when they were developing 102 Dalmations: Puppies to the Rescue for Eidos.
I remember a few years ago, there was some talk of taking the speech from the Japanese translation and creating an addon for The Ur-Quan Masters. However, with the years that has passed by, it is complicated to determine who owns the rights to the audio and whether or not it is okay to freely distribute it. Serge asked Paul Reiche about finding the Japanese bitmap fonts and legally using the audio. Here is his reply:
Man, I don't really know the answer to that question ‐‐ especially the Japanese font ‐‐ because we contracted the Japanese version to Free Fall Games, and I don't know what kind of legal encumberances might exist. I don't think anyone on the planet will give you a hard time about using the VO and font though, but that's just my opinion.
Hope that helps!
There’s more e-mails that Serge quotes in the thread and it’s worth reading. It shows a complicated side of video games that has popped up many times in video game news: Rights ownership. Because Atari owns the title “Star Control”, its open source release is called The Ur-Quan Masters. It’s great to see that this legality didn’t stop UQM from happening. I’d like to thank Alex for taking the time to write to me. It’s awesome to learn new things about the people at TFB and how people are connected to Star Control.
SC2 in Japanese