Tuesday, September 22, 2015

RKS Developer Diary #3 - German Language Lessons

Hi, everyone!  Kept you waiting, huh?  Sorry about the silence; a few things happened behind-the-scenes that demanded our full attention.  Without going into too much detail: it seems we may need to look into an alternative to crowdfunding for Operation Schwesternschaft.  Don't let that worry you, though.  Rosenkreuzstilette and Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel will still be coming out in English in the near future (you'd have to kill me to prevent that from happening).  This is just a matter of how we're going to finance the extra features.  We already have a prospect that we're following up on, and it's looking to be quite promising, so there's no need to be concerned.

While it sucks that this change of plan has affected our forward momentum, the project is still going strong and the finished release is definitely shaping up to be worth the wait.  If by some chance something major does happen, you can rest assured that you'll hear about it here first; we have no intention of keeping our fans in the dark.

That said, on with today's entry!  As many of you have noticed, in our fan translation of Rosenkreuzstilette, we took the liberty of correcting some of the German text so that it flowed more naturally.  WOMI has mentioned in his own Developer Diary that he doesn't know German all that well, so we did what we could to address the issue (with the support of some volunteers from Romhacking.net since no one on our team was fluent in German).  For our official release of the game, I'm pleased to report that we have a dedicated German native working with us to ensure the quality of the German flavor text.

This time around, we independently translated the German and Japanese text (with our German consultant Martin handling the German-to-English translation and our resident translator Tyler handling the Japanese-to-English version).  Once Martin and Tyler were finished, we compared the two translations and confirmed whether the two renditions actually conveyed the same meaning (and, where they didn't, determined whether this was intentional or not).  If the German was an actual reference, we make a point of tracking down the original source and using its exact phrasing wherever possible.  If we weren't sure about something, WOMI made himself available via email to answer any questions we might have.

Once we knew exactly what the German text was supposed to mean, we polished off our English renditions and passed them to Martin to translate back into German.  In many cases, the English and the original German matched up completely (as is the case in the screenshot comparisons above).  In a few instances, the German text ended up being completely different; you'll see a couple of examples of that in an upcoming Developer Diary on the game's Stage Titles.

As an example: the text in the [erka:es] logo is actually the title of a 17th Century text by the Rosenkreuz Orden, the real-life Order of the Rose Cross.  The title reads as follows:

"Allgemeine und General Reformation, der gantzen weiten Welt. Beneben der Fama Fraternitatis, Deß Löblichen Ordens des Rosenkreutzes, an alle Gelehrte und Häupter Europae geschrieben: Auch einer kurtzen Responsion, von dem Herrn Haselmeyer gestellet, welcher deßwegen von den Jesuitern ist gefänglich eingezogen, und auff eine Galleren geschmiedet: Itzo öffentlich in Druck verfertiger, und allen trewen Hertzen communiciret worden...."

This is our English rendition of the title:

"The Pervasive and Universal Reformation of the Entire World. Addressed to the great savants and sovereigns of Europe and accompanied by the Fama Fraternitatis of the illustrious Order of the Rose Cross (which includes an afterword by Mr. Haselmeyer, who, for penning it, was imprisoned by the Jesuits and sentenced to the galley). Now printed, published, and entrusted to every open heart and mind...."

As you can see in the very first screenshot, we updated the original German text to match the manuscript's title (modernizing the punctuation where necessary such as replacing the slashes with commas) before integrating our English rendition and repositioning each element to maintain compositional balance.  The results speak for themselves; if you hadn't played the game in Japanese before, you probably wouldn't realize that the English translation wasn't part of the original graphic.

Well, that's enough for today's Developer Diary.  For our next entry, would you like to have a peek at the new Stage Titles or the new Stage Select Screen?  We'll cover both in due time; this is just a poll to see which you'd like to see first.


  1. Another interesting topic!

    I'll say I'd like to see the new Stage Select screen over the new stage titles.

  2. Shame about the crowd funding not working but best you figure that out now than end up caught with your pants down like Inafune did with Red Ash.

    Crowd funding just isn't a good place to be right now, and I still don't think people at large would have reacted positively being introduced to it that way, so it's probably for the best.

    And the stage select screen regarding the poll.

  3. The stage select screen will be having my vote as well.

  4. I'm gonna be a rebel an vote on the Stage Titles, seeing everyone involved in polishing and fine-tuning the games' localization really has me invested in these dev diaries.

    "If by some chance something major does happen, you can rest assured that you'll hear about it here first; we have no intention of keeping our fans in the dark."

    If only more developers and publishers cared more about their userbase. I'm talking to you, Mages (and Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds).