Skeetendo

’Cause all games were better on the GBC

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#1 2010-11-21 18:28:26

Sawakita
Administrator
Registered: 2010-10-16
Post 55/365

To anyone who knows Japanese

Well, I'm planning a translation of a Japanese GB ROM. I've read some of those docs linked at in Romhacking.net but there's just some "lessons" on alphabet and pronunciation.
I didn't get so far, and I was wondering how the ones that learned Japanese (maybe Tauwasser?) managed to learn it so good.
Did you follow some sort of method, or by watching Jap TV, or how?

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#2 2010-11-24 14:55:28

60/703

Re: To anyone who knows Japanese

I wouldn't say I "know" Japanese, but I can read a little and say a few phrases.

Defining fluency is hard because there are different parts to Japanese—speaking it, reading it, and really reading it.

There are three "alphabets" in Japanese: hiragana and katakana (about 70 characters each) and kanji (lots; high‐school students know about 2000). You won't see many kanji in Game Boy games because there simply isn't enough space (and also because kanji are hard to read in a 8×8 font); all the games I've looked at use solely hiragana/katakana to spell out words in running text, though titles or splash screens may use kanji.

Example: Missingno.'s Japanese name is 欠番, but older Pokémon games use けつばん instead, which is just the same word (ketsuban) spelled out syllable by syllable (ke tsu ba n). Learning just hiragana and katakana would be a good start. A good book for that is Remembering the Kana, by James W. Heisig—really, it's very good.

The problem with kana‐based games is that Japanese has a lot of homonyms, and without using kanji they are spelled identically. Something that helped me out when reading phrases in kana was to type the kana I saw into the Japanese IME, pressing space to see what kanji it suggested, running them through an online translator, and picking the ones that made sense in context.

Grammar is pretty easy. Here is a quick primer on Japanese grammar.

You might also check out RHDN; a lot of the people there translate older games. They probably have better advice.

#3 2010-11-24 15:57:16

Tauwasser
Member
Registered: 2010-10-16
Post 51/452

Re: To anyone who knows Japanese

IIMarckus wrote:

There are three "alphabets" in Japanese: hiragana and katakana (about 70 characters each) and kanji (lots; high‐school students know about 2000). You won't see many kanji in Game Boy games because there simply isn't enough space (and also because kanji are hard to read in a 8×8 font); all the games I've looked at use solely hiragana/katakana to spell out words in running text, though titles or splash screens may use kanji.

There are games that use 8×8 kanjis, gameboy games, too. Also, hiragana and katakana have only 48 base characters and various tonal marks and deviations of base characters (small variants mainly). Also, technically, Japanese does not have syllable but morae. It's just nitpicking, but it's in the same order that no German word begins with a vowel. However, it's important to know about this stuff as no language was defined by its script. The script always follows the sounds of the language and is built around it. It helps for pronunciation a bit when you hear long and short sounds in Japanese for instance, because long sounds are held a mora longer than short sounds.

As IIMarckus said, Japanese fluency is really hard to define. It is best, IMO, to go with the Japanese Language Proficiency Test levels. They were recently revised. The old level 4 as well as the new level N5 are practically a don't-bother level. Just about anybody can pass it and it's not worth the money IMO. You should aim for level 3, the new N4, to start getting your proficiency certified.

Having said that, the test is somewhat easy in that it is only multiple choice, much like in the US where many test are multiple choice and therefore frowned-upon by general European audiences. Therefore many Japanese universities require now another test, the EJU (Examination for Japanese University Admission), which contains written parts.

Since you explicitly mentioned me, I know about 200 kanjis (all readings, excluding uncommon nanori) and a lot of grammar. I have lived for 5 months in Japan during 2008 and absolutely loved it. Mind you, much of my proficiency developed during my time there, when I went to a language school in Tokyo. I went there after having had a single semester of Japanese I at a high school in the US four years prior and being interested in anime in general.
I personally find it bothersome to read 8×8 kana, let alone kanji. But I can when I have to and get the gist of menus and simple sentences. I still don't feel qualified to translate anything meaningful, which is why I cooperate with a (professional) translator for my translation of a game boy game series, that has somewhat stalled during my time abroad and in university.

cYa,

Tauwasser

Last edited by Tauwasser (2010-11-24 15:58:42)

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