So what the heck do you guys do, anyway?
We localize works of interactive entertainment (or "video games", if you must be non-snobbish about it) for the English-speaking market! Currently we only focus on Japanese-to-English localization but if opportunities present themselves, we may branch into other languages.
Wait, what's "localization"? Aren't you guys translators?
"Localization" is a fairly recent term that can be thought of as a kind of "superset" to translation. It involves ensuring that not just words, but cultural meaning and the vision of a work's original creator, are portrayed in another language in such a way that a new audience understands the work as it was meant to be understood.
A word-for-word translation can often be strictly correct, but outside of its cultural context, it can lose some of the meaning. Interactive entertainment has had some notorious examples of poor localization in the past; works that would, or should, have garnered praise have been met with confusion due to much of their meaning being lost (or sloppy translation in general). Carpe Fulgur's purpose is to both translate and localize titles, editing as necessary to ensure that a work's intent carries across language and cultural barriers.
Wait a minute - "edit"? You guys aren't like some jerks who just cut stuff out and "dumb it down" for Americans, are you?
Absolutely not. There have been groups and companies in the past who have cut out sections of a work that are deemed "too foreign" for a given audience or otherwise wholly changed a work simply to try and "Westernize" it. We at Carpe Fulgur dislike this practice - we've been annoyed by it too - and we work on a different level.
The Carpe Fulgur Method™©® involves using modern, Internet-based communication technology to work with the original creator(s) of an piece of fiction in order to bring the work to life in English while still ensuring that everything actually makes sense in English and that no essential meaning is lost to cultural or linguistic barriers. The Internet allows us to communicate with content creators regularly even over great distances, so there is no reason why our work must suffer under the same limits as those of yesteryear, when many localizers had to play it by ear and even guess at meaning. We engage the authors and make them part of the process. We do not cut content unless it would severely restrict our ability to sell a product (see "business/licensing questions", below).
As an example, from a favorite work of the founders: one character says to another "It's rare to find you in a place like this. Perhaps I'd best bring an umbrella tomorrow." This is a direct translation of a Japanese rhetorical device; it's essentially an insult implying that because a character has done something odd, the entire world will be strange now. A direct way to localize this would be "It's rare to actually see you here. Should I expect to see pigs flying next?" However, thanks to a combination of contact with the original content creator and playing the work extensively, we'd know that the setting is meant to be somewhat Renaissance-German-esque; another option, therefore, would be "It's so rare to actually see you here; shall I expect to find a unicorn in the Festungplatz next?", which simultaneously reinforces the Renaissance-German feel of the setting (as the unicorn was a popular symbol and myth of the time), makes the original joke and insult work (as unicorns are rare), and even serves as a slight dig at the one being spoken to (as the two characters are somewhat antagonistic, and the speakee is still single and thus could find a unicorn according to the myths). Once finalized, this would be discussed with the original content creator to explain the original problem and ensure it is in keeping with their vision (assuming we have not been given free reign in such changes ahead of time).
That is the Carpe Fulgur Method: adaptation with an eye toward what works for the content, and working with the content creators to ensure that their vision is maintained.
Okay, so what's your first title?
We can finally talk about it! Our first project is Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale from EasyGameStation. Visit the site to learn more and download the demo!
Hey, how do I transfer saves from my Recettear demo to the full game?
Please check the Recettear FAQ for more info concerning moving savegames.
So do you guys just do video games?
Currently, Carpe Fulgur focuses on interactive entertainment created by independent PC developers in Japan. The Carpe Fulgur Method (detailed above), however, hardly need apply just to interactive works. If you know of a work or have a work (either ameteur or professional) that you want localized into English and desire our help in making it happen, please let us know! We'll be happy to help you or listen to requests from our fans.
Oh cool! Okay, there's this awesome game in Japan out for the PC, "Hot Sex Boobsfest 9001". It's got ti-
A point of clarification is perhaps required. While Carpe Fulgur, as a rule, does not cut content as we respect the authors of the works we localize (and the fans who then enjoy the our work and through us the author's), there are certain kinds of content Carpe Fulgur simply will not release. This includes explicit scenes of sexual conduct.
As a general guideline: Carpe Fulgur will not release a product that would exceed a rating of "M" from the ESRB, even if that title is not rated by that organization. This is slightly problematic as many PC titles in Japan include scenes of explicit sexual activity to boost sales (although our first project never did). Therefore, there may be titles which we otherwise greatly enjoy and wish to bring to the English-speaking world, but we would need to remove explicit scenes from the material in order to sell it without being branded as "smut peddlers"... or worse.
So: feel free to suggest works via mail or on the CF forums, but remember that if you suggest a title with explicit content to us and we like it otherwise, the explicit content will probably be removed in our localization (assuming the authors wish to work with us on hearing that we would need to remove said content to work on the title).
Is Carpe Fulgur hiring? I'd love to work with you guys!
We aren't hiring anyone at this stage, mostly due to the fact that we don't have any work for anyone else to do right now. If and/or when we are hiring, we'll make it very obvious!
Hey, what if I have a title already in English, but I want some help with the editing? Can you do that too?
Sure! Get in touch with us and we'll see how we can help you!
Are you willing to contract with other companies? We're working on various projects but we're a little overworked...
Absolutely! Contact us and describe what you're working on, and we'll see if we can apply a little bit of the Carpe Fulgur Method to that special little project from Japan of yours!