From Final Fantasy I

From Final Fantasy I

Colin Williamson worked for Square Enix for seven years, six of which he was a localization specialist. That meant a lot of things back then, writing dialogue, editing scripts, coordinating with the Japanese team, but essentially, he helped make their games understandable in North America. Localization is a tricky process, especially when Japanese is barely compatible with English in terms of grammar or culture. Or consider the games he worked on: 100-hour role playing games filled with item names, dialogue, and menus that all needed translating.

One of his biggest achievements, however, is on the Game Boy Advance release of the old Final Fantasy games. Square decided in the mid-2000s that they would retranslate the Super Nintendo classics. Everyone loves Ted Woosley, the most famous Final Fantasy translator, but his translation was inconsistent, and in some cases rushed due to extreme time constraints. So Colin, and his team, ended up dealing with a lot of seemingly insignificant questions. Was the item that revived a party member, Pheonix Down, Fenix Down, or Pheonix Feather? Do they keep the old Ted Woolsey pop culture references that worked in 1995, but not so much in 2005? Their solution was a massive spreadsheet that eventually became the Final Fantasy series' complete lexicon. 

To hear more from Colin, his time at Square, and how the industry's changed since Woolsey just click play.

Courtesy colinwiliamson.com

Courtesy colinwiliamson.com

Colin currently works at 17-Bit Games working on Galak-Z. He can be found on Twitter @ColinWilliamson. The music in this interview is "Hungraria" by Latch Swing from the Free Music Archive. 

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