RPGamer interviewed former Square Enix translator, Tom Slattery, covering his beginnings in the business, how he gained a full-time translating position at Square, a little insight as to what their localization process was like, and also a few of the games he worked on.
With regard to specific games, the case of Final Fantasy IV DS was an interesting one in particular. Square initially only required that the existing text for IV from the Game Boy Advance be touched up. IV just so happened to be Slattery’s favourite Final Fantasy, however, and he asked that he be allowed to write the DS version’s translation from scratch.
“I ended up putting forth a case for doing a new localization from scratch–offering to do it in the span of the original schedule–and obtained approval,” Slattery shares. “Fortunately, they decided to expand the project schedule to allow me enough time to do a retranslation without having to sleep under my desk.”
Slattery also reveals a few of the changes he made to the new translation, such as renaming the term used for the game’s summons.
“The Mysidian legend was also something I had wanted to update badly, as previous translations had failed to convey effectively what it referenced,” he shares. “The naming related to summons was another. Every other Final Fantasy had given them a name–Espers, Eidolons, Guardian Forces–but Final Fantasy IV simply called them ‘summons,’ or ‘summoned monsters’. ‘Esper’ had just been revived for XII and ‘Eidolon’ hadn’t seen any love outside of IX, so I brought it back for IV and then for XIII as well.”
“All things considered, Final Fantasy IV DS was my most enjoyable project at Square Enix,” Slattery recalls. “The team was amazingly kind and supportive. They put translation credits in the opening movie, which is almost unheard of. They added the localization staff to the hidden Developer’s Room. The director, Mr. Tokita, even suggested I do a cameo voice in the game as he had done in the Japanese version (I’m the "Lord Captain! Monsters at the fore!" in the opening scene). The reasonable schedule also kept things from ever getting too stressful.”