About Darkside Translations
Darkside Translations was first established in 2001 by yours truly (TDOMMX) and a handful of online acquaintances. Back then, I was fresh out of high school and our translator at the time was in the process of learning Japanese. Unsurprisingly, our debut release, Megaman X Complete (a re-localization of the original Rockman X) received mixed reviews. It soon became clear to us that we lacked the skills necessary to do a game localization justice. As a result, we decided to retract the re-localization and close up shop in 2002.

Six years and two Computer Science degrees later (and with plenty of localization experience, both volunteer and professional, under my belt), I felt the time was right to dust off the Darkside banner and return to the translation scene. The revived Darkside Translations consists of experienced scene members that I have had the pleasure of working with in the past as well as some newcomers who were quickly able to prove their worth. Our policies have changed considerably during our long hiatus. We believe that, with our current skills, we are able to outperform even commercial game publishers in terms of localization quality.

Have we truly learned our lesson, or are we still full of hot air? We will let you be the judge. Have a look at Rosenkreuzstilette, our revival work, and let us know what you think in the forums.

Our Translation Style
There are many different manners in which to approach a translation project. Some groups insist that a translator's job is to convert the original text into the target language as literally as possible and nothing more. Other groups emphasize that the spirit of the original should take priority, even if at the expense of the original wording. Yet others believe that a translation should flow naturally and not call attention to the fact that it is indeed a translation.

Darkside Translations recognizes the merits of all of these arguments and strives for a healthy balance of these approaches. In the words of Deuce, a fellow translator and a person I deeply respect, "a literal translation is a bad translation". Before anyone misinterprets the meaning of these words, take a moment to remove your nostalgia filters and have a look at Capcom's original localization of Breath of Fire II. Barring a few careless option reversals, the game featured a painfully literal translation. Had the game included honorifics and quasi-random Japanese phrases, one could reasonably assume that the "localization" was handled by a novice fansubbing group (no offense intended to the aspiring fansubbers out there). Proponents of literal translations often fail to realize that this is the kind of end-product they endorse - a localization panned by its target audience for being stilted and incomprehensible. Fortunately, Watercrown Productions has recently corrected this injustice by releasing a proper localization of Breath of Fire II.

In academic circles, our translation style is referred to as dynamic equivalence. Translation is an art, not a science, so any attempt to use a literal one-to-one correspondence is guaranteed to generate a dry, formulaic translation. Such a translation would be received as, at best, boring and soulless, and, at worst, elitist and inaccessible. In order to give the reader / player / viewer the same experience as a work's original target audience, we aim to create translations that at once sound natural, retain the feel of the source material, and, where appropriate, use the original phrasing.

Some translators claim that there are many subtleties in a given language cannot accurately be conveyed in others. We assert that they can - given the translator has sufficient skill as a writer or s/he is working closely with a scriptwriter who thoroughly understands the implications of diction and tone. Forgive me for coming off as condescending, but a translator is bound by his / her own knowledge and experience. If s/he has little experience, s/he will see very few possible interpretations of a given line; if the person has ample experience, the possibilities may seem endless.

There is much more on this topic that I would like to say, but I will hold back for the time being. If you wish to learn more, I suggest watching Paul "OtaKing" Johnson's The Rise and Fall of Anime Fansubs documentary, which largely captures my thoughts on the modern translation scene. Though I do not completely agree with many of his arguments, I recognize the points he is trying to make in each case and recommend that all translators, active or in-training, take forty minutes or so to digest his commentary.