Beyond the Game

Interview: MistaL and Macchalion – Translated

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Mista_L and Macchalion translated Shenmue Side Story.

Have you ever thought about how much culture we miss because of language barriers? Ever wondered what else is out there? Today, we’re speaking with MistaL and his partner Macchalion.

Together, they teamed up in appreciation for one of gaming’s most beloved games, Shenmue. They translated Shenmue Side Story, a manga created to introduce the characters Ryo would meet in Shenmue II. This isn’t the first time the pair have worked to bring Japanese-only Here’s their story.

The Interview with MistaL and Macchalion

Locale: reddit

Estevan: What inspired you to translate Shenmue Side Story?

MistaL: We’ve done fan translations for manga and even a video game before, so Shenmue Side Story wasn’t really anything new.

I’ve wanted to do it because the existing translation sucked, and someone in a Discord server I’m in posted high-quality Japanese scans. I asked Macchalion to translate it (I don’t think she’s actually familiar with Shenmue) and she had it done pretty quickly, then I just did the editing. I just like Shenmue and wanted to do it.

Estevan: What challenges did you face? Translating seems like it’d be a pretty tough job.

MistaL: We didn’t really face any problems at all. It was all familiar territory for us and the editing only took me like an hour.

Estevan: Only an hour? Wow. That’s nuts! So you all obviously like Shenmue, but what about other games?

MistaL: We’ve worked on a handful of fan translations together. Most notable, we did a translation for the GioGio’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Whirlwind PS2 game, and we’re currently scanlating Naoki Urasawa’s manga Asadora.

Estevan: How have video games affected your life?

MistaL: Video games have been a large part of my life, and they’ve made me experience many different emotions. Macchalion probably feels the same way, as she aspires to do video game translations in Italian (her native language) one day.

Italian is hard

Estevan: That’s really cool. Are Italian translations something in high-demand? I’m half Mexican but can’t speak Spanish, so anything other than English, no pun intended, seems so foreign.

MistaL: I’ve heard that translations in Italy aren’t always very good, so I think she hopes to someday make a difference with that. But I think overall she just loves the Japanese language and wants to take every step to improve her proficiency in it.

Estevan: You said games have made you experience different emotions, care to elaborate?

MistaL: Well games are like movies or books in that sense. You’re experiencing a story, and stories bring people emotions. But video games, being more interactive than a movie or book, can fully immerse the player which can make the emotions strike a lot harder. I like how video games can do that, and games like Shenmue or the Metal Gear series are great examples of games that have had that effect on me.

Estevan: Is it hard to capture different lingual intricacies from manga such as humor or sarcasm when translating? How did you all deal with that?

Just a really good translator

MistaL: Well Macchalion’s just a really good translator, and she’ll consult me or others we work with when struggling with something like that. Like if a character makes a pun in Japanese, she’ll explain it to us and ask us how we think it could be replicated in English in a way that keeps the joke while sounding natural. But she doesn’t seem to have much difficulty overall.

Estevan: Awesome. Well, I just want to say that I think it’s incredible what you two have accomplished. As a huge Shenmue fan myself, I can’t wait to sit down and actually dive into what you’ve done. Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to answer these questions. Everyone here at HPG is incredibly grateful for your work and we hope to see more soon!

Estevan: Anything else you’d like to share before we depart?

MistaL: If anyone wants to see any more stuff by Macchalion and me, they can check out mine, Macchalion’s, and our friend Bracketier’s scanlation group Naosawa or the fan translation of the game GioGio’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Whirlwind translated by her, Daxing Dan and programmed by myself and Joey JoJo’s Wacky Trip.

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Estevan Zamora
An entrepreneur, photographer, and writer. He likes capturing beautiful images, scrubbing it up in various competitive FPS games, and browsing reddit like it's about to shut down.

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