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Legend of Woolsey

Localization/translation is the process of converting something from one language into another. In the video game industry, since thousands of games come from Japan, translating the games to English and removing certain potentially offensive parts is a pretty big deal. Some of the most popular games in the United States are Japanese.

This is where Mr. Ted Woolsey comes in... Imagine a man: six feet tall, black hair, strange interest in karate and japanese culture, majored in math but realized that his interests lied in language, likes reading books of cheesy insults, aspires to sail to Asia from Texas one day. This man could very well be Ted Woolsey, however, I know nothing about his personal life, only his accomplishments...

In the early 1990s (maybe earlier?), Ted Woolsey worked for a company known as Squaresoft, well known for their Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana, SaGa, and Chrono series. Woolsey had the daunting task of translating many popular games from Japanese to English BY HIMSELF!

And everyone was happy... but not really... When people see the following, they tend to get jealous:

Breath of Fire 1
Chrono Trigger
Secret of Mana 1

So, when someone's jealous of another, they do what? Exactly, complain and criticize! It's TIME FOR THE PARTY!


Opinions of Woolsey

Before we continue with this surprise shindig, here is some information you need to absorb. At this time, there are ten numbered Final Fantasy games (Final Fantasy 1 through 10). Ted Woolsey only translated one of these games, Final Fantasy 6 (released in the US as FF3... it will be referred to as FF6 here...). He began to translate Final Fantasy 5, however his translation was in the end scrapped when it was finally released in the US.

I'm not sure which game Mr. W translated first, but let's just assume that the order I tell you is 100% correct! In 1993, Squaresoft finished the game Secret of Mana, and Teddy got to translate the beast. He once claimed that the hardest part of translating Japanese to English is that (not word for word), "the text has to fit in a certain amount of space, and since Japanese is more condensed than English, a lot of corners are cut to get the main idea in that space."

I've never read anything criticizing Secret of Mana's translation.... Ted Woolsey still has 100 points!

Shortly after Secret of Mana was complete, guess what happened! CAPCOM's game Breath of Fire was given to Squaresoft for translation.... Hmmmm.... Who would end up doing that? ENTER TED WOOLSEY! He gave the game the Squaresoft name, and opened up the possibility for CAPCOM to bring later Breath of Fire games into the American market...

Again, Ted Woolsey has had no criticism for Breath of Fire (partly due to the terrible translation on BOF2), another 100 points, totalling TWO HUNDRED POINTS!

This is where Mr. Ted "went downhill." He went around screaming, "I got 200 points, ho-dudes" just a little too much, because approximately a few years later, his reprimanding began... In 1994, he was given the ogre-like Final Fantasy 6 to translate. When he was finished, he needed a rest (and to many people, it supposedly showed)... But instead, he then translated the classic Chrono Trigger...

Ted Woolsey ruins Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger

Excerpts from http://smc.smallcave.net/woolsey/index.php

The Man writes: "I don't like Woolsey because he changed many names that didn't need to be changed...What I don't like is how he changed Tina to Terra (she's not earthy at all), Kappa to Imp, Cefca (or Cefka) to Kefka (it sounds too much like Kafka, as in Franz), Cayenne to Cyan, Final Heaven to Bum Rush, Mash to Sabin, Chrono to Crono, Grand Lion to Masamune, Efreet to Ifrit, Ramu to Ramuh, Cait Sith to Stray, Phantom Beast to Esper, Lethe to Lete

Big Moose writes: "Really? I absolutley despised Kefka's lines. For me, I would have enjoyed FF6 a lot more had Kefka actually been serious. Of course, Woosley didn't create Kefka's personallity, but his corny lines certainly were made by TW. I don't want games I play to be "localized," or whatever. I want to play them exactly how they came from Japan. I don't care if there are jokes I won't get or references to Japanese culture I won't understand"

??? writes: "If the Masamune in CT had been a katana, I wouldn't have nearly as much trouble with TW's renaming, either; it's just that the mythical Masamune is not a fricking broadsword, and so no references in any game to a "Masamune" should not be made to a broadsword. Thank you very much."

Anyway, there are many many more sites flaming and praising Ted Woolsey, just search for "Ted Woolsey" on the internet to find out.

So, do you need some real evidence? Here we go... Here are some of the less appreciated lines in the Ted Woolsey history....

Yes, these lines are all quite corny, in fact, due to all of the controversy, we're going to have to take 100 points away from Ted Woolsey...

 

But, Ted Woolsey's translations also have good qualities.... For instance, here are some excerpts from Final Fantasy 4....

 

Needless to say, most of these don't make any sense, and when they do, they're stupid.... These were not translated by Woolsey, but by Japanese dudes.... So is localization or straight/bad translation better?

So is Ted Woolsey the biggest heathan? Is he the worst boy? Is he the rudest stepchild? Well, Ted Woolsey is no longer translating for Squaresoft, and some people are sad...

Matt Sergi (http://www.rpgamer.com/editor/1998/q3/081298ms.html) writes: "Basically, FFVII's poor translation took away from the American experience. A little more proofreading here, a little creativity there, would have made the game ten times better for me. I understand that Ted Woolsey has now gone off to form his own separate company, or something of the sort. Well, I sure miss him."

After Ted Woolsey left Squaresoft, he formed a company with some other people (there's a reason I don't know there names), called CRAVE. They created only one game before disbanding (is that a hint). They game is called SHADOW MADNESS... Prove your internet worth and find out some information about it...

But I know many people who feel that they have had their revenge, and with Ted Woolsey's remaining 100 points, he should buy a vending machine from which he may purchase crackers....

(Pictures taken from Zany Video Game Quotes) <- If only everyone read that, they'd steal them from it instead of my website. There are way too many hotlinks to these pictures. JUST FREAKIN' SAVE THEM!