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In an old issue of Nintendo Power (Volume 82 to be exact) there’s a quick mention in the Epic Center section about EarthBound:
$50,000 in 1995 is equal to about $70,000 today, after calculating inflation. Even being a professional translator myself that seems pretty high, but I’m guessing they factored in all sorts of things, like the localization costs, localization programming costs, commute costs back and forth between Japan, and such. They also had multiple translators working on the project at a pretty quick pace. I don’t think many companies would invest that much into the translation of a risky release (such as new IPs) these days. Which is probably reason #1 why MOTHER 3 was passed up and it was probably a miracle EarthBound was ever greenlighted to be released outside Japan to begin with. Still, $50,000 for the translation is NOTHING compared to the $2,000,000 spent to market EarthBound.
Incidentally, after we finished the MOTHER 3 translation, for fun I tried to calculate what I would’ve charged had I translated it for a client. I forget the number now (or even if it included the re-programming or not), but I think it was somewhere in the $30,000-$40,000 range. It took us like a year and a half to finish it though, so I don’t think any business clients would’ve liked that 😛
In any case, like I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, if Nintendo’s ever interested in releasing an official English version of MOTHER 3 but the costs seem prohibitive, I’ll gladly offer my scripts and data and such for free!
Anyway, thanks to Zaratus for the tip about the magazine and the scan. I used to own that issue, can’t believe I never noticed that mention before!
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27 Comments to EarthBound’s Translation Cost $50,000
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