🎤 Interview with chart

2023年 8月 11日
Indie Tsushin 2023 August issueThis article was featured in our 2023 August issue. Check out more articles and interviews in the full issue.

We had the pleasure of speaking with chart about translating Toby Fox's Secret Base interviews and handling the English localization of the fantastically surreal adventure game, Enjoy the Diner by Oississui!

English Enjoy the Diner English title card

(2023) Enjoy the Diner

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m chart! I’m a Japanese-to-English translator who did some translation seen in Enjoy the Diner, but people might also know me from my music or my translations of Toby Fox’s Secret Base.

How did you get started in translation?

I’ve been learning Japanese ever since high school. I only picked Japanese because at my school they only had Spanish, French, and Japanese. For some reason, I was of the opinion that I couldn’t learn Spanish or French because they had “English letters” and they wouldn’t be very interesting to learn, which is a really weird and very 14-year-old way of looking at things, but that’s how it started.

Regarding translation in particular, around a year ago I picked up Clyde Mandelin’s book about the translation process for MOTHER 2. It really blew me away and got me thinking about doing translation for games in some way.

Toby Fox's Secret Base, translated by chart, logo by Yuki

chart's translations of Toby Fox's Secret Base, logo by Yuki

Can you tell us a little about your project of translating Toby Fox’s articles and other Japanese interviews?

A little bit after I read that MOTHER 2 book, Famitsu announced that Toby Fox would start appearing in a monthly column in their magazine. I’m a bit of a Toby freak to be honest. I think I’ve read almost every single thing he’s ever written publicly on the internet and he’s what inspired me to start making my own music.

I sometimes hear about something being Japanese-exclusive and figured someone else will eventually translate it, but these seemed so niche that if someone was going to translate these and actually keep up with them month by month, I was probably going to have to be the one to do it. I knew this in part because Toby has actually done a few other interviews with Famitsu that are years old and still haven’t been translated by fans… And a few of those have been sitting on my hard drive 90% finished for like months actually… I should finish those…

But it’s been a lot of fun working on those and people seem to be enjoying them. I even made a little website to host them and my friend Yuki was nice enough to make a little English logo for it.

Can you tell us about some of your favorite games or genres?

As I mentioned before I’m crazy about Toby Fox, so Deltarune and Undertale are definitely some of my favorites. I’ve made a lot of friends through the fan community for those games so I think they’ll always be special to me.

Cave Story (洞窟物語) is also a contender for my favorite game. It was my first exposure to Japanese indie games back in the early 2010s when I first read about it on some website as a kid. It was the first time I played a game that had some real story to it and actual tension, so when the bunny people started dying and I couldn’t do anything to help them, I remember feeling really sad about it. Especially when my favorite character died…

Also the song Balcony from that game really reminds me of the music from Enjoy the Diner.

Screenshot of player's table in Enjoy the Diner, with player saying, 'Actually, everything here feels off...'

Please tell us about Enjoy the Diner! And if possible, can you tell us about any of the changes from the original game to the new Steam and Switch releases?

Enjoy the Diner is a point-and-click adventure game originally entirely created by Oississui where the protagonist finds themself wandering into a strange diner called Moon Palace. There’s people who have been in Moon Palace for hundreds or thousands of years so you’ll probably be in the same boat, so kill some time striking up conversations. Maybe you’ll learn something about the diner.

This time around, the game has been ported from Godot to Unity by Studio Dragonet and has been published by Waku Waku Games. The port is very nice. I was a little concerned when I heard that the game was getting a console port as ports of these sorts of games usually involve a slow moving cursor you have to move with the joystick, but the control scheme seen here is actually really good, and it’s how I played the entirety of the Steam version. This new version also includes some new conversations, and a gallery which includes many new illustrations and write ups about the characters. Oississui has a very distinctive art style so I really enjoyed seeing all the new art.

The game and the soundtrack are currently out on Steam and support Japanese, English and Chinese (traditional and simplified). A Switch version of the game will also be released in the future so look forward to that. Soon you can enjoy the diner, in a diner! Oh I guess it also works on the Steam Deck so you could do that now actually if you have one of those…

Ending credits of Enjoy the Diner with the English translations rolling past crediting Charles 'chart' Carr and Caitlin Kojima

Can you tell us how you got involved with this game? I remember seeing on itch about how you were working on a fan translation, and so I was delighted to see that you were also handling the official localization.

I first played Enjoy the Diner the day it was released. I think somebody just retweeted it onto my Twitter timeline, and the game’s art style drew me into giving it a shot. It really blew me away with its story and especially the music. After finishing the game I felt that it would be really great if I could bully my friends to play it, but they don’t speak Japanese, so I started using some random Godot decompiler tool and started working on a fan translation. I reached out to the game’s creator because I figured unlike doing a translation of a big magazine, there was a high chance that they would actually know I was doing it if I talked about it online, so I just wanted to get permission and to be able to ask some questions if I had any. They were really receptive to the idea and even offered to make a new logo for the English version.

Partway through working on it, they told me that they were looking to have a Steam release done with Waku Waku Games and wanted to know if they could use my translation for it with the help of a professional. I was really happy to hear the game was getting a bigger release so I gladly helped as much as I could! I was planning on finishing up my version of the original release in Godot and I even made an arrangement of one of the songs from the game to use in a trailer for it, but I took so long, you’re probably better off just playing the new release.

So for the record, in the Steam version I did a bulk of the main game’s translation and Caitlin Kojima did the couple of new conversations, the new text in the gallery, as well doing a few scenes in the main game (mainly the ending), and they also gave everything a good read-over and edit. All of their changes were really great and I love how the final game turned out!

How did you feel when you first played the original Enjoy the Diner? Did your impression change after you finished?

I don’t think my feelings about the game have changed since working on it; they’ve only really gotten stronger. The original game was released around the same time I got back to America after studying abroad in Osaka. During my time in Japan, me and my girlfriend were pretty tight on money so we would often eat at Saizeriya, so going to a famiresu on a late night had a familiar feeling to it. Especially now after finishing the translation, playing Enjoy the Diner still feels a little nostalgic in a way even though the game is only a few months old.

Scene from Enjoy the Diner of speaking with Glasspan, who says, 'The Moon is as full as it'll ever be, and there's even a soda fountain. So just sit back and enjoy the diner.

Did you have any challenges translating this game into Japanese?

Definitely. This was my first time doing something on this scale so just the sheer amount of text compared to an interview or article was staggering. When writing music or translating those smaller articles I have a tendency to just sit down and do everything in one sitting, but for something like this it wasn’t feasible to do that… even though I tried and got really burned out.

At this point I have a good feel for the way Toby Fox writes in English and I feel like my translations can get his voice across. But for something like this, finding each character’s voice while conveying all their nuances in English was a challenge.

Another challenge was the game’s title. Initially I was going to title it “Enjoy the Family Restaurant” and there was even a logo made for that name, but we don’t have famiresu in America in the same way Japan does. I don’t think many people who stumble across the game on Steam are really interested in a discussion on the differences between a Japanese famiresu and something like an American Denny’s, so I think calling it a diner is for the best.

The final title, Enjoy the Diner, was chosen by the game’s publisher. I think it’s a good title, but the word 享受 in general is a little hard to translate in my opinion. Maybe something like “Accept the Diner” or “Embrace the Diner” would have worked better? It’s hard to say…

Scene from Enjoy the Diner with Chelonica saying, 'It would be nice if we could help each other out, share information and the sort...'

About how long did it take to translate Enjoy the Diner? What were some of the main differences between translating this versus your other projects?

This is a bit of a difficult question to answer because as I said before, I started this as a fan project that I was just working on in my free time. So while the answer “around half a year” is technically correct, it’s not exactly reflective of how long I spent working on the translation itself. At any rate, I learned a lot while working on this game, so if I did it again it would definitely go a lot faster. For example, I never really had a running list of terms or anything, so I had to be really careful not to translate the same phrase two different ways. Near the end I finally made a small list, but things would have been a lot better if I did so from the beginning. This is something I normally don’t have to worry about when translating Toby Fox’s articles as I either have an encyclopedic knowledge about whatever random game he’s talking about or there are other sources like an official localization that I can look at as a reference.

Have you translated any other games in the past? If not, are there any games that you would be interested in translating?

This was my first time translating a game! I’ve always wanted to be involved in games in some way. It was a lot of fun and I’d love to do it again sometime. As for games in particular I’m not sure… I’ll have to keep reading Indie Tsushin to find new cool games to play! nudge nudge wink wink

Scene from Enjoy the Diner of R.Spike saying, 'You there, peasant. You must be a newcomer...'

Can you tell us about anything you are currently working on?

I’m not working on any new translation projects at the moment. I’ll keep translating Toby Fox’s articles until Famitsu is finished publishing them or until Toby tells me to knock it off. I also might be involved with translating a certain well-known, soon-to-be-released fan game into Japanese some time after it releases. But I would need to get some more people on board who are native Japanese speakers for that, so I don’t have anything to share until everything is sorted out, I suppose.

Do you have any messages for your players?

Play Enjoy the Diner! I need this game to become popular! Not for any monetary reason for me, that’s not really how freelance translation works, I need it to become popular so they’re forced to make merchandise. I need a Moon Palace mug!!

The soda fountain from Enjoy the Diner with the player exclaiming, 'Oh, nice! There's a soda fountain!'

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!



Enjoy the Diner English title card

(2023) ファミレスを享受せよ(英語版)


こんにちは、chartです! 私は**「Enjoy the Diner」**(「ファミレスを享受せ」の英題)の翻訳を行った日英翻訳者ですが、私の音楽Toby Fox’s Secret Baseの翻訳で私を知っている人もいるかもしれません。



特に翻訳に関しては、約1年前に「MOTHER 2」の翻訳プロセスについて書かれたクライド・マンデリンの本を手に取り、本当に衝撃を受け、何らかの形でゲームの翻訳をやってみたいと考えるようになりました。

Toby Fox's Secret Base, translated by chart, logo by Yuki

Toby Fox's Secret Baseのchartさんの英語訳、ロゴはユキ









Screenshot of player's table in Enjoy the Diner, with player saying, 'Actually, everything here feels off...'



今回のゲームは、Studio DragonetによってGodotからUnityに移植され、わくわくゲームズによってパブリッシュされています。その移植はとても素敵です。この種のゲームの移植には通常、ジョイスティックでカーソルをゆっくり動かすことが要求されるため、このゲームがコンソールに移植されると聞いたときは少し心配しましたが、ここで見られる制御スキームは非常に優れています。私はSteam版を全てプレイしました。この新しいバージョンには、いくつかの新しい会話と、多くの新しいイラストとキャラクターに関する記事を含むギャラリーも含まれています。おいし水さんはとても特徴的なアートスタイルを持っているので、新しいアートを見るのがとても楽しかったです。

ゲームサウンドトラックは現在Steamでリリースされており、日本語、英語、中国語(繁体字と簡体字)に対応しています。将来的にはSwitch版もリリースされる予定なので楽しみに待っていてください。もうすぐ、ファミレスにゲームをもっていって、ファミレスを享受できます! そういえば、Steamデッキでも動作すると思いますので、実際にそれらのいずれかを持っている場合は、今すぐファミレスに持っていけますね。

Ending credits of Enjoy the Diner with the English translations rolling past crediting Charles 'chart' Carr and Caitlin Kojima


私が「ファミレスを享受せよ」を初めてプレイしたのはリリース当日でした。誰かが私のTwitterタイムラインにリツイートしたのを見つけたのがきっかけです。私はゲームのアートスタイルに惹かれたので、プレイしてみました。ストーリーと特に音楽に本当に感動しました。ゲームを終えた後、友達を脅して無理やりプレイさせられたら最高だろうと思ったのですが、私の友人たちは日本語を話せなかったので、適当なGodotの逆コンパイラツールを使用して、ファンとして翻訳に取り組み始めました。私がこのゲームの制作者に連絡を取ることにしたのですが、それは大手雑誌の翻訳とはちがって、オンラインで私が翻訳していることを伝え、それを知ってもらえる可能性が高いと考えたからです。そして許可を得て翻訳を開始して、 何か質問があれば質問できるようにしたかったからです。開発者はこのアイデアを非常に歓迎してくれて、英語版の新しいロゴを作成することも申し出てくれました。


記録のために言っておきますが、Steam版では私がメインゲームの翻訳の大部分を担当し、ケイトリン・ コジマさんがいくつかの新しい会話とギャラリーの新しいテキストを担当し、メインゲームのいくつかのシーン (主にエンディング)も担当しました。そして、ケイトリンさんはすべてをよく読みこんで編集してくれました。この変更はすべて本当に素晴らしく、最終的なゲームの仕上がりがとても気に入りました。



Scene from Enjoy the Diner of speaking with Glasspan, who says, 'The Moon is as full as it'll ever be, and there's even a soda fountain. So just sit back and enjoy the diner.




もう一つの課題はゲームのタイトルでした。当初は「Enjoy the Family Restaurant」というタイトルにする予定で、その名前のロゴも作ったんですが、アメリカには日本のようなファミレスがありません。Steamで偶然このゲームを見つけた人の多くは、日本のファミレスとアメリカのデニーズのようなものの違いについての議論にあまり興味がないと思うので、それをダイナーと呼ぶのが最善だと思います。

最終的なタイトル「Enjoy the Diner」は、ゲームのパブリッシャーによって選ばれました。良いタイトルだと思いますが、「享受」という言葉は一般的に翻訳するのが少し難しいと思います。おそらく「Accept the Diner」または「Embrace the Diner」のような方がうまくいったでしょうか。決めるのが難しい…

Scene from Enjoy the Diner with Chelonica saying, 'It would be nice if we could help each other out, share information and the sort...'




ゲームの翻訳は初めてでした。いつか何らかの形でゲームに携わってみたいとずっと思っていました。とても楽しかったので、またいつかやりたいです。どんなゲームになるかはまだわかりません…プレイできる新しいクールなゲームを見つけるためにインディー通信を読み続けたいです。nudge nudge wink wink

Scene from Enjoy the Diner of R.Spike saying, 'You there, peasant. You must be a newcomer...'





The soda fountain from Enjoy the Diner with the player exclaiming, 'Oh, nice! There's a soda fountain!'


chartYou can follow chart on Twitter @chart_carr and find more of his translation work on his homepage Get the updated Enjoy the Diner on Steam and Nintendo Switch, and find more of developer Oississui's works on their homepage.