Despite Cantonese being widely spoken, it is often neglected when it comes to translating the language. Even online translators like Google Translate don’t seem to offer Cantonese as one of its translatable languages. Cantonese speakers are now angry because Nintendo has decided to scrap the translation of Pokémon Sun and Moon into Cantonese, despite the fact that there are many marketing translators who can translate into and from Cantonese available to do the job.
Earlier in the year Nintendo announced that the games would be translated into traditional Chinese Taiwanese for Hong Kong residents and for Mainland Chinese into simplified Chinese. But in the process of doing this they have dropped the local names which are in Cantonese characters and united the Mandarin. Hong Kong’s Pokémon fans made their way to the Japanese consulate united in a protest and were offered the support of Civic Passion, the anti-communist party. Their signs and banners were scrawled with slogans demanding the name Bei-kaa-chyu, Pikachu’s name in Cantonese, be restored replacing the name Pei-kaa-jau which is the new name.
The political group, considered to be right wing, became involved due to the fact that the Cantonese language is of great importance to Cantonese identity, which the Chinese Communist Party in government has oppressed. Despite the fact that Pokémon games do not appear to be that important to people, it is just the linguistic diversity that is considered vital to their way of life.
Most translation services ensure that the language they are asked to translate is always translated by a specialist in that language and even someone close to fluency would not be allowed to undertake the translation. It’s important that a translator knows the difference between languages and dialects and gets the translation right. If a professional translation service is asked to provide a Cantonese translator then that will be the translator who is sent to do the job not a Mandarin translator. One of the most important things about today’s translators is their dedication to the link between culture and language so that the translation performed is done in such a way that no-one is upset into the process.