Yakuza Spinoff Judgment Features Two English Translations

Takayuki Yagami stars in the Yakuza spinoff game Judgment
Takayuki Yagami stars in the Yakuza spinoff game Judgment SEGA

Judgment, the Yakuza spinoff game from SEGA, wasn’t translated into English once. It was translated twice. This information comes from a post by Localization Producer Scott Strichart on the PlayStation Blog.

In the post, Strichart explains why the team went to such great lengths to translate Judgment. The first translation is the traditional English subtitle translation Yakuza fans have come to expect. This translation matches the Japanese dialogue as closely as possible. The second translation is for the English audio track, meaning there will be a dubbed audio track in a Yakuza (or Yakuza-like, in this case) game for the first time in 13 years.

A look at the two different English translations in Judgment
A look at the two different English translations in Judgment Sony

While the subtitle track stays loyal to the original text as best as possible, the English audio track was given creative liberties to step away from Japanese sentence structure and pacing. While the overall story stays the same in both versions, there are certain nuances that each language has to best suit a scene. An example given in the post shows character Yagami threatening somebody. The English audio version features a more common English phrase that isn’t quite like the Japanese threat, but sounds more appropriate in English.

Why did the team go to such great lengths for English translations? Strichart says he wants to put the “subs versus dubs” debate to rest by allowing players to pick whichever option they prefer.

Judgment is a mix of traditional Yakuza gameplay with new stealth and puzzle-solving elements. Players take on the role of Yagami, a disgraced lawyer looking to build his reputation back by working as a private detective. Like the other games in the Yakuza series, players will once again explore the streets of Kamurocho to uncover mysteries and solve crimes. Of course, like other Yakuza games, there are a ton of side activities to be distracted by. These include the familiar batting cage and arcade games, along with new experiences like flying a drone and playing pinball.

Judgment releases exclusively for PS4 on June 25. Pre-ordering digitally allows players to get going early, with the full game unlocking on June 21.

So what do you think? Will you give Judgment a try in English, or stick to the traditional Japanese audio track? Are you interested to see if the Yakuza spinoff captures the same fun and charm of the main Yakuza franchise? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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