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Selective Localisation

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Typically, if a game is localised for the European market, it uses American English because that saves effort translating an American English product which is 99.9% compatible with British English. This might apply to other categories.

On occasion, the American English version can't be used for the European release for reasons beyond minor spelling differences. Perhaps it contains a claim which is only true Stateside, or uses American measurements which Europeans wouldn't immediately grok. That's where Selective Localisation can help: By translating part of the media, you save yourself the time and effort of translating the whole thing. See Separated by a Common Language for more on this within other media.



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    Comic Books 
  • In an early issue of the Marvel Transformers Generation 1 comic, Shockwave attempts to learn about humans by watching TV. In the original release, the first panel of this showed a scene from The Honeymooners. The UK reprint replaced this with a scene from the then-current show V (1983).


    Video Games 
  • Most games which are localised for the European market have American English as the 'English' option, even if the language is identified by the Union Flag on the language selection screen.
  • The PSP Sega Mega Drive Collection doesn't entirely eliminate references to the North American Genesis console. One piece of trivia explains that the Mega Drive is the European version of the Genesis. (Ironically, this isn't even correct - the Genesis is technically the American version of what the rest of the world refers to as the Mega Drive.)
    • The PC version of Sonic Mega Collection Plus mimics genuine '90s PAL speed for some of the games. The manuals are written in American English and refer to the Genesis console.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 has a scene where a character describes the length of a ladder. To avert confusion, the length is given in feet in the American version, while the metric system is used for the European version, and the length is given in meters (and yes, it was spelled that way.) The Substance version has the character give the length in feet for both.
  • "Spastic" is a mild word in North America, but a serious insult in British English. Nintendo had to recall the UK release of Mario Party 8 and modify specifically that line because of this. Other than that one change, the translation is identical to the American release.
  • Almost every Nintendo game released after Mario Party 8 has mild to major differences between English releases, presumably to avoid a repeat of the "spastic" incident. The most extreme examples would probably be The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, which both received two entirely different localizations (hence why you'll find, for example, British who refer to "Whittleton" as "Mayscore", or Americans who call "Staven" "Byrne"). This stopped happening as much around the time the (region-free) Nintendo Switch was released, as most first-party games since then are back to having only one English localization with minor adjustments to account for regional game name differences and the like. Interestingly, judging from the accents and some of the slang terms used, it appears to be Nintendo of Europe who does most of the translation work for these games. Strangely, however, French and Spanish still get separate American and European localisations, and separate simplified and traditional Chinese localisations are introduced.
  • Similarly, Super Mario RPG removed an instance of "bugger" when it was released on the Virtual Console, because of the British meaning.
  • The Ape Escape series has had completely different localizations in America and in Europe (both of them very narmily dubbed in different accents), resulting in some characters having different names depending on the region. When the series crossed over with Metal Gear Solid in MGS 3: Snake VS. Monkey, some of Snake's lines had to be re-recorded to match the names of the characters in the different regions.
  • An unusual example happened in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl. Both of these games have a minigame in which the player has to hit a sandbag as far as possible. When it was first translated into English, the distances were converted from metres to feet, apparently because Americans don't understand metric. The European/Australian release restored the metres.
  • Similar to the Smash Bros. example, the European/Australian release of Pokémon Channel uses metric measurements for the height and weight data of the Pokémon. However, this is averted in the main series where all English versions of the games have the measurements in feet and pounds.
  • The second Advance Wars game for the Nintendo DS had completely different localizations for North America and Europe/Australia due to Nintendo's head office in Japan giving both Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe the chance to make their own translations. The first big difference is each version using a different subtitle for the game, with the American version named "Days of Ruin" and the British version named "Dark Conflict." While the main plot remains largely the same, the names of the characters, factions, and various pieces of dialogue are completely different depending on if the game is American or British.
  • Yet another Nintendo example, Splatoon features differences in dialogue between the American English and British English release. The British version actually has some mild swearing in it due to words like "hell" not being seen as particularly strong swears in Europe (while in North America "hell" might result in the age rating getting bumped to E10+), but at the same time the British release is less pun filled than the American version, which loves using puns for almost everything.
  • Kirby's Epic Yarn had Kirby's memetic realization that the ground "feels like pants" changed to "trousers" for the British release, since "pants" refers to an undergarment in British English. It also has a different narrator, likely to account for this and to pronounce "tomato" "to-MAH-to".
  • The typical translation pattern was reversed with Xenoblade Chronicles. It got a British English translation first rather than an American English one because it wasn't originally planned to be released in North America. After Operation Rainfall, the game got a North American release but with the unchanged British dub. Xenoblade Chronicles X went back to using an American English translation and dub, but Xenoblade Chronicles 2 took a mixed approach by giving the characters various North American, British, and Australian accents/dialects depending on their in-game nationalities.
  • The Gex series. While in the original American version all three games have Gex voiced by Dana Gould, in the European version, the last two games have him dubbed over by Leslie Phillips and Danny John-Jules respectively.

    Western Animation 
  • It's very common among American preschool shows to re-dub the characters with British actors using British terminology, and vice versa. Blue's Clues went a step further and re-cast human host Steve with a new British host, Kevin, for its UK broadcast.

Alternative Title(s): Selective Localization


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