ByRob Harris, writer at
Sometimes I play video games.
Rob Harris

Yesterday, disgruntled Pokemon fans took to the streets of Hong Kong to oppose a small but symbolic change Nintendo are making to the long running franchise. Namely, names.

As reported earlier this week, the Japanese company are attempting to consolidate the various Pokemon translations that differ between Chinese-speaking regions. Pokemon Sun and Moon -- the latest installments set for release this November -- will be the first games available in both traditional and simplified Chinese. But the simplified translations, which largely favor Mandarin over Cantonese, have ticked a lot of Hong Kongers off.

Lost in translation

As explained in Quartz:

Pokémon in Greater China will be officially called 精靈寶可夢, or Jingling Baokemeng in Mandarin (Jingling means “spirit” or “elf,” and Baokemeng is a transliteration of Pokémon). Earlier in Hong Kong, it was 寵物小精靈, Pet Little Elves (or Spirits), while in Taiwan, it was 神奇寶貝, Magic Babies.

The unified translations has also affected the names of individual Pokemon, most notably everyone's favorite electric mouse:

Pikachu was originally translated as 比卡超 (Bei-kaa-chyu) in Hong Kong. Now it is named 皮卡丘 (Pikaqiu).

In response to the changes, Poke-protestors rallied in Hong Kong with banners reading “No Pei-kaa-jau, give me back Bei-kaa-chyu,” marching to the Japanese Consulate.

Boycotting Nintendo

Wong Yeung-tat, a local activist who's campaigned for independence from China, spoke of the concerns Nintendo's revised translations have caused:

“Our culture [and] language is threatened by the Beijing government, Mandarin, and simplified Chinese. We’re afraid Cantonese may be disappearing.”

Some of the protestors, including 18-year-old high school student Chu Sung Tak, have promised to boycott future Nintendo releases unless the changes are reversed. You can find a full list of Nintendo's new Pokemon translations here.

Pokemon Sun and Moon will release on the 3DS November 18, 2016.

Check out the game's new starters below:

[Source: Quartz]


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