Translations of Ultima IX
Ultima IX was translated to multiple languages. While Electronic Arts original planned for a global release before Christmas 1999, the buggy state of the game upon its US release made EA postpone the international until March 2000 so that the latest patch could be implemented.
The German translation
Unlike the case of Ultima VIII, this time EA used professional voice actors to do the translation. The result is of a much better quality than the original English voices. This was pointed out by reviewers, who added that the months needed for patching gave the studio enough time for the translation.
However, the quality of the voice acting stands in contrast to the contents. The translation of the game suffers from several weaknesses:
- Numerous item and person names were translated different from Ultima VII, creating inconsistencies between the games.
- The translators didn't translate several names, or used a mixture of English and German (f.e. they used "Schattenlords", while "Schattenfürsten" would have been better). This is especially noticable in surroundings like Britannia.
- The prose, especially in the manuals, was of a very low quality.
- Watch the Ultima IX intro in German
The French translation
The game was fully translated in French by Electronic Arts, including voice acting for all the dialogues and cutscenes of the game.
Unlike the voices for Ultima VII and Ultima VIII, the voices were this time recorded by professional voice actors used to the task of dubbing videogames, animated series or even movies. For instance, Raven was voiced by Céline Monsarrat who is the official dubbing voice of actress Julia Roberts. While the ensemble cast was smaller than in the original English version, the acting received a lot of praise amongst reviews in French magazines and websites.
The actual translation of the text however displays some mistakes:
- It appears that the translators were not familiar with the Ultima series, which leads to a fair bit of dialogue to be written as if "Avatar" was the character's name instead of his title.
- The Avatar's dialogue also seems to have been translated out of context as his words don't always fit with text of the NPC he is talking too.
- In addition different translators were used to translate the in-game books and the dialogues, which leads to some inconsistency in terms of how some in-game items or lore elements are referenced depending on whether the player is looking at a book or hearing speech.
- Watch the Ultima IX intro in French
A Japanese translation was done which had the documentation and the in-game text translated, but not the speech.
The languages where only the documentation was translated, but not the game, are: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Thai, Dutch, Greek and Polish.
The game has been fan translated in Italian by the U9 Project ITA