Dark Horse Comics

The world’s third largest comic book publisher receives Japanese to English localization of a complex graphical encyclopedia in record time. Legend of Zelda is one of the most successful video game series ever. Dark Horse approached Ulatus for localizing its Japanese encyclopedia after other LSPs simply couldn’t meet the requisite output standards.

I very, very much appreciate the effort that went in to localizing this for a North American audience. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed...I was impressed with the translators’ economy of words. We only have so much room on a page, and I appreciate that the translation was as concise as it was.

Project Summary

  • Client: Dark Horse Comics (the third largest comic book publisher in the world)
  • Service: Book Localization
  • Language: Japanese to English translation
  • Book Name: The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia
  • Volume: 384,000 characters
Dark Horse Comics


The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia is a book that explores the lore behind the Legend of Zelda (LoZ) game series. It contains information about the fantasy world across its 30-year history, covering characters, stories, monsters, items, dungeons, and more, as well as information about each specific game. The book, originally written in Japanese, needed to be translated to English to make it available for the sizable global audience interested in the Legend of Zelda games.


  • Delivering What No One Else Could Dark Horse turned to Ulatus for this project after their previous translation providers were unable to provide the expected output. From the get-go, it was our mission to deliver what others couldn’t, in terms of transcending a cultural barrier and meeting a tight deadline without compromising on quality.
  • Creative Subject-Matter Expertise Was Imperative This book was aimed at catering to the global LoZ fan base and would serve as an end-to-end guide providing all the required details about this game. Hence, it was imperative that the linguists assigned to the project weren’t just qualified translation experts, but also people who were familiar with the game, having played it themselves and could provide informed language localization for the readers.
  • Delivery Within a Significantly Shortened Time Span For this project, the client specifically required high-quality translation within a very tight deadline. As mentioned earlier, crossing a cultural barrier and giving a localized content that can fit the global audience readership with the required span of time was the greatest challenge. An ideal delivery timeline for a project of this volume would be five months. However, owing to the client’s launch date commitments, this was truncated to three months, including iterations.
  • Rigorous Adherence to Periodic Deadlines Furthermore, much of this project was deliverable in tranches to facilitate the launch. As a result, strict adherence to deadlines was essential for the entire extended time span of three months. Everything down to the last detail needed to be meticulously planned and met throughout this whole period.
  • Incorporating Complex DTP and Formatting Work The project included 320 pages worth of complex DTP and formatting work, since the book describes, fairly extensively, the various characters and equipment (weapons, props, etc.) that are a part of the games, and every description had an image which needed to be formatted or even recreated in certain cases. As a result, the deadlines and planning needed to incorporate enough time for our visual design experts to contribute across all these pages.

The Ulatus Solution

  • Putting Together a Specialized Localization Team Selection of the right linguistic team was key with this project. A total of five stakeholders were involved in its operations – a translator, a checker, an editor, a final reviewer, and a visual design expert. The team included a perfect combination of Japanese and native English language experts, in addition to an experienced LoZ gamer.
  • Deploying Cutting-Edge Technology to Achieve Optimum Output A tight deadline meant that our team had far less time than usual to localize the given volume of content than it normally would. Determined to not let this impede delivery, we employed a number of innovative solutions, including leveraging some of our cutting-edge built-in technology tools to support our linguists in completing this project, all the while sustaining high quality benchmarks.
  • Powerful Visual Transcreation for the Global Market An incredibly proactive approach, from our in-house DTP and technical team in particular, towards managing complex image recreation and edits ensured that the translated PDF files looked like they had been created for the global market from scratch, rather than localized from a Japanese version.
  • Dedicated Project Lead A dedicated project lead was assigned for this project to coordinate with both, the operations team and the client to ensure zero delays and that all last minute changes and updates were taken care of.
  • 24x7 Client Support and Synchronized Work Schedules Our project management team was available to the client 24x7 for the duration of this project to ensure frictionless progress. This project was a perfect example of the client’s team and ours working together in sync to meet the requisite deadline.


  • The project was delivered within the stipulated deadline, the translated book now published and available for purchase globally.
  • The client was highly impressed and appreciative of the quality delivered and the way the project was managed.

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