The emulation of retro games is great, but not everyone can enjoy some titles due to language restrictions. You see, some games were released in one country, for example, Japan, but never made it to the rest of the world. In a situation like this, a person who is capable of translating Japanese to English, for example, could add a translation patch to the game’s ROM for others to enjoy the game. This can be done easily with the knowledge and the correct tools.
A translation is only capable of translating in-game dialogue and text from one language to another. You won’t be able to translate audio, so keep that in mind before moving forward.
Things you will need to perform a ROM translation
The first thing to do before downloading a fan translation patch is to get an emulator. The internet is filled with free emulators for PC, all of varying qualities. You can find quality emulators for the Nintendo GBA and the Nintendo DS.
After getting yourself an emulator, you will then need the relevant ROM. Ensure the ROM is acquired legally because downloading ROMs can be considered illegal, though it depends on the game’s developer.
How to add a Translation Patch to a Game ROM
To add community translations to a retro ROM, please follow the steps laid out here to get the job done effectively.
- Check if the ROM works
- Download a patch file
- Find a patch tool
- Add a patch to the Retro ROM
1] Check if the ROM works
The first thing you should do here is check to see if the ROM you wish to translate works as intended before moving forward.
- We are using the Project64 emulator, so understand if you’re using a different one, things will likely work a bit differently.
- Now, to check if the ROM works, please open the emulator.
- Next, click on File > Open ROM.
- Select the ROM, then hit the Open button.
- Alternatively, you can navigate to the ROM directory.
- This directly is usually located via the My PC section in File Explorer.
- To get there from Project64, click on File, then select Choose ROM Directory.
- You will be brought to the directory from where you can choose your favorite ROM.
If the ROM loads, then we can move on to the next step.
2] Download a patch file
After ensuring both the emulator and ROM are working perfectly, it is now time to get the relevant patch file for the ROM. We can find translated patch files at Romhacking, so all you have to do is visit the website, search for the ROM, select it, then download.
The option is also there to edit the patch file since the content on Romhacking is community generated.
3] Find a patch tool
Now, after downloading the translation file, we must locate a competent enough patch tool. One is available online in the form of the MacroBledo ROM Patcher, which is free to use.
4] Add a patch to the Retro ROM
Since we have gathered all the required tools and files for this language translation patch, it is now time to apply the patch to the ROM in question.
- First, you must navigate to the ROM Patcher website we’ve mentioned above.
- Click on the Choose File buttons to add both the ROM and Patch files.
- From there, please click on the Apply Patch button to add the patch, and have the finished product downloaded to your computer.
- Finally, give the new ROM a different name from the original, then add it to your emulator to see if it worked as intended.
Are retro emulators free?
Yes, retro emulators, for the most part, are available free of charge on the internet. Most will work as intended, so users should have little problems when playing their favorite games.
Are video game ROMs free to download?
While several websites offer video game ROMs for download free of charge, we do not advise anyone to take part in such activities. That is because it is illegal for websites to host ROMs. You will have to acquire ROMs via legal channels to be on the safe side.