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Ted Woolsey

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Ted Woolsey is an American video game translator and producer. He had the primary role in the North American production and localization of Square's role-playing games during the Super Nintendo Entertainment System era between 1991 and 1996.

Career[edit | edit source]

Before joining Square, Ted Woolsey was a graduate student at the University of Washington where he completed a master's degree in Japanese literature. He joined the game developer at their office in Redmond, Washington in 1991.

His first project with Square was the translation of Game Boy title SaGa 3, the third installment of the SaGa series, which was given the localized title of Final Fantasy III Legend. To prepare for this job, Square asked him to study its translation effort for Final Fantasy II (Final Fantasy IV in Japan) to ensure the kind of mistakes it had made on that project would not be repeated. Other titles he worked on included Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, Secret of Mana, Breath of Fire, Final Fantasy VI (originally released as Final Fantasy III in North America), and Chrono Trigger.

The company moved to Los Angeles, California in 1996. Woolsey's last project with Square was the translation of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Woolsey officially left the company before its English localization of Final Fantasy VII.

Woolsey later worked for Big Rain (later renamed Craveyard), RealNetworks, and now works for Microsoft as Director of First Party Publishing for the Xbox Live Arcade service.

Chrono series[edit | edit source]

Hironobu Sakaguchi asked Woolsey to localize Chrono Trigger for English audiences and gave him roughly thirty days to work. Lacking the help of a modern translation team, he memorized scenarios and looked at drafts of commercial player's guides to put dialogue in context.

Woolsey later reflected that he would have preferred two-and-a-half months, and blames his rushed schedule on the prevailing attitude in Japan that games were children's toys rather than serious works. Some of his work was cut due to space constraints, though he still considered the game "one of the most satisfying games I ever worked on or played." Nintendo of America censored certain dialogue, including references to breastfeeding, consumption of alcohol, and religion.

His translation is also notably different than the original Japanese script, such as giving Frog a more Old English tone despite Frog not speaking in an archaic way in the original Japanese. His translation was replaced in the DS verison of the game with a more accurate translation by Tom Slattery, which was also used in the versions released for smartphones (iOS and Android) and Windows PC (Steam).