Nintendo is changing its language translations for the upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon, and that has a lot of people in Hong Kong upset.
People are protesting in the streets and threatening to boycott Nintendo over the translation changes, according to a report from Quartz. They’ve also taken to Facebook, where a group that’s already 6,000 strong is asking Nintendo to reinstate the original translation.
Specifically, protesters are angry because Nintendo is unifying its Chinese translations of the names of all 151 original Pokémon in the new games. Where past versions of Pokemon differed by region to reflect local languages and cultures, Sun and Moon will have a single Greater China translation. In Hong Kong, that means instead of the Cantonese translations fans are used to (that’s the official language there), they’ll be getting the Mandarin translations that have been released in mainland China.
So the name of the cutest Pokémon and the star of the anime cartoon show will soon be different for Hong Kong fans. Here’s Quartz’s explanation of the situation:
Pikachu was originally translated as 比卡超 (Bei-kaa-chyu) in Hong Kong. Now it is named 皮卡丘 (Pikaqiu). While the name 皮卡丘 in Mandarin sounds similar to the global name Pikachu (as it was always called in China and Taiwan), it reads as Pei-kaa-jau in Cantonese, which doesn’t sound the same at all.
Folks who are mad about the translation change aren’t just angry about a change to how you say the name of a fictional mouse who electrocutes people and their pets, though—they feel disrespected by the change, and that Nintendo is failing to recognize Hong Kong’s culture and traditions as being distinct ones. There’s also the greater cultural trouble that people in Hong Kong feel their official language, Cantonese, is being pushed out by Mandarin. Nintendo’s translation change doesn’t help that matter, either.
In response to the protests, Nintendo suggested fans just, like, read it the way they always have and ignore the new translations. Of course, that really didn’t help calm the feelings Hong Kong fans already had of being disrespected by the company.