Cantonese translation is often neglected. Even Google Translate doesn’t offer Cantonese among its many languages despite the fact that it is spoken by millions of people in Hong Kong and around the world. Now Canto speakers are angry that Nintendo is scrapping the Cantonese translation of Pokémon Sun and Moon.


Nintendo had previously stated in February that the games would be released in traditional Chinese (for Hong Kong and Taiwan) and simplified Chinese for Mainland China. But they have dropped the local Cantonese character names and unified the Mandarin Chinese names used by the two other markets. Dozens of angry Pokémon fans in Hong Kong staged a protest outside the Japanese consulate and were supported by the anti-communist political party Civic Passion. Their banners and signs included slogans such as the demand that Pikachu’s Cantonese name Bei-kaa-chyu be restored in place of the the new name Pei-kaa-jau.


The right wing political group has been involved because Canto language is important for Cantonese identity, which has been marginalised by the oppressive Communist Chinese government. Although Pokemon games don’t seem important to most people, linguistic diversity is very important. Empowerlingua understands the importance of distinguishing between languages and dialects. We would never send a Mandarin translator where a Cantonese speaker is required. Understanding cultural differences is key to our mission to provide culturally sensitive translation services.

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