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Alexander O. Smith

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Alexander O. Smith (born February 8, 1973) is a professional English/Japanese translator and author. While his output covers many areas such as adaptation of Japanese novels, manga, song lyrics, anime scripts and various academic works, he is best known for his software localizations of Japanese video games. Smith is multilingual, with fluency in English and Japanese, basic knowledge of Cantonese Chinese, Korean, Dutch and French, and reading knowledge of Anglo Saxon, Old Norse, Classical Chinese and Classical Japanese. He currently resides in Mitaka, Tokyo, where he operates his own contract localization business, Kajiya Productions.


Born in Vermont, Smith obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian Studies from Dartmouth College/Keio University in 1995, and a Master of Arts degree in Classical Japanese Literature from Harvard University in 1998. He began working for video game designer Square Co. in the late 1990s, working as part of the localization team for several games, including Final Fantasy VIII, Chocobo's Dungeon 2, Front Mission 3, and Parasite Eve 2. In 1999, he worked as the main English translator for Vagrant Story. Reviewers noted the high quality of the English script, in which Smith utilized various archaic English idioms and slang that distinguished the game from its straightforward Japanese counterpart. In addition to working as a translator for Square Enix, Smith has worked for Bowne Global Solutions (later acquired by Lionbridge), where he was contracted to work on several other video game localizations, including Bloody Roar 3, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.

As a translator, Smith frequently employs both Japanese and American pop culture references. The English script for Final Fantasy X referenced the Macarena, while the dialogue of the character "Sal Manella" from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney frequently used leet-speak. Smith's familiarity with Japanese language and culture has been utilized outside of video games, as well, including the Kamigawa block of collectible card game Magic: the Gathering, which references the Japanese Shinto religion.

In addition to his work as a translator, Smith has also occasionally worked as a video game voice actor, usually in minor roles. In addition to providing English lyrics for the two songs "The Skies Above" and "Otherworld" on The Skies Above, the second album of the band The Black Mages, he performed the spoken intro to the song "Maybe I'm a Lion" on that album.[1] He has served as the assistant voice director for Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. He has also translated "Eternity" on the Blue Dragon Original Soundtrack, composed by Nobuo Uematsu.

Selected works

Video games

Title Year Platform(s) Smith's role
Parasite Eve II 2000 PlayStation Localization specialist (with Sho Endo)
Vagrant Story 2000 PlayStation Translator (with Amanda J. Katsurada)
Final Fantasy X 2001 PlayStation 2 Localization specialist (with Aziz Hinoshita)
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2003 Game Boy Advance Translator
Final Fantasy X-2 2003 PlayStation 2 US recording producer
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time 2004 PlayStation 2 Translator (with Jason Franzman and Joel Sassone)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 2005 Nintendo DS Translator
Final Fantasy XII 2006 PlayStation 2 US recording producer, translator (with Joseph Reeder)
Valkyria Chronicles 2008 PlayStation 3 English ADR writer
Final Fantasy Tactics A2 2008 Nintendo DS English Translator
MadWorld 2009 Wii Scenario Translator
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together 2010 Sony PSP English Translator (with Joseph Reeder)

Manga and novels

See also


  1. Smith, Alexander (2009-11-09). GameSetInterview: 'Localization Tactics Advance - Kajiya Productions on Translating Final Fantasy'. GameSetWatch. Retrieved on 2009-11-16.

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