After news circulated online of protests in Hong Kong over the change in Pokémon translations in the upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon Versions, Nintendo has issued a statement in regard to the translations.
Protesters were upset that the long-standing Cantonese names of Pokémon would be changed to their Mandarin versions, sparking discontent and petitions throughout Hong Kong. The Hong Kong branch of Nintendo and The Pokémon Company released a statement clarifying matters, stating that they never intended to cause harm, and that the characters can be read as traditional names. So while 皮卡丘 (Pikachu) would normally be pronounced as ‘Pei-kaa-jau’ in Cantonese, it should be read as the global pronunciation of Pi-ka-chu. The characters used in the name are different, yet they should be pronounced the same.
Nintendo has also delayed its first Pokémon National Championship for greater China, which was to be held in Hong Kong. These protests may have played a part in that decision, but it’s difficult to tell. At the moment, it’s unclear what Nintendo and The Pokémon Company will do about the translation issue moving forward. Check back in the future for updates on the situation.