You have entered the homepage of the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni English Restoration Patch!
There are some out there who believe that it is perfectly okay to output a barely-readable "first-pass" translation, to be "edited" later by people who have barely any knowledge of the original text.
If you are interested in reading Higurashi right now, check out my Reading Guide.
About the game
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is a "Sound Novel" created in 2002 by the doujin group 07th Expansion. It was translated by the eroge localisation company MangaGamer. Both of their releases have their own problems, but we'll get into that later.
About this project
I am taking the time to retype, recheck, and reword the entirety of the 2009-2010 MangaGamer Higurashi translation, inserting it into the original Japanese NScripter script and editing heavily along the way. The goal is to create a definitive original experience in which to read Higurashi with no content left out, rendering text that adheres closely to the Japanese style and phrasing with more verbose and better-flowing English. This project started out as a direct port of the translation with typo fixes, but the problems go so far beyond typos that I am doing a complete overhaul: checking every line against its Japanese counterpart and providing the indispensible touch of a native English speaker. Though the base translation is a liberal, second grade reading level mess, my text is rendered in a balance between literal and dynamic; using direct equivalents when possible, but keeping Japanese terms which can be understood or explained. My text takes a number of cues from The Witch Hunt's overly-literal Umineko translation in preserving bits of Japanese culture and speech which should not be removed - no attempt is made to mask the fact that this is a Japanese work - but even so, excellent rendering to the target language is valued just as highly. As such, this project must take quite a long time.
Aside from this project being an extensive translation recheck, my friend seiran and I have translated the Music Room and re-translated most image assets, with a translation of the Question Arcs' Staff Room in the works. Neither the Music Room nor Staff Room had ever been translated to English before, but they're not unlocked till the fourth arc is read, so it'll be a while before you can access them without skipping.
Additionally, I've scripted an all-new Glossary menu to explain some quirks and concepts that inevitably got lost in translation.
This patch is made to run only on ONScripter-EN with a copy of the Japanese Higurashi 1-4 (Himatsubushi) installed; episodic releases will come packaged with the last ONS-EN builds for Windows, Mac and Linux. After all of the Question Arcs are completed, a Windows installer and an all-platforms zip archive shall be the primary distributions.
About the existing releases
In 2009, MangaGamer began releasing Higurashi no Naku Koro ni under the name Higurashi When They Cry. These releases are missing all of the original music and sound effects and most omake content - including all of the minigames. The replacement music came from a 2006 mobile phone port of the novel. In addition, the translation is extremely inconsistent, lazy, inaccurate, and filled with typos. The engine used was Buriko's General Interpreter, which is a closed-source visual novel engine with its own proprietary compression formats and overly complex scripts. Many mistakes were made in the porting of the game, such as missing lines, missing visual effects, wrong images, visual jank, and awful font rendering. This engine is very hard (and partly impossible) to mod; even if you patch the original sound effects back in, most will crash the game, requiring you omit them again.
Starting in 2015, MangaGamer began releasing "remakes" of Higurashi, chapter by chapter, extremely slowly. As detailed by this blog post, these releases use an interpreter made in the 3D game engine Unity to read the flawed code of the old script, with a custom text renderer thrown on top. The engine scales down to 480p horribly, does not scale at all on Windows 2000/XP, and may potentially end up eating 80% of your CPU, even with an i5. The translation is cleaner than its older counterpart, but many of the same mistakes and liberal translation methods were carried over, with many new mistakes piled on. Not to mention that it uses the old BGI script, so these releases still have all of the same port issues and missing effects.
Then, as if fate was tempted, 07th Expansion sent an order to replace almost all music and sounds again, this time mostly axing the license-free music in the Question Arcs (replacing them with Dai's Answer Arcs tracks and some random new ones), re-ripping the MIDIs composed by Koji Kusanagi with weak synth, and adding bizarre sound effects like baby laughter at chapter start. As of the time of writing, no one knows to this day where the new replacement tracks came from. The correct sounds and music could be modded back in, but these releases run the old script resulting in there still being a limited amount of slots for music, so wrong tracks play at certain points across the novel. In fact, the initial remade Steam release of Tatarigoroshi accidentally released with the poor 2009 soundtrack.
Sometime before the old MG release, Sonozaki Futago-tachi began a fan translation patch, but only got as far as the first day of Watanagashi, along with a full translation of the minigames. This translation is painstakingly attentive, but it sadly didn't cover even half the game. However, the minigame patch is standalone; if you have the original Japanese Higurashi installed, you can install this patch by itself and enjoy Renapan in all its glory. Only the EU download mirror works - the rest of unclemion.com is down.
So far, I have finished porting the text of Onikakushi-hen and Watanagashi-hen, and the Music Room and omake unlock screens are fully translated. I need to give old mistakes the once-over (or thrice-over, who knows at this point). After Watanagashi is done, I must fully recheck both Onikakushi and Watanagashi, for I cannot in good conscience release Higurashi in English again with such a lackluster translation. I cannot make any promises other than that I'm not giving up as long as I'm alive; you may wish to go ahead and read an existing release for the time being, though. New screenshots coming whenever I get around to it.
I've removed my download of v0.25. An innumerable amount of improvements have been made since then, and a lot more are to come. Watanagashi's release, v0.50, shall be the most important yet; including Onikakushi's translation fully checked along with essential new content and polish all around. Please be patient.
Whose work have you stolen here? - All I've really taken is the 2009 MangaGamer release's translation for a base; most things about that port are unusable and up to no standards. Indeed, at this point my translation barely resembles the original from whence it was derived. I've used Sonozaki Futago-tachi's translation as a frequent reference for figuring where the heck the translated text is supposed to go in the script, and as counsel and inspiration on how to render certain lines and characters' speech. Though some lines turned out quite similar in Onikakushi, I have not stolen from that translation (nor the new MG translation) by any avoidable means. To be clear though, I most definitely could not have even begun this project without Uncle Mion's invaluable work on both ONScripter-EN and Higurashi.
Why type it by hand? - Originally, because I couldn't figure out how to extract the BGI script, and still haven't. However, the current flow of this project is to read the MG text, improve the grammar, type out the result; then after it's over, to go back, check the result against the Japanese, and reword anything that needs it. Inefficient, sure, but I haven't got any better means.
Why use the crappy old translation instead of the new one? - The initial rationale was that the older translation might cleave nearer to the Japanese script, which would make said script easier to wade through, since I was only a beginner at Japanese. It turned out that both releases were similar enough in that regard, but at this point my choice is reinforced by the natures of the two translations. The old one gives a rough idea of what is being said, with more verbose details and the "seasoning" of the words if you will, mostly left out. This provides something to work with, since a comfortable translation from Japanese requires a fair bit of improvising anyway. The new translation on the other hand is more solid; they've fixed the grammar and added some fancy wording, but with new inaccuracies and still-missing words and references, with Meakashi's translation being specifically infamous. And as a bonus, I've spotted and translated references to Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Di Gi Charat and Biohazard that were conveniently left out of MangaGamer's releases.
Why call it "-no Naku Koro ni" instead of "When They Cry"? - The most exact translation of "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni" is "When the Higurashi Cry", which sort of clashes with the fact that "When They Cry" is the official subtitle to this series. Fan translations have kept the original Japanese nomenclature for the franchise, and since both MangaGamer English localizations of Higurashi are called When They Cry, it seemed like the best idea to go the JP route. Besides, this is what won the Twitter poll. In the current stage of development, I've added a work-in-progress English subtitle to the title screen.
Why would you do this?! - I believe in this story, and in the charm which resulted from its production - Higurashi was written in a simpler time, with simpler tools and limited resources. It is an inherently fun, emotional, and down-to-earth experience; taking away from or adding to it is wrong. It's a classic. I along with many others enjoyed this story greatly, even having read the occasionally unintelligible older release. If I could do that and still feel so strongly about it, I believe this is a story worthy of a fan's most attentive touch. I wish for anyone to be able to read this story in the best manner it can be read, and hopefully to have a much better experience than I had. Maybe the new MangaGamer translation is better; maybe it's not. That's not for me to judge, but I'm doing my best and am very proud of what I've done so far.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is the property of 07th Expansion; content therein belongs to its respective owners. Parts of this translation belong to MangaGamer. They didn't credit their translators, so neither can I.