Regular readers of Destructoid will know my long-standing complaints concerning the farcical period between Super Smash Bros. Brawl's North American and European/Australian release dates. Despite a range of excuses, Nintendo has finally settled on a reason -- translation is just too difficult.
"Every time you go through localization you then have to put it through a test, which involves making sure that you recorded the proper voice, and that the proper voice is being activated with the proper trigger, at the proper time… so it’s not just a case of swapping over some words, it requires some proper extra development processes. And so it takes time."
Nintendo's Laurent Fischer explained the above process was the reason why Brawl was taking so long, despite the fact that it takes most Japanese developers about a month to do (rather than Nintendo's six) and despite the fact that most studios can handle near-worldwide release dates these days. Games like GTA IV and MGS4 must simply be easier to localize than Smash Bros. It all makes sense now!
"I realize that from time to time we have still been disappointing some people, but in general we have also been able to bring to them games which would have never been available before in a European market, and the time frame is slowly decreasing, so I’m positive for the future. We know that we are still not reaching the expectations of all the people, but we’re really doing our best to resolve this."
Which would be fair enough, except in this day and age, when nearly every developer but Nintendo can seem to handle the localization process, claiming it takes six months just makes the company look bad. If Nintendo wants to look like it can't handle international publishing as well as its competitors, though, that's cool.