When RPGMaker Trans was started, RPGMaker was not really a thing in the West. Of the versions of RPGMaker, with only XP having seen an official Western release. 2000, 2003 and VX only had releases in Japan.
Times have changed. RPGMaker is now popular in the West, with VX Ace and MV both having received official releases on Steam. That's a good thing, but it means that for legal reasons, the name "RPGMaker Trans" is no longer a smart name, because Enterbrain could choose to enforce their Trademark at any time. Renaming the project pre-emptively removes this threat.
There's also the fact that I am actively working on adding support for WolfRPG. If I keep the RPGMaker Trans name, then it would probably lead to very clumsy names, like "RPGMaker Trans, now supporting WolfRPG" or somesuch.
Finally, Version 5 is pretty much a complete rewrite. If I'm going to rename, now's the time to do it. Further, Version 5 does not have feature parity with RPGMaker Trans v4.5 - specifically, it does not support RPGMaker 2000. Renaming the project means that people will find it easier to get the correct version if they require RPGMaker 2000 support.
The name is deep with meaning. Behold!
- I originally wanted LarkTrans, as Lark is a synonym for Game, and would have lead to a nice bird related logo. Unfortunately, Lark Software have trademarked their name, so it would be legally precarious. However, Jape is a synonym for Lark, and to my knowledge is not as legally precarious.
- Jape is one letter from JAPEN, or JAP->EN. Given the huge number of Japanese RPGMaker games, I suspect this will be a common translation direction.
- A Jape is a mischeivious prank. Given that many translations with RPGMaker Trans are unauthorised, I'd say they're mischeivious.
- RPGMaker Trans is a bit of a mouthfull, JapeTrans is not.
- A slightly dirty reason, but pre-15th century, Jape had a different meaning: sex. This is a funny little callback to the origins of RPGMaker Trans and the role adult RPGs played in it's formation.
The RPGMaker Trans project will stay up; I'm not inclined to remove it for now. Obviously though, if I end up receiving a legal request to remove it, it'll have to go.
The RPGMaker Trans source code and downloads will stay in place. The source code will be cloned across to the new JapeTrans repository.
JapeTrans will be a separate project, and the focus of all new development. I've registed the appropriate URLs for the project, but I haven't put up a website yet; this will happen when JapeTrans is released.
Hence RPGMaker Trans v5 will become JapeTrans v1, and RPGMaker Trans Patch format v4 becomes JapeTrans patch format v1.