How accurate are the translations?

Are the original translations for Phantasy star II and Breath of fire even rmotly close to the original script? Not anything like changing names to shorter ones for space, but like removing/editing significant parts of the game, like in the original Shining force wehre “gods” became “Ancheints”. Would you guys pleaes lend a hand?

That doesn’t sound to me like a significant part of the game. if you change the name of something, that doesn’t make it a bad translation. Now, I’ve never played Shining Force, but I’m willing to bet that the meaning isn’t lost because of that name change. Translations are not about translating words; they’re about translating meaning. It’s like saying that Ultimate Rugal in Capcom Vs SNK 2 is a bad translation cos his japanese name was God Rugal. The meaning is still there - that is, that he’s bad ass and all-powerful. Beyond that, all a translation needs is coherent writing.

When you look at the quality of a translation, you should look at three things:

  1. Whether or not you can understand what someone is saying, i.e the meaning is not lost. Wild ARMS 2 strikes me as a perfect example of a bad translation. There are several parts of the game where it seems that entire conversations have no subject at all. Legend of Dragoon does the same thing.

  2. The quality of localization. Localization, equally important to translation, is the process of making the game culturally significant to its audience. For example, if you look at the Ace Attorney series, there are tons of american pop culture references. Imagine if those all referred to items of japanese pop culture - the game would instantly lose a large part of its appeal.

  3. Quality of grammar. The importance of this one is debatable. I personally don’t think this is too important, unless it’s horrendously bad, like Zero Wing or something.

On the grammar part: one thing that I’ve seen - mainly in the WA games - that erks me more than anything else, is inconsistent pronouns. Like, I’ve seen some (admittedly ambiguous) “characters” refered to in both masculine and feminine pronouns. it just annoys me so much.

The Ancients were gods? Some of the relics would make sense this way but others would leave them in the all-too-human category a la Greek gods. What does a god need a robot for?

Right, but how do those two games in particular stand? The reason I’m asking is because I’ve never played them before and I’m trying to get some of the original carts. So is the plot intact in either of them, or more importantly character personalities?

“God” doesn’t mean the same thing in Japan as it does here… it’s more like a slightly souped-up spirit/demon thing. Well, actually, it depends on the word. “Kami” refers to our Christian notion of God, while “shin” is often translated as “god” as well.

I am precisely thinking of this subject as I play Tales of Legendia. I noticed how superior the grammar and word use here is to many other RPGs I’ve played. I’m sure that the dialog has to have been rewritten, at least in part, for the occidental market, because it’s just too coherent. (Not that Japanese is incoherent; it’s just that is SO different from our local languages, that even the sequencing of words can differ.) But I’m OK by it, as long as the original meaning of the story is preserved. And so far it seems to be. :slight_smile:

(For some ironic contrast: back when I was in College, when I tried coming back after I had dropped out, I took Education as a Major. The class used textbooks from Spain, probably because our teacher was really infatuated with their culture, instead of the usual translated American ones. Now, this is my HOME language we are talking about here. AND I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND A DAMN THING. It described processes without explaining the basic concepts, and it took like ten paragraphs to explain a concept that could have been summed up in one. When I complained about this to the teacher, he pretty much brushed me off as if I were an idiot for not understanding the material. I ended up dropping out again. :thud: I later finished my education at a minor local college instead.)

I think Phantasy Star 2 and Breath of Fire are debatable.

Phantasy Star 2 censored a few things, but the message gets across just fine. There are a lot of freakos on the internet who will tell you that the English translation was horrible, but I don’t know how many of these people can actually read japanese (I sure as hell can’t).

Breath of Fire 1…well, the only person I know who has played the game in Japanese said it was a bit different; but seriously, there’s no story to the game anyways. The Dark Dragons are trying to take over the world, and you, a member of the Light Dragon Clan, go out to stop them while doing random acts of heroism. The story is hardly more detailed than that, so I don’t think a ‘bad’ translation would even hurt this game.

Quite possibly not your fault. I’ve seen plenty of academic books that would greatly benefit by an editor.

My literature teacher started the advanced course with the words “And this term you’ll be reading books that has professors of the subject scratching their heads”. So don’t feel bad, Wil :slight_smile:

Phantasy star 2: Thanks, as long as the message and characters are kept then it’s good enough for me. I’m not too big on 16-bit breasts anyway :stuck_out_tongue:

Breath of fire: I already knew the jist of the story so that isn’t a problem, and I don’t think Capcom had the time to create significatly in-depth personas, seeing as their schedule was basicly churning out a “new” version of Street Fighter II every month :hahaha;

Okay, on Phantasy Star II and Breath of Fire(which I have played both), neither of them is really that bad in anything. In Phantasy Star II, the translation is pretty good, I guess, but some things do seem a little odd. And as SG said, BoF don’t need no script, it’s your generic evil dudes trying to rule world, hero rises up and defeats them after a long journey of many trials. looks at the story of the Odyssey again Fraggin’ 1000+ year old story.

On Wil’s remark, I have encountered this problem, but it was with a fictional book, the Silmarillion to be exact(is that the correct spelling). I encountered hundreds of grammar problems that forced me to stop, wait a year, try again, dump it again and then finally read it all after another two year wait. The book tried my reading skills to the limit as a lot of the commas were left out when gods were being mentioned and that caused me to become confused on who was who.

Another noted book, in 8th grade, I knew the basics of Non-Euclidean Geometry(I have a lot of free time), so I decided to do an Expo project on that very subject. I looked at one(ONE!) book about it, and encountered the horrible thing called constant brain spasms(or CBS(heheh, didn’t mean to actually do that XD)). This problem happened because the book was so designed for people that studied Non-Euclidean, that my brain froze in momentary stupidity. I only got back my cranial functions after about 10 minutes of procrastination.

All in all, make sure an editor runs through the book before you send it out. >.<

Guys: Heh, thanks for the support. And most of my university books made sense, so I’m sure it was the type of Spanish used in that class that was the problem. Spanish is a wonderful language, but it’s full of synonyms, and you can say the same thing in three or more ways. And some folks just CANNOT seem to write unless they try them all. That’s OK for poetry, but, when I’m reading something I want to “get” quickly -like a College textbook- I WANT TO UNDERSTAND IT RIGHT AWAY, THANK YOU. That’s why I have always preferred English when reading. American English, anyway. :wink:

Getting back to the subject of game translations, I checked Gamefaqs and apparently, they did take some artistic license with the names in Legendia -the Water Folk are also referred as “Shining Ones”, “Radiant” and “Ferines” at different times- but that’s a minor detail to me; the important thing is, is the meaning of the story (especially the characters’ motivations) coming across clearly? Yes they are, which is why I’m enjoying ToL so much. :smiley:

ToL has some excellent music. Seeking Victory is awesome. I might play this game for that reason…I had heard bad things about it but I’m guessing it’s okay.

It’s stange, people talk about how bad WA2’s translation is all the time, but I loved that game. Maybe it’s nostalgia, but I remember understangind what was going on. I might not play it again to see if it holds up; I like my nostalgia. Besides, when I played Legend of Dragoon for a few hours it ruined my view of how good that game was.

Back to translations; I hold up Vagrant Story as the example. That game has the best translation ever. It takes a lot of liberties with the exact script but the translation injects such dramatic tension and builds the journey into Lea Monde so well that in all actuality the original script means nothing to me; the translator took the meaning of the story and made it better.

So, ditto to SK.

If you liked VS I imagine you’ll drool over FF12 and FF Tactics: War of the Lions. Very similar style, done by the same people - magnificent.

WA2 is understandable, but stilted, annoying and underwhelming. Except for Liz and Ard, whose dialog consists of complete nonsense. They even managed to mistranslate a puzzle hint. The only other game I remember doing that is the original Tales of Destiny, but the rest of that script was pretty funny.

The Odyssey is the story of that dude trying to get back home only to find his wife besieged by suitors and his dog dying. So he grabs his bow after some teasing and pew pews the dudes who tried to rule his bed.

I found WA2 highly enjoyable and Tales of Destiny a near-total bore. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Having a powerful villain fire off “I’m going to nip the flower of humanity in the bud!” in a dramatic moment made me realize WA2’s lack of quality writing. It’s more than a translation thing. It’s having an editor that realizes that a line like that satyrizes itself by default. Then there are games written with lines I’ve read a hundred times before in other games. Think up any line about “bravery” or “love” and you’ll get the point. When I do come across a game with well-written lines, it jumps out immediately. I remember it happened with Grandia II. No other titles come to mind when called for, but I know I’ve run across a few in the past couple of years. I suppose things have generally gotten better, so exceptional efforts have to be that much more remarkable to stand out.

Edit: Oh, hot damn, how could I forget? DQ8. I suppose spoken dialog complicates the evaluation a bit since things that look good on paper can come out corny in voice and vice versa, but a good editor can still make the difference there.

You can’t deny that your quote has character though.

Heheh, one of the games I love for the script has to be Lufia II. I don’t know why, but I have now beaten it 3 times, and am already on my 4th playthrough(if you’re wondering, I’m at the Shaia Labratory area). I don’t know why, but the story, system AND script are actually quite well written. The spells are semi-unique, especially the healing spells which don’t follow the usual “cure” or “heal” thing, instead they are “strong”, “stronger” and “champion”. This is made even better as you can target as everything, one or even two or three if you feel like it as the spell system is like that.

I LOVE LUFIA II!!! has just gone otaku over Lufia II