Category Archives: Retranslation log

Observations from the Item Catalog

Item descriptions were more interesting than they should have been. Potential spoilers here, though I’ll try to avoid anything major.

One thing that really got to me was that although it’s clear (isn’t it?) that Croix is supposed to be narrating, sometimes the official translation seems to simply forget that. Personal comments are turned into universal truths, places where we should have “I” turn into the general “you”, and it’s too impersonal in places too. A few examples:

JP: 衝撃を加えると小さな火を発する水。
EN: Water that ignites with shock.
   No one really looked into the reaction,
   so I can't explain.
New: Water that sparks when disturbed.
   I've never looked into what sort of reaction
   it causes, so I don't understand it.

JP: 押してはいけないとわかっているけど、
EN: A button you know you're not allowed
   to push, but your mind won't settle
   until you do so.
New: I know I'm not supposed to push
   this button, but I won't feel satisfied
   until I do.

JP: 上質な布、民族的な模様らしいが、
EN: A high quality cloth with tribal
   patterns, but no one knows what
   civilization it's from.
New: A high-quality cloth with tribal
   patterns, but I don't know what
   culture it's from.

JP: キュートなカラーリングを施されたハンマー。
EN: A cute colored hammer. However, unlike
  its looks, its power is strong. You don't
  want it being swung anywhere near you.
New: A cutely colored hammer. Contrary to its
  cute looks, the power isn't half bad. I wish
  she'd stop swinging it around so close to me.

Those “no one” lines are especially galling. Surely, with all the people in the world and the technology they have, someone somewhere must have investigated such a strange reaction as sparking water. Surely someone somewhere knows what culture those tribal patterns are from. Just because Croix hasn’t bothered to find out doesn’t mean the information isn’t out there.

Another common distortion is ignoring らしい in sentences. In short, Croix’s use of this indicates that his information is second-hand. That is, he’s not commenting on what he knows for himself, but on what he’s heard from someone else or another source that he can’t be entirely sure is accurate. This applies to many, many descriptions (it felt like about half, but probably isn’t quite that many), but here are a few a typical examples:

JP: ゲロッゴをインスパイアーしたらしいもの。
EN: This is what inspired Gergo.
  I don't know the difference,
  but it is hated among girls.
New: Apparently this inspired Gergo.
  I can't tell the difference, but
  among girls it's hated with a passion.

JP: 強いグラスノの波を出して、データで構成された
EN: This can distort the world of information
  created by data, by blasting a strong
  Grathnode wave. Isn't that hacking?
New: This can supposedly distort the information
  in a world composed of data by emitting powerful
  Grathnode waves. Isn't that hacking?

Croix doesn’t know for himself what inspired Gergo; he really doesn’t care enough, but a certain someone was more than willing to amend his ignorance. In the second example, he similarly doesn’t know enough about informational technology to any idea what the device in question does, so he’s just repeating what he was told it does.

Speaking of that second example, I think the meaning got a bit confused too. Unfortunately, it’s not the only one.

JP: はくと気持ちがスッキリ、背筋もビッシリなるらしい
EN: Long socks that refreshes your feelings
  and straightens your back. What's wrong
  with wearing socks that come up to the knee?
New: Long socks that apparently straighten your
  back and make you feel refreshed when you wear
  them. I called them socks and got yelled at
  that they're knee-socks.

JP: 念をこめてつくった怪しい呪術の爆弾。恐ろしいマークが
EN: A strange cursed bomb, full of grudges.
  Is it just me, or does the mark look wicked too?
New: A creepy black magic bomb imbued with emotions.
  Is it just my imagination that it has a terrifying
  mark on it?

In all fairness, though, many of the descriptions aren’t bad at all, though I tend to reword them anyway:

JP: 硬いカラに守られた、暖かな気候を好む植物の実。
EN: A hard shelled fruit of a plant that
  likes warm weather. It is juicy and sweet,
  but there isn't much to eat.
New: A fruit protected by a hard shell from a
  plant that likes warm climates. It's juicy
  and sweet, but there isn't much to eat.


When translating from Japanese, you need to consider how to treat honorifics: *-san, -chan, -senpai,* and so on. In a lot of pop culture, localizers have started just leaving them in and thus preserving their meanings; if your audience is Japanese pop culture aficionados, then you can trust them to understand. This works when the story is set in Japan, but it is odd when English butlers or medieval swordsmen go around calling people *-kun*.

In most cases, it is best to simply translate the honorific when it sounds natural in the target language, and drop it otherwise. Think about how the characters would actually address each other if English was their native language: classmates don’t use titles for each other, but adults are often called Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So.

Of course, the Ar tonelico 2 localization offers a middle-ground approach that results in the worst of both worlds. They translate every honorific, regardless of whether it makes sense. So, you get high school students calling each other “Ms.”, a senpai called “Master”, and so on. The dialogue ends up at least as awkward as it would have been with the Japanese honorifics, but without the nuances of the original words for people who know them. This policy continues throughout otherwise Japanese-culture-saturated parts of the game.

In our relocalization, we’re taking a hybrid approach. Almost everywhere, we translate addresses to be as natural as possible for native English speakers. But in the fantasy side-stories that take place in a fictionalized Japan, full of references to Japanese school life and popular culture, it makes sense to include the original honorifics. When the character is a moe-crazy otaku in a maid cafe, seeing him address someone as “-san” is not going to bring the story crashing down.

The official localization’s honorifics policy is odd for a game that [included “moe” as a bullet point]( in its marketing.

Just a Quickie

In celebration of completing Luca’s Cosmosphere, here’s a brief, non-spoilerish excerpt from the last level:

Goro(134) :45:45: 
EN::Haven't you heard the expression,
  "Whoever interferes with someone's love
  should be stoned to death by Funbuns"?
NEW:Like they say, anyone who messes with love's
  progression should be kicked to death by Funbuns!

Croix(3) :46:46:
EN::I... can't say that I have.
NEW:They do NOT say that.

And it really is Funbuns (オボンヌ) and not Funboons (オボンタ). Huh.

Cosmosphere Error Fest 2009

Cloche’s Cosmosphere is complete at long last. Here is a smorgasbord of problems from the last two levels. Of course, some mild to severe spoilers are scattered throughout.

How can you perform in front of someone that is somewhere they need to be lured out of?

Cloche(1) :4:4:
EN::Yes. We should lure them out by performing in front of them.
NEW:Yes, if we want to welcome them, what better way than with lovely music?


Cloche(1) :17:17:
EN::I got to realize how important it is to know what I want to do, and to voice it out…
NEW:You showed me the importance of asserting what I want to… what I ought to accomplish.

NISA decided to change the name of one of Cloche’s personas, for some reason. Reisu became Reish, which is particularly confusing because Luca’s mother’s name is Reisha. Midorino became Ryokuya, which can be gotten phonetically from the same kanji 緑野, but the voice track makes it obvious. On level 3:

???(132) :18:18:
EN::Cloche!? Who? I’m Reish. Reish Ryokuya.
NEW:Who’s Cloche? I’m Reisu. Reisu Midorino.

Ah, and the confusion with Reisha comes through at the end of the Cosmosphere. NISA themselves had Croix call Cloche’s persona by Luca’s mother’s name on Level 9:

Croix(3) :2:2:
EN::You are… Miss Reisha… You were such a good singer. I would want to go to karaoke with you again.
NEW:You’re… Miss Reisu. The great singer from the school world. Let’s go to karaoke again some time.

Plenty of Japanese words have several English words that they could be translated as, depending on the intention. Here Cloche’s use of “important” makes it seem like she has some unimportant personas. No, she is just describing the way she feels about all of her personas: they’re precious.

Cloche(1) :5:5:
EN::You are one of my important personalities… You possess the “Possibility”…
NEW:You are one of my precious personas. You bear the trait of “Potential”.

Similarly, throughout the final level, the ceremonial greeting, acknowledgment, and thanking of the personas is called “approving”. This makes it seem like the personas are being judged somehow, or going through some bureaucratic process. The original word 承認 has a lot of possible translations, and “recognition” is much more appropriate.

(105) :6:6:
EN::…Thank you… for approving me.
NEW:Thank you… for recognizing me.

A case of not taking the previous line of dialogue into account.

Croix(3) :31:31:
EN::Lady Cloche! We can’t give up yet!
NEW:Lady Cloche! It’s still all right!

Cloche(1) :32:32:
EN::I can’t! We can’t get all the personalities back without Cural…
NEW:It’s hopeless! Without Cural, we can’t bring back any more personas…

Another important word in the final level was translated as “invite”. While that is certainly the most common translation for 招待, it doesn’t make sense if you pay attention to the story. Croix and Cloche have to magically bring the personas from their homes, and when they arrive they are confused of where they are and how they got there. Clearly they weren’t *invited,* they were *summoned.*

(105) :1:1:
EN::…Why… why am I here…
NEW:Why… Why am I here…

Croix(3) :2:2:
EN::We’ve invited you here to give you our appreciation.
NEW:We’ve summoned you to this stratum to thank you.

“That’s true.” Disgraceful.

(105) :3:3:
EN::I’m the root of everything… I was the one who destroyed myself… I don’t… deserve this…
NEW:But it’s all my fault…. I’m the one who erased the existence known as “me”…. I don’t… deserve thanks.

Croix(3) :4:4:
EN::That’s true. You are a very
traditional, and proud person.
NEW:That’s not true. You are very dignified and honorable.

NISA loves to use “you guys” for 貴方達, regardless of how inappropriate such a familiar form of address is for the situation.

(105) :3:3:
EN::I didn’t do anything but to destroy… Appreciation… Are you guys actually going to…
NEW:I have done nothing but eradicate. I have provided nothing. Why would you thank me? Unless by “thanks” you actually mean…

“Courage to get … and accepting it”. It’s painful for me to see this sort of sloppy speech attributed to Chroche Leythal Pastalie.

Cloche(1) :5:5:
EN::Your courage to get in touch with the painful past and accepting it is very valuable to me… thank you.
NEW:Your courage to touch the painful wounds of the past is of great value to me now. Thank you.

The [completion ceremony]( wasn’t just poorly translated. It was poorly translated in two different ways, like the [flashbacks in level 6-R](

Level 7:

(25) :28:28:
EN::Do you pledge here today that you have given your all to Croix and showed him everything with no lies?
NEW:Do you vow that you have offered your heart, truly and sincerely, to Croix?

Level 9:

(25) :19:19:
EN::Do you hereby solemnly swear that you have given your all to Croix and showed him everything with no deceptions?
NEW:Do you vow that you have offered your heart, truly and sincerely, to Croix?

Complete meaning breakdown:

(25) :67:67:
EN::This will lead to having great confidence toward the future. I will be able to do something you could not.
NEW:This will grant you great confidence in yourself. And that leads to the ability to accomplish great things you never could before.

Le sigh. NISA decided to change Infel Phira, a crucial entity in the game, to Infel Pira. There’s no clear reason for this, and like other changes (“Trulyworth”), it corrupts [a Hymmnos word with a real meaning]( Fine. But they also didn’t consistently translate it, so that in places, it become “Pillar”, a completely unrelated and inapt English word.

(25) :5:5:
EN::Cloche’s Magic Server is called “Infel Pillar”, since she is an I.P.D.
NEW:Because Cloche is an IPD, her Song Magic Server is Infel Phira.

(25) :6:6:
EN::She receives her power from that floating Infel Pillar when she sings magic.
NEW:When she sings, the power comes from Infel Phira, floating in the sky.

This is wrong.

(25) :7:7:
EN::Cloche’s magic was being controlled by the power she received.
NEW:So far, Cloche has only been using that power to manifest her own magic.

(25) :8:8:
EN::We will conduct a ceremony now, so that she can control the power herself.
NEW:But the ceremony we are about to perform will allow her to control Infel Phira directly.

(25) :9:9:
EN::That way, she will be able to fully utilize the Infel Pillar.
NEW:Then, she will be able to use Infel Phira itself as an extremely powerful Song Magic.

Wouldn’t have be able indeed.

Croix(3) :5:5:
EN::…Either way, you did save me. I wouldn’t have be able to be standing here without you.
NEW:Either way, you saved me. Without you, I wouldn’t have made it this far.

One of the greatest disappointments of the localization of Cloche’s Cosmosphere was how often Infel’s gloriously awful [puns]( went completely ignored, while the *reactions* to them were left in place. One of the greatest joys, though, was coming up with equally awful puns that work in English. To have such a challenging one at the end of level 9 was like a little parting gift from the Soulspace to me.

(25) :8:8:
EN::I can tell you this now, but you will not see a Cosmosphere like this.
NEW:I can tell you now, this Cosmosphere was monumental like not too many are.

Croix(3) :9:9:

(25) :10:10:
EN::I hardly ever panic like I did.
NEW:Yeah, if it’s enough to shake me, it’s really something.

Croix(3) :11:11:
EN::I see.. You’re right.. It was a lot of work…
NEW:I see. You’re right, though, it was quite a struggle.

(25) :12:12:
EN::Yes, Croix and Cloche, you guys are full of trouble…
NEW:Yep. By the close, I was pretty shaken… Close, shaken. Clo-che.

Croix(3) :13:13:

(25) :14:14:
EN::W, what!
NEW:W- what!

Croix(3) :15:15:
EN::…That was pretty painful…
NEW:You saved the absolute worst for the very end…


Serious spoilers for Cloche’s Cosmosphere.

There are two completion ceremonies in Cloche’s Cosmosphere; one fake and one genuine. I am partway through translating the real one (which means I’m almost done with the whole Cosmosphere!) and it reminded me of the poor treatment of the false one.

The completion ceremony, one of the main goals of the Ar tonelico games, is supposed to be the most uplifting, deeply meaningful section of the entire Cosmosphere. It’s the culmination of hours upon hours of becoming spiritually entwined with the heroine. What a disappointment it must have been for people to have to dig through this text to find the sentiments it obscured. Here are some big, representative chunks of both ceremonies.

Level 7, at the fake ceremony.

(25) :2:2:
EN::Ending ceremony approves the fact that you have seen and accepted all of Cloche.
NEW:The completion ceremony recognizes that you have seen and accepted Cloche’s whole being.

(25) :3:3:
EN::You can conduct it by both of you two agreeing to that fact.
NEW:It’s conducted by you and Cloche acknowledging that to one another.

(25) :5:5:
EN::If you complete it right, the ties between you two will be stronger, and you will acquire a magic to prove that.
NEW:If you complete it properly, the bonds between you will become much stronger. You’ll be able to craft the song magic that signifies it.


(25) :18:18:
EN::Err… The time is finally here. Cloche has over come many obstacles…
NEW:Err… The time has come at last. Cloche has overcome many hardships…

(25) :19:19:
EN::and um, provoked countless Paradigm Shifts… and finally got to this point.
NEW:…and um, performed countless Paradigm Shifts… and made it to this point.

(25) :28:28:
EN::Do you pledge here today that you have given your all to Croix and showed him everything with no lies?
NEW:Do you vow that you have offered your heart, truly and sincerely, to Croix?

Level 9, at the real ceremony.

(25) :8:8:
EN::You have seen and accepted everything about Cloche, and given her chances.
NEW:You have seen everything, received everything, and accepted everything of Cloche’s being.

(25) :9:9:
EN::This floor represents the completion… in other words, we will conduct the ceremony for approval.
NEW:In this, the 9th stratum, the completion ceremony is performed… that is, the recognition of everything that has come to pass.

Croix(3) :10:10:
EN::Completion? For approval…?
NEW:Completion? The recognition of everything?


Croix(3) :15:15:
EN::There is no jewels on it…
NEW:There isn’t a single jewel on it.

(25) :16:16:
EN::Good, you noticed. You two are going to go find the jewels to put on it from here.
NEW:You noticed. You two are about to go and collect the jewels for it.

About guilt feelings

Well, this a little bit I found while translating a section of Phase 4:

Leglius(4) :89:89:
EN::But there’s that feeling at the bottom
of my heart that doesn’t. You know?
NEW:But even so, I still have these feelings 
of denial at the bottom of my heart... 
do you understand it?

True Love

This pair of lines struck me as somehow hilarious.

Cloche(1) :113:113: 
EN::...I love you...

Croix(3) :114:114:
EN::...Paradigm Shift!

Bits, Bobs

Hello, friends. Since my last update, I’ve been tremendously busy at work, moving into my first house, sick, caring for my sick wife, entertaining my brother and parents from out of town, and catching up on video games.

But the more Ar tonelico 3 news that comes out, the more excited I get about the series, so I have been squeezing in some translation here and there. If nothing else, we should definitely complete this project before At3 comes out in English!

Here are a few odd little lines I came across in the deeper levels of Cloche’s Cosmosphere. I’m quite looking forward to finishing her Soulspace so that I can move on to Frelia’s binary field. From what I hear, that’s one of the most hastily-localized bits of the game, so it ought to be a challenging exercise.

Cloche(1) :48:48: 
EN::I didn't want to remember it... I wanted to keep forgetting it...
NEW:I didn't want to remember... I wanted to just forget about it...

Croix(3) :2:2:
EN::...You won't let me interrupt the lab, huh?
NEW:So, you're here to keep me from interrupting the experiment?

EN::She purposely cut off that memory and completely let it go...
NEW:But, unable to endure the pain, 
she isolated the memory and banished it from her own persona.

Luca CS6 Quickie

I’ve been kind of busy and distracted recently, but I’m back to translating now. Luca’s Cosmosphere level 6 is nearly ready, pending my usual quick proofreading/sanity check, but for now, here’s a tasty excerpt to nibble on. Though maybe I should avoid food metaphors, considering it’s Luca….

Spoilers follow. Of course.

Croix(3) :20:20:
EN::Incomplete wills...?

Luca(0) :21:21: 
EN::Yes. My heart is made up with a lot of
   personalities that are rejecting myself.
   Self rejecting me, regretful me...
NEW:Right. In my heart are a lot of parts of
   myself I don't like and deny as part of me.
   Messing up and having regrets, getting timid
   when dealing with people....

Luca(0) :22:22: 
EN::Me who is holding back, me who runs
   away from everything...
NEW:Not being able to say what I want
   and beating myself up about it later,
   running away from unpleasant things
   and regretting it.

Luca(0) :23:23: 
EN::All those stresses come and stay here,
   and all that energy turns into lava and
   pours into this world.
NEW:Those feelings all collect here.
   And they turn into a sea of lava and
   overflow into this world.

These aren’t personalities that are rejecting herself, these are aspects of herself she wants to get rid of. Here, they’re specifically habitual behavior that she’s dissatisfied with. The descriptions of these traits are fairly off, and trying to personify them with “~ me” and “me who ~” is both awkward and unnecessary. She’s listing examples of things she does.

About “Emoness”

Well,watching one friend of mine playing At2 reminded me of some of the earlier blunders I saw when I was translating Phase 1; and I decided to post one that many should recognize.

Luca(0) :115:4294967295:
EN::Well, at least I’m able to understand you now!
NEW:But now that I think so, since I sang in the
Enna Palace Ruins, I have been able to talk with you!

(31) :116:4294967295:
EN::Yeah, it’s great! I was going borderline emo 
there for a while.
NEW:Yeah! It also surprised me. It was so sudden
that I could talk and you could understand me.

Luca(0) :117:4294967295:
EN::Huh? But you don’t have long enough bangs
 to be emo...
NEW:Eh? But how you could start talking talking
so well? Before you couldn’t...

(31) :118:4294967295:
EN::I was referring to nobody being able to understand me.
NEW:That was just how you heard it. Even if you heard it
as only pupupu, I was actually talking.

Luca(0) :119:4294967295:
EN::Oh, I get it now.<LINE>
So, where did you come<LINE>
NEW:Oh it’s that so? Still, I’m a little surprised that
I can talk to you.So, Soope, where did you come

Here, I just say that adding such things to an scene that’s not supposed to be funny is simply unnecesary.