More of Frelia’s Binary Field

Hi folks! Frelia’s Binary Field continues to be a challenge and a fascinating source of problematic translation specimens. Spoilers ahead.

Reversal of intent:

Reisha(18) :7:7:
EN::Please don’t seriously answer. I’m just kidding.
NEW:Don’t be so cold! You’re making make me miserable…

The intransitive usage of “envy” is a pretty strong indicator that this wasn’t written or edited by a native English speaker:

Reisha(18) :12:12:
EN::You are! You guys just show off how intimate you are! Of course I envy!
NEW:You are too! Clinging together like that, showing it off to everyone! Of course I’m jealous!

Kuroaki(202) :13:13:
EN::We aren’t showing off. There is nothing you should envy over.
NEW:We’re not clinging together, we’re not showing off, and there’s nothing to be jealous about.

Blindly translating “〜そう” as “Looks —” is kinda bewildering:

Fururu(203) :72:72:
EN::Okay, let’s go to Miwa’s place.
She looks very knowledgeable.
NEW:Oh, let’s go to see Miu. She seems to know all sorts of things.

Referring to someone who is not there as “you”:

Fururu(203) :4:4:
EN::Well, we’re actually working right now. I want to talk to you for a second, Miwa.
NEW:Umm, we’re actually working right now. So, we need to talk to Miu about something.

Skycat(30) :5:5:
EN::Miwa, is it right? Ok.
NEW:Oh, Miu-chan…?

Skycat(30) :6:6:
EN::She’s already left here.
NEW:She… isn’t here.

Too much artistic license, turning a sweet Rakshek maid into a surly American eighth-grader:

Skycat(30) :11:11:
EN::Luckily, no one called the police, but we were all freaked out…She’s such a psycho.
NEW:Thankfully the police didn’t have to get involved, but really… What does she think it means to be a maid, anyway?

Weird meaning changes, and an exhibit of how the localizers apparently think that Japanese honorifics are too foreign, but “moe” is just fine:

Henta(198) :12:12:
NEW:Comfort for the heart.

Fururu(203) :13:13:
NEW:Corruption for the heart?

Henta(198) :14:14:
EN::Actually, I’d love such a maid. A peeping maid. She would be so moe!
NEW:Th- that sounds like a fine maid-san. A corrupt maid-san would be so moe!

Getting worse than spotty

I just got through the biggest file in Frelia’s Binary Field, and it contains quite a lot of dangerously meaning-altering translation problems. Of course, some mild to severe spoilers are scattered throughout.

Lost meaning:

Kuroaki(202) :26:26:
EN::(We’ve been to so many places, but because of the Syndicate, I haven’t gone out that often.)
NEW:(We used to go out together a lot, but now we don’t go very far, for fear of the Syndicate…)

Lost subject:

Fururu(203) :42:42:
EN::I really liked your old job better.
NEW:It seemed like you really liked that job.

Intentionally-altered personalities?:

Fururu(203) :64:64:
EN::It seems I was right.
NEW:So I just kind of hoped… Hehehe…

Kuroaki(202) :65:65:
NEW:…I see.

Altered personality:

Fururu(203) :70:70:
EN::Are you feeling alright? You never say nice things like that to me.
NEW:It’s not bad, it’s just… You never say that sort of thing, so I was surprised.

Absolutely reversed meaning:

Fururu(203) :87:87:
EN::Sure. Take your time.
NEW:Okay. But come back soon.

Vulgarity from a completely innocent character:

Fururu(203) :183:183:
EN::What the hell’s going on!?
NEW:Hey, wh- what’s going on!?


???(132) :89:89:
EN::Stop playing around. I could just eliminate her first, you know.
NEW:…You’d better not try anything. I’m faster than you, and I could easily end your life.

Meanings introduced from nowhere:

Miwa(152) :114:114:
EN::So, how does this story end? Do we end up killing each other, or does it depend on our choices right now?
NEW:So what happens next? Does it remain just an exciting story? Or will it become reality?

Absolutely reversed meaning that confuses characters’ pasts:

Miwa(152) :126:126:
EN::…Now that I know a defector of the Syndicate is in danger, I can’t ignore it. Okay, I accept.
NEW:…Well, someone who has nothing to do with the Syndicate is being targeted. I can’t let that stand. I accept.

Misspelled character name!?

Kuroaki(202) :142:142:
EN::You’re…really Moira!?
NEW:You’re… Miora!?


Kuroaki(202) :151:151:
EN::You gave me those tasks because you knew I wouldn’t go through with them?
NEW:You gave me the mission even though you never trusted me?

Totally inexplicable introduction of a term of address from the Ottoman Empire!?!?

Reish(151) :160:160:
EN::I’m the penguin-type maid at this cafe. Nice too meet you, effendi.
NEW:…I am on penguin duty at this cafe. Nice to meet you! Pen-pen!

“This morning” to refer to something that happened four days prior in the story continuity:

Kuroaki(202) :165:165:
EN::A penguin costume? Actually, she said she was chased around by someone in an animal costume this morning…
NEW:A stuffed animal… Oh, she mentioned that she was being followed by a stuffed animal…

Ultra-compact error:

Fururu(203) :171:171:

Frelia’s Binary Field is spotty

Hello! The atmosphere of this project is getting pretty exciting again, with not much left to do and some very talented new contributors. Myself, I’m working on Frelia’s Binary Field, the last major chunk of story to be retranslated. I don’t know quite why, but the quality in these particular files is all over the board. Some of it is totally fine, even sometimes mildly inspired, idiomatic English. Other times the translation hardly makes sense, let alone accurately captures the original meaning. Here are some examples. Of course, some mild to severe spoilers are scattered throughout.

Something missing here:

Kuroaki(202) :49:49:
EN::If you complete the missions.
NEW:If I complete this mission, we’ll be free…

Actually not a man, and there’s no mention of a costume:

Fururu(203) :17:17:
EN::I was chased around by a big weird man in an animal costume this morning.
NEW:I got chased around by a huge stuffed animal all morning!

Awkward and kinda meaningless:

Reisha(18) :19:19:
EN::Our working hours’re not very clear, so that’s fine.
NEW:Anyway, our working hours are not strictly set, so it’s no big deal.

Fururu(203) :20:20:
EN::Yes It’s unethical to keep people by hours.
NEW:That’s right! It’s bad to restrict people’s time.

“In a second” means “right now”.

Fururu(203) :1:1:
EN::Uh-huh. I’ll find it in a second
with my reasoning skills.
NEW:Yeah, I’m totally ready! With my detective skills, we’ll find it in no time!

This really does not sound like someone who has been searching for a suitcase with you for four days!

Fururu(203) :0:0:
EN::By the way, it’s hard to find the suitcase.
NEW:Anyway, it seems like we can’t find this suitcase anywhere!

Pretty drastic meaning shift:

Fururu(203) :10:10:

EN::It’s not like a murder case anyway. It’s so boring.
NEW:And like, it’s weird that in a year of working we haven’t had a single murder case.

A rather large update

Well, hello everyone!

Sorry we haven’t posted anything else during the last few months, but we were pretty busy not only retranslating, but also editing and figuring out some new things. And here I have come to tell you some news:

– We have gotten a new graphics editor, Soukyuu, who has been doing everything we were still needing when it comes to editing the graphics for names and titles.

– void has done a remarkable job as an editor, and also, he has figured out the first part of the erx files, which were one of the things that were troubling us the most.

Also, I have to announce we have reached one of our milestones: with the exception of a few files (the ones corresponding to Frelia’s Binary Field), all of the evds have been retranslated, and are halfway through the first editing pass now!!

This means that we are each day closer to finishing up the translation, and hopefully, it shouldn’t take beyond this year to complete this project.

However, I also have to announce we have run into a couple of problems. We haven’t found a way around the boundaries and coordinates for the graphics, which makes impossible to edit a few of them. Likewise, there is a graphic that needs changing, and when edited, it doesn’t reflect the changes in the game, as well as some minor problems (such as the Hymnos font being incorrectly programmed). Due to this, we are right now needing an ASM-capable hacker, so we can make the necessary changes to the game’s code to fix up these problems, so if any of you has these skills, or knows anyone who does, please send an e-mail over to my personal mail adress: d/r/a/g/o/n/0/0/8/@/h/o/t/m/a/i/l/./c/o/m (without the slashes).

Also, as a final note, I’d rather prefer that some people stopped spreading bad rumors about us, since I heard that some people stopped following the project due to us making changes such as “Luca -> Ruka”. Such changes are fake, and we haven’t changed anything that isn’t listed in the Style Guide. Likewise, if anyone says that the dialogues still feel stiff or dry, remember we are still under the editing process, so the current scripts aren’t yet the final versions.

Likewise, I’d want to thank everyone who has supported us the last two years, and I hope that we can meet your expectations once the project concludes.

Another small update

Well, we haven’t advanced as much as we would have liked during the last past few months, but anyway, here are a few news I’d like to announce:

We have a new member on the team, void, who is helping us in the editing and coding fronts. He has solved a little bug we weren’t able of figuring out before, which caused the game to crash at points that dealt with special text formats, and is currently serving as our main editor. I’ve worked with him during the last few weeks, and I must say that he has done a pretty good job editing the text for the tutorials, and the entire Phase 1.

I just hope we can continue relying on him for the days to come, and that the translation part doesn’t take much more to finish.

Also, considering the time of the year in which we are now, I can only say, in behalf of all the team: Happy Holidays!

A long-awaited update!

First than anything, sorry everyone, for not having mades any updates since so long ago.
Real life has been meddling a lot lately for all of the members of the project, so it has been hard to keep up working in it.
However, we’re still doing our best to go with it, and to show it, here is the list of work that has been done since the last post in the blog:

Continue reading

Some small progress

Okay, I have just started with the translations for Phase 5 (the main storyline is almost completely translated); and while it seems to have picked up somewhat when it comes to translation and edition quality; there are also some blunders once in a while. For example:

Croix(3) :12:12:
EN::At first, I thought you were evil-minded at heart, but...
NEW:At first, I thought you were an evil person, but...

Did anyone say “innecessary redudancy”?

Jacqli(2) :22:22: 
EN::This’s so addictive. It’s the first time I’m glad to be a Reyvateil.
NEW:This feeling... it’s so irresistible. Moments like these are what make me feel glad 
to be a Reyvateil.

It doesn’t seem to me that Jakuri hasn’t been glad to be a Reyvateil before (otherwise, she wouldn’t be so proud of being one to the point of it being one of her reasons for hating the humans).

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.