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A question about language.

Discussion in 'jRPG Weeaboo Discussion' started by Dreaad, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Dreaad Arcane

    Dreaad
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    So I am currently starting to learn Japanese, because why not. This is something I've wondered about for while... If there is anyone here who speaks fluent Japanese, is there much lost in translation to English? I don't know, it's just that whenever I play some older jrpg's (snes, genesis etc) I feel like the story seems over simplified from what it originally might have been like... Just me?
     
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  2. yes plz Arcane Patron

    yes plz
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    I'm not fluent but how games are localized was something that's always really interested me since I first started playing JRPGs way back when the SNES was still new, so I've read a ton on the subject over the years.

    It really depends on when the game was localized and the game itself. A lot of the SNES games were simplified because of very strict space constraints -- I remember Ted Woolsey saying once in an interview that a lot of the final translated scripts were only a third the size of his first draft. Then there's also the matter of man power, it wasn't until about the late '90s that the Japanese started to realize the benefit of a good translation. As such, the localization departments were often staffed by only a few people and completed within only a few months, which meant little to no editing and few rewrites. The sole translator for Xenogears, Richard Honeywood, has said he slept in his office in order to get the game done on time.

    Now, though, localization departments are often quite large and even work closely with the original Japanese developers, giving them notes on what would and would not translate smoothly into English.

    There's a couple of interesting articles and interviews here:
    http://www.ffcompendium.com/h/interview.shtml
    http://www.1up.com/features/squaresoft-localization
    http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/localization/localization.htm

    EDIT: There's also this site: http://legendsoflocalization.com/final-fantasy-iv/ that really digs into and deconstructs a FFIV's localizations. It's a pretty good look at what gets changed from the original Japanese. There's also a couple of other games that he does it with, Earthbound probably being the most complete.
     
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  3. nomask7 Arcane

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    Are the games better or worse when the scripts are simplified and cut to 1/3 of the original size?
     
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  4. yes plz Arcane Patron

    yes plz
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    Personally, I prefer the more robust and accurate retranslations of Chrono Trigger on the DS and Final Fantasy VI on the GBA, so I'd say they're worse off. Then again, a lot of people prefer their original SNES translations, though outside of nostalgia I honestly can't fathom why.

    As for Woolsey original draft vs the final cut down one, it's hard to say which is better without seeing them all, though I honestly can't imagine having to constantly cut corners and simplify sentences for artificial reasons would be a boon to the script.
     
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  5. Machine Arbiter

    Machine
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    I'm far from fluent, barely passable at best, but from my experience translating japanese always gets bit "stylish".Some of the expressions and grammar forms are kinda hard to translate to english cause difference is negligible but still changes context slighty. Since you are learning Moonspeak yourself this will become apparent soon.

    If you want to see translation in action I'd recommend looking at this.

    J-comi is something like Abandonia for manga, and this guy goes through few comics line by line and explains whats happening. I'm not really a fan of manga myself, but language used there is fairly simple and will be good practice for you.
     
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  6. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    What methods are you using?
     
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  7. Felix Arcane

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    Not that much, but the cultural stuffs and humour are definitely lost in translation more often than not.
     
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  8. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    Part of the problem with translating any large work is that you never know what context is going to be relevant later on. Take the honorifics for example. A character referring to another by one honorific might seem totally normal and irrelevant, so you just drop it and use their name directly. But then later on they use a different honorific, so in retrospect you should have had the original translation use a pet name or something similar and switch to the proper name when the honorific changes.

    I'm actually a fan of the woolsey translations. The cut content and censorship is bullshit of course, but otherwise they give the characters a lot of, well, character. Frog in chrono trigger is a perfect example. His faux old english isn't used by the other people in his era, but it gave an impression of him being especially honor bound and chivalrous and so forth. The accent he had wasn't just a trivial thing, it was a symbol of who he was. The retranslation drops all that and he just seems so... flat. Likewise, renaming the 'Grand Leon' (Lion?) to 'Masamune' gives anyone who doesn't know about japanese swordsmiths (aka pretty much everyone who played the game when it came out) a sense of an ancient mystical name. But the retranslation kept 'Grand Leon' which has that feeling for japanese players, but just sounds like weird crappy engrish to the western audience. There are plenty of other examples as well.
     
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  9. yes plz Arcane Patron

    yes plz
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    I always thought Frog speaking in faux Olde English was well... stupid, especially since no one else in that time period did -- not even him when he was a human. Plus, a lot of his original personality was lost, too. He was originally rather rude to the others and dreaded his current form, whereas the Woolsey version makes him into a rather generic chivalrous white knight.

    I agree about Masamune (though, mostly because it flows a lot better in English and thus sounds better than Grandleon), however I'm fairly sure the DS retranslation kept Masamune. I think the only English translation that uses Grand Leon is the fan translation, which aimed to be as literal and accurate as possible.
     
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  10. deuxhero Arcane

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    It's not the greatest sword name, but hardly engrish. Leon is both a derivative of "Leo" (Lion) and a common male given name and both work fine as a name for a sword (Either Leon's best work, or "Great Lion").

    On a side note, a game made by a large portion of the Chrono Trigger team (Baten Kaitos) has two minor characters who die in their second scene called "Gram" and "Leon" who are only ever mentioned as a pair. Took me forever to notice that was a CT reference.
     
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  11. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    It's an awful name. It's barely any better than something like 'Awesome Drake'. It sounds like something a child would use as a name, not a smith from 14,000 years ago.

    As far as Frog goes, I guess it's a matter of preference. But I think being a dutiful knight who abhors violence and feels responsible for the death of his friend and mentor is a better character than a dick who abhors violence but fights anyways because... why exactly does Frog give a fuck in the proper translation? Revenge against Magus I guess?
     
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  12. Grimlorn Arcane

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    Pretty sure there is quite a bit lost in translation, probably from NES onto PSX. I remember FF1 having really simple bare minimum sentences, and I've heard the FF7 translation is somewhat bad too. Plus there are cultural sayings and references that get cut also, because no one outside of Japan would get it.
     
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  13. yes plz Arcane Patron

    yes plz
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    Yeah, mostly for revenge against Magus for his current form and the death of his friend. As for abhorring violence, I figured the change in his personality showed that he dropped it, going from a caring kid with friends to a bitter frog-thing that lived in self-imposed exile that doesn't really care about anything but revenge, which I feel gives him more depth. Plus, I think the whole 'guy who fight's because it's right' thing is already taken by Crono. But, yeah, it all comes down to personal preference.

    A blend of the two probably would've been best, him starting as the rude asshole and developing into a more normal white knight, but (and I think this is one of CT's few real flaws), like most of the party, he becomes pretty interchangeable once you complete his historic period's story arc, giving him no real development after that point.
     
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  14. Dreaad Arcane

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    Thank you for the response guys, this is useful stuff :).

    As for how I am planning to learn... well mostly going it solo, at least until I have some basic skills down, then I will probably find a forum or real life person to converse with and see what happens. It's won't be my second fluent language so I should be alright, at least from a mind-set to adapt perspective.
     
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  15. 7h30n Savant

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    And I would like to recommend, if you have DS to be on the lookout for Japense games with Furigana like Legend of Zelda and Dragon Quest which both feature "tap on Kanji" to display Hiragana so you can easily learn reading them.

    BTW Anyone recommend any other games?
     
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