Fire Emblem Fates: Marth amiibo Event Dialogue Comparison (JPN vs ENG)

marthamiiboeve

Back in August I translated Marth’s amiibo event in full. A few days ago, GameExplain released a video of all four “first encounter” dialogues in the English version of the game. I took a look at Lucina’s dialogue, and surprisingly, things changed! Then I looked at Robin’s, not as many differences, but a few. Yesterday, I looked at Ike, who only had a few small changes (and an error).

So! Today is the last of the four, being Marth. He changed quite a bit, from informal to formal among other things!

This is by no means a “they changed everything so don’t buy this game” post! This is just to show how things can sometimes change through localization and is a way to satiate curiosity.

Note, this is just the first encounter for now. If I find videos, or when the game comes out, I will be able to compare second encounters as well. I will update this post to reflect those.

This was all done on my free time, and so took a while. It was certainly a lot of work, but I do hope you enjoy! I am unemployed… so please consider donating if you like the work I do. : )

Enjoy! Feel free to email or comment with more requests related to FE in general.

I compare the NoA dialogue (left) to my translation from a few months ago (right). I edited the translation slightly to make it sound less awkward in one or two places, but it is the mostly the same as last time. Note the differences as you read, and look at the commentary afterward!

Nintendo of America Localization More Literal Translation
Greetings. I am Marth, heir to a kingdom called Altea.

You must be the lord of this fine castle.
I am glad to have met you.

Hm?
You wish to know how I arrived?

That is a question I too would like
answered. I was traveling…

I thought I heard someone call my name…

The next thing I knew, I was here.

I’m fortunate that your people are so friendly in the face of my strange arrival.

If you don’t mind my asking, what is
your name?

Corrin… What a fine name! It has
such a comforting sound to it.

Your castle has proven quite welcoming.
In return, I’d like to offer you a gift.

Which gift do you want?
A valuable gift
A sacred gift

My humble thanks to you once more,
Corrin.

Now, I must be off to explore the world outside these walls.

I don’t know how fate brought me here, but I suspect we will meet again.

I’m Marth.
Prince of Altea.You’re the owner of this wonderful castle, right?
Nice to meet you.Hmm?
Where did I come from?Sorry…
I’m afraid I don’t remember…

During my travels, I heard
the voice of someone calling out to me…

When I came around,
I was in a place I’d never seen before.

I didn’t know right from left…
It was a pretty difficult situation.

But everybody at this castle
helped me out in so many ways.

Um…
By the way, what’s your name?

Kamui…
That’s a nice name.

It has a nostalgic ring to it…

So, Kamui.

How do you think I should
express my appreciation to everyone in this castle?

I don’t really have anything of value, but…

What sort of gift do you want from Marth?
Something with a Noble Aura
Something with a Holy Aura

Thanks, Kamui.
The time I spent here was really fun!

Well, I better get back
to continuing my travels.

Let’s meet again, Kamui.

We will meet again…
I can feel it.

For the full translation information, check out the translation page itself. Of course there are some minor differences due to some tweaks I made to it to flow slightly better.

Marth seems to talk a lot more in Japanese… partially due to my translation perhaps adding a few more words, but even at the base content of it all there seems to be more he talks about in Japanese, compared to the relatively small English dialogue. He also sounds more formal in English than I made him out to be (he spoke rather informally in Japanese, a reverse of how NoA  did with Lucina), but perhaps this was to make him sound more “archaic” in a way? Let’s take a look in order:

At the start, one thing I found strange in English is how he says “I am glad to have met you.” That is a rather strange way to say “nice to meet you” (はじめまして) especially after meeting someone you may know little about… He also details his position as heir to Altea and such rather than simply saying he is the Prince as he stated in Japanese. His lack of contractions (I am instead of I’m) is a bit of a strange way to represent the informal 僕 (boku). Lastly, he refers to Kamui/Corrin as きみ (kimi), a very informal second person pronoun. From the start, a Japanese reader is getting the impression that he is speaking on familiar, informal basis. This is perhaps key later to that “nostalgic” feeling (that is not there in English), but also his “approachability.” But let’s see what comes next.

He talks about how he came here. Hearing someone calling his name is the same, but he talks less about how disoriented he was and how much people helped him. He simply states he appreciates them being friendly despite his strange arrival, but not how he didn’t know “right from left” and how they (already) helped him out in so many ways. The implications are different, such as if he were passing by and was greeted by a friendly person versus if he were there, sick, and nursed back to health purely out of kindness. A lot is lost on the localization here, I say. These are, of course, very minor nitpicks but they do go a long way when one has such limited dialogue as he does.

Then comes the biggest issue, which is what they did with Lucina as well. Marth states that Corrin’s (name) has a very “comforting sound to it.” The word comforting is still the strangest choice here, as it can be taken in ways different than the intended “nostalgic.” Nostalgic implies a comfort associated with a time now in the past, more specific –and much more fitting to referencing his familiarity with a player avatar through Chris (the avatar in the Japanese-only Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem 12). One may assume they did this because FE12 never released outside of Japan… but then why would Lucina also say “comforting” when the avatar was very present in FE13 (Awakening)? Maybe it’s due to Robin being an amiibo in this game too? Regardless, Robin mentions the kinship directly, so it is odd they removed/diluted it from Marth and Lucina’s dialogue with the very vague “comforting” in its place.

This may be why he speaks informally in Japanese. If he was already feeling a nostalgic aura, it would be like talking to a friend rather than a stranger. This is lost in translation, especially if they make him speak on the formal side…

Next is another “individual vs group” sort of thing that made a difference to his character. Like with Ike, NoA made it so he is talking about Kamui directly rather than the castle in general. Here, Marth offers a gift of appreciation to everybody in the castle (for helping him, as stated earlier), where as in English he is simply giving a gift to Corrin (for vague reasons, as Corrin didn’t exactly help him…) The difference this makes is Marth’s own benevolence to everyone involved rather than to an individual he had just met, which made more sense to me and likely the reader.

Finally, he thanks Kamui and aims to get back to his travels (implying he was already traveling when he was sent here), rather than going off to explore. He mentions having a good time at the castle too, once again he had been here longer than simply passing by. His last lines in Japanese seemed more personal toward Kamui too.

So, in summary, you can see a few things. Japanese readers (and fellow translators) will see Marth speaking rather informally, yet in English he is now rather formal (perhaps to come across as more archaic, but that’s just a guess). NoA did the reverse to the formal Lucina making her (slightly) less formal than she should come across (though, in Awakening she seemed to portray this well, so perhaps a difference in 8-4 vs Treehouse?). Marth talks much more in Japanese, that much is obvious at a glance.

A larger difference is the implication on how long he has been there. In Japanese it sounds like he was there for longer than a simple passing-by which is what comes across in English. His appreciation to everyone in the castle beyond just Kamui as well as talking about how he was helped in “so many ways” shows this.

And, his talk of “comforting name” versus “a name with a nostalgic ring” (specifically: “ring of feeling of nostalgia”) to it is much more effective in Japanese at portraying a longing familiarity with the avatar. Their parting at the end is much more personalized (and longer) in Japanese, too.

This is not really a case of being unable to convey the original meaning. A lot of the nuances in this case are not language specific. A big argument in anything translated is literal translation versus true localization, but that is when there are many issues that simply cannot be expressed in limited text straightforwardly. The strange thing about Marth is that his more informal speech and small tidbits about how people helped him out a great deal could have easily been conveyed in English. It does not really serve as a “localization” more than it does a straightforward change of character, I would say. Perhaps a bit more literal may have helped in this case, and just worded better than I wrote above.

—————————————————————-

The game isn’t even out yet and I managed to compare all four amiibo conversations thanks to all these pre-release videos! In the end, Lucina’s was fairly different, Robin’s seemed a bit more spot on but with a few changes, Ike’s is the most similar though with some very minor changes (and mistake with “the the”), and Marth seemed to have more to say in Japanese in a much more informal tone.

If anyone finds videos of the “second” dialogue (as above is only the first encounter) please let me know, and if not, I will get there myself when the English version releases…eventually.

Please pass this post on to anyone else who may be interested to see changes between Fates and If!

For the GameExplain first encounters (English), go here.

For LinkMstr’s video of first encounters (Japanese), go here.

 

4 thoughts on “Fire Emblem Fates: Marth amiibo Event Dialogue Comparison (JPN vs ENG)

  1. I always interpreted Marth to be a very formal character judging by the bare bones dialogue in Fe 11 (except for the “Yow! It’s an enemy” in Fe 11 xD) and Fe 12. I’m surprised Marth never mentioned Chris directly, even though they did that in the Awakening DLC.

    Thank you for the translations, just goes to show how changing a few words can convey something entirely different!

    • I always imagined him formal too, sort of how Lucina was considering how she was passing as him, too.

      xD “Yow! It’s an enemy” is awesome. Indeed, I am glad I could help show how small things make a difference. : )

  2. First of all, I should say that I’m no translator and english is my second language and I never fully grasped the grammar of my primary one, so don’t take offense on my observations.

    It seems to me that most of the bits you complain are missing are actually implied, maybe a decision from the translators or techinical limitation*

    1. It makes more sense for him to talk in a more formal way after all, he is a prince and is talking to a king that he just met, even if he looks familiar. It also makes sense to what an western audience expects from medieval inspired work.

    2. You said: “At the start, one thing I found strange in English is how he says “I am glad to have met you.” That is a rather strange way to say “nice to meet you” (はじめまして) especially after meeting someone you may know little about…”

    It may sound strange at first but if you take into account that he thought the people of your castle is friendly and the castle is welcoming to the point that he feels the need to give a gift, the “I am glad to have met you.” stops sounding strange, maybe “I am glad to finally meet you.” would be a better option?

    3. You say he talks less about how lost he was but, at least for me, it is implied on this dialog:

    “I thought I heard someone call my name…

    The next thing I knew, I was here.

    I’m fortunate that your people are so friendly in the face of my strange arrival.”

    I mean, he is transported out of nowhere, doesn’t know how he arrived there (said a few lines before) and was glad everyone was helpful to him. It is enough to know that he was lost and disoriented without having write the words.

    4. I agree about the word “comforting”, when I first saw it, before reading your post, I also thought it was a strange choice of word, but maybe I’m biased because “confortável”, the portuguese translation, has a more intimate meaning to it. Imo. I also don’t think having a “nostalgic ring to it” is enough to change the formality of the situation, after all, not only they are strangers to each other but the nostalgic feeling could have come from many reason, an old friend from infancy, the name of a parent from someone he knew, a teacher, etc.

    5. About the point of “Marth offers a gift of appreciation to everybody in the castle (for helping him, as stated earlier), where as in English he is simply giving a gift to Corrin (for vague reasons, as Corrin didn’t exactly help him…)”

    First, not only the gift is an item usable in only one of the characters, instead of a group effect or even a building in the castle to justify being a gift to the people that helped him like you expect, but it is also a tradition, even to this day, that presidents / rulers trade gifts when they meet each other. It makes sense that he gifts the King after being helped by the castle’s population because this tells a lot about the King itself, if it was a Tiranny, he would be expelled, killed on the spot or emprisoned.

    Those are my thoughts and please don’t cringe too much when reading my “english”.😉

    *(The kanjis needs only one character to imply one or many words and maybe the translators had to work around a character limitation. This was true up to the GBA days, I don’t know if it is still a problem)

    • Hello! Please don’t worry, I love to hear what everyone has to say, be it positive or negative. I do not take offense. : )

      1.) Indeed, it does make sense, and is the likely reason he became more formal when translated over. It was just odd that they try to aim for two different things (Japanese with informal, approachable Marth, the other with more of a formal, respectful Marth).
      2.) I agree! If he said “I am glad to finally meet you,” it would also carry the implications I talked about regarding being there and talking to others and hearing all about you. I like it!
      3.) Yes, a lot of it is implied, but my issue was with such limited dialogue we have for him, the fact they had room to flesh him out a bit more would not have been an issue. The question is why they felt to leave it to implication instead of being more direct. (Ironically, Japanese is often much more indirect than English, so this is a funny thing xD)
      4.) That’s a cool perspective on portugese! It probably has the connotations more appropriate for the word they were trying to convey. : )
      5.) This is a good point, thank you for bringing it up. It does say a lot that if the people are happy and speak highly of Corrin, it must mean he is a good King indeed (or are fearing for their lives if they say anything negative! xD). I like that approach to it, it was not the first thing on my mind but makes sense.
      -Your English is great, don’t worry, it was my second language too : ) I know how it feels!
      -I don’t think character limitation was a problem, I did bring it up about the old days and how they were limited, and was hoping someone with technical expertise could fill me in on whether it’s still the case today or not…

      Thank you very much for your in-depth post. : )

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