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.
That is a question I too would like
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
Corrin… What a fine name! It has
Your castle has proven quite welcoming.
Which gift do you want?
My humble thanks to you once more,
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.
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
When I came around,
I didn’t know right from left…
But everybody at this castle
It has a nostalgic ring to it…
How do you think I should
I don’t really have anything of value, but…
What sort of gift do you want from Marth?
Well, I better get back
Let’s meet again, Kamui.
We will meet again…
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!