FE Fates Localization: “I was about to walk my cat” [JPN vs ENG]

This post is part of a series on reader requested (and personal curiosity) comparisons between Fire Emblem games’ Japanese and English scripts. Last time, I looked at how Lukas from Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is portrayed slightly differently in English

Today, I return to Fire Emblem Fates thanks to a reader on twitter:

“I was going through my Miiverse when I saw this and I was wondering if the cat was in the Japanese original or simply the localizers having fun. It’s from Revelation chapter 14.”

They provided a screen shot with it (seen above). It’s a brief side conversation with a villager upon visiting a home on the map.

Let’s take a look!

Original Japanese Lit/Flow Translation Official Localization
外が妙に騒がしいと思ったら…戦争の真っ只中だって!?あ、ありがとう。すぐ家の門を閉じておくよ。あんたたちは命の恩人だ。どうかお礼をさせてくれ。 It’s awfully noisy out here… what?! You mean there’s a battle going on?! T-thanks for the warning, I’ll lock down my home right away. You all saved me from danger… Take this as thanks. I never thought our town would see any fighting! Thanks for letting me know—I was just about to go out to walk my cat.You’ve probably saved my life. I’m sorry that this is all I can offer you.

 

Well, there is certainly no cat, for one! The original makes it like he came outside because he heard loud noises. Your army quickly warns him so he retreats back inside to lock down the home for his own safety.

His “thanks” is, as the localization wrote, “thanks for telling me,” if it wasn’t clear from the literal translation above. The localization also wrote “you probably saved my life” rather than just “you saved my life,” which makes sense as you did not really save him from danger, but rather, from potential danger. That was a nice touch as it may come off as more awkward to English readers than that line would to Japanese ones.

But the cat was added, localization probably having fun as the reader thought. The absurdity of needing to walk a cat is already a silly concept, so probably gave some a good chuckle.

The man also comes off as rather oblivious and nonchalant in a way. The way his tone comes across is that the battle is this kind of spectacle and he’s just casually talking about it, rather than checking what the loud noise was and immediately retreating afterward. Small things in tone and text can really change portrayal in that sense.

Personally, I would say that it takes away from the seriousness of the situation, as did many other localization choices in the game. It’s not a bad thing for some players who enjoy that, but can also be an immersion breaker for others, especially in a story that tries to portray wars as a serious matter.

In short:

There are no cats (that need walking), it was the localization having fun. A silly line that gives a chuckle, but may take away from the seriousness of the situation/story, depending on the type of player you are. The Fates localization unfortunately has come to be known for lines like these.

References:

Summary infographic:

Super Literal Translation:

Here is a super literal translation of the Japanese dialogue to give you an idea. Note this is by no means how it comes off to people who read Japanese, and (I would hope) no translator would ever translate it this way. It is purely for meaning reference. Do not use this as an example of “what the literal translation would be like.”

It’s oddly noisy out here… did you say you’re in the middle of a battle?! Thanks. I’ll lock the gates to my home right away. You all are saviors. Take this as thanks.


So what did you think? How would you go about localizing the above line? The same way? A different way? Let me know!

I will continue to look at fun differences between the versions of Fire Emblem and other games. Any dialogue you’re interested in? Let me know in comments or via email!

If you like the comparison work I do (or any other translations I do), please feel free to support me by donating! I do this all on my valuable free time, and so every little donation really helps me out. : )

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One thought on “FE Fates Localization: “I was about to walk my cat” [JPN vs ENG]

  1. Pingback: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Localization: “The Mustard of Doom” [JPN vs ENG] | kantopia

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