This post is part of a series on reader requested (and personal curiosity) comparisons between Fire Emblem games’ Japanese and English scripts.
A reader over on twitter sent me the following:
Do you know what the inspect quotes were like in JP Echoes? Some of them were pretty cheeky in English.
They provided screen shots of the lines they were curious about. I already covered the first one regarding Celica and “pirate booty” previously, so onto the next one!
|Japanese||Lit. Translation||Official Localization|
|魚だ。海賊たちの食料かな？||It’s fish. Is this what the pirates ate?||What do you call a pirate who hates fish? …A veget-YAR-ian! Aaaah ha ha!|
The above takes place during observational phases, when you inspect certain items in the game.
So here we see fun with puns, things that localization (in general) are (in)famous for. To be fair, Japanese is a language that lends itself to plenty of punny opportunities, and sometimes it is the easiest way to convey a joke. So we often see puns come up in localization.
However, this may fall into the sector of “unnecessary pun” (where most seem to fall), from a purely translation perspective, that is. The Japanese, as presented by the literal translation, is a simple observation of the matter. He sees fish, and he wonders if it is what they ate.
The localization goes a different way. It goes to a (likely purposefully) lame joke that Alm has some fun laughing at himself for the corny nature of it. It is possible that perhaps this joke came after considering whether that fish is what the pirates ate, and so he just takes it a step farther in terms of mind-association, which would still make it peripherally related to the Japanese line. Regardless, it still may be a little jarring to the more serious players, or those who may roll their eyes and wonder why this is in there at all.
That should not discount those who prefer the slight light-heartedness that can give a needed respite to an otherwise dark story, or to those who enjoy the jokes in general, though.
It’s possible the localization may have wanted to portray a more childish side to Alm (which can be argued for the previous Celica post as well), and they decided to alter this quote during the inspections as a way to do so harmlessly.
In the end, as with many things, it comes down to personal preference. Which do you prefer?
The Japanese line is a strict observation and thought. He sees fish, he wonders if the pirates eat it. The localization makes it so he sees fish and attempts to make a (likely purposefully) corny pun-filled joke about it. Localization is no stranger to puns. Sometimes it’s to convey the intent of a Japanese joke, and other times it is purely a creation of the localization. In this case, it is the latter. It may serve to portray a more childish side to Alm, however, or to give the player a “break” from the bleak reality the character faces. Regardless, it is not something that existed in the original language, nor is there any indication of it being the original intent behind the observation.
References and notes:
What did you think of the localization? The original? Which do you prefer? How would you have went about handling it? Let me know!
I will continue to look at fun differences between the versions of Shadows of Valentia as well as other Fire Emblem games!
Any dialogue you’re interested in? Let me know in comments or via email!
I personally found Alm to be kind of childish but… puns aren’t just for kids. 🙂
Indeed! After all so-called “dad jokes” are also pun filled!
Hey this is old news now but a while ago Heroes came out with a “Valentia Valentines”, as I like to call it, banner and story event. In the story event, Alm’s childishness was actually the focus! It was how, due to the setting of Heroes, he got a chance to connect with Rudolf, but was afraid to approach him because he didn’t want to make a bad impression. Celica, who is next to him the whole time, is helping him but gets increasingly fed up with his inability to do this on his own (possibly referencing the fact that they’re a “Duo Hero”, two characters who share a slot together and cannot be separated). At the end she finally helps him present a gift to Rudolf, and after they decide to have a conversation she tries to leave since their father-and-son chat is none of her business, but Alm’s like NO YOU CAN’T LEAVE I’M TOO NERVOUS, and she straight-up says: “Alm, one of these days you’re going to have to act your own age.” And then Rudolf does this big booming dad laughter (because holy shit she straight up decimated him) and it ends.
It may be a case where, like with your article about Lukas, the writing team were trying to convey something but didn’t quite get it across, and the localization team picked up the slack.
Besides the puns, in the beginning scene of the game Alm seems downright immature demanding “I wanna know!” (why Celica has to leave) instead of saying, like “I have a right to know”, and Celica, who is acting like a grown woman compared to him, has to calm him down with her pendant. And if you poke around in Desaix’s vault one of Alm’s quotes about the library is to wonder if he has any comic books. Seriously. The implication, of course, being that comic books are for kids.
It’s possible that childlishness or immaturity was intended to be Alm’s flaw, and to replace his previous flaws that he might have had in Gaiden such as being prejudiced against Rigelians or too eager to shed blood, but I wish they’d done more with it. I feel like between Alm and Celica, Ike and Elincia and Micaiah, and possibly Eirika and Ephraim (I don’t know exactly what happens in The Sacred Stones, but based off what I’ve heard) they tend to give female lords real consequences to their actions but male lords are more or less Mary Sues with informed flaws that only serve to make them more endearing and never actually catch up to them. And then most fans get mad that the female characters are so “useless”… but I think it’s the male characters who are too perfect. Anyone would look useless next to someone who the stars always align for.
…when Alm Jr comes around Alm is going to be making so many dad jokes
I did not really see many signs of immaturity in Alm when playing through SOV besides the silly jokes in ENG, but I only did so once so it’s possible it was there and slipped under my nose. In JP from the scripts I saw I didn’t either, but haven’t played in its entirety so it’s possible it was missed. FEH does tend to punch up humorous sides, so whether or not it existed to give precedence would need more research : ) Still interesting how they did so. Thanks for letting me know!
Definitely prefer the original. I don’t remember this when I played through, but cringed reading this joke. >_<
Thanks for the translation.
You’re welcome! And thanks for the comment. xD
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