FE Echoes: SoV Localization – “‘Urning’ Gold” [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.

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, and a second one about another pun Alm makes elsewhere regarding pirates and fish.

This is the last of the three this reader wanted me to look at for now. So let’s get to it!

Japanese Lit. Translation Official Localization
高級そうな壺だ。 An expensive looking urn. I bet you could “urn” a lot of gold if you sold this. …Get it? Urn?

The above takes place during observational phases, when you inspect certain items in the game.

The Japanese is a very straightforward approach one would expect of an “inspection.” A clear cut observation. The localization decides to go with Alm attempting humor once again with a corny pun of his (likely purposefully done by localization, to clarify, I do not mean the localization‘s joke is corny, but Alm‘s is).

A lot of the points from the previous post apply here regarding why they may have decided to go with a joke here. In this case, however, the part about the urn and being expensive is still related to the original Japanese, so expresses the intent slightly more.

But in researching this line, I came across something unique to this line that the other lacked. Namely, there are two observation lines in the script. The above one is version B. Below is version A:

Japanese Lit. Translation Official Localization
高級そうな壺だ。 An expensive looking urn. This urn looks valuable. …Better not break it.

Here you will immediately notice: The Japanese is exactly the same! Yet, the localization is very different. There is no joke, and in fact, it is a translation of the Japanese with simply an added phrase (about not breaking it). This is an ideal sort of localization. The value of the earn and such translates the Japanese over, and the added line gives a bit more glimpse of the character without it feeling as out of place as the sudden pun may have for some.

It also helped easier explain where the pun joke may have come from. So in Japanese version A and B are the same. But for the localization this meant they could either follow suit and provide the same exact line for both, or sneak in some fun with it. The fact version A (presented second) was translated appropriately first implies the joke (version B) was an afterthought. It shows they took the serious approach first and put in the joke because there was room (with a line that would otherwise be redundant).

If you combine the above with how they may have wanted to provide a childish side to Alm, then it is rather nicely done.

However, just because there is room for a joke does not necessarily mean there should be a joke in there, as there are still other factors to consider, such as the tone one may want to convey or how strictly they really want to stick to intent and message. But this comes down to personal preference and varies by player (as well as localizer) in which way they prefer.

It is worth noting that in my previous posts about Celica and Alm’s pun fun that those two instances lacked redundant lines like this instance. This one had Version A and B, with A translated as one would expect and B the joke. The other two had only one line to work with and were opted to be jokes instead. While it’s possible they may have been translated like version A here at first, evidence of such no longer exists as they were just one line compared to two here (which in turn helped preserve a regular translation with a joke alongside it).

I am not sure if both observation lines are actually used in the English version, though, as I have only played the Japanese version of the game. However even in the original both lines exist, so it is likely both were used in English too. Having confirmation is always nice though, so if you have an English copy and saw version A, please let me know!

In short:

The Japanese is a straightforward observation. The localization decided to go with a pun-filled joke. It is possible that it was to reflect a childish side to Alm, though, regardless, it is a side that does not quite exist in the Japanese version. However, an important observation unique to this particular instance: You can see there are two versions! There is version A and B which both exist in the game’s script. The Japanese is exactly the same for both. The localization however has two different ones. The first line is an ideal kind of localization, where the intent is conveyed and the character is added to in a subtle and non jarring way. The second is the joke, likely to avoid redundancy in repeating the exact same lines once again. Of course, just because there is “room” for a joke may not necessarily mean one should be there, but that comes down to individual player (and localizer) preferences. It does give slightly more of a precedence for it to be here rather than replacing a line entirely just for a joke, as seen in other examples.

UPDATE: A Serenes Forest reader pointed out to me that both English urn lines are used. It turns out there are two urns in the scene:

Regarding Alm’s “urning gold” tidbit: both versions are used in the english game. There are two different urns to inspect, and…looking at the game right now they are on the same screen. The urn with “better not break it” is in your view (which is hilarious in it’s own right, considering all the pot smashing in dungeons) and the punny urn is off to the left.

It goes to show the importance of working with contextual clues! : ) The point still stands that localization saw room for the joke rather than repeating itself as a result. They get the best of both across this way.


References and notes:

Summary infographic:


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!

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4 thoughts on “FE Echoes: SoV Localization – “‘Urning’ Gold” [JPN vs ENG]

  1. My love of puns aside, I think it’s great to see some extra harmless characterization like this. This and the other puns for Alm, and to a lesser extent Celica, help round them out, make them feel more human. And if that extra little line here and there replaces an otherwise stoic and honestly bland observation, then I’m all for it.

  2. I’m good with the ‘Better not break it’ comment. The other one is more on the unpleasant side though. >_>
    Thanks for the translation! I’m seeing lots of stuff I’ve missed or forgotten in SoV. XD

    • That’s the fun thing about looking at these games a long time after they come out huh?

      Yes I quite enjoyed their take on version A. It adds just enough to be different but convey both meaning and give a glimpse into his mind. Was he considering breaking it? Or was it a commentary on how he’s usually reckless so has to be more careful? So much said with so little. : )

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