This post is part of a series on reader requested (and personal curiosity) comparisons between various games’ Japanese and English scripts.
Today’s post is personal curiosity, and concerns an exchange from Chapter 1-4 (“A Distant Voice”) in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. (Seen above).
Let’s take a look!
For context, Sothe (in both localization and original script) has been speaking highly of Ike, who is technically considered the “enemy” in the sense that he freed Crimea from Daein and led them to the situation they are currently in. When Sothe recommends that Nailah and Rafiel seek Ike’s help in Crimea, Micaiah makes this comment:
|Japanese||Lit. Translation||Official Localization|
|クリミア解放を果たした英雄アイク将軍 … その人が率いるグレイル傭兵団||General Ike… [the] hero who helped liberate Crimea… [and] leader of the Greil Mercenaries…||Right. Lord Ike, “hero” of the Crimean Liberation, leader of the Greil Mercenaries, and father of Sothe’s children…|
Note that this segment happens at the very end of a lengthier conversation, as well as fades to black afterward. Also, the “leader of the Greil Mercenaries” line only exists in the Japanese “normal” script (and not “extended” script. Ironically the “extended” script is shorter here. For more information on what the heck I’m even talking about, please read this wonderful post by fellow blogger Amielleon!)
So we can see that Micaiah makes quite a biting comment in the localization toward Sothe’s respect for Ike. But what’s going on in the Japanese version?
Well, reading the literal translation would make one wonder why she’s just giving what seems to be a description of Ike and not much else. One thing to note to make sense of this is that in the wider conversation in Japanese, Ike isn’t actually named by Sothe until right before this point which is at the very end of the conversation. Before the chapter, the two keep referring to him as “that man” and “that person.” Then the chapter happens, and they end up in this conversation in the post battle dialogue.
So, in a way, the Japanese was building up to the reveal that they were in fact referring to Ike (the first time he would be mentioned in the game too).
In English, Sothe mentions Ike by name where he originally says “that person” in Japanese (or, more literally, “The man I fought under three years ago taught me this.”) This is done before the chapter dialogue so it wouldn’t matter having a steady reveal for the post dialogue.
As for why Micaiah is just saying his name with his title/role, it is likely just her thinking out loud. Sothe suggests the others seek help from Ike, and after hearing about him already, is simply repeating who he is (albeit in a resigned and reluctant way).
So how do they go from that to the end result in English? Well, in this case, her dialogue is likely taken as exasperation. Imagine reading it with a sigh where the ellipses are rather than an admonished gasp or monotone. You’ll then have the type of tone the localization settled on conveying. This would make her character more consistent with her more openly-hostile localized portrayal.
But how would localization better convey that hostility toward Ike with just Micaiah mentioning his title and name? You would not want the audience to miss any venom that may lay behind the dialogue. Well, the easy answer is to use more blatant sarcasm.
So the localizers used a keyword like “Right” at the start, quotations over “hero” of the Crimean Liberation, and then of course the popular punchline, “…and father of Sothe’s children.” Players get a pretty clear idea of her opinions about Ike (and Sothe’s love for him) through this for sure! Of course, one could say that perhaps it made Micaiah more harsh toward him in English than she may have meant to come off even in Japanese. But, this game’s localization is no stranger to more major changes.
The original dialogue does explain why Sothe never replies to such a comment though, as it was meant to be end dialogue to the chapter. The original text shows she’s just mumbling thoughts out loud, rather than anything that would warrant a response (such as that blatant stab at Sothe’s love for him, who is standing right next to her). Of course she may be mumbling this in English too and so wouldn’t warrant a response.
It is also worth noting the localization is a one to one translation with the added line of “father of Sothe’s children” in there! Nothing was replaced to produce that line, which is a plus.
To answer the personal curiosity: Micaiah’s legendary line may not exist in Japanese, but it does help in strongly delivering the localization’s interpretation on how she may have been feeling with the previous two lines.
The Japanese is a slow reveal of Ike’s name and role in the previous game. Micaiah speaks in a way that is likely repeating what she has heard (many times) from Sothe in a “thinking out loud” kind of way (but also with a hint of reluctant resignation). In English, the localization translated the lines across but then added more biting sarcasm (“Right.” and “hero” as well as the “father of Sothe’s children.”) While the line itself is unique to the localization, there is just enough interpretive wiggle room for the tone in the original to enable localization to have precedent for it. The drawback is that perhaps Micaiah comes off as far more harsh toward Ike in the localization than may have be originally intended.
Below is an isolated table with direct comparison for reference, and a shareable infographic is at the end of this post.
So what do you think of the above dialogue? How would you have went about localizing it?
I hope to look into the broader conversation here later on, as Micaiah’s opinions toward Ike have always been a divisive part of her character among fans. Based on this, I’m curious to know if she is more (or less) hostile toward Ike or not. It may be interesting! But will take a little longer.
I will continue to look at fun differences between games. Any dialogue you’re interested in? Let me know in comments or via email!
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