FE7 Blazing Blade Localization: Barte and Karla’s Ending [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.

Today’s post concerns a reader request and personal curiosity regarding Barte and Karla’s A support ending in Blazing Blade (seen above). Thanks to some vague wording, it caused a bit of confusion as to the character Bartre’s fate.

So let’s take a look!

For context, this is when Bartre and Karla reach an A support level and pair up at the end of the game. Karla is the mother of Fir, a playable character in the sequel Binding Blade. It should be noted that Bartre himself returns as a character (and Fir’s father), but Karla does not. This is an important point to consider as you will see.

Official Localization:

Karla and Bartre were reunited in Ostia. During the battle, they became friends. That friendship deepened into love, and they were wed. Later, Karla died of illness. Bartre took their daughter to her uncle and joined Karla.

The primary issue from this epilogue comes from the very last part of the last line: “and joined Karla.” Many people have read it to mean that he joined her in illness and/or death. There were of course those who interpreted it to simply mean he returned to her side (or wherever she was buried, for example). But the fact this uncertainty remains shows that the line is a bit more ambiguous than it should be.

I noted before that Bartre is a returning character, so of course one would assume he obviously survived –if they were aware of his reappearance. Keep in mind that the sequel, Binding Blade (released chronologically a year before this title, and hence FE7 is the prequel) was never released to the west. This game, Blazing Blade, was the first game to be released overseas.

Therefore, the safe assumption would be that the average player had not played, nor will play, Binding Blade, and thus, lacking the knowledge that Bartre is alive and well in that game, could assume he had perished here. Context is important! So we must approach this as if one did not have knowledge of any other game.

So was it a translation error? Let’s take a look at the Japanese and a literal translation.

Original Japanese + (super literal) translation:


They met in the west, then reunited in Ostia, and then had a duel that led to them being friends. The bond naturally deepened, and the two were wed. Afterward, it is said that as Karla lay collapsed from illness, she clasped her husband Bartre’s hand, entrusting the daughter she would leave behind to him and her own living but separated brother, then peacefully took her last breath.

One thing that is obvious at a glance is that the translation here is much longer than the official localization. I believe this is a key factor, as there is a great space limitation. Japanese can fit a lot more within a smaller space than English at times. But we will come back to this point later.

For now, we can focus on the content itself. Here we see there is no mention of Bartre actually going anywhere or returning to anyone. The scene focuses instead on Karla’s final moments holding her husband’s hand with mention to their daughter (Fir) and brother (Karel). It should be noted that it can also be read as “entrusted their daughter to her [Karla]’s estranged brother” or “entrusted both their daughter and her [Karla]’s brother to Bartre.” I note this because it will help us make sense of the localization.

In the localization, Bartre goes to drop the daughter off with her uncle. This likely came from the above translation referring to how Karla entrusted the daughter to Bartre and Karel (or just Karel, and hence Bartre would deliver her to him).

But there is no mention of any return, or any kind of death, which was a key component of the question.

So the answer to the request: Bartre does not die, nor is it implied he did in the Japanese version.

Why may it have turned out this way?

Localization may have chosen to express Bartre’s love for Karla by showing how he honored her request (for the daughter to be with the uncle or himself), as well as by returning to her side (one can assume to see her off, or at least, see to her burial or equivalent).

Another factor comes into play, however. I mentioned space limitation before. The word count on the English epilogue is 37 words. The Japanese is more drawn out, mentioning the before (where they met), during (friends and wed), and then after, the solemn final scene with the two of them all within the space limitations. Localization had to choose what to express in English, so they went with what they did.

Once again, for reference (and so you don’t have to scroll up), they wrote:

Karla and Bartre were reunited in Ostia. During the battle, they became friends. That friendship deepened into love, and they were wed. Later, Karla died of illness. Bartre took their daughter to her uncle and joined Karla.

They mention reuniting in Ostia. They mention friendship to love. But they skim over Karla’s death. Then the last line is derived from the Japanese but not exactly accurate to it. This is the problematic part, too, which caused a bit of confusion. It’s interesting that the before details remained as a result. What the Japanese mainly focused on (her death/final words) they skimmed.

Given the choice, a localizer may have to prioritize which information is deemed most important. In this case, one may assume that the focus on her death and what she said is the most important aspect of it all. However, as I mentioned earlier, perhaps they assumed that this would be devoid of the Binding Blade‘s context, and thus could skim things as they did. They balanced the focus on both Bartre and Karla as a result, rather than mostly Karla (as indeed Bartre would have his own chance to shine in Binding Blade, hence the focus the Japanese likely gave to Karla here as she is already dead by then).

As an experiment, I came up with the following two translations to show the issues with having to condense such a big idea:

Version 1:

The two became close after a duel and eventually wed. Later, a bedridden Karla entrusted their daughter to both Bartre and her estranged brother. She peacefully took her last breath while holding her husband hand.

The above is within 37 words, which is the length of the localized text (though, perhaps, more accurately, I should make the character count match rather than word count, but for sake of example, I am simply using words). Pronoun expression is difficult, as one may read the above to mean the daughter’s estranged brother (and not Karla’s) for instance.

This expresses the same ideas, but gives focus to Karla’s death. Like the localization, I exclude most of the before, or details of Ostia specifically. After all, the player would already be aware of this having played the game before, where he indeed meets her in Ostia and they are already familiar with each other. Therefore, it can safely  be excluded. The wedding is more important.

One issue with the above is “a bedridden Karla.” The reason being that we have no idea when or how she was bedridden. Old age? Early illness? Bedridden’s connotation is generally that of someone who has fallen ill, but it can also imply simply from age. It is a small point, but one that gives a lack of time indication. Once again, without Binding Blade, we’d have no idea exactly how long Karla did or did not live. One could imagine she lived a long life.

So let’s try another translation:

Version 2:

The two became close after a duel and eventually wed. Later, Karla fell ill. Bedridden, Karla clasped her husband Barte’s hand, [quietly] entrusting their daughter to both him and her own estranged brother with her last breath.

Still within 37 words, and even more condensed. While the impact of her last breath is lessened, the idea of her having “fallen ill” is presented. Remarking on “her own” estranged brother helps erase the vague pronoun reference of the first version too. The reference to a “peaceful” (or quiet) passing is removed, however, which would have helped give a sense of how she passed (was it in pain? Was it peacefully?). So this small detail being omitted can leave that vague, unfortunately. Hence I put the [quietly] in square brackets as a potential place to put it, but that it may sound more natural omitted.

The point of these two examples is to once again show the difficulty of expressing ideas from the Japanese versions and the need to take liberty for the sake of space. This is less of an issue in modern games where the localization can and does add space as needed, but for cases like this game, it was likely an issue they had to deal with simply by condensing.

You can try your hand at condensing the idea too! Try to keep the aspects of the Japanese within 37 words without it sounding too awkward. It may be a fun mental exercise. I encourage you to try! I’d love to see what you come up with. : )

In short:

Bartre is alive and well in Japanese, as expected considering his appearance in Binding Blade. There is no implication that he died or fell ill, nor is there really any indication that he went (or returned) anywhere. However, keep in mind that at the time, the average player would have no knowledge of FE6 and his existence within it. The language became confusingly vague as a result. The issue was that the translation had to deal with fitting a variety of big ideas within a small amount of space, and had to pick and choose which ideas to keep and which to omit. The vague line in English came from the idea she entrusted their daughter to Bartre and Karel, and thus they likely wanted to express Bartre’s love for Karla by showing he honored her words and delivered her before returning to her side (likely to see to her burial or equivalent).


Here is a summary infographic on the matter.

For the most part, localization did a stellar job with preserving meaning without it being a dull read in Blazing Blade. It wasn’t perfect, of course, as today’s article shows. Guy’s epilogue, for instance, also caused confusion for years due to a translation mishap.

So what do you think of the above dialogue? How would you have condensed that big idea down to 37 words or less?

I will continue to look at fun differences between the versions of Blazing Blade as well as other Fire Emblem games!

Any dialogue you’re interested in? Let me know in comments or via email!


7 thoughts on “FE7 Blazing Blade Localization: Barte and Karla’s Ending [JPN vs ENG]

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  3. Pingback: FE7 Localization: Was Hector and Eliwood’s A Support Mistranslated? Who cut their hand? [JPN vs ENG] | kantopia

  4. Pingback: FE7 Blazing Blade Localization: Did Bartre say a line meant for Karla? [JPN vs ENG] | kantopia

  5. Thank you for showing the truth behind this. You’re good at translating everything.

    Now, it makes me kind of wished that you were the official English translator who works on the games.

    • Aww thank you. That means a lot to hear that! But I’m lucky that I have a lot of context to work with, something that the original translators may have lacked. : ) They gave us an excellent translation overall!

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