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 comes from a reader on reddit and concerns a single line of dialogue between the characters Farina and Karla in Blazing Blade (FE7). These two are only on Hector’s path. From a reader:
While on the topic of Bartre here, will you cover the mishap that happens when he forgot to bring his weapon in Battle Preparations?
They shared a video with it that displays the mishap (shown below). It’s pretty amusing.
Let’s take a look!
For context, the following conversation happens on 31x (Hector’s story only) if you get Bartre to talk to Karla without him having any weapon equipped.
I love the wavering voice of the confused reader upon reaching the line that makes little sense. After all Karla has a weapon, and this only occurs if Bartre does not. I also love that this is a thing that can happen at all.
But back to the topic at hand, fans and I thus assume that perhaps the line was meant for Karla, but when we take a look at the game script…
You don’t even have a weapon!
Note the gap between “Yaa!” and “Mm…?” which may play a factor later.
Now the Japanese:
Original Japanese + Translation:
There’s no weapon?!
I did a super literal translation for this post as it will be a factor in seeing what may have went wrong.
First off, we see that this line is indeed one that Bartre says in the original. So it’s not a line Karla was supposed to say, or, wasn’t in the final product, anyway. A brief note on that later.
So, as you can see, the dialogue is accurately translated –and it’s a pronoun issue. Japanese often omits a direct subject that one can assume from the context. Translation went with Bartre saying “you,” but he actually meant himself. It should read as:
“What the! Where’s my weapon?!”
Of course, we have the final product in front of us. We can see he is standing there, with no weapon equipped, talking to Karla, who does have a weapon equipped. So we can tell what the dialogue was meant to be from this alone. The translators likely did not have this knowledge.
The simple “you” in there shows the mindset behind the translation was that Bartre was accusing Karla of lacking a weapon, rather than realizing he himself lacked one. Or, thanks to that gap I mentioned earlier (and left in there), they may have assumed Karla was indeed saying that line.
Translators (especially back in 2003) often have a messy script to work with that is devoid of context and sometimes chronology. Often characters are represented simply by bits of data (“(*e12)” representing Karla, for instance). That brief space may have caused some confusion. Likewise, looking only at dialogue, they would be unaware this is a line Bartre may say only when he himself lacks any weapon (which would’ve been an instant cue as to what this line meant).
It’s possible they interpreted it as Karla not taking him seriously enough to raise (or bring) a weapon. Like how they wouldn’t know this only happens when Bartre has no weapons, they likewise wouldn’t realize Karla does have her weapon at all times. This may have been something for the Quality Assurance department to spot for correction, but nobody thought to send him to her unequipped, perhaps?
However, the oddity is that they would have likely had the rest of the conversation to cue them for context, too. Right afterward Karla says:
Do you intend to fight without one?
I’m finished with you.
Do you intend to fight
without even bringing a weapon?
What a puzzling man you are.
So Karla should have made it more clear who is lacking the weapon. To be fair, my translation here involves “you” which isn’t directly said. For sake of example, here is a super literal translation:
“Without a weapon, shall there be a fight?”
From this, maybe they still figured Karla intended to fight without a weapon. But even if we give the translation the benefit of the doubt up until this point (which is already absurdly reaching), then the lines right afterward should’ve hinted that she thinks the lack of weapon is puzzling/foolish.
Basically I presented this bit just to show while it could be taken this far in the mindset which assumes Karla lacked a weapon, it would be highly unlikely that the translation would not have picked up on it by now.
Especially because the official localization has Karla saying “Do you intend to fight without one?” The emphasis on the you here shows they were clearly aware who is talking about who, now. Karla accusing Bartre of lacking a weapon.
From this we can conclude that it is more likely they were assuming Karla may have said the original line in question and translated it as such –unaware it was actually Bartre’s dialogue box.
Since I posted this article, a popular theory among readers is perhaps Bartre was using second person but talking to himself? (Such as one may do with the voice in their head reprimanding them for a mistake). This would be an interesting approach too because it would also serve to poke fun at the player in a way (as we know the player is a tactician and character in this game, too). It’s something that cannot be proven or not, exactly, but would be a creation of the localization alone if so.
So then what may have caused this to happen?
One thing to note is the word choice they wrote Bartre’s line in. “Unbelievable! You don’t even have a weapon!” doesn’t really sound like something Bartre would say (in contrast to the rest of his dialogue here). This may help back the theory they figured it was one of Karla’s lines they thought they were translating.
In Japanese, they both do speak in rather informal ways to one another, but that specific line was rather lengthier than what either of them would say. But of the two, at a glance, it seems more like something Karla would say in Japanese rather than Bartre. Maybe this too, added to the confusion. I feel that the original Japanese line was meant to be a more meta stab to the player for not equipping such, hence the slightly different tone to it.
An alternate stretch is that perhaps multiple translators had worked on the scene/chapter dialogue independently of one another. This type of work can lead to mishaps like this.
A final stretch to address is perhaps it was messed up on the Japanese side. If she had said it but the programming attributed it to Bartre, then the mistake started rather early and was never nipped in the bud before it came to translation. This is highly unlikely though, but I present the possibility none-the-less!
So, to answer the original inquiry: Bartre was meant to say the line rather than Karla, but the pronoun/subject was mixed up (using you instead of I). Either that, or they thought Karla was saying it and it was never corrected.
Bartre indeed says this line in Japanese, but is actually talking in first person. It was not a line Karla said. The translators, likely devoid of the proper contextual clues and details, assumed he was talking to Karla (hence “you”) rather than using the first person (I/my), and led to this silly result. Or, they thought the line was meant for Karla, and thus translated it accordingly –with it then going by unnoticed in the final product.
Below is an isolated table with direct comparison for reference, and a shareable infographic is at the end of this post.
|Japanese||Super Lit. Translation||Official Localization|
For some reason Bartre (and Karla) seem to be involved in localization messes with this game. However, for the most part, localization did a great job with preserving meaning throughout the script without it being a dull read. But, we get mistakes or changes like this all over the place, too!
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!