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

Today’s post comes from a thread on reddit which concerns Hector and Eliwood’s A support conversation. u/Dragoryu3000 posed a question:

Hold up, is Eliwood and Hector’s A-Support majorly mistranslated?

They pinged me in a thread and I looked into it. The issue revolves primarily around Erik Laus and vague wording in the translation being potentially misleading as to what occurred. You can read their thoughts and the rest of the thread in-depth on the thread before reading this post if you want to get a better idea of the issue, but I’ll try my best to explain it as we go along, too.

So let’s take a look!

It will be easiest to present this issue by providing you with the entire A-support conversation first:

Official Localization:

Eliwood: Hector, you still remember that time?

Hector: What time?

Eliwood: You know, what was it—ten years ago? When the lords of Lycia held the oath rites, back in Ostia? “Should one land of Lycia be attacked, all will fight as one…” Remember? While our parents were off pledging their oaths, we kids were in that one room.

Hector: Yeah, I remember. We had to act in a manner befitting the children of nobility, or some such nonsense. I just remember being stuck in there, having to sit in that chair talking to whoever was next to me. Course, wouldn’t you know that Erik of Laus was on my right? Man, I heard more than enough sweet talk from that one!

Eliwood: Right, right. That was the first time any of us met, after all. He had no idea who you were—he just wanted to get in favor with a lordling of Lycia.

Hector: Aye, he was all mouth anyway. Saying things like “let us join forces for the good of Lycia”, and such… then running when things turned sour.

Eliwood: Aw, don’t be too hard on him. When he jumped up, yelling about us swearing our own oaths, then cut his hand like that… No one else knew what to do, either.

Hector: Well, everyone’s heard the stories. They all know it’s the warriors’ custom. Each cuts his own hands, then shakes hands with his brothers… What man wouldn’t want to do that? Only one had the guts to meet him, though.

Eliwood: …You know, back then, I’m proud I took your hand. We are friends, sharing a life-dream now, an ambition. When one is in danger, the other risks his life to protect him… That’s why you came, isn’t it? Because you remembered?

Hector: Heh, I’ve got no plans to break my oath. Not now, not ever.

Eliwood: Likewise.

Hector: Well, then let’s live long and in health! I don’t want to hear any excuses about not being able to come help when we’re old men.

Eliwood: It’s a deal. …Stay alive, Hector.

Hector: Deal. And don’t you go dying before me, either. I’d never forgive you.

I highlighted the problematic parts that Dragoryu3000 referenced as well, as they will be our focus. The rest of the conversation is straightforward (and accurate) as far as the translation goes. But how did you interpret the events in the highlighted section?

Many readers would have assumed that Erik got up suddenly and cut his own hand as a sort of challenge that nobody else would dare try to meet, but then he was surprised that Hector did. But then Eliwood mentions taking Hector’s hand, and, it does become rather confusing when you think more about it.

So let’s look at the Japanese. I provide only the equivalent section that is highlighted above, rather than the entire conversation.

Original Japanese + Translation:

Eliwood: そうそう。あの時はみんな初対面だったからエリックも、君の性格を知らずオスティア侯公子に取り入ろうと必死で話しかけてたようだね。

That’s right. That was when we all first met, and Erik, without knowing your personality, started talking to you in a desperate ploy to curry favor with the young noble of Ostia.

Hector: へっ あいつは、あの時から口だけの野郎だったな。「リキアの未来のために僕らも力を合わせていこう」とか言って、いざってとこで逃げやがって。

Heh, that guy… at that time, he was all talk wasn’t he? “Let’s join forces for the sake of Lycia’s future” he said –but then turned tail and ran away.

Eliwood: それを責めるのは可哀想だよ。いきなり「よし、じゃあ俺たちも誓いの儀式をするぞ!!」って立ち上がるなり、ナイフで自分の手のひらを切りつけたんだ。他のみんなも、その場で固まっていた。

Who could blame the poor guy? You suddenly got up like, “Right then! We gotta make this oath like men!” and then sliced your own hand with a knife. Everybody else was frozen in place.

Hector: 互いに、自分で傷つけた手のひらの血を差し出して合わせる・・・昔から伝わる勇敢な戦士の慣わしだって聞いてたからな。男なら、一度はやってみたいだろう?ま、誓いをかわす度胸があった奴は一人だけだったけどな。

Hector: Two must mutually slice their own palms and join them together… I heard it was a custom that’s been passed down from the heroes of old. If you’re a real man, you’d like to try it at least once, right? And, after all, there was one guy who did rise to exchange the oath, eh?

Eliwood:・・・あの時、君の手をとったことを僕は今でも誇りに思っている。

…I am still proud that my hands met yours that day.

Does that make more sense? I of course took some liberties –namely the usage of pronouns. I used more “you’s” for clarity than the original script provided, as Japanese readers may notice. However, those readers may note it does appear here and there (namely Eliwood’s final line that brings it together).

So how do we know who is talking? Well, there are context clues as well as the tone of voice.

Let’s go with context first. One line I noticed that didn’t come through as well in the localization was this one:

Right, right. That was the first time any of us met, after all. He had no idea who you were—he just wanted to get in favor with a lordling of Lycia.

The line in bold, especially “who you were.” This can be rather vague. Did Erik not know he was the prince of Ostia? That he was Hector? Eliwood does mention that Erik at least knew he was a “lordling of Lycia.”

However, the Japanese script is much clearer –and gives a better build up to the punchline later on:

そうそう。あの時はみんな初対面だったからエリックも、君の性格を知らずオスティア侯公子に取り入ろうと必死で話しかけてたようだね。

That’s right. That was when we all first met, and Erik, without knowing your personality, started talking to you in a desperate ploy to curry favor with the young noble of Ostia.

It sounds awkward as presented here, and I would have translated it more like “and Erik, without knowing how you are/were.” But, the reason I did not is because the word choice here is key. The Japanese word is 性格 (seikaku) which means “character/nature/personality.” He clearly means Erik did not know how Hector is the most un-noble-like noble in that room.

Interestingly, he singles out Ostia too, rather than Lycia. Perhaps due to Ostia’s prominent position in said League.

Regardless, it is clear they were referencing Hector’s personality here, which leads to this next line. In the localization, things already get a little fuzzy here:

Hector: Aye, he was all mouth anyway. Saying things like “let us join forces for the good of Lycia”, and such… then running when things turned sour.

This reads as if Hector may have had a previous run-in with him, or that they did things together later where he could witness Erik running when things got sour. But in Japanese it is more clear:

へっ あいつは、あの時から口だけの野郎だったな。「リキアの未来のために僕らも力を合わせていこう」とか言って、いざってとこで逃げやがって。

Heh, that guy… at that time, he was all talk wasn’t he? “Let’s join forces for the sake of Lycia’s future” he said –but then turned tail and ran away.

I put a key grammar point in bold above. Japanese readers will recognize this as a verb that is followed by an (immediate) action, much like we would use “and” to describe two actions, one after another, such as in the sentence: “He took off his clothes and went into the shower.”

So Erik said “Let’s join forces” but then turned tail and ran away –at that very moment. So that leaves the Japanese reader wondering: “Wait, why did he suddenly do that?”

Which leads to the next point, which will make even less sense in English with the localization with the above in mind:

Eliwood: Aw, don’t be too hard on him. When he jumped up, yelling about us swearing our own oaths, then cut his hand like that… No one else knew what to do, either.

The above is the problematic line, which we discussed earlier. Let’s take a look at the Japanese version again:

それを責めるのは可哀想だよ。いきなり「よし、じゃあ俺たちも誓いの儀式をするぞ!!」って立ち上がるなり、ナイフで自分の手のひらを切りつけたんだ。他のみんなも、その場で固まっていた。

Who could blame the poor guy? You suddenly got up like, “Right then! We gotta make this oath like men!” and then sliced your own hand with a knife. Everybody else was frozen in place.

So. There is no “you” in the Japanese here. So how do we know Eliwood is saying Hector did it, and not “him” being Erik as the localization did?

There is one context clue: the build up about Hector’s personality. We know Erik didn’t know how he was, so this would not be some bizarre kind of appeal he was trying to make to Hector’s personality. We also know he turned tail and ran for whatever reason right after he said that –logically because Hector said the above in response.

But the other clue which Japanese readers can spot: tone and the distinct usage of first person pronouns. Note in Erik’s quote about “Let’s join forces,” the pronoun he uses is 僕 (boku) and his tone is rather friendly. Now look at the above line about “We gotta make this oath” –it uses the extremely rough 俺 (ore) and very crude/informal tone that Hector is known for.

Erik does not know how Hector is, but we, the reader, and Eliwood, too, certainly do! It was clearly meant to be Hector who got up to say such a line and performed such an action.

The follow up provides more evidence to Hector –though it may be less apparent in the localization again:

Hector: Well, everyone’s heard the stories. They all know it’s the warriors’ custom. Each cuts his own hands, then shakes hands with his brothers… What man wouldn’t want to do that? Only one had the guts to meet him, though.

Everything here is accurate until the part in bold. Once again, the single pronoun mishap is what causes the confusion here. It seems they are still referring to Erik’s supposed “challenge” of who could match him? As Dragoryu000 pointed out, this would be the exact kind of thing Hector would respect him for, yet he is saying Erik is the very opposite. It really is a mess!

In the Japanese…

互いに、自分で傷つけた手のひらの血を差し出して合わせる・・・昔から伝わる勇敢な戦士の慣わしだって聞いてたからな。男なら、一度はやってみたいだろう?ま、誓いをかわす度胸があった奴は一人だけだったけどな。

Hector: Two must mutually slice their own palms and join them together… I heard it was a custom that’s been passed down from the heroes of old. If you’re a real man, you’d like to try it at least once, right? And, after all, there was one guy who did rise to exchange the oath, eh?

The “I” is added, but the verb 聞いてたからな (kiiteta kara na) is used in an active way, rather than passive, meaning he is talking about himself. The next line about being a real man is what Hector strives for, so it would make sense he was the one who jumped to the opportunity.

This also leads to the last line, which brings the entire support conversation –and their friendship –together. The “guy” who rose up is none other than Eliwood –which is shown both in the localization and Japanese in the next line:

Eliwood: …You know, back then, I’m proud I took your hand.

Eliwood:・・・あの時、君の手をとったことを僕は今でも誇りに思っている。

…I am still proud that my hands met yours that day.

The localization makes less sense due to all the previous pronoun mishap, however. Why did Eliwood take Hector’s hand if Erik was the one who was challenging people? It does turn out to be really strange in that sense.

In Japanese, we know exactly what the build up was, and the pay-off was that while Erik ran away, Eliwood followed through on Hector’s “manly oath” challenge –and thus earned his trust, loyalty, and lifelong friendship. The line even uses “you” directly, so we know for sure it is Hector’s hand he took!

The rest of the conversation in English, true to Japanese, reflects that. It’s a fitting end to an A Support.

So how did they miss it?

Well, as I already said, pronouns can be tricky. But they’re professionals, right? True! I don’t think it was an issue in translation skill –the rest of the conversation is wonderfully done. I think the problem arises like it often does (especially with games from this era) –a lack of context.

I noted earlier that context is key. We know Hector, we know his tone. We see text in order, there is a logic to it. It seems straightforward enough to us. But these translations are often done out of context, sometimes without even knowing who is saying the line. It’s possible there were even separate translators who translated parts of the same conversation.

All that being said, I would not rule out pure oversight –it is rather surprising an editor did not catch it, as even with just the pure English, the conversation becomes a little hard to follow.

It would not be the first time the game had editing oversights leading to slightly confusing results.

In the end, we’ll never know for certain though…

In short:

The conversation does indeed seem to be mistranslated. Context, conversation flow, and character tones in Japanese make it very clear that Hector is the one who got up and sliced his palm to attempt to form a pact like the heroes of old that Erik ran away from, but Eliwood accepted. It was not Erik who did the deed as implied in the localization. In fact, the localization itself is a little hard to follow even without any knowledge of the Japanese!


Easy references:

Below is an isolated table with direct comparison for reference, and a shareable infographic is at the end of this post.

Japanese Lit. Translation Official Localization
そうそう。あの時はみんな初対面だったからエリックも、君の性格を知らずオスティア侯公子に取り入ろうと必死で話しかけてたようだね。 Eliwood: That’s right. That was when we all first met, and Erik, without knowing your personality, started talking to you in a desperate ploy to curry favor with the young noble of Ostia. Eliwood: Right, right. That was the first time any of us met, after all. He had no idea who you were—he just wanted to get in favor with a lordling of Lycia.
へっ あいつは、あの時から口だけの野郎だったな。「リキアの未来のために僕らも力を合わせていこう」とか言って、いざってとこで逃げやがって。 Hector: Heh, that guy… at that time, he was all talk wasn’t he? “Let’s join forces for the sake of Lycia’s future” he said –but then turned tail and ran away. Hector: Aye, he was all mouth anyway. Saying things like “let us join forces for the good of Lycia”, and such… then running when things turned sour.
それを責めるのは可哀想だよ。いきなり「よし、じゃあ俺たちも誓いの儀式をするぞ!!」って立ち上がるなり、ナイフで自分の手のひらを切りつけたんだ。他のみんなも、その場で固まっていた。 Eliwood: Who could blame the poor guy? You suddenly got up like, “Right then! We gotta make this oath like men!” and then sliced your own hand with a knife. Everybody else was frozen in place. Eliwood: Aw, don’t be too hard on him. When he jumped up, yelling about us swearing our own oaths, then cut his hand like that… No one else knew what to do, either.
互いに、自分で傷つけた手のひらの血を差し出して合わせる・・・昔から伝わる勇敢な戦士の慣わしだって聞いてたからな。男なら、一度はやってみたいだろう?ま、誓いをかわす度胸があった奴は一人だけだったけどな。 Hector: Two must mutually slice their own palms and join them together… I heard it was a custom that’s been passed down from the heroes of old. If you’re a real man, you’d like to try it at least once, right? And, after all, there was one guy who did rise to exchange the oath, eh? Hector: Well, everyone’s heard the stories. They all know it’s the warriors’ custom. Each cuts his own hands, then shakes hands with his brothers… What man wouldn’t want to do that? Only one had the guts to meet him, though.
・・・あの時、君の手をとったことを僕は今でも誇りに思っている。 Eliwood: …I am still proud that my hands met yours that day. Eliwood: …You know, back then, I’m proud I took your hand.

Infographic summary:


I will continue to look at fun differences between the versions of Blazing Blade as well as other Fire Emblem games! Please bring up any other conversations you found odd. Chances are it’s a mistranslation!

5 thoughts on “FE7 Localization: Was Hector and Eliwood’s A Support Mistranslated? Who cut their hand? [JPN vs ENG]

  1. Thanks for the translation! One of the supports I would probably never see in game since I would always pair couples rather than best buddies for the A rank. XD

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