Awhile back I looked into a silly line from Path of Radiance which featured a soldier who had amused fans by saying “eat rock!”
A commenter wondered about another soldier line, this time from the sequel, Radiant Dawn.
I’m still wondering where they got “Mouldy onions!” from in Radiant Dawn. Like… Why…?
So I finally got around to taking a look!
||Dammit, where’d they go?!
||Moldy onions! Where’d they go?!
*Note: The above Japanese line is from the basic game script The extended dialogue does not change it significantly, so is omitted.
Pretty straightforward, as you can see! The meanings are quite close, with one word simply changed.
In Japanese, the word “kuso!” (くそっ) is often used as a form of exasperation, like in English with curse words along the line of “dammit!” If you watch anime, you probably hear it a lot.
Of course depending on the context, intonation, etc. It can be anywhere from a tame “darn!” to the other extreme (“f***!”) In this case, the “dammit” is probably the most accurate given the situation.
In the end, they decided to go with “Moldy onions!” which I think is a great way to work around the problem entirely as to which degree of exasperation to work with. It can be taken as harshly or lightly as the reader figures, rather than leaving it to the localizer to have to work out. Probably a good approach in this case when considering the audience and ESRB/age ratings they have to adhere to.
Oddly, though, there are plenty of cases of other characters saying “Damn it!” in some fashion throughout the game.
Zelgius: Damn it! They’ve been captured!
Tibarn: Damn. Fine, I’ll carry you. Don’t get thrown off, kid. You better hang on tight.
Skrimir: We will return and regroup. It pains me, but we must. Damn it, Ranulf… He…got my leg.
Sothe: …Damn it.
Seeing the above, it is possible they interpreted kuso in that context to be some degrees higher in exasperation (perhaps more toward “sh*t!”) and so went with moldy onions, rather than damn which they had been using throughout the game.
Of course another possibility is separate translators who just interpreted things differently, as the rest of the above are from outside of Part 1 of the game, where this line is.
Or, really, they just wanted to make this guy silly like the “eat rock!” guy for no reason beyond (potentially ill-placed) amusement!
A lot of possibilities we may never know…
Well that does it for this brief comparison! I gained access to the Japanese text in both the Tellius games so hope to look into some other things in the future.
If you have any suggestions of what else to look into that you may be curious about, please feel free to leave a comment below!
Lastly, here is an infographic that summarizes this article.