Today, I look at what I would say is an example of good localization found in the Legend of Zelda:Windwaker.
The player receives something called the “Complimentary ID” which results in a silly dialogue exchange where it is literally an item that has the shop keeper (Beedle) compliment the player –rather than offering any actual tangible goods to your purchases free of charge. A different kind of complimentary than what one may expect!
And that is where the question comes in: What was the ID’s name, and the scene like, in Japanese?
In short: It does revolve around “compliments” (or praise), but the localization team seized the opportunity to make this even more fun in the English language with a pun that was different, yet worked with the original Japanese intent.
Super Smash Bros: Ultimate for Nintendo Switch features a new design for Zelda compared to her previous incarnations. But there was a little bit of confusion regarding which Zelda she is, due to a slight translation tidbit which is not too widely known from what I’ve observed.
People weren’t sure if she is based on the one from A Link Between Worlds (NoA wrote) or A Link to the Past. (NoJ wrote).
Explanation of why both are fine:
In Japan, A Link to the Past is 神々のトライフォース (Triforce of the Gods), and, A Link Between Worlds is 神々のトライフォース2 (Triforce of the Gods 2). As such, both are Triforce of the Gods (the title that became A Link to the Past), one simply with a “2” that emphasizes the sequel. Box art example.
In the west, the second title dropped “2” and was made into A Link Between Worlds. As such, this makes it harder to refer to them both as A Link to the Past, as that is only the first one’s name.
To help clear confusion, a look at the designs of Zelda in both games reveal they are essentially the same, too with only slight differences, and, in Smash Bros. Ultimate, if you look at her design, you see she’s a combination of both Zelda’s seen here. The top accessories are like from the first game, and the pattern on her lower side are like the second game, for instance.
As such, saying Zelda from A Link to the Past or Link Between Worlds are both accurate. In Japanese it is simply Zelda from 神々のトライフォース (Triforce of the Gods), so can be either of them too.
They are actually referring to the same game, but it’s harder to specify which one in English as the Japanese encompasses both. The English specified the sequel (likely as it’s more recent and so more people may recognize it), where as the Japanese can refer to them both due to the titles being the same (with just a number to differentiate). There was no explicit “2” in the Smash Bros. trailer, so the localization likely decided on A Link Between Worlds. Though, they were likely in contact with the original staff behind the direct to help reach this conclusion.
So there you go! Same game. Both A Link Between Worlds and A Link to the Past apply here. If you see it referred to as A Link to the Past by Japanese staff (and translations), now you know why.
For more details including shots that caused the confusion (as well as similarities in the Zelda design), see below.
A reader sent me a question a few weeks ago that I had a chance to look into now.
Nintendo updated its Zelda website to include a profile of Ganon that refers to him as “Ganondorf Dragmire.” I heard this was also in A Link to the Past‘s game manual. Was there any mention of the name or some other surname in Japanese?
Zelda Legends thankfully had scanned copies of the manual for the game both in Japanese and English which I used in reference for this post. So let’s take a look:
The dialogue is highlighted in Japanese (left) and English (right).
In Japanese: He is simply ガノンドロフ and ガノン (Ganondorf and Ganon respectively). He has the title of an Evil King/King of Thieves/etc, but no mention of a surname of any sort.
The English above is straightforward, mentioning both Dragmire and Mandrag as other names.
So, no, the Japanese manual did not make a mention of this surname at all, and it is likely a localization creation that the site decided to stick with!
Comparisons are always fun! I hope this post can be used in reference for those who may not be aware of the lack of surname in Japanese.
Let me know if there’s anything you’d love to have looked into. Feel free to leave any comments below!
So, today, on my end, I look at a great example of localization found within Windwaker. The localization team behind the game managed to place a fitting cultural reference to an old story in an appropriately humorous moment in the game.
As such, I decided to spend today on a Zelda related comparison: the islands of Windwaker! We’ll take a look at how the localization team (for the North American version) tackled island names, and what they were originally in Japanese. I suggest some alternate names for them based on the literal translation, or on other factors of the island along with the translation, but by no means claim them to be superior to the official localization in anyway. It is purely for educational purposes, and is not intended to demean the hard work in anyway.
I translated mini profiles two characters in Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the latest (02/01/17) Famitsu. I put them on the pages too for your convenience. Thanks JapaneseNintendo for the scans!
See notes for additional comments.
Names. If you study or speak Japanese, you will know that they can go many ways. Mifa and Riibar (as well as Darkher) are just placeholders I put as I do not know what their official romanizations are, if any (a byproduct of avoiding most info for this game). Please know I do not consider these official in any capacity. ミファー, リーバル , and ダルケル (Lit: Mifaa, Riibaru, Darukeru). I just wrote Mifa, Riibar, and Darkher, though only have confidence in the first. Riibar could also be Rivaar, River, etc just as Darkher can be another in the “Daru” series of Gorons, etc. Again, these are just quick names for ease and convenience.
Ironic as it is, I am actually avoiding most info on this game to keep the surprise. These two characters I had a vague interest in but do not wish to discuss beyond what their profiles say here! Thanks for understanding!
Today’s translation is just a curiosity one. A friend sent a page of various Zelda’s throughout the Legend of Zelda series and their predicted responses to (presumably Link) saying “I love you” to them.
It is fan done, and is just meant to be in good fun I assume rather than anything serious. You can see the translation below. If anybody knows the source of the original (also provided), please be sure to tell me so I may add it to this post!
In the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, the innocent Romani is excited to try Chateau Romani for the first time without fully understanding the circumstances as to why her older sister Cremia is suddenly allowing her to try it. I got curious to see what the conversation was like in Japanese, so decided to look into it.