Ace Attorney Kanji and Japanese Typos

John R. sent in some questions that I actually don’t know the answer to, so I thought I might turn it over to the readers!

Here’s the first part of the question:

In Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney, there is some kanji that I would like to know what it means.

The images in question are here:

As I haven’t played this installment in the series yet (I really want to though!) I’m not sure of the context at all. The character on these pieces of paper is き (ki), which actually isn’t kanji, it’s kana. In simple terms, whereas a single kanji character tends to represent a single thing or concept or what have you, a kana character is a little closer to a letter in an alphabet – kana is often strung together to spell a word.

Anyway, because of this, I can’t really say for sure what this き is supposed to mean. My first guess is that it’s an abbreviation of sorts for きつね (kitsune) which means “fox”… but that’s a total shot in the dark and I have absolutely zero idea if that even fits the context of this game at all. So if anyone out there can shed some light on this, please do! I wanted to avoid digging around too much lest I spoil myself somehow 😛

John also had another question:

I would also like to know about some translation errors. Apparently, some dialog is botched up in the English version, and I would like to know if this was in the japanese version, or if the localization team created the errors:

And the included image was this:

This seems to be from Ace Attorney 5 too. I haven’t played it yet, but I do know that it’s got a reputation for having tons of typos in the English script – there’s even a Tumblr just for AA5 typos!

The thing is, though, that script typos like this are almost never related to the Japanese text – they’re just accidentally introduced during the translation process by the translator or editor or whoever happens to touch the text data in some way. Although, just to be extra-sure I did a brief look online and the Japanese version of this game doesn’t seem to be rife with typos – so it seems only the localization has problems. You know, this make me wonder how translations of AA5 into other languages turned out.

Still, even though localizations do tend to introduce typos into games, Japanese games aren’t free from typos either. Here are some quick examples:

(I wrote a little bit about the Final Fantasy IV one here, actually!)

In general, I’d say it’s rare for a game translator to purposely include a typo in English to match a typo in Japanese, unless it’s somehow a purposeful, meaningful typo in the original version. So if you ever run into a typo in a translation, you can usually assume it’s just a translation/localization thing and that it wasn’t messed up in the original text.

Anyway, although it wasn’t much, hopefully this helps answer your questions in some small way!

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  1. You’re dead-on correct as to the “Fox” guess. Without giving too much away, a nine tailed fox mythical figure is heavily involved in the story of that case. The charms are protective wards, used to ward away the enemies of that fox.

      1. There’s even a non-spoiler reason for the relevance to foxes in that case–
        the village it takes place in was localized as “Nine-Tails Vale”.

  2. Well there is the Blitzball incident you covered already…

    I have this vague recollection there was one other major error in some game that people noted was in the original, but I can’t remember where it was from (TitS?)

    1. Haha, yeah, the Blitzball kid. I kind of want to think that either the translators just took that line at face value or preferred the crazy version over a fixed version. If I ever get a chance, I’ll ask about it someday.

  3. 「数が多いわ。動き回って相手を霍乱しましょう!」

    Xuse didn’t do a great job on the QC.

  4. Given that it’s a warding charm, is it at all possible that it’s ki as in the alternate reading of 鬼 instead of being short for anything? Or is that not the way that charms would normally work.

  5. “You know, this make me wonder how translations of AA5 into other languages turned out.”

    I see what you did there. 😉

    Or is it an unintentional typo?

    1. The non-English localizations for Ace Attorney games stopped with Apollo Justice and Ghost Trick. Since then, well…
      At least Nintendo will localize the crossover as a Multi-5 release.

    1. Yeah, most of them in Japanese though since I needed more after the first English one came out 😛

      It’s been many years since I played them though, whenever 4 first came out in Japan is when I last played any of the games :X

  6. I just thought it was for きゅうび. In the Japanese version that’s the name of the town (named after the ninetails fox.)

    And one more typo. I’m the back of the pce ys4 box it says 伝説の英雄か帰ってきた

    1. It’s not really possible to convey typos in translation like that; they’re just typos 😛

      The first one says “te no dokanai” but should say “te no todokanai”.

      The second one says “narakatta” but should say “naranakatta”.

      The third one I actually go into more detail here.

    1. Er, whoops, just noticed the “I’ve”.

      I guess when I play Ace Attorney games my mind automatically corrects stuff like this.

  7. It’s been a while since I’ve played through every case in the in the original 4 games (although I do go back and replay my favorite cases quite frequently,) so I’m having a hard time remembering if the games ever actually state that they supposedly take place in America.

    I know that the in-game dialogue heavily implies that games take place in the US but have they ever, flat-out, said so?

    1. Yup, in the English versions of the game they seem to take place in Los Angeles. The Von Karmas are also from Germany, in the Japanese version they’re from America.

  8. “You know, this make me wonder how translations of AA5 into other languages turned out.”

    …Well, thanks for that salt in the wound.


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