McGregor sent in a question about Pocky & Rocky a while back:
I am your reader! I’m a Long time reader of your blogs, I even used to read your long gone One Piece blog, and really like what you’ve been doing with it so far with legends of localization.
I was playing the SNES game Pocky and Rocky when I noticed some odd dialogue by the bosses in game. I was thinking that lines like “I am your adversary” were a bit odd and smacked of a mistranslation but also seem to fit with the tone of the game the enemies would be blunt and to the point. I know that these blunt lines are some of the reasons fans like the but I’m wondering if this is just a case of mistranslation.
Oh man, I forgot about my old One Piece site 😯
Anyway, here’s a look at the “I am your adversary” line in both Japanese and English (and thanks a billion for taking screenshots for me!):
|Kikikaikai (Super Famicom)||Pocky & Rocky (Super NES)|
In the Japanese version, this character says something like, “Guhehe… *I* am your opponent!”
In the English version, he says, “Ha, ha I am your adversary.”
As a translation, it’s not exactly wrong, besides maybe the weird lack of punctuation. But I can see why it might seem “off” – the phrase “I am your opponent” in Japanese often equates in tone or mood to something like, “Now you’re messin’ with ME!” But as a straight translation it often feels kind of awkward in English. Plus it’s not something any intimidating person or creature would really say, except maybe some sort of robot. It just sounds weird.
On a deeper level, though, this character actually speaks in a rural-sounding dialect from northeastern Japan, which also fits the vibe of the monster’s sprite.
The English translation doesn’t really convey this same feeling – especially with the use of the word “adversary”. So between the clashing presentation and the bland translation, it makes sense that this English version doesn’t feel quite right.
As for what a proper localization might sound like, I’d actually like to open that up to commenters! If you have any good rural-sounding lines for “Now you’re dealing with me!” or “You’re fighting me now!”, post them in the comments!
Some ideas off the top of my own head might be, “You’re fixin’ for a whuppin’!” or “I’m gonna whup y’all!”
…Meh, those are lame, I know it could be done better. So share your ideas in the comments for all to enjoy 😀