Q&A: Why is Conversation Prohibited at the Well in Suikoden?

A long while back, Ishntknew asked a question about something from the first Suikoden game for the Playstation:

The original Suikoden (Gensou Suikoden in Japan) had a translation that got absolutely bizarre at times, but probably the most inexplicable part to me was early in the game. There’s a well in the town of Rockland, the second town in the game. When you check it, it says “Conversation prohibited.” Any chance you could shed some light on this?

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any screenshots or videos of this well’s text… in either English OR Japanese! So I can’t provide any video or screenshot comparisons this time 🙁

But for reference, this seems to be the well in question:

From what I can gather from Japanese fan sites and the information in the actual question, this seems to be what the text is side-by-side:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
(A pretty deep well.)A deep well.
No loiteringConversation prohibited

The Japanese line is literally more like “no standing around and chatting/talking”, but it’s just meant to keep people from hanging around the well and bothering others who might need to use the well.

Looking around on fan sites even further, it sounds like English-speaking fans think this translation might mean, “Don’t talk to the well.” If so, that’s not what the original line was intended to mean, but it’s a pretty funny interpretation!

Anyway, if anyone can provide screenshots or videos of this well’s text, please let me know. I scoured YouTube and Nico Nico for Let’s Play videos, but it’s like NOBODY ever checks the well!

So I say that from now on, let’s all make sure to check every well in every game ever!

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  1. I checked the well back when I first played the game. I thought the message was a tad weird, but I assumed it was a sign or something on the well originally.

  2. This is one of those cases where a literal translation ends up more confusing than a context appropriate translation. “No loitering” is a perfect translation from a common sign in Japan to a common sign in America (not sure about England or other English speaking countries, maybe in London it is something like “Cease all frivolity!”).

    1. Localization is a funny thing. They need to learn to come up with a phrase that makes sense to English speakers while retaining the context of the words. Oftentimes you get messes like this, where it looks like they ran it through some online translator.

  3. I feel your pain about the inadequate videos, Mato. There have been times when, for instance, I’ve wanted to check to see how you worded a translation in MOTHER 1+2, but from what I’ve seen, there’s only one person who’s put up a playthrough on YouTube of your patch, and s/he merely zips through the essentials without stopping to talk to everyone. I had to replay your translation myself just to get to Magicant and talk to the “want to crawl into a hole” girl. O_o Fortunately, I’d forgotten how quick and easy it is to get to Magicant, especially with the Easy Ring – I think it only took me maybe an hour, an hour and a half.

    1. Actually, I dunno if you’ve tried, but you could probably just download the MOTHER 1+2 tools I provided and check the script file there.

      But yeah, I wish there was a good, reliable resource or YouTuber or someone who tried to play and document games in full. There’s probably not much YouTube money in it, though 🙁


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