How a Translation Oversight Led Chun-Li to Become a “Family Man”

? 11 Comments

Ah, Street Fighter II. Nothing shouts, “90s!” quite like it to me. Well, except maybe Fresh Prince or Captain Planet. The 90s were weird, now that I think about it.

Anyway! I was recently asked to take a look at a certain line in Street Fighter II – for some reason Guile sometimes tells Chun-Li to “go home and be a family man”. Which is an odd thing to say to a woman 😯

Maybe she really is a man now that I think about it

So how did this come about? What’s the deal?

Well, the first part of the answer is that this is one of a handful of lines that Guile will say to defeated opponents. He’ll say this same “family man” line to other characters as well:

Jay Leno also shouts 90s to me too. Pic related.Jay Leno also shouts 90s to me too. Pic related.

Another one of his victory lines has the same “man” issue – here we see Guile asking Chun-Li if she’s “man enough” to fight him.

Wait a few years until her legs are bigger than full-grown men then see what you have to say

I guess saying “man enough” is still a possible thing to say to a woman, it just seems odd. So the question is, what did the original Japanese line say for the “family man” line? Let’s take a look:

This is a neat gameThis is a neat game
Japanese textSomewhat literal translationOfficial translation
γγ«γΈγ€€γ‹γˆγ‚‹γ‚“γ γͺ。Go back to your home country.Go home and be a family man!
γŠγΎγˆγ«γ‚‚γ€€γ‹γžγγŒγ„γ‚‹γ γ‚γ†….You have a family of your own to take care of….

So it looks like the official translation was a quick translation done without considering the context. It’s actually a pretty cool line for something like this… it’s just a shame it doesn’t work 100% of the time, due to the addition of the “man” reference that wasn’t in the original.

So there you go! Guile tells Chun-Li to be “man enough” or “be a family man” simply because the translator didn’t consider all the possible situations the text would appear in. The original Japanese text didn’t have any “man” references at all!

By the way, did you know Chun-Li was born in 1968? That’d make her like, what, 45 now?

I wonder if they've changed this date in later releases so that she's not middle-aged

Man, she’s lookin’ good!

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11 Comments
  1. Guile’s original line is also silly when he says it at Ken or Bar- M. Bison :p.

    Reply
    1. Haha, I hadn’t actually thought of that!

      Reply
  2. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Another Street Fighter II quotes translation
    http://meh.brpxqzme.net/sf2/message.html

    Reply
  4. Can you do a mini-article on the name changes of the bosses in SF2?

    Reply
    1. This doesn’t really have anything to do with language. The names were just switched around. So, I’m not sure if this type of topic would fit here.

      Reply
  5. For the record, the birthdates given in SF2 are no longer canon–ever since Alpha or so, all that’s ever mentioned is the month and day, because the series is on a sliding timeline of sorts.

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  6. Her being 45 certainly explains why she’s so obsessed with getting Heihachi’s age-reversing serum in Project X Zone.

    Reply
  7. There is actually a more significant SFII victory line translation issue
    “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance”
    This total mistranslation caused a lot a of confusion and (possibly) resulted in the creation of a new character!

    Reply
    1. That was only in the arcade version.
      I wonder if the legendary EGM April Fools prank is what made Capcom correct it in the SNES version.

      Reply
  8. Well… seems Guile isn’t the only one who can’t tell her gender:

    http://game.capcom.com/cfn/sfv/column-130435.html

    “It’s the first lady of fighting, Chun-Li! Remember HIS famous one-liner from Street Fighter? All men (BOW) before me! Here’s HER command list.”

    The translations from the English SFV official site are so bad…

    And…:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYnk7W9aMoY

    Reply

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