Talk, Talk, Talk…
After you give the Overcoming Shyness book to the Tenda chief and he reads it to the tribe, he (or everyone else?) supposedly says in EarthBound, “Chat chat, whisper whisper”
In MOTHER 2, what he’s actually saying is more like, “Everyone talks much now.” It’s hard to explain if you don’t know Japanese, but it would’ve been easy for a rushed translator to see this Japanese text as onomatopoeia rather than words.
After you cure their shyness in EarthBound, the Tendas give you “Tendakraut” as thanks. It apparently stinks really bad, too.
In MOTHER 2, they give you a “Gumi Durian”. Remember that they’re called the Gumi Tribe in Japanese. You can read more about durians here, but here are some quotes from famous travel/food writers about it:
“Its taste can only be described as…indescribable, something you will either love or despise. …Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.”
“…its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away. Despite its great local popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast Asia.”
Anyway, since durians aren’t well-known here in the States, the localizers changed it to a take on sauerkraut.
Hey, What’s Your Name?
Back in Summers, Tony called up and asked for the player’s name. Something similar happens now, but it’s a little tough to explain. Basically, in EarthBound, you just have to re-confirm that your name is spelled properly. Nothing special.
In MOTHER 2, though, what happens is that when you entered your name for Tony, you could only choose letters from the English alphabet. From that, the game tries to figure out how your name would be spelled in Japanese, and it displays it here. You’re then asked to confirm if it’s correct, or, if not, then correct it manually.
It’s kind of a neat little thing I haven’t seen any other games do (except for maybe the sequel, but I don’t remember if it worked the same way).
After you confirm your Japanese-spelled name, the chief asks one last time to make sure you entered your full name in the proper order since Japanese names are opposite of what we’re used to – family name come first, then given name.
In EarthBound, it doesn’t really ask about this name order business, because it wouldn’t make sense to.
It’s nothing major, but since we’re at it, let’s look at the two versions of the Tenda Village tea break text:
|MOTHER 2 (literal)||EarthBound|
|Almost like a poorly-woven tapestry, the horizontal and vertical threads of your tale have come together through encounters and farewells, creating a large image.||Like a great tapestry, vertical and horizontal threads have met and become intertwined, creating a huge, beautiful image.|
|Surely you have cursed this never-ending journey many times on your way here.||You may have cursed this never-ending journey.|
|No doubt you have been hurt and defeated countless times as well.||You have known injury and defeat, but you have struggled on to reach this place.|
|Even so, you made it this far thanks to the wisdom and courage that was always a part of you.||Your in-born intelligence and courage have helped bring you here.|
|And because you and your friends believed in each other and supported each other.||You have believed in your friends, and as a group, you have supported each other.|
|Have you ever stopped to consider just how powerful you’ve become?||Have you ever stopped to consider how much your power has grown?|
|If an enemy from Onett or Twoson were to attack you now, there’s no doubt you could defeat it in a single blow.||Now, you could fell enemies in Onett and Twoson with one blow.|
|There’s no turning back now.||As you certainly know, you cannot turn back.|
|The tremendous foe known as Gyiyg is clearly afraid… Afraid of YOU, Ness!||Giygas, the arch fiend of the universe, is growing frightened of you and your power.|
|He is attempting to stop your progress.||He is searching for ways to end your journey.|
|Your journey ahead will surely be an adventure of an unbelievably greater scale than ever before.||From here, the challenge grows and your adventure will take you beyond anything you ever imagined.|
|You are steadily drawing closer to Gyiyg.||You are drawing near to Giygas.|
|Always remember that when you’re in a difficult situation, the enemy is suffering too.||Remember, when you are suffering hardships, your enemy is also struggling.|
|Still, where DID Porky go, anyway?||By the way, do you know where Pokey went?|
|Once you’re done drinking this tea, it’s time to set out again.||When this cup of tea is finished, your adventure will continue.|
|Destiny will surely guide you in the right direction.||Your destiny pulls you in the right direction.|
|Have faith, and press ahead!||Believe in yourself and press forward.|
|May the goddess of good fortune smile upon you…||I wish you luck…|
Don’t mind the rough writing of the literal translation – that’s how literal translations tend to be.
The biggest differences are that the Japanese actually calls the tapestry “poorly-made” or possibly “plain-looking” instead of “beautiful”, and the English version also omits the whole thing about “encounters” and “farewells”, which admittedly is hard to fit into the translation in the same poetic way used by the Japanese version.
Also, the English version adds in the part about Giygas being the “arch fiend of the universe”, that wasn’t in the original.
And, as we’ve seen before, the religious “goddess” mention was replaced with a simple “I wish you luck”.
Other than those minor quibbles, I really like the phrasing that EarthBound uses, it comes off pretty smoothly.
The Writing’s on the Wall
After you go through Tenda Village and pass through the Lumine Hall dungeon, you reach Lumine Hall itself. As you might expect, the writing on the wall is in Japanese in MOTHER 2, here’s a quick look at how it looks in both games:
The text is essentially the same, though I feel like the Japanese text ends on a more curiosity-piquing note with, “Are my thoughts being written out? Or could it be that…?” rather than EarthBound’s, “My thoughts are being written out on the wall… or are they?” I have no idea what it’s hinting at, though. Maybe it’s Magicant-related.
A Holey Hall
In MOTHER 2, the dungeon after the Tenda village is called “Lumine Hall”. This spelling can be seen if you use the Sound Stone after finishing the Lumine Hall Dungeon.
EarthBound has a little bit of trouble with this name, though. The issue arises from the fact that ホール can be translated as either “hall” or “hole”, it depends entirely on context. With multiple translators working on different parts, it’s easy to make consistency mistakes, and the end result in EarthBound is that the place is called both “Lumine Hall” AND “Lumine Hole”. It doesn’t help that there’s a hole at the end of the hallway that you have to take to get to the next area of the game.
You can see the inconsistency at work here:
Still, from the fact that MOTHER 2’s Sound Stone says “Lumine Hall” and the fact that it’s the luminescent hallway itself that restores your energy and gives you the melody, it’s pretty clear that the intended name is “Lumine Hall”.
Incidentally, the pronunciation is along the lines of “loo-mih-neh” or “loo-mih-nuh”, depending on how lazy you are with your pronunciation. I always thought it was “loo-mine” (rhyming with “too fine”) until I played the game in Japanese.
This section of the EarthBound Legends of Localization book also includes:
- More details on the Japanese name for the Tendas, and the reasoning behind their English name, including the different implications that arise from these different names
- A shocking quote from Itoi about the Tendas
- A look at the Tendas’ unique way of speaking in Japanese, and how it compares with their localized speech pattern
- A language joke in a Tenda’s line that didn’t get localized
- More information on durians and sauerkraut, including photos and more descriptions
- A closer look at the Lumine Hall/Lumine Hole spelling inconsistency in EarthBound, including real-life examples that showcase why this issue exists
- A brief look at the text that displays on the Lumine Hall, including how it compares to its cameo in the Super Smash Bros. game for 3DS