Final Fantasy IV Translation Comparison: Baron Castle

Good Old Days

The area beneath Baron Castle is called the “Old Waterway” in Japanese. The English version is essentially the same, but it has an interesting spelling: “Old Water-way”. I don’t think I’d ever seen it spelled that way until I played this game.

Later translations call it “Old Waterway” or just “Waterway”.

It just had a dash of something added, that's allIt just had a dash of something added, that's all

Secret in the Blue

As we’ve seen before, the game’s hidden passages aren’t clearly displayed in the original game. But in Easy Type and the English localization, the passages stand out ever-so-slightly.

Just how well the not-so-hidden walls show up seems to depend on the location, though. In this particular dungeon, you can barely, barely see the hidden passages and their dark blue color. But in other dungeons, they’re extremely obvious. I’m guessing it has to do with color palettes and technical stuff.

Will we EVER stop looking at the secret walls? Only time will tell!Will we EVER stop looking at the secret walls? Only time will tell!

Treasure Hunt

Finally, some more treasure chests to compare! Here’s what you’ll find in each version of the game during this trek beneath Baron:

Location:FFIVFFIV Easy TypeFFII
Old WaterwayHi-PotionHi-PotionCure2
Old WaterwayEtherEtherEther1
Old WaterwayZeus’ AngerRevive MedicineLife
B3FBronze Hourglass500 Gil500GP
B3FSpider WebRevive MedicineLife
B3FHermes ShoesRevive MedicineLife
B2FEtherEtherEther1
Save RoomAncient SwordCoral SwordAncient Sword

Unsurprisingly at this point, the special battle items were replaced with Revive Medicine/Life potions in Easy Type and the English version.

What’s most interesting, though, is that the Ancient Sword exists in the original version and the English version, but Easy Type has a different sword altogether! More on that below!

I think I'll hide treasure boxes under buildings if I ever make any buildingsI think I'll hide treasure boxes under buildings if I ever make any buildingsI think I'll hide treasure boxes under buildings if I ever make any buildings

Sword Switch

As we just saw, FFIV and the English release give you the “Ancient Sword” in this dungeon, but the Easy Type version of the game gives you the “Coral Sword”.

In FFIV and the English release, this sword can sometimes inflict the curse status on an enemy. This lowers various stats and such in ways that I forget, but it’s kind of neat when it works. It’s also effective against spirit or ghost enemies.

In FFIV Easy Type, this sword not only got renamed, its effects have been changed too. As you might expect from the name “Coral Sword”, this sword works well against water-elemental enemies. Which is handy, because you’re surrounded by water enemies at this point in the game, and you’re about to face a major water-elemental boss!

Besides that, the Coral Sword also has increased offense and accuracy. It doesn’t inflict the curse status ailment like the Ancient Sword, though.

I forgot to see if the swords look different in battle, oopsI forgot to see if the swords look different in battle, oopsI forgot to see if the swords look different in battle, oops

This is a Castle

We saw another instance of this earlier in the game, but here we see that Baron Castle is called “Baron Castle” in the Japanese versions but simply “Baron” in the English localization.

I remember being in awe that you could walk in water in this game and the water was sort of transparent. Oh, those days of going from the NES to the SNES were full of impressive things like that, huh?I remember being in awe that you could walk in water in this game and the water was sort of transparent. Oh, those days of going from the NES to the SNES were full of impressive things like that, huh?

A Class Act

Once Cecil’s party has successfully infiltrated the castle, Beigan/Baigan shows up and offers to join the party… But it’s a trick!

When I first played this game as a kid, I had to rent it from a store. This scene and the following battle was as far as I got my first time around, so it’s always held a special place in my heart. So let’s take a close look at it now!

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Sir Cecil!Cecil!
Beigan: You’re all right!Baigan: Cecil! Welcome back to Baron!
Cecil: Beigan! Don’t tell me you’re also…Cecil: Baigan! You aren’t controlled by Golbez!
Beigan: Whatever do you mean?Baigan: No way!
Cecil: Being controlled by Golbeza…
Beigan: Nonsense. My duty is to the Royal Guard.I am the Captain of the Guards.
No one can sway my loyalty to Baron!My loyalty to the state is unwavering!
Cecil: I heard that Cid’s been taken prisoner…
Beigan: I, too, came here with the rest of the Royal Guard to rescue him, but only I survived.
Cecil: I see. Come with us!Cecil: I see. Then come with us!
Having you at our side will be very reassuring!You can be of great help!
Beigan: Yes, sir!Baigan: Yes, sir!
Beigan, Head of the Royal Guard, joined the party!Chief Guard of Baron, Baigan joined!

There are a few points of interest here:

  • Cecil has the “Sir” dropped from his name again in the English localization.
  • In the English localization, Baigan welcomes him back to Baron. But, as explained in the Japanese version, he supposedly infiltrated the castle to save Cid too, but failed in the process. Of course that’s a lie, but it’s missing in the English localization entirely.
  • By this point, after both Kain and Yang have been turned against Cecil (although Yang’s better now), it’s clear that Golbez is controlling people. The English version gave this revelation away back in Fabul, but it isn’t until around this general point in the Japanese version that Cecil figures out what’s happening.
  • All mention of Cid being held prisoner here is missing in the English localization. Now that I think about it, as a kid I don’t think the idea of saving Cid was my main motivation for getting back into the castle – I think it was just because that’s where the key item said to go and because the castle guards had turned evil earlier. Maybe the rewriting in this scene is partly the reason for that.

After this scene, the party starts to walk toward the throne room, but Palom and Porom stop in their tracks.

Japanese Version (basic translation)Easy Type (basic translation)English Version
Cecil: What’s wrong?Cecil: What’s wrong?
Palom: It smells.Palom: …It smells!
Porom: It’s the smell of a monster!Porom: Like a monster!
Beigan: What? Where?Baigan: Where?
Palom: It stinks!Palom: Something’s fishy!
Porom: If you’re going to put on an act, you really should do a better job of it.Porom: Can’t you act a bit better?
Cecil: Golbeza has gotten to you too?!Cecil: What?!
Beigan: Oh, please don’t speak of him like that.
He has given me a wonderful gift, the kind man that he is.Baigan: I was given a great gift from my Master Golbez.
This magnificent power!I’ll show you!

Here’s what stands out about this particular exchange:

  • Palom’s line in Japanese literally translates to “It stinks!”, but in some contexts it can mean that something’s suspicious or iffy or seems off. So seeing the English translation say, “Something’s fishy!” here makes me very impressed!In fact, aside from the changes made to this whole scene, the English writing here is pretty good compared to other writing in the game. Based on this line and a few others, it feels like a native English speaker edited parts of this scene.
  • Porom’s line in the English version, “Can’t you act a bit better?” originally struck me as meaning “Can’t you behave better?” It wasn’t until subsequent playthroughs that I realized it was actual “acting” as in playing a fake role.Sometimes this sort of thing happens in translation, where a translated phrase can have unintended alternate interpretations, so it’s always important to watch out for this pitfall when translating. In this case it isn’t a huge deal, though.
  • Cecil’s reaction to realizing Baigan is a bad guy is changed slightly in the English localization. And then Baigan’s response to his reaction is removed entirely.
If he's fishy, he should be a fish monsterIf he's fishy, he should be a fish monster

Also, the J2E fan translation is infamous when it comes to this scene. Palom’s line about the bad acting was changed to say, “I think William Shatner is more convincing than you.”

Again, for what is supposed to be the definitive translation of Final Fantasy IV, there are some really major changes to the text. Changes that go way further than the official Super NES translation.

Also, for whatever reason, the fan translators not only over-localized this line, they changed the script order so that Porom talks about the bad acting first, so that Palom can end the discussion on this line. I’m actually surprised by that – it’s pretty uncommon to see anyone rearrange scripts in translation.

Baigan Wants a Hug

When fighting Baigan, you also have to fight his left and right arms. In the English version, they appear on the enemy list just as any normal enemy name would. In the Japanese versions, though, the arms’ names are slightly indented on the list, showing that they’re sub-enemies of the main enemy.

My guess is that this was because it takes more characters to write the names in English than in Japanese, so the indentation needed to be removed for them to fit.

I feel like there's probably a really simple trick to killing him that I've never figured out after all these years. I mostly just use Wall/Reflect on one of my guys then use strong spells on that guyI feel like there's probably a really simple trick to killing him that I've never figured out after all these years. I mostly just use Wall/Reflect on one of my guys then use strong spells on that guy

Faking It

After defeating Baigan and heading further into the eerily empty castle, Cecil finds the king in the throne room. While we’re still on the topic of the fan translation, let’s put it side-by-side with the other versions too!

Japanese Version (basic translation)Official TranslationJ2E Fan Translation
King Baron: Cecil! You’re unharmed!King: Cecil! I’m happy you returned.King Baron: Cecil, you’re safe!
You’ve grown quite strong, indeed.And I see you’ve become quite a warrior!
Cecil: Your Majesty….Cecil: Your Majesty…Cecil: Your Majesty…
King Baron: Your appearance is that of a Paladin.King: I see you’ve become Paladin.King Baron: But you’ve become a Paladin.
I see. So you’ve become a Paladin.But I do not like that.That makes me unhappy…
But that won’t do at all, being a Paladin.That’s not good, Cecil.
You traded your Darkness for Holy Light.
Cecil: Your Majesty…. No, Baron!Cecil: … King Baron?Cecil: King Baron?…
King Baron: Baron?King: Baron?King Baron: Baron?
Kukakakaka…. Who’s that?Who’s that?heh, heh… who’s that?
Oh, yes, now I remember.Oh… I remember!Oh yeah, I remember.
I believe he was the one who said he refused to give the kingdom to me, among other such things.He’s the fool who refused to surrender!He was that human with the overdeveloped sense of honor. He was an amusing one… He ‘would never turn over the country to such a fiend,’ and so on and so forth…
Oh, right, and then I took his place and pretended to be him….Oh, yes! And I took his place!Now what did I do with him…? Oh yeah, that’s right… I killed him!
Hyahyahya!Ha-hah-hah!Hee hee hee hee! Mwaa ha ha ha ha ha!!
Cecil: How dare you!Cecil: You!!Cecil: The King!! NO!!
King Baron: Do you want to meet him? Do you want to meet the king?King: Wanna see the King?King Baron: Want to meet him? Want to see the King?
Don’t worry! You’ll see him soon enough.Oh, I’ll see to that…
I don’t do things as pathetically as Scarmiglione.I’m not like Milon, see?I’m not as pathetic as Scarmiglione.
After all, he was so weak that it was a mystery how he managed to be one of the Four Heavenly Kings.I’m surprised that he made it as one of the Four Fiends of Elements!It’s a miracle that a carrion-eating animated corpse like him was one of us four.
Guhehehehe!Heh heh heh heh heh!
Cecil: Then, you’re also…?!Cecil: Then you are…Cecil: Then you’re…!
The king then transforms into a monster
King Baron: Indeed! I am one of Golbeza’s Four Heavenly Kings, Cagnazzo of Water!King: Indeed! I am the Fiend of Water Kainazzo!King Baron: Indeed! I am one of Golbeze’s Four Emperors, Cagnazzo of Water!

Oh, man, at a glance that looks like some kind of brain-teaser puzzle or something. I’m not even sure where to start, so let’s just dive into the points of interest – we’ll start by comparing the two official scripts:

  • As seen before, the official translation just calls the king “King” rather than “King Baron”. This usually wouldn’t be any cause for note at all, but in this scene Cecil actually decides to simply call him “Baron” at one point in the original Japanese script.By calling him “Baron!” like this in Japanese, he’s indicating that he suspects the king isn’t the real king or is at least through obeying the king. In the English translation, Cecil simply says, “King Baron?” which seems to indicate confusion rather than suspicion or dissent.
  • Some lines were removed in the official translation.
  • Also, a line was added to the English translation that wasn’t in the original.
  • The official translation has some grammar issues, like, “I see you’ve become Paladin.” I was actually going to say that was a really nice translation choice for that line until I saw the grammar issue there.
  • Most of the king’s laughs are missing in the English translation.One thing that might be worth noting is that it’s very common in Japanese entertainment to give unique laughing styles to different characters, but this is always really hard to put into English without seeming really weird. It can be a translation nightmare – I remember that trying to keep track of all the laughing styles in the One Piece anime was a crazy experience, for example.
     
    Anyway, in this particular case, some of the king’s laughs have a sort of eerie, inhuman vibe to them.
  • The king talks in a pretty unusual, king-like way sometimes in the Japanese text of this scene. So seeing the English translation use things like “wanna” is pretty strange.
  • This water fiend’s name comes from Dante’s famous “Divine Comedy”. In this case, it’s a reference to “Cagnazzo”, one of the twelve Malebranche. I’m guessing the official translators weren’t aware of this and went with their best guess on how to spell the name in English.
  • As seen before, the four fiends are called something like the “Four Heavenly Kings” in Japanese. It sounds cool in Japanese but not so cool in English, so I’m glad they changed it in the official translation. I might’ve suggested something more like “Four Elemental Fiends” rather than “Four Fiends of Elements”, though.
  • There are other nuance changes in the text that are too minor to point out one by one.

True to its goal, the fan translation fixes a number of the issues found in the official translation. But it makes up quite a bit of stuff too, which is where things start to get messy.

It’s true that localization means straying from the source material, but generally only when it makes sense to. Changing things willy-nilly or out of personal feelings for the source material is understandable – but there comes a point where you can no longer call it a translation or a localization. Which is fine, except the creators of this patch led everyone to believe it was the best and closest translation of the game ever made.

Basically, we can see in this scene that the fan translation has its good points and its bad points. Here’s a quick summary:

Good points

  • Lines weren’t removed from the script.
  • The laughter was kept in and handled nicely.
  • The general tone of the fake king’s text gets closer to the original script than the official translation. It succeeds in giving the fake king a nice, weird vibe. The fake king’s tone also doesn’t veer off into casual style with things like “wanna”.
  • When not overly-edited or altered, the text is well-translated.
  • The fan translation properly catches the Divine Comedy reference. Indeed, if there’s ever been something that fan translators REALLY excel at, it’s doing research.

Bad points

  • Things are changed or made up out of nowhere for no real reason.
  • Over-writing – this is extremely common among inexperienced translators. Whether it’s done on purpose or not, you’ll often see inexperienced translators use fancy writing or fancy words to compensate for their lack of skill. If you’ve ever seen a fan translation and thought, “Man, why does this character talk like a thesaurus?” this is probably why.
  • The fan translation sometimes isn’t a translation at all and is just a rewritten version of the official translation. That’s why there’s a line in both the official translation and the fan translation that wasn’t in the original script at all.
  • Although it’s a silly thing to point out on this list, there’s a capitalization error in one of the lines.

I guess the main thing I wanted to accomplish by showing the fan translation side-by-side with these other versions is that the fan translation is actually pretty good when it’s just trying to translate the text. But the fan translation also tends to go off and do its own thing. In doing so, it isn’t quite a translation or a localization – it becomes some kind of strange fan creation all its own.

Anyway, like I said, this particular scene is pretty tame example; I wanted to show that although the fan translation is amateur and sometimes over-the-top, it does have its merits and good qualities that improve over the official translation too. The fan translators just needed more experience and discipline.

That, and it seems like there were too many people on the team, each with different, competing goals. One of them seemed to just try to take the official translation and punch it up, for example, while it seems like someone else on the team genuinely tried to retranslate from scratch. And then possibly someone else tried to merge it all together while adding in a dash of 90s era Working Designs-esque localization.

I feel kinda bad picking apart the fan translation like this, but I do hope it'll get people to look at fan translations with a more critical eye rather than accept them with blind faith. In fact, all translations should be seen that way, official or unofficial.I feel kinda bad picking apart the fan translation like this, but I do hope it'll get people to look at fan translations with a more critical eye rather than accept them with blind faith. In fact, all translations should be seen that way, official or unofficial.I feel kinda bad picking apart the fan translation like this, but I do hope it'll get people to look at fan translations with a more critical eye rather than accept them with blind faith. In fact, all translations should be seen that way, official or unofficial.

Whew! While we’re at it, let’s take a look at the PlayStation translation too!

Japanese Version (basic translation)PlayStation translation
King Baron: Cecil! You’re unharmed!King: Cecil!? You ingrate!
You’ve grown quite strong, indeed.How dare you renounce the dark sword without my authority!?
Cecil: Your Majesty….
King Baron: Your appearance is that of a Paladin.
I see. So you’ve become a Paladin.
But that won’t do at all, being a Paladin.
Cecil: Your Majesty…. No, Baron!Cecil: …How dare YOU renounce your duty to your people, “Your Majesty”!
King Baron: Baron? Kukakakaka…. Who’s that?King: Your who?
Oh, yes, now I remember. I believe he was the one who said he refused to give the kingdom to me, among other such things.Oh, you must mean the old duffer who refused to surrender this kingdom.
Oh, right, and then I took his place and pretended to be him…. Hyahyahya!Kahaha, I must say I’ve enjoyed impersonating him.
Cecil: How dare you!Cecil: What have you done with the king!?
King Baron: Do you want to meet him? Do you want to meet the king?King: You’ll see him soon enough.
I don’t do things as pathetically as Scarmiglione.Oh, and give my regards to Milon when you see him in hell.
After all, he was so weak that it was a mystery how he managed to be one of the Four Heavenly Kings.That weakling never deserved to be one of the Four Fiends of Elements.
Guhehehehe!
Cecil: Then, you’re also…?!Cecil: !?
The king then transforms into a monster
King Baron: Indeed! I am one of Golbeza’s Four Heavenly Kings, Cagnazzo of Water!King: Behold! I am the Devil of Water, Cagnazzo!

Whoa, whatever I said about the fan translation, multiply it by five and you have the PlayStation translation!

The bad news is that the PlayStation translation was the basis for the GBA translation, which was in turn the basis for other versions. Things in the script were fixed little by little with each new iteration, but in all honesty the PlayStation translation feels more like an episode of MXC than an actual translation or an actual localization.

I kind of want to MXC-ify this game's script, now that I think about it. I think that'd be hilarious if done right

Litting Up the Barrier

In battle, Cagnazzo sometimes stops to charge up a water technique. If you hit him with a lightning spell or item during this time, it’ll stop Cagnazzo’s technique and display a message.

In the English translation it says, “The Lit scared him!”

In the original Japanese text, it actually says, “The lightning element shattered the barrier!”

I’m not sure how it’s translated in other versions, but I assume it’s been changed to something closer to the original text.

I think the PSX version has some weird stuff for this battle text but I don't have any pics or any way to access that part of the gameI think the PSX version has some weird stuff for this battle text but I don't have any pics or any way to access that part of the game

Cranky Cid

After Cagnazzo is defeated, Cid barges into the throne room:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Why, you! You lousy fake King Baron!You imposter!
Cid: How dare you stick me in that musty place!Cid: You are gonna pay for putting me in that smelly joint!
I’m gonna kick your butt!
H-huh?Wha…t?
Cecil: Cid!Cecil: Cid!
Cid: Oh, Cecil! You’re alive!Cid: Oh! Cecil!
You had me worried, you jerk….!
Cecil: I’m sorry.
Cid: Where’s Rosa!?Where is Rosa?
She ran off, saying you were alive, but….She ran after you.
Cecil: She’s been taken captive by Golbeza….Cecil: Golbez took her…
Cid: And you let that happen? How deplorable!
Still, that Golbeza….Cid: Golbez…
First he uses my beloved airships for terrible things, and now he messes with Rosa?!abused my airship and now Rosa!
Tella: The girl is in danger. Take us to an airship or whatever at once!Tellah: We must rescue her. Lead us to the airship!
Cid: Who’s THIS old geezer?Cid: Who is this strange old man?
Tella: You’re no one to talk!Tellah: What!? How about yourself?
Cid: I’M still young!Cid: I’m still young!
Porom: Now, now….Porom: Oh, please stop.
Sir Cid, yes? This is Master Tella. He’s a great sage.Mr. Cid, this is Master Tellah, a great sage.
Porom: This is Sir Yang, the chief Monk-Priest of Fabul.Porom: This is Yang, the Karate Master of Fabul.
I’m Porom, a wizard-in-training from Mysidia.And I’m Porom. A white wizard of Mysidia.
Palom: Heh! You’re both geezers!Palom: Hi, guys!
Porom: The foul-mouthed one is my twin, Palom.Porom: That is my twin brother Palom.
Palom: Hmph! Look at you, acting all goody-two-shoes!Palom: Yeah!
Yang: It is a pleasure to make your aquaintance. We must hurry, for it is dangerous here.Yang: I am glad to meet you, sir.
Cid: You sure know your manners, you do!Cid: Well! He knows some manners!
Cecil: Cid. Where exactly is the new-model airship?Cecil: Where is the latest airship?
Cid: Heheheh….Cid: Well!
Cid: Somewhere nooooo one will find it!Cid: Where nobody would suspect!
I worked a little of my workmanship magic in advance!
Tella: As I’ve said, we’ve no time to waste!Tellah: We have no time!
Rosa’s life hangs in the balance, you know!
Cid: All right, already! Geez, you’re one naggy old geezer! Okay, it’s this way!Cid: Oh, be quiet and follow me!

The big things to take away here are:

  • A number of lines are completely missing in the English release.
  • Palom’s rudeness and big-headed attitude are taken out of the English translation for some reason.
  • Porom says she’s a wizard-in-training or a wizard apprentice in the Japanese version, while in the English translation she calls herself a full-fledged “white wizard”.
  • The Easy Type script has a tiny, tiny change in a sentence in this scene that doesn’t really change anything in the meaning or translation. It’s just a style thing to make things clearer for Japanese readers, I guess.

I will say that the English translation does some nice rewording in places to make things sound more natural. Which is actually a surprising thing to say, given everything we’ve looked at so far!

In particular, I like how the translation was able to keep a tiny bit of Cid’s personality in the text; it would’ve been extremely easy to accidentally translate his text with a standard, style-less text that sounds like every other character. Whether by accident or not, many characters in the game get this standard-ization treatment in the translation, but Cid is an exception.

Someone should make a drink called Cid Cider, and there'll be a slight variation on the drink for each Cid in each gameSomeone should make a drink called Cid Cider, and there'll be a slight variation on the drink for each Cid in each gameSomeone should make a drink called Cid Cider, and there'll be a slight variation on the drink for each Cid in each game

That said, sometimes it’s possible to go TOO far with speech styles. The PlayStation translation does this with Cid. It’s hard to explain, though. You know how people sometimes go crazy with the lens flare filter when using Photoshop? That’s the same sort of feeling I get here – like someone just went way overboard with things.

The fan translation continues with its bizarre localization choices in this scene, too. In one line, Cid says, “I’m gonna get medieval on your ass!” Which is a quote from the Quentin Tarantino movie “Pulp Fiction”.

This is another in a line of pop culture references the fan translators inserted into the game for whatever reason. These references in the fan translation actually gave some players the mistaken impression that the Japanese version had cultural references of its own. So, just to be clear, there were no pop culture references in the Japanese script to begin with.

It’s mystifying, though, because later in this scene the fan translation does a great job with the writing. Here’s a great example:

But, wait, they’ve apparently inserted another pop culture reference into the script shortly after. Or, at least what seems to be one… I’m not sure WHICH one this is referencing, I’m guessing it’s the Saturday Night Live skit/movie that was popular around the time this fan translation was made.

Again, this treatment really does remind me of how Working Designs handled the Lunar games and such back in the 90s too.

Twin Stones

After leaving the throne room, suddenly the party is trapped in a room as Cagnazzo’s voice thunders from nowhere in particular:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Kukakaka….Hee-hee-hee…
To think that you would defeat ME.I didn’t expect you to defeat me…
But I get lonely oh-so-easily, you see.
Kukakaka…
I, Cagnazzo of Water, am all the more powerful in death! Die as you savor my horror!But this does not mean anything to this Kainazzo…
I’ll be waiting for you in hell!Why don’t you accompany me to the Dark World!
Hehhehheh!Hee-hah-hah!

There are a quite a few changes here:

  • A few lines are missing in the English translation.
  • The line about being more powerful in death is missing in the English translation. This line actually goes in parallel with a similar line Scarmiglione said too, so this is a connection that was lost in translation.
  • ”Hell” was changed to “Dark World”. I always felt that this sort of write-around was lazy, even when I was a kid. Even just something like “afterlife” or “netherworld” would sound better than “Dark World”, you know?Actually, that’s a good exercise – what are some other, better ways of saying, “I’ll see you in hell!” without saying “hell” or “death”? Let me know, I’m curious to know what other ideas people can come up with!
Aww, he just doesn't want to be lonely? *sadface*Aww, he just doesn't want to be lonely? *sadface*Aww, he just doesn't want to be lonely? *sadface*

The walls in the room suddenly start to close in!

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Tella: The walls!Tellah: Walls!
Cid: The door’s locked!Cid: It’s locked!
Tella: This one too!Tellah: This one too!
Palom and Porom nod to each other and approach the walls
Cecil: Palom! Porom!Cecil: Palom! Porom!
Palom: Thanks a bunch, dude!Palom: Thanks, dude!
Porom: It was as if I’d gained a big brother! It made me very happy!Porom: We loved to be with all of you!
Tella: What are you two doing?!Cecil: What…
Palom: We won’t let you guys get killed here!Palom: You won’t be stuck in a place like this!
Porom: Master Tella! Please take care of Mr. Cecil!Porom: Please look after Cecil, Master Tellah!
Palom: Here goes, Porom!Palom: Ready, Porom?
Porom: Right!Porom: Yes!
Cecil: Stop!Cecil: Wait!
…NO!!
Doooon’t!!
Palom & Porom: Break!Palom and Porom: STONE!!
The twins turn to stone and stop the walls from moving
Cecil: Palom…. Porommm!!Cecil: Palom! ……Porom!!
Tella: You just had to act so rashly….!Tellah: What a rash thing to do……
Hold on!
Esuna!……HEAL!
There’s no effect, as they’ve been turned to stone of their own will….No effect. They have become stone by their will.
Tella: Fools! If anyone should’ve died, it should’ve been this old geezer!Tellah: Fools! An old man should fulfill his share first!
Yang: Such young children….!Yang: Oh, children…
Tella: I WILL get revenge!Tellah: I shall avenge!
Cid: The battle for vengeance is on!Cid: I’ll avenge you!
Let’s take the Enterprise out!!To the Enterprise!
Cecil: Wait for me….Cecil: Wait for me.
Golbeza….!Golbez…!

So, in the Japanese version, we see that Porom reveals that she’s grown to see Cecil as a big brother figure to her. This bit of character development is completely missing in the English translation.

Strangely enough, the English version adds some stuff for Cecil when he tries to stop Palom and Porom. And, for some reason, a similar line spoken by Tellah in the Japanese version was changed into a Cecil line in the English release. How odd.

The spell in the game that petrifies enemies is called “Break” in the Japanese version, but is called “Stone” in the English translation. That change is reflected in the scripts for this scene – it would’ve been weird for them to yell “Break” in the English translation when no “Break” spell existed, you know? So the translators did a good job of keeping things consistent.

Similarly, the ailment-removing spell is called “Esuna” in Japanese but “Heal” in English. This, too, was changed in the English script for this scene.

And, of course, we can’t overlook the “kill” reference being changed to, “You won’t be stuck in a place like this!”

There are some more minor nuance things too, like Tellah’s line after the twins turn to stone – the Japanese line is said with a little bit of anger. The English line seems more like he’s just sad and quiet. In fact, he’s even missing a line in the English translation.

Another thing is that although Cecil technically does say “Wait for me…” at the end of the scene, in this context this Japanese phrase is more akin to “I’m coming for you…”

What is it about the word 'esuna' that Japanese game creators love so much? Why is it used so much? Is it backward for something? Nasue? Anuse? If you have any ideas, let me know!What is it about the word 'esuna' that Japanese game creators love so much? Why is it used so much? Is it backward for something? Nasue? Anuse? If you have any ideas, let me know!

Meanwhile, in the Secret Lair

At this point, another scene begins. Kain and Golbez talk while Rosa is tied up.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Golbeza: So, he has defeated Cagnazzo as well.Golbez: Seems like Kainazzo has been defeated…
He appears to have grown considerably stronger, indeed…
Cain: About the remaining crystal….Kain: About the last crystal…
Golbeza: I know…. However, that location is rather troublesome.Golbez: I know… but it is a problem.
Cain: Why don’t you have Cecil retrieve it, then?Kain: How about if we let Cecil get it for you?
Golbeza: Him, huh…Golbez: Cecil…?
Cain: We have Rosa.Kain: We have Rosa.
What do you say we exchange her for the crystal?We can exchange her for the last crystal.
Golbeza: Interesting…. I like it.Golbez: That’s an idea.
And then that’s when we’ll dispose of him….We can do away with him then……
Cain: I will go and tell him, then.Kain: I’ll be the messenger.
Rosa: Cain!Rosa: Kain!
Cain: I’ll show you that I’m better than that lousy Cecil.Kain: I’ll show you that I’m better than your sweet Cecil!

Here’s a look at some of the most noteworthy changes and differences in this short scene:

  • One of Golbez’s lines is missing in the English translation.
  • In the English translation, Golbez simply says that the last crystal “is a problem”. It took me a while to piece together what he was talking about when I first played the game in English.In the Japanese script, it’s clearly stated that the location of the crystal is what’s problematic – namely, it would be tough for anyone to venture into the magnetic cave where the crystal is being held.
  • Kain’s final line is changed in the English version to have more romantic jealousy than what’s in the original Japanese line. There’s no mention of “sweet Cecil” or anything like that – Kain literally just says “better” or “above” in the Japanese version.
I honestly think the game would've been better without this scene. Most of the other plotting and scheming in the game wasn't telegraphed like this - before, you encountered schemes and met with total surprise. Now it's just weird and inconsistent.I honestly think the game would've been better without this scene. Most of the other plotting and scheming in the game wasn't telegraphed like this - before, you encountered schemes and met with total surprise. Now it's just weird and inconsistent.

The Hidden Ship

The scene now dramatically switches back to Cecil and friends, who are on their way to Cid’s hidden airship. Cid faces what appears to be a normal wall… but it’s not!

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Cecil: HERE?Cecil: It’s a surprise.
Cid: Right under everyone’s noses!Cid: They obviously didn’t understand!
The party goes through a secret wall and boards a hidden airship
Yang: To think it was in a place like this….Yang: What a surprise!
Tella: Incredible!Tellah: Amazing!
Cid: Sorry to keep you waiting, Enterprise! Let’sa go!Cid: Let’s go now, Enterprise!

Some of the lines in the scene never quite made sense to me when I played the English translation as a kid. Looking at the Japanese text, I can see why – this scene was definitely overlooked during the editing phase.

My guess is this is because this scene’s text is stored in a separate, random block all by itself, which is extremely common in games. Whatever the case, this has all the hallmarks of a non-native English speaker trying to translate something into English.

”It’s a surprise.” “What a surprise!” is a charmingly silly exchange, though.

Also, Cid’s final line in the Japanese text is basically, “Let’s go!” with a little bit of a non-standard flair added to it.

At last this scene makes some sense! It was right under my nose the whole time!At last this scene makes some sense! It was right under my nose the whole time!

A Courteous Visit

The Enterprise takes off. Another airship quickly approaches.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Cid: Here they come already!Cid: Here they come!
Let’s show ’em what the Enterprise is made of!Let’s see the power of this Enterprise!
Cecil: Wait!Cecil: Wait!
Yang: That’s…Yang: White flag…
Tella: A white flag?Tellah: for surrender…?

There’s nothing too much here, but let’s quickly take a look anyway:

  • Cid wants to “show” what the Enterprise can do in the Japanese version, but wants to “see” what it can do in the English version. There’s not a huge difference, but the English version does give the connotation that even he’s not sure what the Enterprise, his latest airship, is capable of.
  • The meaning of the white flag is spelled out for the player in the English translation. The Japanese text assumes that the player already knows that white flags are equated with surrendering or non-hostility. Maybe the translator thought the North American target audience might not know this.
  • Tellah’s line in the English translation should probably be capitalized.
Japan's flag is mostly white. Does that mean anything?Japan's flag is mostly white. Does that mean anything?

After this, the two airships line up and Kain approaches Cecil aboard a bridge of some sort.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Cecil: Cain!Cecil: Kain!
Cain: So you’re alive, Cecil.Kain: You are alive…
Cid: Cain! What is the meaning of this?!Cid: What do you think you’re doing, Kain?
Cecil: Rosa… She’s all right, I hope?Cecil: How is Rosa?
Cain: Heh. So you ARE worried?Kain: Worried?
If you value Rosa’s life, you’ll give us Troia’s Earth Crystal in exchange for her.If you want her back, get me the Crystal of Earth.
Cecil: What?Cecil: Crystal of Earth? …Of Toroia?
Tella: Of all the detestable things…!Tellah: Dirty slime!
Cain: I’ll make contact with you again once you have it….Kain: I’ll exchange her with the crystal.
Do you understand?! You’d better do it!
If you have any concern for Rosa’s safety, that is.Crystal or Rosa’s life!
Yang: Why, you….!Yang: You…!
Cain starts to walk away
Cecil: Come to your senses, Cain!Cecil: Wake up, Kain!
Cain: That is all I have to say.Kain: That’s all.

Now this is a little more interesting to dig into:

  • Various lines and parts of lines have been removed.
  • The kingdom of Troia is mentioned here. This name can be spelled many different ways, it looks like the English translation went with “Toroia”, which is probably the safest choice. Later translations went with “Troia”, though.
  • In the Japanese version, Kain explains that the Earth Crystal belongs to the Troia kingdom. But in the English translation, things are changed around for some reason and it’s Cecil who explains this fact.
  • I really like Tellah’s translation of “Dirty slime!” Nice one, whoever did that line!
  • Kain specifically says he (or they) will make contact again once Cecil has the crystal. This is missing in the English translation. In a weird way I kind of like it like that; Kain suddenly talking after you get the crystal made the bad guys seem especially almighty and all-knowing when I first played the game as a kid.
  • ”Crystal or Rosa’s life!” has that non-native vibe to it. It and a few other instances here also make me think they needed to pare down the text to fit within certain memory limits.

Unsurprisingly, the PlayStation and GBA translations fluff things up a bit in this scene. As an example, Kain comments on Cecil looking like a crossdresser in the PlayStation version: “Heh! That drag suits you well.”

Overall, the GBA translation is based on the PlayStation translation but has some changes of its own. Here we see that the crossdressing reference was toned down to, “Heh! So you’re still among the living.” Even with this “fix”, I still feel this wasn’t the spirit of his character in the original scene, though.

The PlayStation and GBA scripts have all sorts of similar things like this throughout the game, but I don’t have the energy to point out every single one, so the above is just a tiny, tiny sample.

Oh, PlayStation translator. I bet you had a lot of funOh, PlayStation translator. I bet you had a lot of fun

Actually, since we’ve already spent so much time looking at the fan translation during this part of the game, let’s check out how it handles this scene too:

Japanese Version (basic translation)J2E Fan Translation
Cecil: Cain!Cecil: Cain!
Cain: So you’re alive, Cecil.Cain: So you’re still alive, Cecil.
Cid: Cain! What is the meaning of this?!Cid: Cain, what the hell do you think you’re doing!? What do you want?
Cecil: Rosa… She’s all right, I hope?Cecil: Rosa had better be safe…is she?
Cain: Heh. So you ARE worried?Cain: So you really are worried about your little whore, aren’t you?
If you value Rosa’s life, you’ll give us Troia’s Earth Crystal in exchange for her.If you want to see her again…alive… you’ll have to trade her for the Earth Crystal of Toroia.
Cecil: What?Cecil: What!?
Tella: Of all the detestable things…!Tella: You coward!
Cain: We’ll make contact with you again once you have it….Cain: When you get it, I’ll contact you.
Do you understand?! You had better get it!You’d better get it, understand?
If you have any concern for Rosa’s safety, that is.If you really care about Rosa, that is.
Yang: Why, you….!Yang: You son of a bitch!
Cain starts to walk away
Cecil: Come to your senses, Cain!Cecil: Cain! Come to your senses!
Cain: That is all I have to say.Cain: That’s all I have to say.

The fan translation definitely relied too much on adding swearing in there unnecessarily. I cannot, at all, see Yang saying, “You son of a bitch!”

And Cain calling Rosa a whore? Where did that come from? Yikes.

Both sides are lobbing such harsh insults back and forth that they should just start throwing F-bombs at this rateBoth sides are lobbing such harsh insults back and forth that they should just start throwing F-bombs at this rate

I assume the fan translators decided to go with “son of a bitch” for Yang’s line because he says “kisama”… which is a rude version of “you” that we’ve encountered several times in the script before. Each time, the fan translators felt the need to hit the “maximum rudeness button” and insert swearing.

It’s an amateur mistake to translate every rude or improper pronoun as a swear, though. Here are some perfectly acceptable translations that they could have used instead:

  • Curse you!
  • You wretch!
  • Why, you…!

Sometimes it IS okay to use swearing in translation, but it has to be for a good reason. In this instance, Yang’s “disgust” is the key point that needs to be conveyed. Swearing isn’t necessary for this, plus it doesn’t suit his character at all.

In fact, the GBA translation handles this pretty well and actually goes with, “Why, you…!” too.

Fly Away

After Kain leaves, Cecil and his companions sulk for a tiny bit and then get started on their next goal.

FFIV (basic translation)FFIV Easy Type (basic translation)Final Fantasy II (Super NES)
Yang: Sir Cecil….Yang: Sir Cecil….Yang: Cecil…
Cid: That lousy Cain….!Cid: That lousy Cain….!Cid: That Kain…
Cecil: Let’s go to Troia…. Cid. Set a course to the northwest….!Cecil: Cid…. let’s go to Troia!Cecil: Cid… Let’s go to Toroia!
Cid: Right!
You can board this airship by standing on it and pressing the A-Button.Cid: When you want to get on an Airship, move onto it and push A-Button.
After boarding, you can move it by using the control pad.After it rises up in the air, you can move it by using the Control Pad.
When getting off, you can land where the shadow is by pressing the A-Button.Watch the shadow to see where to land.
You can’t land on mountains, forests, deserts, and other such things, though.But you can’t land on forests, mountains, and deserts.
All right! Let’s go to Troia!Let’s go to Toroia!
It’s to the northwest, was it?!It’s the northwest!

As you can see, the Easy Type and English versions of the game have added information on how to use the airship. The original game just sort of assumes you can figure it out since it’s not all that different from riding Chocobos or using the hovercraft.

There are a few things that interest me, though:

  • The list of things you can’t land on was rearranged for the English translation. I’m not sure why – and it’s not a big deal, of course – but it caught my eye anyway.
  • The phrase, “It’s the northwest!” is pretty funny for some reason. The Japanese phrasing actually makes it clear that it’s in the northwest “direction”. I guess this strange phrasing was due to non-native English writing.
  • Capitalizing “Airship” seems odd.
  • Translating it as “When you want to get on an airship” rather than “this airship” gives the unintended impression that players will encounter multiple airships in the game. It’s not a huge spoiler or anything, but it does give away advance information without meaning to.
OH MY GOD THE GAME SPOILED THE GAME I CAN'T PLAY THIS GAME ANYMOREOH MY GOD THE GAME SPOILED THE GAME I CAN'T PLAY THIS GAME ANYMOREOH MY GOD THE GAME SPOILED THE GAME I CAN'T PLAY THIS GAME ANYMORE

For reference, the PlayStation and GBA versions don’t include these extra instructions.

That's some pretty sloppy text formatting in the GBA versionThat's some pretty sloppy text formatting in the GBA version