Final Fantasy IV Translation Comparison: Mt. Hobs

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West Next Exit

OH MY GOD THEY TOOK OUT THE WORD EXIT QUICK LET'S DO A FAN TRANSLATIONOH MY GOD THEY TOOK OUT THE WORD EXIT QUICK LET'S DO A FAN TRANSLATION

Similar to back in the underground water vein dungeon, the name of this location is ever-so-slightly different.

In Japanese it’s called “Hobs Mountain, West Exit”.

In English it’s called “Mt. Hobs-West”.

“Hobs” could actually be spelled many other ways, but to the best of my knowledge there’s no clear reason to pick one over any others. So “Hobs” it is!

So Brave

Doing these cut scene comparisons is very time consuming but not as long as it used to be, coolDoing these cut scene comparisons is very time consuming but not as long as it used to be, cool

As soon as you enter Mt. Hobs, a short scene begins. It’s slightly different in Japanese and English, so let’s take a look:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Rosa: Rydia. Try casting Fire.Rosa: Cast the spell of Fire, Rydia.
Rydia: …Rydia: ……
Gilbert: Rydia?Edward: Rydia……
Rosa: I’m certain that you can do it!Rosa: You can do it, Rydia!
Rydia: …No.Rydia: …No.
Rosa: ?Rosa: ?
Rydia: I hate flames!Rydia: I hate fire!
Cecil: Oh… It’s because of that Bomb Ring’s flames that Mist was…Cecil: She’s afraid of fire because her village was destroyed in a fire…
Rosa: Listen, Rydia. You’re the only one here right now with the power to melt this ice.Rosa: Listen, Rydia. You’re the only one who can melt this ice.
Rydia: …Rydia: ……
Rosa: If we don’t melt the ice here and go to Fabul, even more people will meet terrible fates…Rosa: If we can’t get through here to Fabul, more people will be in danger……
Please… Be brave!
Gilbert: Brave…Edward: Please…
Rosa: Rydia! Please!Rosa: Please, Rydia!
Gilbert: Please, Rydia!
Cecil: …Cecil: ……
Rydia: …Rydia: ……
……
Rydia: Fire!Rydia: Fire!

There are a few tiny points of note here:

  • Cecil mentions specifically the Bomb Ring and the village of Mist in the Japanese text. He also doesn’t finish his sentence, which is common in Japanese but it seems like he’s been hesitating whenever talking about Mist lately, not just here. The English text sort of simplifies it all in a matter-of-fact way.
  • Rosa tries to help Rydia get the courage to overcome her trauma in the Japanese text, the “Be brave!” line, for example. In the English text it’s mostly just begging and there’s nothing about Rydia needing to be brave.
  • In response to Rosa’s “Be brave” line, Edward says, “Brave…” assumedly because what Anna told him in the Japanese text is still on his mind. This too is gone from the English text.
  • In general, I felt like the Japanese text – and the way it was presented/timed – gave the scene a much more dramatic effect.

It’s such a short, simple scene that the changes don’t really matter too much, though.

I should also mention that after this scene, it says that Rydia learned “Fire” in Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy IV Easy Type, and it says that she learned “Fire1” in Final Fantasy II.

The actual spell is called “Fire 1” in Easy Type though, so it’s interesting to see how Final Fantasy II is doing its own thing yet again.

Praise Be Unto You

Is this how Firestarter begins?Is this how Firestarter begins?

After Rydia melts the ice, a super-short scene takes place:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Gilbert: You’re amazing, Rydia!Edward: Great, Rydia!
Rydia: Ehheh…Rydia: ……
Rosa: Thank you, Rydia!Rosa: Thank you, Rydia!

The difference here is Rydia’s response. In the English text, you’d think she’s still sad or depressed or not very happy with how Edward has responded.

In the Japanese text, she’s actually making the happy sound a little kid might make after being praised. Just reading it in Japanese, I can practically hear and see her smiling.

The problem is is that it’s hard to come up with something similar in English writing, so that’s probably why the translator just turned it into “……”

So, anyway, just know that Rydia’s happy!

Unboxing

DENTAL PLANDENTAL PLANDENTAL PLAN

There aren’t many treasure chests on Mt. Hobs, but a few of them did get changed:

Location:Final Fantasy IVFinal Fantasy IV Easy TypeFinal Fantasy II
Save areaGold NeedleHeal-All MedicineHeal
Save area960 Gil350 Gil350 GP

I’m still not sure why the versions that are meant to be easier actually give you less money in all these treasure chests.

Invisible Wall

There's a thing like this in the snow level of Contra too, I like to show it off too. If I ever do a Contra comparison I'm sure I'll touch on that subject tooThere's a thing like this in the snow level of Contra too, I like to show it off too. If I ever do a Contra comparison I'm sure I'll touch on that subject too

This is just a silly thing, but when I played this game to death as a kid I sometimes wondered why a tile on Mt. Hobs that looks like it’s walkable is actually treated as a wall.

After checking things out, it seems that this same “invisible wall tile” exists in all three games.

Sick Karate

So basically Bruce Lee is the reason these video game people wound up sneezing all over American TVsSo basically Bruce Lee is the reason these video game people wound up sneezing all over American TVs

At the top of the mountain we find a mysterious martial artist fighting off monsters.

In English, he keeps saying, “ACHOOOOOO!” before doing his attacks.

I remember finding this hilarious as a kid. I honestly thought it was some kind of weird martial art invented by the game, and that it was a sort of catchphrase or badge of pride worn by people who knew this martial art.

Once I learned Japanese, I realized this is not the case at all.

In the Japanese text, he actually just says, “Hahh!” As in a generic fighting sound.

So where the heck did “ACHOOOO” come from?

First, it wasn’t meant to be pronounced like the sneezing sound. It was meant to said like “Ah-choh”. It rhymes with “nacho”.

Second, you know how in English-language kung fu movies and karate movies and stuff, people go, “Hiyaaaaa!” when doing kicks and stuff?

Well, in Japanese, the sound used for that same thing is “Acho!” I think this was probably popularized by Bruce Lee movies some decades earlier. Here are some random sound clips from some of his movies:

If you listen for it, it does sound kind of like “Acho!” whenever he does stuff!

So the question now is: why did this “ACHOOOO!” stuff get into the English translation when the original Japanese text just had “Hahh!”?

The only answer I can think of is that a non-native English speaker did this translation, trying to hopefully localize it for English speakers since “Hahh!” by itself looks kind of strange in English. Except the translator didn’t realize that different languages have different sound effect words for this sort of thing. Similar to how cats don’t go “meow” in Japanese.

I don’t know how this was handled in other translations of the game. Did “ACHOO” become iconic enough like “spoony bard” to remain in some translations? Let me know!

Yang and the Japanese People

If you take the g off of random English words it sometimes causes unexpected funIf you take the g off of random English words it sometimes causes unexpected fun

Once the battle between the martial artist and the monsters begins, we see that the guy is named “Yan” in Japanese but “Yang” in English. What gives? Where’d the “g” come from?

It’s actually pretty common for Chinese and other Asian names that end with an “n” like this in Japanese to end with “ng” in English. Names like “Wong” and “Chang” are usually more like “Won” and “Chan” in Japanese.

It all boils down to the fact that those languages convert into Japanese and English in slightly different ways.

For reference, the Japanese manual spells his name in English as “Yang” too:

I’m really liking the skills of whoever did these English names for the Japanese manuals – they clearly had some experience in this field or at least put a lot of work into it.

A Mother Series

Ooh what a MILFOoh what a MILF

The boss you fight on Mt. Hobs is called “MomBomb” in English. I always thought this was a silly name when I was a kid.

It turns out that the name isn’t that different in Japanese – it’s called “Mother Bomb” in Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy IV Easy Type.

So it looks like “Mom” was just a shortening of “Mother” here.

Mommy why are you exploding?Mommy why are you exploding?

After you pound on the boss for a while, a text box appears warning you of an explosion about to happen.

In Japanese, it’s sort of playful in tone, something like, “Gonna explooooode!”

In English, it just says, “Exploding!” Which always confused me, because the boss isn’t exploding when the text pops up, and it doesn’t explode until a little more time has passed.

Judging from the Japanese text, it sounds like it’s the boss that’s saying this line. The English text doesn’t make anything clear and it gets the tense wrong.

Mr. Karate Man

Karate is one of those words that even though I know the American pronunciation is wrong I still HAVE to pronounce it the American wayKarate is one of those words that even though I know the American pronunciation is wrong I still HAVE to pronounce it the American way

After the boss is defeated, a scene between Yang and Cecil’s party begins:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Monk: You have my gratitude for helping me out of that dangerous situation. I am Yang, the chief monk of Fabul.Karate man: Thank you. I am Yang, the Karate Master of Fabul.
We were in the middle of training here on Hobs Mountain. We were attacked by a swarm of monsters. Everyone was wiped out except for me. They were such proficient fighters, too…We were training when they attacked us.
Cecil: We’re also on our way to Fabul.Cecil: We’re on our way to Fabul.
Rosa: A man named Golbeza is using Baron to (gather) the crystals…Rosa: Golbez is using Baron to get crystals…
Yang: Which means Fabul’s Crystal of Wind is also…!Yang: That means they will try to capture our Crystal of Air as well!
Gilbert: Yes… Damcyan’s crystal has already been stolen.Edward: No doubt. Damcyan was already attacked and had the crystal taken away.
Cecil: Fabul is the next target.Cecil: Fabul is next!
Yang: ! …My word. Our main force – the monk squad – has been wiped out. All those in the castle are still inexperienced. They wouldn’t stand a chance against an invasion now!Yang: But…! We are now helpless. I am the only survivor of our main forces. Those in the castle have just started on their training!
Rosa: Those monsters just now must’ve been dispatched by Golbeza too.Rosa: Golbez must have sent those monsters.
Yang: Was it in order to leave Fabul defenseless!?Yang: To keep us busy here and attack Fabul!?
Cecil: If so, then he must already be on his way to the shorthanded Fabul!Cecil: Then they will be attacking any minute!
We’ll help too! Let’s hurry to Fabul!
Yang: But I can’t get you kind people involved…Yang: But you are a Dark Knight!
Cecil: This is our battle too!Cecil: It’s not only your problem, but also ours.
Gilbert: I’m the prince of Damcyan.Edward: I am the Prince of Damcyan.
Cecil: Rosa and I were in Baron.Cecil: Rosa and I were in Baron.
And this little girl… The king of Baron tricked me into…And she is Rydia. I was fooled by King of Baron and I had to defeat her mother.
Rydia: …Rydia: ……
Yang: So you all have your own reasons…Yang: You have your own reasons, I see.
You have my gratitude! Can I ask for your help?Would you help me then?
Cecil: Of course! Now let’s go to Fabul!Cecil: Of course!
Yang: Fabul is beyond the mountains to the east.Yang: Fabul is to the east over the mountain.
Come! Let us hurry!Let us go!

Here’s a list of some interesting notes:

  • We see that he went from being a “monk” in the Japanese text to being a “Karate Master” in the English text. This might have to do with the idea that anything religious had to be cut out of the game.
  • The fact that the above was replaced specifically with “karate” is kind of funny. Plus karate is a Japanese creation, and Yang is more Chinese than anything. Reminds me of how that new “Karate Kid” movie takes place in China for some reason.
  • Yang speaks in a different way than the others – it’s a very… samurai/skilled warrior style, I guess? It’s not as evident in the English translation but there’s still some level of formality in the English text, so that’s good.
  • In the English text, Yang starts to say that Cecil’s group can’t get involved because Cecil is a Dark Knight. That isn’t in the original text. In actuality, he just doesn’t want to drag these nice people into the chaos.
  • In fact, Cecil never even offers to help in the English text, yet Yang responds as if he has. Now that I think about it, maybe this is why this scene always seemed odd to me as a kid. Cecil later agrees to Yang’s request, though, so not all is lost.
  • The English text expands what Cecil has to say about Rydia. Again, in the Japanese text we see him hesitate and feel sad about what he caused back in Mist. In the English text that’s taken out, and everything is just spelled out. What’s funny though is that it uses the word “defeat”, so even though that wasn’t in the original text it still got toned down from “killed”.

There are other little things here and there, but I won’t list every tiny bit here.

For the most part, besides the weird localization stuff, the translation itself isn’t too shabby.

Greetings, secret text reader!Greetings, secret text reader!

There are a number of small text changes between the two Japanese versions here:

Final Fantasy IV (somewhat literal)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (somewhat literal)
Yang: They were such proficient fighters, too…Yang: They were such skilled fighters, too…
Final Fantasy IV (somewhat literal)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (somewhat literal)
Yang: Our main force – the monk squad – has been wiped out.Yang: Our main force – the monk squad – has been wiped out…
Final Fantasy IV (somewhat literal)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (somewhat literal)
Rosa: Those monsters just now must’ve been dispatched by Golbeza too.Rosa: Those monsters just now must’ve been sent by Golbeza too.
Final Fantasy IV (somewhat literal)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (somewhat literal)
Cecil: If so, then he must already be on his way to the shorthanded Fabul!Cecil: If so, then he must already be on his way to Fabul!

Can’t Yang This

In my mind Yang doesn't have a mustache so I'm always weirded out when I see he has oneIn my mind Yang doesn't have a mustache so I'm always weirded out when I see he has oneIn my mind Yang doesn't have a mustache so I'm always weirded out when I see he has one

Like most of the other playable characters so far, some of Yang’s special techniques in Final Fantasy IV were removed in the other two versions.

In Final Fantasy IV, Yang has three special techniques:

  • Store Up
  • Kick
  • Endure

“Store Up” could be translated any number of other ways, such as “Gather”, “Accumulate”, “Power Up”, etc. The idea is that he’s storing his energy for a super strong blow. When chosen, he waits an extra turn and then performs a stronger-than-normal attack. Also, his defense is dropped significantly while he’s powering up.

“Kick” makes Yang kick all the enemies on the screen. It’s not as strong as a normal attack, but it’s helpful.

“Endure” is sort of the equivalent of the “Protect” spell which temporarily increases his defense slightly, only it doesn’t cost MP to use.

I think the way these three work was changed in other ports/remakes, but we won’t look at those here.

Anyway, Final Fantasy IV Easy Type and Final Fantasy II have removed Yang’s “Store Up” and “Endure” commands, leaving him with only his “Kick” command. It kind of lessens his impressiveness as a supposed “karate master”, but I guess the developers wanted to streamline battles or something.

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