Final Fantasy IV Translation Comparison: Mysidia

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Swooning

All the girls swoon over my l33t translatin skillz yoAll the girls swoon over my l33t translatin skillz yo

As a kid, I noticed that at this point in the game Cecil could kill some enemies with just one attack, even if the attack didn’t take away all their HP.

I didn’t realize it at first, but it’s because of the sword that the king of Fabul gave you. As noted before, it’s called the “Death Bringer” in Japanese but the “Black Sword” in English.

When an enemy is insta-killed using this sword, it says, “Swoon!” in English. This always struck me as odd until I got older and my vocabulary expanded.

For reference, here’s what “swoon” means:

1. to faint; lose consciousness.
2. to enter a state of hysterical rapture or ecstasy:

When this same situation happens in the Japanese versions, the text box says something that’s literally like, “Fell into an unable-to-fight state!” So we can see how it was a struggle to come up with a good-sounding translation that also fit in the limited space available.

The City of Miss

Mishidya or Mitheedia might've been acceptable tooMishidya or Mitheedia might've been acceptable too

Translating unusual Japanese names into English is often a lot like quantum physics – sometimes you can translate things one way or sometimes you can translate them another way. And often there’s no real “right” translation, at least until the creator steps in and says it’s one way or the other.

A good example of this might be how “Aeris” from the English version of Final Fantasy VII was changed to “Aerith” in later things.

The reason this came about is because there is no “th” sound in Japanese – it’s instead usually approximated using an “s” sound.

I bring all this up because I’ve often wondered if the translated name “Mysidia” might’ve been intended as “Mythidia”. Probably the only way to know is to ask the creators, but even then it’s easy and common for Japanese creators to get their own English stuff wrong.

There’s no real evidence pointing toward one spelling or the other (well, as far as I know), although there is the whole connection the place has with the myth on the sacred sword that Cecil gets as a Paladin.

Map Reconstruction

Just like Baron and Kaipo, Mysidia’s map was altered in Final Fantasy IV Easy Type and Final Fantasy II to include a building housing the training room.

If you go inside, it’s the same ol’ training room as before, there’s nothing new. But if you’re still new to the genre (and the game) it’s nice to be able to continually reference the helpful info the training room has!

Avenge Me

I think it'd be cool to be a toad, then you can be the main plot piece of Blaster MasterI think it'd be cool to be a toad, then you can be the main plot piece of Blaster Master

This black wizard in Mysidia says in English, “You! …I’m avenging my friend!”

In the Japanese version, he says something like, “You! You’re that…! All right, I’ll do this to you!”

After this line, the guy turns you into a toad in both versions.

Devilish Pathway

JAPAN IS FULL OF SATAN WORSHIPPERS is what Americans would say?JAPAN IS FULL OF SATAN WORSHIPPERS is what Americans would say?

This white wizard tells you about the special teleport-y thing that connects Baron and Mysidia:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
The Devil Road is a dimensional pathway. It was named the “Devil Road” because passing through it sacrifices quite a lot of life force.The Serpent Road was named because it drains much stamina from travelers.

We see that the English line was trimmed quite a bit and some details left out. We also see the name change from “Devil Road” to “Serpent Road”, as we saw earlier back in Baron.

I think the more interesting point is that it’s called a “dimensional pathway” or a “dimensional road” or something along those lines. I think that’s why I was surprised when I played Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and it turned out to be an actual dungeon you go through.

Cranky Wizard

Move along, no secret text to read hereMove along, no secret text to read here

This black wizard says in Japanese, “I have nothing to say to you!”

In English, he says, “Go away!”

Wowee!

Whee! The Dark Knight of Baron!Whee! The Dark Knight of Baron!

What this white wizard says in both languages is a bit different:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Yikes!Wow!
It’s the Dark Knight…The……
…from Baron!Dark Knight of Baron!

The point here is that the wizard is supposed to be extremely scared. The first Japanese line is actually more of a shriek or a scared sound than an actual word.

In any case, the English line gives the wrong impression and makes it sound like the wizard is impressed by Cecil, similar to how the kid back in Baron was impressed by Cecil.

So this explains more clearly why the wizard tries to jump away after saying this text.

I sometimes wonder if being able to talk to this character again was intended or notI sometimes wonder if being able to talk to this character again was intended or not

Speaking of which, I was always amused by the fact that you could still talk to the wizard even after the initial jumping escape. I was curious to know if it worked in both Japanese and in English, and it does!

Like many other lines in the game, the PlayStation translation takes extra liberties and goes off to do its own thing:

I find it hard to believe this was swear censorship, though, because swearing is commonplace in the PlayStation translation, even right here in Mysidia.

Road Block

I keep remembering that I need to play more After Years, but right now I got homebrew on my Wii and I dunno if I can buy anything from the Wii shopI keep remembering that I need to play more After Years, but right now I got homebrew on my Wii and I dunno if I can buy anything from the Wii shop

There’s a black wizard blocking the building that houses the Devil Road entrance:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
This is the Devil Road, which leads to Baron. It’s been sealed shut to prevent anything like that from happening again.This is The Serpent Road leading to Baron. It is now sealed to prevent the further Baronian raids.

Here are some tiny points of interest:

  • The Japanese line assumes you know what incident is being talked about, while the English line gets more specific and references the Baronian raid from the start of the game.
  • For some reason “The” is capitalized in the English text when it shouldn’t be.
  • A non-native writer accidentally slipped in an unnecessary “the” in the second sentence.

Armor Amor

Somehow the triangle helm/tri-tip helm became the Gaea helm too, among other things... Man, the item comparison page is gonna be HUGE...Somehow the triangle helm/tri-tip helm became the Gaea helm too, among other things... Man, the item comparison page is gonna be HUGE...

For the most part we’ll look at item changes and item name differences on its own specialized page later on, but I thought it was worth mentioning that much of the armor sold in Mysidia’s shop underwent interesting name changes:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Shield of LightPaladin Shield
Helmet of LightPaladin Helmet
Knight ArmorPaladin Armor
GuantletPaladin Gauntlet

I thought it was interesting how the naming was made consistent in all of the Final Fantasy II items here while the Japanese names are varied.

I think this made it clearer for Final Fantasy II players that a big class change was coming up soon, even before talking to the elder and learning about your new task. It also probably served as a more clear, “Hey, I should buy all that Paladin equipment when I get back to Mysidia!” hint for the player.

Items Everywhere

I keep forgetting that they're called Cottages in Japanese but Cabins in English. I have no idea how Cecil carries 99 cabins around on his back...I keep forgetting that they're called Cottages in Japanese but Cabins in English. I have no idea how Cecil carries 99 cabins around on his back...

As a kid, I made it a note to remember that this is the first shop in the game where you can buy Cure2 potions.

It turns out there are some tiny differences in the items sold here, so let’s briefly look:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
PotionCure1
Hi-PotionCure2
Phoenix FeatherLife
Gold NeedleTent
Echo HerbCabin
AntidoteHeal
TentEther1
Cottage

As before, Ether1 potions are available to buy in Final Fantasy IV Easy Type and Final Fantasy II, but the price is so incredibly high that it’s basically useless to even offer them at this point in the game.

You can also see that a number of items are actually cheaper in the original Final Fantasy IV. How odd.

Cafe Press

Just like we saw back in Kaipo, the local pub has been changed into a cafe for the English localization:

What I'd like to do is take a simple kids game and reverse-censor it, making all cafes into rowdy pubs and suchWhat I'd like to do is take a simple kids game and reverse-censor it, making all cafes into rowdy pubs and such

I’m not sure why, but the J2E fan translation still calls this a “Cafe”. It has many other translation issues around here too, but I honestly don’t have the energy to compare every little tidbit of yet another version of the game. Still, it’s kind of ironic that the translation patch that was supposed to uncensor everything wound up not doing that at all.

Can’t Forget This

Crap, Anonymous is active in MysidiaCrap, Anonymous is active in Mysidia

The poster on the wall in the pub/cafe says in both languages:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
ever forgive Baron, which took the crystal and our friends from us!Neither forgive, nor forget the Baronian pillage and destruction!

The English language version has more fire to it, but makes the actual reasons for being angry a little vaguer. In contrast, the Japanese line has more specifics and thus a more sympathetic edge to it.

Also, I think this might be the first poster to lack special text formatting in the English localization.

Naming Away

Image 1Image 2Image 3

In Final Fantasy IV, Namingway is in the pub. But since the training room (where he can also be found) was added into Easy Type and Final Fantasy II, they took him out of the pub for those versions.

Drinks On Me

Some of my drunk talk includes gems such as 'Something midgety is going on around here' and 'The world is a glitched level of Mega Man'Some of my drunk talk includes gems such as 'Something midgety is going on around here' and 'The world is a glitched level of Mega Man'

This black wizard in the pub says in both language versions of the game:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Shaddup…! *hic*!Oh, shut up!
I ain’t scareda no Dark Knight!I’m not scared of you, Dark Knight!

The clear difference is that this guy is drunk in the Japanese text. He hiccups and he talks in drunk talk.

The English version doesn’t really give any indication that he’s drunk, he just seems really rude or mean.

Dancing with the Piggies

Watch her dance again and you get healed, though. WHO'S LAUGHING NOWWatch her dance again and you get healed, though. WHO'S LAUGHING NOW

There’s a dancer in the pub/cafe. If you watch her dance, you go to sleep and later wake up outside… transformed into a pig!

Then an old lady, who was apparently disguised as the young dancer, says something:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Ha ha ha… You certainly lack training!Ha Ha Ha…!

She speaks in an old person style in Japanese, too. I guess she’s saying you lack the training to see through ruses like hers or to be able to withstand her transformation abilities.

Down the Hatch

DRINK IT DRINK IT DRINK ITDRINK IT DRINK IT DRINK IT

If you speak to the bartender, he says in Japanese, “You must be exhausted from your long journey. Please, by all means, drink this!”

Basically, he speaks in a very polite and formal way in Japanese, as if being especially hospitable.

In English, he says, “You must be tired. Now drink it!”

…That doesn’t sound very hospitable to me.

The House of Many Names

I wish this house had better furnishingsI wish this house had better furnishings

The building where the village elder hangs out is called something like the “House of Prayers” in Japanese. The “House” part could be translated a few other ways but it’s pretty good as-is.

Obviously, referencing prayers was very much against Nintendo’s policy back in the day, so for the English localization it was changed to “House of Wishes”.

But oops! Someone forgot to fix it everywhere:

Pray to the sky whale!Pray to the sky whale!

Incidentally, this white wizard also says in Japanese, “It sounds like the elder will hear what you have to say.” This part was left out of the English text.

I Have Evil Down in My Heart

Evil is born because good is dumbEvil is born because good is dumbEvil is born because good is dumb

There’s a black wizard on the left side of the building that has a really thought-provoking line:

Final Fantasy IV (basic translation)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (basic translation)Final Fantasy II (Super NES)
Just where do hearts of wickedness come from? Everyone is born as an innocent newborn at the start, and yet…Just where do hearts of evil come from? Everyone is born as an innocent newborn at the start, and yet…How can one become evil? I cannot say… Everyone is an innocent baby at the beginning.

I always found this to be one of the best lines in the game – it applies to the real world and might get kids thinking about philosophy. Luckily it didn’t get changed too much in the localization process!

I suppose the “I cannot say…” part was possibly added in, but it’s no big deal.

As noted above, Final Fantasy IV Easy Type simplified the original text very slightly.

Elements of Design

Actually, formatting text like this is a waste of ROM space that could've been used for text that got cut out...Actually, formatting text like this is a waste of ROM space that could've been used for text that got cut out...

If you check the bookcases in this building, you can see a couple different book titles.

The English translations are pretty much on par with the original text, but for some reason the English localization decided to center all of the title text.

Also, as seen before, “wind” was changed to “air” in the localization.

Elder Text Scrolls

Translation: U killed r dudes but Ill help u anywaysTranslation: U killed r dudes but Ill help u anyways

Once you talk to the elder, an important story event starts:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Elder: You’re that… Just what do you want this time?Elder: What do you want from us this time?
Cecil: My name is Cecil. I used to command the airship fleet.Cecil: I am Cecil, the ex-captain of the Red Wings.
Back then, I didn’t have the courage to defy the king’s orders.I could not disobey the King.
Elder: Your apologies won’t bring back those who died.Elder: Apologies will not bring our friends back alive.
Cecil: …
Elder: However… I now see a sparkle of something in you that is different from your appearance.
Perhaps there is worth in hearing you out.But I can at least listen to your words.
Cecil: I am now fighting against one named Golbeza who is controlling Baron.Cecil: I’m fighting the one called Golbez who is the mastermind of Baron.
However, my friend was abducted, and while on the way to rescue her, we were attacked by Leviathan, and then my other friends were…A girl was captured. So we were on our way to Baron for her rescue but we were attacked by Leviatan… and…
Elder: Perhaps that, too, is an ordeal that has been given to you.Elder: Lost your friends. It would be your trial.
However, relying upon the Dark Sword means you’ll not only be unable to defeat true evil, it also means that at some point you yourself could be stained with a wicked heart.But as long as you depend upon the Dark Sword, you cannot defeat true evil. Moreover, you might be consumed with its evil at any time.
If you desire to fight with a virtuous heart, then go to the Mountain of Ordeals to the east.If you wish to fight against evil with good, go to Mt. Ordeals to the east of Mysidia.
A powerful destiny must surely be waiting for you there.
Cecil: But I must rescue my friend quickly!Cecil: But I must hurry!
Elder: I take it this person is someone dear to you?I do understand.
But you must not be hasty!But do not hurry.
It appears you bear a tremendous destiny on your back…
Start by climbing the Mountain of Ordeals.At first you must climb Mt. Ordeals
You must replace that evil sword with a sacred sword.and renounce this evil sword and gain the sword of sacredness.
I hear that those who can accept the sacred light are known as sacred knights – Paladins…The one who can accept the holy light is called a Paladin. It is the sacred knight.
However, many have gone to the Mountain of Ordeals with just such a goal, yet not a single one has ever returned.Many went to Mt. Ordeals to be a Paladin, but none returned.
What say you? Will you go?Will you try?
Cecil: …Yes!Cecil: Yes!

By this point, a few things of note stick out:

  • Clearly some lines were removed in the localization, likely due to memory limitations.
  • The word “dead” was removed from the line about the Mysidians who can’t be brought back to life.
  • One of the lines removed involves the elder seeing a sparkle of something within Cecil. Since this is now gone, suddenly the elder goes from Mr. Grumpy Pants to Mr. Helpful without any clear explanation for his change in attitude.
  • The elder specifically says, “Lost your friends.” in the localization, when he says nothing of the sort in the original text.
  • In the Japanese text, Cecil refers to Rosa as a “friend” or “ally”, but in the English text he just calls her “a girl”.
  • The way the Japanese name is phrased, it’s a little closer to “Mountain of Ordeals” than “Mt. Ordeals”. That’s pretty long, though, so it’s understandable that it’d be shortened.
  • In the Japanese text here, you can replace “holy” with “sacred” and vice-versa if you want. Because of this, I thought for sure that Nintendo would choose “sacred” for all instances, but it looks like they forgot to remove one instance of “holy”!
  • It’s just a slight nuance difference, but in Japanese the elder talks about the Paladin stuff as if it’s hearsay – in other words, he doesn’t have firsthand knowledge. In the English localization, he speaks about it with a tone of direct, firsthand knowledge. Given the myth stuff that comes up later, it makes sense that this sacred sword stuff would be similarly shrouded in a bit of mystery.
  • Easy Type’s script has a few more word changes, including “wicked” to “evil”, “virtuous” to “just”, and “evil” to “dark”.

The Final Fantasy II manual also shows a screenshot from this conversation – the line with “sacred knight” in it, to be exact. It’s essentially the same line as the final release, but it ends with an ellipsis rather than a period. I guess an editor thought the overuse of ellipses in the script was a little much.

The elder hasn’t stopped talking, though! Let’s continue:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Elder: But it will likely be tough on your own with only your Dark Sword.Elder: But it would be hard for you alone with your Dark Sword.
I will have wizards accompany you.Take wizards with you.
Palom! Porom!Palom! Porom!
Girl: You called?Girl: You called for us?
Elder: Where is Palom?Elder: Where is Palom?
Girl: Oh, Palom! Not again!Girl: Palom! Come on!
Boy: So you’re that Baron guy, huh?So you are that Baronian guy, aren’t you?
I’m only helpin’ you ’cause the old geezer told me to. You better be grateful!I’m gonna help you. So thank me!
Cecil: These two?Cecil: These two!?
Elder: Indeed. These are the twin wizards Palom and Porom.Elder: Palom and Porom.
They are still in training but I am sure they will prove helpful.They may be of help.
They’re still young, but I can guarantee their qualities.Do not be deceived by their appearances.
Palom: The great Palom, the prodigy of Mysidia, is comin’ with you, so you better be grateful!Palom: Be thankful that the Mysidian genius Palom will accompany you!
Elder: Palom!Elder: Palom!
This is part of your training too!It’s for your own good!
Porom: Mr. Cecil, was it? It is a pleasure to meet you.Porom: Well. How do you do, sir.
Porom: Come on, Palom! You too!Porom: Palom! You must greet him!
Palom: Good to meetcha, dude!Palom: Hi, man!

Again, we see some more cases where the text was trimmed down quite a bit. Also of note:

  • The Japanese text specifically states that Palom and Porom are twins. This is left out of the English localization.
  • The English localization does a good job at trying to convey the different politeness levels that Palom and Porom use in Japanese. I feel like it just needed a little more polishing from a native English speaker but otherwise did very well in this respect.
  • The last line is translated as, “Hi, man!” But the word used in Japanese (anchan) seems like it would be better as something like “dude” or something along those lines rather than just “man”. In fact, a little bit later in the game we see that the translation starts using “dude” for it instead.
  • The elder says, “It’s for your own good!” in English when he’s actually saying something like, “This is part of your own training too!” in Japanese. I always thought this line was a little odd when I played Final Fantasy II as a kid, so I guess this explains what it was actually trying to say.
  • Palom calls the elder something like “old man” or “geezer” in Japanese, but it could possibly be “Gramps” too. In which case the elder would be their grandfather, but I’m not sure if that’s actually the case.
  • Easy Type’s script has Palom say “I’m only goin’ with you” instead of “I’m only helpin’ you”. I dunno why they’d make a change like that, but they did.

Anyway, after this, the game says that the twins have joined the party. For some reason, the English localization does some spiffy text formatting with this message that the Japanese text doesn’t quite do:

Let's waste some bytes!Let's waste some bytes!

Twin Names

As with many other Japanese names, “Palom” and “Porom” could’ve been given different spellings – “Parom” and “Polom” are equally as possible, for example.

But, checking the Japanese manual, we see that they were given specific English spellings already:

As a professional translator, I love it whenever I can count on the creative side to provide good English spellings for names so I don’t have to run around and figure them all out myself. I bet the translator(s) for Final Fantasy II felt the same way.

Definite Definition

I actually used the word 'Paladin' in a recent translation I did, thanks to my experience with this gameI actually used the word 'Paladin' in a recent translation I did, thanks to my experience with this game

This black wizard now says something new.

In Japanese, he starts by saying, “A Paladin is a sacred knight.”

In English, a little was added to this: “Paladins are the sacred Knights of Light.”

The reference to “light” was never in the original, although it does make them sound cooler somehow.

Endurance Test

Get away from your mind of dorknessGet away from your mind of dorkness

This white wizard in Mysidia now says something new too:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Endure the ordeal and part with your current self.Just endure the time of trial, and get away from your mind of darkness.

Actually, this line in Final Fantasy II always struck me as odd-sounding.

Fool Me Twice

Go hop into your hidey holeGo hop into your hidey hole

The scaredy-cat white wizard in Mysidia has something new to say now:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Yikes!Wow!
YOU, becoming a Paladin?You becoming the Paladin?
You gotta be kidding me!You can’t fool me!

Again we see the weird “wow” translation used here, as well as some unusual article usage and an odd lack of comma.

The last line is interesting in how it’s sort of the opposite in both versions, but they both come around and meet at the same general result of incredulity.

Me Three

I'd like to see someone make a hack of this game where this guy does go climb Mt. Ordeals and gets a class changeI'd like to see someone make a hack of this game where this guy does go climb Mt. Ordeals and gets a class change

The bartender in the pub now has a new line for you:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
YOU, a Paladin?Are you gonna be a Paladin?!
In that case, I bet even I could become one too!Then I can become a Paladin, too!

I can see how the localization tries to bring the sarcasm across, but doesn’t quite make it all the way.

I also couldn’t help but notice the rare use of “?!” here again.

Laugh it Up

Laughter is the best cure thoughLaughter is the best cure though

This black wizard who was drinking before has a new line to say now too:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
YOU, a Paladin?You? Becoming a Paladin?
Heheh! Don’t make me laugh!Bah, you make me laugh!

The big difference here is that he laughs in the Japanese version and tells you not to make him laugh, while in the English version he doesn’t laugh but says you do make him laugh. How odd.

I was actually pleasantly surprised with the use of “Bah” here in the localization – that’s definitely not a word that many non-native English speakers would know. I wonder how it snuck in here.

Twin Powers

It's funny how the English translation doesn't say that they're twins in the main script, but here in battle it hints that they're twinsIt's funny how the English translation doesn't say that they're twins in the main script, but here in battle it hints that they're twinsIt's funny how the English translation doesn't say that they're twins in the main script, but here in battle it hints that they're twins

Now that it’s time to leave Mysidia, let’s take a look at Palom and Porom’s abilities.

In Final Fantasy IV, Palom has these two special battle commands:

  • Team Up
  • Bluff

For Final Fantasy IV Easy Type and Final Fantasy II, the “Bluff” command was removed. When used, “Bluff” supposedly temporarily raises intelligence/wisdom, making magic attacks stronger. Incidentally, this “Bluff” command was (unsurprisingly) incorrectly translated as “Strengthen” in the J2E fan translation patch.

That just leaves the “Team Up” command, which more literally translates to something like, “two people attacking together”.

In Final Fantasy IV Easy Type and Final Fantasy II, this command was called “Twin”, and it causes both twins to cast one of two powerful spells together. These spells have different names in Japanese and English:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Translation
Mini-FlareFlare
Mini-MeteoComet

So you can see that their Team Up/Twin spells are meant to be smaller versions of some of the most powerful spells in the game – spells the player hasn’t even seen yet!

Twin Powers Activate!Twin Powers Activate!Twin Powers Activate!

Porom also has two special command abilities in battle in Final Fantasy IV:

  • Team Up
  • Fake Tears

Again, only Team Up/Twin was included in Final Fantasy IV Easy Type and Final Fantasy II.

The Fake Tears command apparently surprises the enemy and allows you to run away more easily. I’ve never had much use for it, so I don’t know how useful it actually is, if at all. I suppose that’s why it was removed.

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