Final Fantasy IV Translation Comparison: Toroia Castle 2

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Now that the Earth Crystal is in hand, it’s time to return to Toroia Castle!

Bedtime Story

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Edward saved the day, so when Cecil and friends visit him back at the castle, another big scene begins:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Gilbert: It seems you did it…Edward: You did it.
Cecil: Gilbert! It’s all thanks to you.Cecil: It’s you, Edward!
Gilbert: Not really….Edward: Well…
Cid: But why did that song affect him?Cid: But where did you learn that tune?
Gilbert: Back when I once wandered around as a bard… I heard a song that punishes wicked elves….Edward: When I was wandering about as a Bard, I heard the tune to bind evil fairies…
So I thought it might be worth trying…
Yang: Thanks to it, we survived.Yang: You saved us all, Prince Edward.
Gilbert: That’s not true…. I only….Edward: No… Not really…
Ugh….!Ouch!
Cecil: Gilbert!Cecil: Edward!
Gilbert: Mr. Tella….Edward: Master Tellah…
Tella: Anna was happy, too. She was loved by someone as courageous as you….Tellah: Anna was happy to be loved by a brave man like you.
Gilbert: Mr. Tella….Edward: Tellah…
Tella: Focus now on recovering your health.
I WILL avenge Anna with my Meteo!Tellah: I will avenge Anna with Meteo!
Gilbert…. I’ll avenge her for you, too.I’ll take yours, too.
Gilbert: ….Thank you.Edward: Thank you.
Cecil: Gilbert. You’re….Cecil: You really are brave, Edward
….a brave man!
Gilbert: Anna…. I think I understand now….Edward: Oh, Anna… I think I have come to understand what you were really trying to tell me, Anna…

This is a pretty simple scene with only a few things of interest:

  • There’s some silly-sounding English writing, with things like, “It’s you, Edward!” and “I’ll take yours too.” But then some other lines feel like they received actual editing. I’m guessing that whenever the editing phase of this project took place, they were in a real rush and could only polish things that really stood out.
  • A few lines were removed from the English translation, including a line about Gilbert/Edward’s idea to try the special song and a line in which Tellah tells Edward to focus on getting well. I assume these lines were left out due to space restriction issues.
  • In the Japanese version, Cid asks why the song affected the Dark Elf, while in the English version he asks where Edward learned the song.
  • Yang continues to call him “Prince Edward” in the translation, and Edward uses the phrase “Master Tellah” instead of “Mr. Tella”. Both are neat improvements over the original, I feel.
  • In the English translation, Edward says that he heard a “tune to bind evil fairies”. Because Japanese has a different cultural background and a folklore of its own, the word used here – “yousei” – doesn’t have a perfect 1:1 translation. “Yousei” can actually refer to not just fairies but elves and other things of that nature.

    As a result, the word is often mistranslated by Japanese natives as “fairy” instead of “elf”, which is exactly what’s happened here. Of course, I’m sure one could argue that elves are a type of fairy (or the other way around), but that’s a whole ‘nother topic altogether!

  • Tellah’s line, “I’ll take yours, too.” never really made sense to me as a kid. Now I can look back and see that he’s saying he’ll get revenge for Edward too, since Edward won’t be able to go anywhere. And the Japanese phrase for “to avenge someone” includes the verb for “to take”, so now it makes double sense to me why this line ended up the way it did.
  • Cecil praises Edward near the end of the scene, but the last half of his sentence was originally meant to appear after some ellipses and a page break. I think this was meant to show deep-down respect and camaraderie. The English translation doesn’t handle the line the same way, but the overall original intent is still there.
  • Some added details were included in Edward’s last line to make it clearer to players what he was talking about.
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There are actually a few differences in this scene between the original release and the Easy Type release. The only really significant change is the final line:

Final Fantasy IV (basic translation)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (basic translation)Final Fantasy II (Super NES)
Gilbert: Anna…. I think I understand now….Gilbert: Anna…. I think I understand what you meant about courage now….Edward: Oh, Anna… I think I have come to understand what you were really trying to tell me, Anna…

So it seems that the Easy Type writers and the English localization writers both felt that the original line here wasn’t clear enough for players. So they both added to the line in their own different way.

The PlayStation translation does some interesting things with this scene:

SFC Japanese Version (basic translation)PlayStation translation
Gilbert: It seems you did it…
Cecil: Gilbert! It’s all thanks to you.Cecil: Thank you.
Gilbert: Not really….
Cid: But why did that song affect him?Cid: So how’d you manage to distract that magneto-head?
Gilbert: Back when I once wandered around as a bard… I heard a song that punishes wicked elves….Edward: I first heard that melody back when I traveled as a minstrel. I learned it was a song to remonstrate elves.
So I thought it might be worth trying…Quite frankly, I’m surprised it worked.
Yang: Thanks to it, we survived.Yang: We owe you our lives.
Gilbert: That’s not true…. I only….Edward: No, I only–
Ugh….!ugh!
Cecil: Gilbert!Cecil: Edward!
Gilbert: Mr. Tella….
Tella: Anna was happy, too. She was loved by someone as courageous as you….Tellah: I have long wondered what Anna saw in a worm like you… Courage, rising from integrity… She was fortunate to receive your love.
Gilbert: Mr. Tella….Edward: …
Tella: Focus now on recovering your health.Tellah: Now be silent and heal your wounds.
I WILL avenge Anna with my Meteo!I promise you I shall avenge Anna…
Gilbert…. I’ll avenge her for you, too.for both of us.
Gilbert: ….Thank you.Edward: Thank you…
Cecil: Gilbert. You’re….Cecil: Edward, I look forward to fighting alongside you again.
….a brave man!
Gilbert: Anna…. I think I understand now….

From just a quick look, I see a few things here:

  • Many lines were removed, many lines were punched-up, and many were rewritten out of nothing. It’s a strange mixed bag, but I do admire the translator/localizer for being so gutsy.
  • Edward’s final line, in which he tells Anna that he finally understands her, is removed entirely. This seems like a big part of his character development, so I’m not really sure why it was left out.
  • The line where Tellah tells Edward to be silent made me laugh – the line before it was Edward being silent. I don’t think this was intended, though.
  • The translator got the fairy/elf thing right. Cool!
  • “Magneto-head” is definitely an interesting translation choice. It fits with Cid’s wise-cracking character, though

A quick peek at the fan translation shows this:

SFC Japanese Version (basic translation)Fan translation
Gilbert: It seems you did it…Edward: The crystal… you made it…
Cecil: Gilbert! It’s all thanks to you.Cecil: Edward! It’s all thanks to you!
Gilbert: Not really….Edward: No, not really…
Cid: But why did that song affect him?Cid: But why did that song affect him?
Gilbert: Back when I once wandered around as a bard… I heard a song that punishes wicked elves….Edward: While wandering as a bard, I learned songs that warded off evil fairies and spirits.
So I thought it might be worth trying…I thought that song might work. It did…
Yang: Thanks to it, we survived.Yang: And because of that you saved us.
Gilbert: That’s not true…. I only…. Ugh….!Edward: No…it wasn’t me…ugh!
Cecil: Gilbert!Cecil: Edward!
Gilbert: Mr. Tella….Edward: Master Tellah…
Tella: Anna was happy, too. She was loved by someone as courageous as you….Tellah: I know now why Anna loved you…
She must have been so happy…It is I who must ask your forgiveness…
Gilbert: Mr. Tella….Edward: Master Tellah…
Tella: Focus now on recovering your health.
I WILL avenge Anna with my Meteo!Tellah: All I can do is avenge Anna’s death with Meteo!
Gilbert…. I’ll avenge her for you, too.And I will fight for you as well.
Gilbert: ….Thank you.Edward: Thank you…
Cecil: Gilbert. You’re….Cecil: Edward, you are… a brave man!
….a brave man!
Gilbert: Anna…. I think I understand now….Edward: Anna…what you said…
Give your love to the people of this earth…
I’m beginning to understand…

I gotta say, not bad at all! A deeper look shows a few things of interest:

  • The fan translators did get tripped up with the fairy/elf thing, but it still somewhat fits with the following line, where he says he was unsure if it’d work or not. The following line was actually missing from the official translation.
  • Some of Tellah’s line was changed a bit – he asks for forgiveness, for example. Similar to the official translation, though, he doesn’t tell Edward to get better; that line is missing entirely. It’s very strange that a line that the line above that was missing from the official release was added back in, but this particular missing line remains missing. I’m not sure how that happened.
  • Just as the Easy Type writers and the official Super NES writers added in more details to Edward’s final line, so too did the fan translators. There’s definitely some sort of uncanny phenomenon at play here.

Clerics Celebrate

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Once you return to the throne room with the Earth Crystal, the clerics gather around with excitement:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Clerics: “That’s…!”
“The Earth Crystal, indeed!”
“You’ve gotten it back for us!”
“Hooray!”
Clerics: That is it!
The Crystal of Earth!
You got it back! Great!

In the Japanese script, it’s clear through the use of punctuation and line breaks that these are four lines spoken by four different characters. In the English version it’s not as clear. Maybe it’s two? Maybe it’s three? Four?

The PlayStation translation handles this with:

Cleric: Oh, my goodness!
The Earth Crystal, indeed!
How the hell’d you…!
Three cheers!
BANZAI!

So it seems the PlayStation translation added a new line, made one of royal clerics foul-mouthed, and gave another one knowledge of the Japanese language.

What’s even weirder about the “BANZAI” line is that it’s not in the original Japanese text. Incidentally, “banzai” used in this way in Japanese equates to something like “hooray” or “hurrah” in English. Also, it’s not to be confused with “bonsai trees”.

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The weirdness of the PlayStation translation in this scene seems to have prompted a fresh retranslation for the GBA release:

Cleric: Oh my goodness!
The Earth Crystal!
You’ve reclaimed it!
Hurrah!

Party Pooper

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Suddenly, things turn dark and an ominous voice booms from somewhere – it’s Kain again!

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
“It appears you’ve obtained the crystal.”Looks like you’ve got the crystal, Cecil…
Cid: This voice!
Cecil: Cain!Cid: …Kain!?
Cain: Go outside and board your airship….Kain: Go outside and get on your airship.
I will take you to where Rosa is.I’ll take you to where Rosa is.

It looks a line went missing here, and then Cecil’s line was misattributed to Cid in the English translation.

Lending Club

At this point, the clerics all have something new to say. Since there are so many of them and they each say something simple, I thought this might be a good time to closely look at what they say in many different translations of the game.

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J2E fan translation

First up is who we’ll call Cleric 1:

Original text (basic translation)Just when we finally got it back, too! We have no choice. We’re only lending it, though!
Super NES translationWe’re only lending it to you!
PlayStation translationDang! Just when we got it back! You’d better bring it back!
GBA translationBut we just got it back! …I guess we have no choice. It’s only a loan, though!
DS translationWe’ve only just regained the Crystal, but it seems we have no choice. Take it, but return it to us as soon as you are able!
Fan translationAnd we just got it back! I guess there’s no choice. Just remember, we’re only lending it to you!

Just formatting it this way sort of shows the evolution of this game’s translations – the original translation had severe memory limits, so it has the shortest line of all – it even goes so far as to remove two sentences to drastically save space.

The PlayStation translation is longer and retains more of the original text. The phrasing and the attitude of the line doesn’t really fit the character or mood, though, which is something the PlayStation translation has done many times before, as we’ve seen.

The GBA translation is usually a slightly-edited version of the PlayStation translation, as we’ve seen, but it looks like this line was retranslated from scratch. Cool! It’s much closer to the original now.

The DS translation is the wordiest of them all, but it also sticks really close to the original text in both meaning and feel.

I often point out the mistakes the fan translation makes, but it’s not a non-stop ride of mistakes. This line is a great example of the fan translators handling things properly.


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J2E fan translation

Now let’s talk to Cleric 2.

Original text (basic translation)What was that voice just now?!
Super NES translationWhat was that?
PlayStation translationWho the heck was that!?
GBA translationWhat was that!?
DS translationWhat was that voice?
Fan translationWhat was that voice!?

There’s not a whole lot to say here. The only question I have is why the PlayStation translators have these clerics talking in such an unsophisticated way, what with their “dangs” and “hecks” and other weird lines we’ve seen previously.


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J2E fan translation

Next, let’s chat with the third-strongest cleric.

Original text (basic translation)We shall lend you the crystal. Do be ever so careful!
Super NES translationHere’s the crystal. Now, be careful.
PlayStation translationYou can borrow the Crystal. Be on your guard.
GBA translationWe are letting you borrow the Crystal. But be on your guard!
DS translationYou may borrow the Crystal, but guard it well!
Fan translationWe’ll entrust you with the Crystal. Take care of it!

There’s not much to this line, either, but for some reason the Super NES translation makes it sound like she’s literally handing the crystal to Cecil. If that were the case, what if the player never talked to this lady and thus never got the crystal?

The capitalization of “Crystal” in all but the Super NES release is interesting to note, too.


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J2E fan translation

Let’s chat with Cleric 4 now:

Original text (basic translation)You appear to have some sort of circumstances of your own. As promised, we will lend you the Earth Crystal.
Easy Type (basic translation)You appear to have a situation of your own. As promised, we will lend you the Earth Crystal.
Super NES translationWe will lend you our Crystal of Earth as we promised you.
PlayStation translationWhatever your circumstances, you may borrow the Crystal as promised.
GBA translationIt seems you need our help. You may borrow the Crystal as promised.
DS translationYour situation appears no less dire than our own. We will lend you the Crystal as promised.
Fan translationIt looks like you’re in a tight spot. As promised, we will lend you the Crystal of Earth.

This time we get an Easy Type script difference too. In actuality, the Japanese phrase used in this line is tough to translate into natural-sounding English without doing some big rephrasing, which is why every translation sounds a bit different. Especially with the first sentence, which is actually missing in the Super NES translation entirely.

It’s also interesting how the official translations from the PlayStation and on just say “Crystal” instead of “Crystal of Earth”, as the original text has it. It’s no big loss, just a neat three-in-a-row sort of thing.

In all, though, I really like all of these translations!


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J2E fan translation

Let’s move on to Cleric 5:

Original text (basic translation)It looks like you have circumstances of your own. Please use the treasure in the basement.
Easy Type (basic translation)I don’t know if it will be useful, but please take the treasure in the basement with you.
Super NES translationPlease use our treasure down in the basement. We would like it to be used for good.
PlayStation translationFeel free to take the items in the underground storeroom.
GBA translationFeel free to take the items in the underground storeroom.
DS translationWe will be of what aid we can. Please, take any treasure from our basement vaults that you can use.
Fan translationPlease use the treasure in the basement.

Here we have another line that was changed for the Easy Type version of the game. And in an unexpected twist, the Super NES translation not only adds a line, it’s something that wasn’t suggested in the original text at all.


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J2E fan translation

Time for Cleric 6.

Original text (basic translation)What was with that voice just now?
Super NES translationWhat’s that?
PlayStation translationPlease tell me that was your friend.
GBA translationWhat was that voice?
DS translationWhose voice was that just now?
Fan translationWhat was that voice just now?

This is a great example of how such a short, simple line will end up translated in many different ways when given to many different translators.

Of most note is the PlayStation translation, which just goes off and does its own thing.


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J2E fan translation

Next is Cleric 7.

Original text (basic translation)What in the world happened!?
Super NES translationWhat in the world is happening!?
PlayStation translationWhat is going on!?
GBA translationWhat is going on!?
DS translationWhat’s happened!?
Fan translationWhat on Earth just happened!?

Nothing too much here – the biggest things of note I can think of are:

  • Japanese verb conjugation doesn’t always match 100% with English verb conjugation, which is why we see a variety of verb forms in these translations. Japanese verbs can be tough to pin down sometimes.
  • The original text adds an emphasizer phrase to the “what” in the sentence. It isn’t always necessary to include this in translation, which is why we see some translations here with and without some.
  • But of most interest is the fan translation, which again makes a very specific reference to “Earth” that wasn’t in the original. Normally making a reference to something in real life like this would be a problem in any other game or show or whatever – it’s just by sheer luck that this game is supposed to be set on some version of actual Earth

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J2E fan translation

Now for the eighth and final cleric!

Original text (basic translation)A crystal’s power changes depending on the one who holds it! If one with an evil heart should possess it, it will become something terrible!
Super NES translationCrystals increase the powers of the one who hold them. If he is evil, then it will work for the evil!
PlayStation translationThe nature of the Crystal’s power changes depending on the bearer. If it falls into the wrong hands, who knows what could happen to it.
GBA translationThe nature of the Crystal’s power changes depending on the bearer. If it falls into the wrong hands, who knows what could happen?
DS translationThe power of a Crystal is shaped by the heart of the one who holds it. In evil hands, the Crystal may be twisted into a terrible thing.
Fan translationThe Crystal’s power changes depending on who it is that possesses it! If an evil person has it then it would have terrible repercussions!

There’s actually a tiny bit of ambiguous wording in the Japanese line here – it could be taken as “the power of the person who holds it will change”, although from the context it seems more obvious that the “the power of the crystal will change” interpretation is the intended one. Indeed, every translation but the original Super NES translation agrees with this latter interpretation.

Take Somethin’, Will Ya?

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Now that you have the clerics’ permission to raid the basement treasure vault, it’s time to head down there!

If you now answer “yes” when the guard asks if you have permission to enter, she’ll say:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
In that case, take with you the treasure.Okay. Go ahead. Take our treasures.

In Japanese, she actually speaks in a really unusual, almost archaic way – a better English approximation might be, “Prithee, take with you our valuables.”

In the English translation, though, she gives a standard-language response that could be taken as a sarcastic, passive-aggressive-sounding piece of text. I don’t think this was intentional, and most players probably read it the straight way and not the sarcastic way, but it’s still a possible, unintended interpretation.

Treasure Topic

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The castle’s treasure vault had a few changes made for Easy Type and the SNES translation:

Location:Final Fantasy IVFinal Fantasy IV Easy TypeFinal Fantasy II
B2FEcho Herb1000 Gil1000 GP
B2FEcho Herb1000 Gil1000 GP
B2FSilver AppleElixirElixir

Even if the Silver Apple item does increase your HP, having an extra Elixir is definitely a nicer bonus in Easy Type and Final Fantasy II.

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