Final Fantasy IV Translation Comparison: Tower of Zot

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Kain has arrived to take Cecil and friends to a meeting location. There, they’ll trade the Earth Crystal for Rosa, or at least that’s the plan…

Follow Along

Follow your nose!Follow your nose!

The two airships draw near and a short scene begins:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Cain: Where is the Earth Crystal?Kain: Where’s the Crystal of Earth?
Cecil: It’s right here! Where is Rosa!?Cecil: It’s here! Where is Rosa?
Cain: Heh. Don’t be hasty.
Follow my airship.Kain: Follow my airship!

A line was left out of the translation here that shows Kain acting slightly smug.

Maybe in this version Cecil is shy 'cause he has a crush on KainMaybe in this version Cecil is shy 'cause he has a crush on Kain

The J2E fan translation handles this scene in an unexpected way:

Kain: Where’s the Crystal of Earth?
Kain: Follow my airship.

It appears the fan translation is missing the same line the original translation left out and omits Cecil’s response entirely.

The Magical Transforming Airship

There’s a little detail here that most people never notice – when Kain’s ship flies toward the Enterprise, it looks like a normal, red airship. It’s a little hard to see, but here’s a look:

But after the scene with Kain and Cecil, Kain’s airship suddenly looks like the one you eventually get underground:

This inconsistency mistake happens in the original Japanese game, the original English translation, and in the Easy Type version.

Golbez Greets

The airships assumedly fly up to some sort of tower – I never really knew if it was a floating tower or just some really tall tower that’s never seen anywhere. I’m guessing the DS version might clear this up, though.

Golbeza is a watashi guy, it seems!Golbeza is a watashi guy, it seems!

Anyway, once Cecil and friends arrive, a new scene begins:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Cecil: Cain!Cecil: Kain!
Cid: Where are you hiding?!Cid: Where are you?
Cain: Don’t be in such a rush….Kain: Do not hurry.
It sounds like Master Golbeza wishes to thank you.Master Golbez wants to thank you personally.
Tella: Golbeza!Tellah: Golbez!
Golbeza: I am pleased that you’ve upheld our agreement….Golbez: I am glad that you kept your promise.
Tella: Show yourself!Tellah: Show yourself!
Golbeza: I understand your impatience, but I want you to have your reward.Golbez: Be a bit more patient. I want you to receive the reward.
Yang: Reward?Yang: Reward?
Golbeza: Your dear Rosa and I are on the top floor of this Tower of Zot.Golbez: I’m at the top of this tower with Rosa.
If you can make it this far, I shall give you Rosa’s life in exchange for the crystal.Bring the crystal, and I’ll return you the girl.
Cecil: Golbeza! Curse you!
Golbeza: I cannot guarantee your dear Rosa will remain alive, unless you come quickly….You had better hurry up or else, I can’t guarantee her life!
Now, climb up to me!Now, come!

There are a few things I see here that are noteworthy:

  • As mentioned a few times before, the Japanese version of the game calls him “Golbeza”. It was likely shortened to just “Golbez” in the English translation because the maximum length for party members is six characters, and Golbez is considered a party member for a super tiny part of the game, near the end. Pretty much every English version of Final Fantasy IV has stuck with “Golbez”, although on occasion some of the spin-offs will forget about this:

    So if you’ve ever seen him referred to as “Golbeza” in some places, this is why.

  • In the Japanese version, Golbez gives the name of the tower. He just says “this tower” in the English version.
  • This scene definitely strikes me as one that received some editing, especially with phrases like “I’ll return you the girl”. I think there’s one odd comma in there and maybe one odd “the”, but it’s pretty iffy.
  • Cecil’s last line is missing in the English translation. He uses the word “kisama” here, which is a pretty strong word to use for “you”.
Fan translation Golbeze's motto: Ain't I a stinker?Fan translation Golbeze's motto: Ain't I a stinker?

Curious to see how the fan translation handles this Golbez scene, I took a look:

Japanese Version (basic translation)J2E Fan Translation
Cecil: Cain!Cecil: Kain!
Cid: Where are you hiding?!Cid: Where are you hiding!
Cain: Don’t be in such a rush….Kain: Don’t get so uptight…
It sounds like Master Golbeza wishes to thank you.Lord Golbeze wants to thank you personally.
Tella: Golbeza!Tellah: Golbeze!
Golbeza: I am pleased that you’ve upheld our agreement….Golbeze: Well, well, well… you’ve got the crystal…
Tella: Show yourself!Tellah: Show yourself!
Golbeza: I understand your impatience, but I want you to have your reward.Golbeze: You’ll find me soon enough.
Yang: Reward?Yang: Where are you?!
Golbeza: Your dear Rosa and I are on the top floor of this Tower of Zot.Golbeze: I’m on the top floor of this tower with Rosa…
If you can make it this far, I shall give you Rosa’s life in exchange for the crystal.As thanks for saving me an invasion, I’ll exchange her for the Crystal of Earth.
Cecil: Golbeza! Curse you!Cecil: Golbeze, you bastard!
Golbeze: Of course…
Golbeza: I cannot guarantee your dear Rosa will remain alive, unless you come quickly….being the bad guy that I am, I can’t guarantee that your precious Rosa will live…
Now, climb up to me!Better get up here!

Here we have some interesting choices:

  • Also as seen before, the fan translation goes with “Golbeze” for the name’s spelling, although to this day I’m not sure what the reasoning for this was. It’s not exactly wrong since it’s unclear what its origin is and what was actually intended, but my gut says that the “e” was used because the “a” has a less intimidating feel.
  • Total text rewrites and replacements abound. Golbez now comes off as a snarky guy who’s having fun playing around; overall, the changes feel like part of a cheesy fanfic. In the original Japanese text, Golbez is a mostly straightforward, genuinely intimidating villain – the best comparison I can make might be Darth Vader from Star Wars. It’s not exactly the same, obviously, but similar.

    In the fan translation, Golbez talks in a playful way, like a Kefka-type character. He taunts with glee, he makes self-referential statements that almost break the fourth wall, and just feels very unlike what was intended. From a professional perspective this feels like the definition of amateur writing… which to be fair is what this fan translation is.

  • The fan translation goes with the “bastard” choice for “kisama” here. It honestly doesn’t feel out of place given the context. An official release probably would’ve gone with “wretch” or “cur” or any of a hundred other choices, but “bastard” seems like a perfectly fine choice too. This is a topic that’s always fascinatingly deep.

Glowy Balls

HEY LOOK IT'S ANIMATING HOW DID THAT HAPPENHEY LOOK IT'S ANIMATING HOW DID THAT HAPPENHEY LOOK IT'S ANIMATING HOW DID THAT HAPPEN

The tower is filled with weird ball things that seem to mark teleportation points or are at least there for decorative use.

In the original Japanese release, these balls glow and animate. In the Easy Type and English versions of the game, they’re dark and don’t animate at all.

Glowy Chests

Whaaaa this one is animating too!Whaaaa this one is animating too!Whaaaa this one is animating too!

The treasure chests in the tower are different too. In the original Japanese version, they have a gray-blue look to them and are sort of easy to overlook given the color of the walls and the floor. They don’t even quite look like chests.

To fix this issue, the Easy Type and English versions of the game have replaced the odd-looking chests with obvious-looking ones… and animated them with a glow cycle to further stand out.

Tower of Reconstruction

Quick someone cast Wall before the tower collapses!Quick someone cast Wall before the tower collapses!Quick someone cast Wall before the tower collapses!

The Japanese version of the tower features bits of ceiling that you have to walk under. These parts look a bit like walls and add a confusing, maze-like feel to the area.

To make navigation a little more straightforward, the designers removed these overhanging pieces from the Easy Type and English versions of the game.

Similarly, some grate-looking tiles were also removed from the Easy Type and English versions. I assume this too was done to make it easier for players to grasp the layout of the place.

Glowy Save

You know, I've been curious - where IS this Tower of Zot? Is it an actual tower somewhere on the map? Or is it a floating tower? If so, how come no one says anything about it? How come no one sees a floating tower in the sky?You know, I've been curious - where IS this Tower of Zot? Is it an actual tower somewhere on the map? Or is it a floating tower? If so, how come no one says anything about it? How come no one sees a floating tower in the sky?You know, I've been curious - where IS this Tower of Zot? Is it an actual tower somewhere on the map? Or is it a floating tower? If so, how come no one says anything about it? How come no one sees a floating tower in the sky?

The save spot in the tower has also been changed.

In the Japanese version, the save spot is a dark-looking orb – in fact, it’s the same dark orb that the Easy Type and the English versions used in place of the animated glowing orbs.

The Easy Type and English versions instead have an animated, glowing “S” tile, surrounded again by the dark, non-animating orbs.

The changes to all these little things in the tower really interest me, especially how some things that were animated in the original were made static in the other versions, while other static things in the original version were animated in the new versions. Curious stuff!

Treasure These Chests

I'm running out of chest punsI'm running out of chest punsI'm running out of chest puns

Naturally there are a lot of treasure chests in this dungeon, many with really good pieces of equipment. Interestingly enough, it looks like none of these treasure chests were changed.

But if you want to get extra picky, some of the items in the chests go by different names, so here’s a peek at the changed names for fun:

Location:Final Fantasy IVFinal Fantasy IV Easy TypeFinal Fantasy II
1FFlame MailFlame ArmorFire Armor
2FFlame SwordFlame SwordFire Sword
5FPriest RobeWizard RobeWizard Robe
5FHell ClawPoison ClawPoison Claw
5FFlame ShieldFlame ShieldFire Shield

Again, it’s hard to convey the Easy Type name changes in translation, but basically the original version uses English words in its names – like the original version’s “Flame Mail” literally says “Fureimu Meiru”, but in Easy Type it’s changed to “Honoo no Yoroi”, which is basically the same thing but using actual Japanese words.

It appears “Priest Robe” (which could also be translated “Priestess Robe”) was renamed to “Wizard Robe” to avoid the religious reference. The change extended into Easy Type version, it seems.

Similarly, it’s also interesting to see that Hell Claw became Poison Claw in both of the modified versions.

The Magus Sisters

At first I thought these might be Brady Bunch names but luckily my memory was correct when it told me that was incorrectAt first I thought these might be Brady Bunch names but luckily my memory was correct when it told me that was incorrect

Near the top of the tower, three sisters suddenly appear and block the way.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
“Welcome to the Tower of Zot!”Welcome to the Tower of Zot!
“It’s a pleasure to meet you!”Glad to see you!
“We’re the right-hand women of Lady Barbariccia, the Heavenly King of Wind who rules this tower!”We are the minions of Valvalis of the Air!
“I’m Dogu of the Three Magus Sisters!”I am Sandy!
“And I’m Magu!”I’m Cindy!
“I’m Ragu!”And Mindy!
We’re the Magus Sisters!!
“So sorry, but this is the end of the line.”Sorry but your quest will be over here.
“We’ll be taking the crystal.”
“Against our Delta Attack, you might as well say goodbye to Rosa!”Take our Delta Attack and farewell!!

First off, we see that the sisters go by totally different names in the translation. In the original text, they go by Dogu, Magu, and Ragu… although because of the way Japanese works, these could be spelled in English a number of different ways. The most likely and most natural choices would be “Dog”, “Mag”, and “Rag”, but several other possibilities exist, so I’ve gone with the simplest and safest choices for the sake of these comparisons.

Anyway, in English, these names were changed to “Sandy”, “Cindy”, and “Mindy”. Again, I’m not sure if these were name choices were made for a reason or if they were just random, arbitrary choices. I’m slightly reminded of how Earth Bound for the NES renamed some female enemies after female staff members who worked at Nintendo’s office – I wonder if anything like that happened here. That, or maybe it was like when the localization director for the SNES EarthBound inserted his family member’s names into the game. This is definitely something I wish I could ask the original localizers!

Anyway, continuing on, there are a few other tidbits to point out:

  • The official translation calls the big-shot elemental lady “Valvalis”, but this isn’t right. More on that in a bit.
  • The English version calls them the “Magus Sisters”. This isn’t wrong at all, but for those who are curious, the Japanese phrase also includes the number 3 in there, something like “the Three Magus Sisters”. This is a common, natural thing in Japanese, but usually the number is dropped in translation for various reasons, usually just for simplicity’s sake.
  • “Magus” is a legitimate translation option, but I’ve often wondered if it was the intended one. Something like the old Greek word “Megas” or even “Megath” might work. “Magus” definitely seems like the best educated guess since they use magic and all… but so can most enemies by this point in the game, so there’s always been that tiny shred of uncertainty in the back of my mind. I always wished I could ask the original creators about this. Incidentally, although it means almost nothing at all, I have seen it spelled out as “Megath” in some Japanese printed materials:

  • In the English translation the sisters call themselves “minions”. In Japanese the term is closer to “right-hand man” and in some contexts can even be translated as “first officer”. I obviously wouldn’t use “first officer” in this particular context, but the point is that they’re basically proud of their status.
  • In Japanese, the sisters essentially say that their Delta Attack means Cecil and friends will have to say goodbye to Rosa forever – that they’ll never see her again, basically. The line sounds really cool in Japanese but is a bit hard to convey fully in translation. As a result of this and the general odd tone of the writing, it just sounds like the sisters are awkwardly saying goodbye to Cecil in the English translation: “Take our Delta Attack and farewell!!”
  • The formatting and the punctuation used in the Japanese version makes it clear when a new speaker is talking. The English translation doesn’t include this extra clarification.
  • The sisters’ line about taking the crystal is missing in the translation.
We are Siamese if you don't pleaseWe are Siamese if you don't pleaseWe are Siamese if you don't please

Actually, one of the lines in this little scene was changed slightly in the Easy Type script. The verb for “to rule” was replaced with a simpler synonym, and some of the text was reformatted for easier reading.

My secret technique is the art of the secret image textMy secret technique is the art of the secret image textMy secret technique is the art of the secret image text

Another line in the Easy Type script was changed too:

Final Fantasy IV (basic translation)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (basic translation)Final Fantasy II (Super NES)
“Against our Delta Attack, you might as well say goodbye to Rosa!”“Against our special Delta Attack technique, you might as well say goodbye to Rosa!”Take our Delta Attack and farewell!!

It looks like Easy Type writers felt it was important to emphasize that the Delta Attack was the name of their special technique.

I also would've accepted: Cecil! Come on down! You're the next contestant on Deadly Delta Attack!I also would've accepted: Cecil! Come on down! You're the next contestant on Deadly Delta Attack!

The PlayStation translation uses the same localized names that were introduced in the Super NES translation: Sandy, Cindy, and Mindy. Except the names are presented in a different order this time around: Mindy, Sandy, and Cindy.

The PlayStation translation also replaces an existing line with what sounds like a reference to an American game show: “Thank you for playing and good night.” I want to say Jeopardy!, but I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just a generic game show phrase.

To be honest I can never remember which is whichTo be honest I can never remember which is whichTo be honest I can never remember which is which

The GBA translation also uses the names Sandy, Cindy, and Mindy, but uses the PlayStation translation’s ordering too: Mindy, Sandy, and Cindy. This translation also takes out the game show-like line that was in the PlayStation translation.

Dragon Ball villain rejects?Dragon Ball villain rejects?

The DS translation uses the Super NES version’s localized names too! AND it uses the original ordering used in the Super NES translation: Cindy, Sandy, and Mindy.

The DS translation also gets the “farewell to Rosa” thing right. I do gotta say, the more I read scenes from the DS translation the more I realize how genuinely solid it is. Even if I harp on the flowery writing on occasion, this is by far the definitive English translation of the game – it gets all the little details and intentions right without skipping over stuff or making up new stuff.

Who names their daughters Dog and Rag? WTF! Mag is okay I guessWho names their daughters Dog and Rag? WTF! Mag is okay I guessWho names their daughters Dog and Rag? WTF! Mag is okay I guess

Since we’re looking at all the versions of this anyway, the fan translation calls these characters Dog, Mag, and Rag. It also looks like it keeps the “three” in the introduction line.

Sisters in Sync

I still haven't fully figured out the middle one's faceI still haven't fully figured out the middle one's face

During the ensuing battle, the sisters will occasionally perform their Delta Attack. Before they do, they say a little bit of text:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Dogu: Big Sis! Let’s do it!Sandy: There you go!
Magu: Now, Ragu! Cast a spell on me!Cindy: Come on, Mindy!
Ragu: Big Sister Magu! Reflect this!Mindy: Here it goes!
3 Magus Sisters: Delta Attaaack!!Magus 3: DELTA ATTACK!!

In the original text the sisters clearly explain what they’re doing and what their Delta Attack actually is. The translation muddles things up a bit.

Also of note is that the number 3 has returned to the official translation – we saw earlier that it had been written out. I assume this inconsistency happened because the battle text was stored in a different location than the main text. The limited space in the battle text windows likely played a part in the decision process too.

Most interesting of all is that the Japanese text subtly lets the player know how the sisters relate to each other, or at least partially. It seems Magu, who’s called Cindy in the SNES translation, is the oldest of the sisters. This is information that is lost in translation.

Delta Failure

Nuuuuu!Nuuuuu!

After the battle, the sisters cry out:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
“Impossible!”No way!
“I can’t believe our Delta Attack was beaten…”Delta Attack failed.
“Big Sis!”Nooo!

Again, the mention of “big sister” is left out of the translation. I don’t think it was done for any real reason other than that it probably sounds unusual to always say “Big Sis!” or “Sister!” in English as much as it happens in Japanese. The choice of “Nooo” seems to suggest that this was edited later by a native speaker, so the change at least seems to have happened in the haphazard editing phase.

Also, the translation again lacks punctuation indicating that these are all separate lines. In this case, though, the English formatting still makes it a little clear that these are probably individual lines spoken by each sister.

At The Top

My cape is bigger than your cape!My cape is bigger than your cape!

At last, Cecil’s party reaches Golbez. The long, epic scene begins.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Golbeza: Well done, all of you….Golbez: I thank you.
Tella: Golbeza!Tellah: Golbez!
Cecil: Where is Rosa!?Cecil: Where is Rosa!?
Golbeza: The crystal comes first.Golbez: The crystal first.
Cecil: Rosa had better be all right.Cecil: You haven’t hurt Rosa, have you?
Golbeza: Of course. She is unharmed.Golbez: Of course not.
Now, give me the crystal.Now. Give me the crystal.
Cecil: Here it is!Cecil: This is it!
Handed over the Earth Crystal!Handed over the Crystal of the Earth!
Cecil: Return Rosa!Cecil: Give back Rosa!
Golbeza: Rosa? What are you talking about?Golbez: Rosa? What are you talking about?
Cecil: What!?Cecil: What!?
Cid: This wasn’t the agreement!Cid: You cheated us!
Tella: You’re despicable to the very end!Tellah: Foul traitor!
Golbeza: I’ve no business with you, old man.Golbez: I have no business with you, old man.
Tella: Even if you don’t, I have business with you!Tellah: But I do!
Tella: Now you will know Anna’s pain!Tellah: This is for Anna!!

The official translation here is surprisingly close to the original text! Its terseness and phrasing really suggest that it was given some editing attention, unlike other parts of the game’s translation.

The only nitpick I can think of is that Tellah’s line in the translation, “But I do!” could’ve been worded a bit better, something like “But I have business with YOU!” would’ve done fine. It’s possible they needed to trim it down to fit within a limited amount of space, though, so it’s an understandable choice.

I was curious to see how the fan translation handled this bit of text, so I took a look:

Golbeze: Well done, gentlemen.

Tellah: Golbeze!

Cecil: Where is Rosa!

Golbeze: The crystal comes first.

Cecil: Rosa had better be safe!

Golbeze: Do you think I’d harm my bargaining chip? Now, give me the crystal.

Cecil: This is it!

You gave the Crystal of Earth to Golbeze!

Cecil: Return Rosa!

Golbeze: Rosa? Who’s Rosa…? Kain…do you know any Rosa..?

Cecil: What!?

Cid: You liar!

Tellah: How dirty can you get! Death is too good for you!

Golbeze: I have no business with you, old fool.

Tellah: But I have some with you! For Anna!!!

The fan translation isn’t too shabby either. It does make a few noteworthy choices, though:

  • Again, the fan translation lends a playful villain side to Golbez; the line “Do you think I would harm my bargaining chip?” seems to suggest he’s playing around. In the original text, he says nothing of the sort and gives his line in a straightforward way.
  • The fan translation inserts the line, “Death is too good for you!” This wasn’t in the original text.
  • When Golbez pretends to forget who Rosa is, the fan translation has him speak to Kain.
  • The fan translation phrases Tellah’s “But I have business with you!” line in a way that’s closer in line with the original text than the official translation.
TALK IN ALL CAPS FOR GREAT JUSTICE!TALK IN ALL CAPS FOR GREAT JUSTICE!

The PlayStation translation has its own differences, changes, and quirks, but the main one that stands out is that Golbez now says:

Ignorant dotard. Have you any idea with whom you are dealing?

To which Tellah replies:

How could I ever forget the monster WHO KILLED MY DAUGHTER!?

These lines weren’t in the original script, and although I can see what the translator was going for I think having that very last part all in caps is a bit much. It makes it feel a bit hammy and over the top, at least in my opinion.

Golbez is evilly formal enough to use whomGolbez is evilly formal enough to use whom

Apparently the Game Boy Advance team felt the same way, though, because this line remains in the GBA translation but without the all-caps at the end: “How could I ever forget the monster who killed my daughter!?”

In the DS translation, Tellah’s line about Golbez being foul to the very end is translated as:

Your words are as twisted as your soul!

I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but this immediately brings to mind another line by a fellow Japanese-to-English game localizer – a line from the introduction to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night:

Your words are as empty as your soul!

Is this similarity a coincidence? Could they both be referencing something else entirely? Or maybe it’s an homage? This sort of homage is common among game translators, the “spoony bard” phrase is probably the best example. Alexander O. Smith has a penchant for using the phrase in his translations, but I’ve seen other translations that do this sort of thing too.

Grudge Match

I'm spending my allowance to defeat YOU!I'm spending my allowance to defeat YOU!

At this point, a memorable battle begins between Tellah and Golbez:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Tella casts Bio/Virus
Tella casts Figa/Fire3
Golbeza: You’re nothing but a feeble old man.
You haven’t the power to defeat me!Golbez: No one can ever defeat me… … …
Tella casts Thundaga/Lit-3
Tella casts Blizaga/Ice-3
Tella: So, the time to use Meteo has come….Tellah: M… Meteo… …
Cecil: Stop! If you do that….Cecil: No! Don’t!
Yang: This is recklessness! Your body won’t withstand it!Yang: It’ll destroy you!
Tella: I’m going to convert all of my life into MP….Tellah: I’m spending my life to defeat… YOU!
….and defeat you!!
Tella casts Meteo
Golbeza: Ungh… I-impossible… Meteo….?!Golbez: No way…!

As seen before, the battle text has been shortened due to screen space restraints and assumedly technical limitations. As a result, the English translation is missing a few sentences and has about half of the text of the original scene. Even so, it remains an epic and memorable scene, which is really cool!

There are lots of little things here, but the main thing of interest that outshines them all is Tellah’s line in the English translation:

I’m spending my life to defeat… YOU!

When I first played this as a kid, I just assumed from the phrase “spend my life” that he was saying that defeating Golbez was now going to be his sole focus in life. You know, like if someone said, “I’m gonna spend the rest of my life relaxing on the beach.” or “I’m spending my time with my family this weekend.”

Later, when I got older and my vocabulary grew, I realized it was probably saying, “I’m going to use my life power to defeat you!”

But once I played the game in Japanese and could compare it with the English version, I finally realized that he’s actually saying something like:

I’m going to convert all of my life into MP in order to defeat you!

So what he’s saying is very clear in Japanese; the English translation made things a bit ambiguous and left out what seems to be a pretty interesting rule about the world of Final Fantasy IV: it’s apparently possible to convert your HP into MP, but doing so is extremely taxing on the body to the point that it can kill you if you do it.

As a kid, I would’ve loved this little tidbit of info – the scene would’ve made a little more sense to me and would’ve made the feeling of self-sacrifice a heck of a lot stronger.

Man he's a big dudeMan he's a big dude

Naturally, the PlayStation translation handles this scene a bit differently than the Super NES translation:

Japanese Version (basic translation)PlayStation translation
Tella casts Bio/Virus
Tella casts Figa/Fire3
Golbeza: You’re nothing but a feeble old man.Golbez: Such feeble spells.
You haven’t the power to defeat me!A vain attempt at revenge.
Tella casts Thundaga/Lit-3
Tella casts Blizaga/Ice-3
Tella: So, the time to use Meteo has come….Tellah: I must cast Meteo.
Cecil: Stop! If you do that….Cecil: No!!
Yang: This is recklessness! Your body won’t withstand it!Yang: It will destroy you!
Tella: I’m going to convert all of my life into MP….Tellah: I have no choice.
….and defeat you!!Witness my final power!
Tella casts Meteo
Golbeza: Ungh… I-impossible… Meteo….?!Golbez: I-Impossible!

It looks like this translation gives Golbez some new slightly new text at first. Golbez never mentions Anna or revenge at all in this scene or anywhere in this part of the game, and I get the feeling that he doesn’t even know who Anna is. Since Anna was killed by arrows during a massive assault, I’m not even sure Golbez was directly involved with her death.

So with the changes in this scene and in the scene just before this battle, it appears the PlayStation translator had sought to place added emphasis on the revenge aspect.

That 6 in 467 looks like it's flying back to its home planetThat 6 in 467 looks like it's flying back to its home planet

The GBA translation borrows heavily from the PlayStation translation, so this scene is basically the same in the English GBA port. Except for one difference: in the GBA version of the game, the Meteo spell has been renamed Meteor.

The Japanese name for this spell is literally “Meteo”. After about Final Fantasy VII or so Square started translating it as “Meteor”. Neither is exactly right or wrong; the word actually originates from the Greek language, and whenever that happens with Japanese-to-English translation there’s often a bit of “how should we handle this?” that needs to be addressed.

Personally I’ve always preferred the “Meteo” choice as it sounds more exotic and unusual. And, in a world with Blizaga and Cureda and Dejon spells and such, Meteo doesn’t feel that out of place.

Also, note that both the PlayStation translation and the GBA translation have left out the part about turning life into MP.

Squiggly floor tiles FTWSquiggly floor tiles FTW

Now let’s check out the DS version!

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Tella casts Bio/Virus
Tella casts Figa/Fire3
Golbeza: You’re nothing but a feeble old man.Golbez: Feeble old man!
You haven’t the power to defeat me!What can you hope to do to me?
Tella casts Thundaga/Lit-3
Tella casts Blizaga/Ice-3
Tella: So, the time to use Meteo has come….Tellah: Meteor’s time has come at last.
Cecil: Stop! If you do that….Cecil: No, Tellah! You mustn’t!
Yang: This is recklessness! Your body won’t withstand it!Yang: You’ll be the one it destroys!
Tella: I’m going to convert all of my life into MP….Tellah: So be it!
….and defeat you!!Let my life fuel the spell that ends his!
Tella casts Meteo
Golbeza: Ungh… I-impossible… Meteo….?!Golbez: Im…impossible!

Nice, this is definitely a tighter translation that sticks more closely to the original text. It looks like the part about MP was again changed, but it’s done so with skill and character-appropriate dialogue.

It also looks like the spell is known as Meteor in the DS version too, which doesn’t come as a surprise, of course.

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at the J2E fan translation of this scene too:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Tella casts Bio/Virus
Tella casts Figa/Fire3
Golbeza: You’re nothing but a feeble old man.Golbeze: Your old body does not have
You haven’t the power to defeat me!the strength to defeat me!
Tella casts Thundaga/Lit-3
Tella casts Blizaga/Ice-3
Tella: So, the time to use Meteo has come….Tella: It is time to use Meteo…
Cecil: Stop! If you do that….Cecil: Don’t! If you do that…
Yang: This is recklessness! Your body won’t withstand it!Yang: You won’t survive it!
Tella: I’m going to convert all of my life into MP….Tellah: My life… for power…
….and defeat you!!and I shall defeat you!!
Tella casts Meteo
Golbeza: Ungh… I-impossible… Meteo….?!Golbeze: It can’t be… Meteo!?

It’s not too bad at all, although the “and I shall defeat you!!” line seems a bit odd. It also looks like the fan translators stuck with the Meteo translation, even though the official translations of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and possibly even IX had already made the new “Meteor” name switch by the time this patch was out.

It looks like this translation also left out the whole “life into MP” thing too; instead, it feels a bit more like a rewrite of the Super NES translation. The English letters “MP” are literally there in the Japanese script, so I’m not sure any translation took place in this scene – it seems more like this part was just a fan rewrite of the official text akin to this.

Confusion & Farewells

That was a funny joke you just told, Cecil! You make me laugh soThat was a funny joke you just told, Cecil! You make me laugh so

The battle between Golbez and Tellah ends with Golbez’s temporary defeat.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Golbeza: To think that you would use Meteo….Golbez: You used… the… Meteo…
Graagh!GRRR……
Cecil: Tella!Cecil: Tellah!
Golbeza: Even so…. The crystal is mine….Golbez: But, I have the crystal.
Let us withdraw, Cain!Now come, Kain!
Cain: ….Kain: ……
Golbeza: That Meteo must have broken my spell!Golbez: I guess that Meteo broke my control over him!
No matter. I’ve no more need for you.So be it, you no longer serve my purpose.
You WILL pay for this someday, without fail!I will settle this score later, Cecil!
Cecil: You’re not going anywhere, Golbeza!Cecil: Never!
Golbeza: Urgh…. Do not underestimate me!Golbez: HA!
Golbez then zaps Cecil with lightning, approaches, but then hesitates

Some things that stand out here are:

  • The official translation tends to use the phrase “the Meteo” here and in a few other places. This is just a personal thing, but it unintentionally feels a little goofy to me, kind of like when people seriously say, “I’ll check the Google.”
  • Translating onomatopoeia is always tough, so the “GRRR…” in the official translation isn’t necessarily wrong, but I feel it doesn’t fit Golbez’s character well. I can see an angry dog or undisciplined bad guy going, “Grrr!” but this is a big, scary, powerful lord of evil. It’s definitely not a big deal and almost not even worth noting, though.
  • In the official translation, Golbez says, “I will settle this score later, Cecil!” to which Cecil replies, “Never!”I can see what the editors were going for, but this feels like an odd thing to say. One possible interpretation of this “Never!” could be, “We’ll never settle this score!” …which isn’t what Cecil means to say at all.
  • Once again, Golbez’s text is changed to simply, “HA!” when he fires his electricity beam thing. A similar change happened back in Fabul, as you might recall. I’m not really sure why the translators consistently did this.
TYPO OH MY GOD TYPO actually you know what, I'd like to do a count of the number of typos in the translation once this is all over, I bet it's not too bad at allTYPO OH MY GOD TYPO actually you know what, I'd like to do a count of the number of typos in the translation once this is all over, I bet it's not too bad at all

Instead of finishing off Cecil, Golbez starts acting strangely:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Golbeza: ….!?Golbez: …!?
Cecil: Unghh….Cecil: Ugh…
Why…. do you not finish me off….?Why not… finish me off…
Golbeza: You….Golbez: You…
Cecil: ?Cecil: ?
Golbeza: Just who are….Golbez: Who are you…
Ungh…. Gaaah!
Cecil: ….?Cecil: …?
Golbeza: I-I’ll save this fight for another time….!Golbez: I shall see you again!
Yang: Sir Cecil!Yang: Cecil!
Cid: You okay!?Cid: You Okay!?
Cecil: Y-yeah….Cecil: Y-Yeah.
It looks like Meteo really hurt him….Golbez must have been weakened by Meteo.
But never mind that! Tella!But Tellah!

For the most part, there isn’t much difference between this text. The only things of note are pretty minor:

  • A minor line by Golbez is left out of the official translation. When I think about it, though, this line seems to indicate that the Meteo spell was painful enough to weaken his own brainwashing. This ever-so-tiny hint is missing in the official translation, but given the events of this scene it’s still very clear that something’s off about Golbez.
  • Yang leaves out the “Sir” in “Sir Cecil”, which is normal by now. They really were consistent with that, though. I’m impressed. It must’ve been an easy way to save memory space too.
  • Golbez says he’ll fight Cecil again later in the Japanese text, but only says that they’ll see each other again in the English version. Of course, given the context, you can assume another meeting will involve fighting, so very little is lost in the translation.
  • “You Okay” has a capitalization mistake.
...Why is that space there you're just trying to make professional text snobs go crazy aren't you...Why is that space there you're just trying to make professional text snobs go crazy aren't you

The party rushes over to Tellah, who has collapsed on the ground after casting Meteo.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Tella: I couldn’t defeat him….Tellah: I… failed…
Cid: Don’t speak!Cid: Don’t speak!
Tella: Perhaps this is what I get for fighting out of hatred….Tellah: I brought this upon myself… Because I lost myself in hatred.
Avenge Anna….Avenge my daughter for me, please!
I beg of….!

I have to say, the phrasing of the English text in this part of the game in general seems to be pretty nice! It definitely feels like these scenes got a good amount of attention by a native English speaker when compared to other text in the game.

Tellah’s final words – at least as a living being – happen in this tiny exchange. In the Japanese version, his final line dramatically cuts off before he can finish his sentence. This doesn’t happen in the English translation – he finishes his sentence just fine, which makes the jump to the next part of the scene – complete with a change to sad music – feel a bit bumpy.

On a less important note, a stray space is included in Tellah’s final line in English. The translators also made the conscious decision to have Tellah say “my daughter” instead of “Anna”.

You should've expected this would happen though, right?You should've expected this would happen though, right?You should've expected this would happen though, right?

The Easy Type version of the game actually rephrases Tellah’s “I couldn’t defeat him….” line slightly to make it a little clearer what he’s saying. It’s hard to convey the change in English, but it basically simplifies and clarifies the line.

SITTIN ON THE TOILETSITTIN ON THE TOILET

Tellah suddenly falls silent.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Cecil: Tella!Cecil: Tellah!
Yang: !Yang: !
Tella: ….Tellah: ……
Cid: Wake up, you lousy old man!!Cid: Open your eyes, old nag!
Tella: ….Tellah: ……
Yang: Sir Tella….Yang: Tellah…
Cid: Live in peace… with your daughter, you hear?Cid: Rest in peace… with your daughter…
Cecil: Tella….Cecil: Tellah…
We WILL…We will avenge Anna and you!
…avenge Anna!

This is pretty much the same in both versions, except for the final line. In Japanese, Cecil vows to avenge Anna, using a phrase that usually refers to slaying someone’s killer to get vengeance. In English, Cecil vows to avenge Anna and Tellah, though.

We meet again, Mr. Self-doubtWe meet again, Mr. Self-doubtWe meet again, Mr. Self-doubt

The odd thing, though, is that the PlayStation, GBA, and DS translations of this line also add Tellah to this vow. It’s totally possible I’m misinterpreting the line, but I genuinely don’t think so for a number of reasons. It’s a very odd situation.

For reference, the Japanese text is:

テラ…
アンナのかたきは……
ぼくらが うつ!

The Japanese DS script may be different, though, I’m not 100% sure.

It doesn’t make much of a difference to the story either way, but it seemed interesting enough to share.

Kain Can Remember

'I wanted Rosa to go to the prom with me.''I wanted Rosa to go to the prom with me.'

After Tellah dies, the party rushes over to Kain, who is conscious again.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Cecil: Cain!Cecil: Kain…!
Cain!Kain!
Cain: ….Cecil!Kain: …Cecil!
F-forgive me….
What have I done….?What have I done…
Cecil: You were being controlled…. It wasn’t your fault.Cecil: Not your fault… You’ve been hypnotized.
Cain: But… I WAS conscious.Kain: But… I retained consciousness.
I treated Rosa so….I wanted Rosa to…
Cecil: !Cecil: !
Where IS Rosa!?Where is Rosa!?
Cain: Up above! There’s no time!Kain: We don’t have time! It’s above!

The English text here isn’t very different from the original text. The main issue is a missing line in which Kain asks for forgiveness.

Incidentally, the phrase, “It’s above!” in the official English translation always made me think it was referring to the implement of doom hanging above Rosa. From the Japanese, though, I finally realize that he’s most likely saying, “Upstairs!” or “Up above!”

Near-Death Experience

As seen before, the deadly thing hanging from the ceiling was originally a bladed weapon that was changed into a big metal ball for Easy Type and the English release.

ballzballzballz

It’s actually kind of hard to tell that it’s a blade in the original Super Famicom game, so now that I think about it, maybe that’s why it was changed for Easy Type. In any case, it’s much easier to tell what it is in the DS release:

The scene begins with Cecil and friends rushing in to the top floor of the tower to save Rosa.

So many ellipses... ... ... dot dot dotSo many ellipses... ... ... dot dot dot
Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Rosa: Cecil!Rosa: Cecil!
The blade/ball falls, but Cecil saves Rosa in time
Cecil: Rosa….Cecil: Rosa…
Rosa: I knew you’d come for me….Rosa: I knew you would come…
Cecil and Rosa embrace
Cecil: Without you by my side…. I realized that I….Cecil: Your absence taught me… I…
Rosa: Cecil….Rosa: Cecil…
Cain: ….Kain: …
Cid: Good grief! What a couple of lovebirds ya are!Cid: Oh, boy! Getting cozy!
Rosa: Cain!?Rosa: Kain!?
Cecil: He’s regained control of himself.Cecil: Golbez’s control was broken.
Cain: Forgive me, Rosa….
I wasn’t just being controlled! I… I also wanted you by my side!Kain: I really was under control, but I also wanted to keep you close to me, Rosa.
Rosa: Cain….Rosa: Kain…
Cain: ….Kain: …
Cecil: ….Cecil: …
Rosa: ….Let’s fight together, Cain.Rosa: Let us fight together, Kain…
Cain: I’m sorry!Kain: I am sorry.
Forgive me, Rosa! Cecil!Forgive me, Rosa! Cecil!
Cecil: ….Cecil: ……
Cid: Urgh! This ain’t the time to be muckin’ around! It’s dangerous to stay here!Cid: Come on! We really must hurry! It is too dangerous here!
Cecil: Let’s go, Cain!Cecil: Let’s go, Kain!
Cain: Cecil….Kain: Cecil…
Cecil: We need your strength as a Dragon Knight!Cecil: We need your powers as a Dragoon.
Won’t you fight Golbeza with us?
Cain: ….Thank you, Cecil…. Rosa….!Kain: …Cecil… …Rosa…!

A few things happened in the translation of this important scene:

  • Another line in which Kain asks for forgiveness has been removed.
  • Cecil’s request that Kain join them in their fight against Golbez has been removed.
  • Kain’s “thank you” has been removed, although it can still be implied.

Also, early in the scene, Cecil mentions that Rosa’s absence taught him something. In Japanese, he leaves this sentence incomplete, but because of how Japanese grammar works, it’s clear he intended to say that he loves Rosa. Basically, he says he loves Rosa without outright saying so.

It’s always tough to handle shy confessions like this in translation and there’s rarely a perfect solution, but I’m really glad the official translation kept the tone intact rather than having Cecil blurt out the word “love”. Nicely done!

So Close

I hate verbs let's all talk using adverbs insteadI hate verbs let's all talk using adverbs insteadI hate verbs let's all talk using adverbs instead

If you check the fallen implement of death, a quick message appears:

Final Fantasy IV (basic translation)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (basic translation)Final Fantasy II (Super NES)
If we’d been one step too late, this guillotine would’ve killed Rosa….If we’d been one step too late, Rosa would’ve been crushed by this iron ball….If we were a second late, Rosa would have been crushed!

Technically, this line actually omits the final verb in both Japanese versions of the game, leaving it to the reader to fill in the blank. This is common in the Japanese language, especially for dramatic effect. So although I have “killed” in there, feel free to insert any verb you want.

The Easy Type version also changes Rosa’s role from the active voice to the passive voice. I don’t feel confident enough to speculate on this change, it could’ve been for a bunch of different reasons or just because it sounded better at the time.

Windy Woman

Valvalis is so much easier to remember and type though booValvalis is so much easier to remember and type though boo

Just as the party starts to leave the tower, another surprise is sprung!

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
“Ho-ho-hohoho….”Hah-hah-ha-ha-ha…
“To think that you could harm Master Golbeza…
It seems he underestimated you all!”Seems like Master Golbez underestimated your powers!
Cain: Barbariccia of the Wind, one of Golbeza’s Four Heavenly Kings!Kain: It’s Valvalis of the Air! One of Golbez’s Four Fiends of Elements!
Barbariccia: KCain. It seems you’ve betrayed us as well.Valvalis: Kain, you betrayed us!
Despite the strength you possess, too!
Cain: Call it coming to my senses rather than betrayal, Barbariccia!Kain: I did not betray but came to my senses!
Barbariccia: Do not call my name with such familiarity!
We should have eliminated both you AND Rosa had we known this might happen.Valvalis: I should have gotten rid of you!
But the Meteo user is now gone.But now the old man with the Meteo is gone.
Now that you’re together, I will cheerfully put an end to you all!
Cain: Heh. You’re not the only one who can fight in the air!Kain: Think you’re the only one who can fight in the air?

Now here’s some meaty stuff to dig into!

  • In Japanese, a “ho ho” sort of laugh is generally considered feminine laughter. There are all sorts of different types of laughter in the language like this, particularly in Japanese entertainment. In fact, it’s pretty common for Japanese entertainment to give unique laughing styles to different characters; it was a huge deal when I worked on One Piece, for example. Anyway, because English doesn’t work quite the same, laughter usually ends up as “ha ha” or some variant in translation, as we see here. Keeping this particular laughter as “ho ho ho” might’ve sounded odd too, since that’s closely related with Santa Claus in our culture.
  • A lot of the text was shaved down in the official translation, and some things were completely left out.
  • The unseen character speaking is known as “Barbariccia” in Japanese, but in the official translation she’s called “Valvalis”. This is partly due to the fact that the Japanese name can be spelled multiple ways in English, and because the full name was too long. Barbariccia is another reference to Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, just as the two previous elemental bad guys were. And, as seen before, the official translation team wasn’t aware of this reference.
  • Barbariccia’s threat to kill the party is missing in the translation. Given that so much of this scene’s text was cut out, I’m assuming this line was removed for memory purposes too.
  • The use of “the Meteo” appears here too.
  • The original script puts Barbariccia’s text in quotes until she’s identified. The English version doesn’t do this, though, which I actually like better.
  • In the Japanese script, Barbariccia is associated with “wind”. In the translation, this is changed to “air”. This is similar to what we’ve seen before; the Wind Crystal was changed to the “Crystal of Air” earlier in the game, for example.
So green! It must be St. Patricks DaySo green! It must be St. Patricks DaySo green! It must be St. Patricks Day

The Easy Type script also includes a small change here – the line about “harming Master Golbeza” had its phrasing simplified.

For reference, the PlayStation translation retains the “Valvalis” name, as I don’t think it was common knowledge that these names referenced real-life literature.

It seems the connection was known by the mid-2000s, though, as the GBA translation calls her Barbariccia. Her title was also changed from “Devil of Wind” to “Lord of Wind”.

Naturally, the DS translation calls her Barbariccia too.

I didn’t realize this until now, but apparently the fan translators weren’t aware of the Divine Comedy connection at first either. For example, Barbariccia was originally called Valvalicia:

Although the final version of the fan translation does call her Barbariccia.

Weak human emoticonsWeak human emoticons

Speaking of which, here’s what this scene looks like in the fan translation:

Japanese Version (basic translation)J2E Fan Translation
“Ho-ho-hohoho….”‘Hahahahaha…’
“To think that you could harm Master Golbeza… It seems he underestimated you all!”‘So, you must be pleased with yourselves. You’ve rescued the girl, saved the… Dragon Knight…’

‘Still you lost the old man and Lord Golbeze left with merely a scratch.’

‘And then there’s me…’
Cain: Barbariccia of the Wind, one of Golbeza’s Four Heavenly Kings!Kain: It’s one of Golbeze’s Four Emperors! Barbariccia of Wind!
Barbariccia: Kain. It seems you’ve betrayed us as well.Barbariccia: Kain, you betrayed me…us!
Despite the strength you possess, too!After what we gave you? Why? We’re both creatures of the sky!
Kain: Call it coming to my senses rather than betrayal, Barbariccia!Kain: Barbariccia, I did not betray anything, except my honor.
Barbariccia: Do not call my name with such familiarity!
We should have eliminated both you AND Rosa had we known this might happen.Barbariccia: To think I prevented Lord Golbeze from killing you, because of a weak human emotion…
But the Meteo user is now gone.The old man with Meteo is dead.
Now that you’re together, I will cheerfully put an end to you all!I’ll send all of you to your deaths!
Cain: Heh. You’re not the only one who can fight in the air!Kain: You’re not the only one who can fight in the air…

Wow, so much going on here!

  • The fan translation retains the initial quote marks.
  • The fan translators also chose to go with standard English “haha” laughing. That’s perfectly fine, I’m just surprised, since in my experience fan translators tend to leave Japanese laughing completely untouched.
  • The fan translation adds in stuff completely out of nowhere that makes Barbariccia sound like a bad fanfic villain.
  • Barbariccia is impressed that the good guys were able to harm Golbez in the Japanese script. The fan translation misses this point and has Barbariccia act like it was nothing at all.
  • The fan translation seems to imply some sort of connection or relationship between Kain and Barbariccia. There was absolutely nothing of the sort in the original text.
  • The fan translation suggests that Barbariccia kept Golbez from killing Kain, but not only is this made-up, the translation seems to be partially a rewrite of the official SNES translation. When Barbariccia says, “I should have gotten rid of you!” in the Super NES translation, the “you” is actually technically referring to Kain and Rosa. The fan translators seem to have mistaken this “you” as referring only to Kain.

In all, the fan translation does a few things well, like Barbariccia’s name and some of the smaller details in presentation, but this is not a translation of the original text at all. I probably wouldn’t even call it a localization. The best thing I can think to call it is a “creative rewrite” or a “fanfic hack”.

Jump Man

Of course Cid wants to peep on the bikini bossOf course Cid wants to peep on the bikini bossOf course Cid wants to peep on the bikini boss

Once the boss battle begins, Barbariccia turns into a tornado-like thing that can’t be hit with ordinary attacks. If you try to attack this Tornado Barbariccia, some text will appear:

Final Fantasy IV (basic translation)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (basic translation)Final Fantasy II (Super NES)
“It’s no use! We can’t see her head-on because of the wind!”“Cain! Jump!”Must stop her spin!
“Our only option is to hit her with jumps!”“Use your jump to neutralize her whirlwind!”Kain! Jump!!

For a long time I actually never really understood why jump attacks are the only thing that will work. After playing the Japanese version, though, I realized it’s because the winds make it too hard to see anything from head-on. But jumping into the eye of the tornado from above gets around that problem. After I realized that I was like, “Duh! I’m so dumb! It’s so obvious!”

Anyway, this premise is given in the original Japanese text, but the other two versions aren’t as clear about it, instead focusing on letting the player know that Kain specifically needs to jump.

In all instances, though, it’s pretty obvious that a person is saying these lines.

WHO'S SAYING THIS?!?WHO'S SAYING THIS?!?

The PlayStation translation goes with:

Frontal attack ineffective
Strike with jump attack

Which definitely doesn’t sound like someone’s talking.

WHY ARE WE TALKING LIKE ROBOTS?!WHY ARE WE TALKING LIKE ROBOTS?!

The GBA translation changes things a bit more:

Blinding winds prevent frontal attack!
Only jump attacks will connect!

It seems this version retranslates the text from scratch, but it also retains the same sort of robotic, outside observer tone of the PlayStation translation. Definitely an odd combination.

Whoa that would be scary to see in real lifeWhoa that would be scary to see in real life

The DS translation handles this text with:

It’s no use! The winds shield her on all sides!
Only jump attacks can reach her directly!

This sounds a little more like a person is saying it and seems to stick very closely to the original text.

Ha ha the menu text says Bar FightHa ha the menu text says Bar Fight

The fan translation goes with:

The target is blocked by the wind!
Jump in order to attack!

This sounds like the game is talking to you, not a person.

On a side note, for many, many years I always saw Barbariccia in tornado form as a whirlwind with big googly eyes, something like this:

I realize that’s not what it is at all, but to this day I still have trouble unseeing it.

Slowly Stoned

Cheech & Chong would approveCheech & Chong would approve

There’s a status ailment in this game that slowly turns characters into stone over time. Barbariccia is able to inflict this ailment, so now’s a good time to take a look at it.

In the Super NES version of the game, the first stage of this ailment is denoted with a “D”. As it continues, this text changes to “Petrify”, and once the ailment has run its full course, the character’s status is displayed as “Stone”.

So what the heck is this “D” thing that it starts off with? What does the Japanese version say?

In Japanese, the initial stage actually has no text indicator at all. This is followed “Gradual Petrification”. The final status is “Stone”.

To sum it up, the status goes like this in both versions:

Japanese: (nothing) » Gradual Petrification » Stone

English: D » Petrify » Stone

The “D” is a mystery, but it’s believed to be a leftover from all the instances of “Dummy” that were inserted into the English version of the game. I actually wrote up a dedicated article about this a while back, which you can read here.

Deadly Tower

Cid is happy!Cid is happy!

After Barbariccia’s defeat, a short scene begins.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Barbariccia: Cain! Curse you….!
Even if you defeat me…. there’s still the last of the Four Heavenly Kings!Valvalis: You know, the last and mightiest of us four is still left!
Disappear, together with this Tower of Zot!Perish with this tower!
“Ho-ho-hohoho….”Hah-hah-ha-ha-ha…
Cecil: I-it’s collapsing!Cecil: It’s collapsing!
Cain: Damn!Kain: Watch out!
Cid: Hyaaa!Cid: Wooow!
Rosa: Hold on to me!Rosa: Hold on to me!
Rosa: Telepo!Rosa: Exit!!

It’s a short scene, but full of interesting stuff!

  • Barbariccia’s first line to Kain is taken out of the script. The fact that she specifically mentions Kain is kind of cool, since he technically is the sole cause of her defeat.
  • The translation’s line of “Perish with this tower” is kind of funny – it accidentally implies that the tower is alive. This isn’t the case though. The Japanese term is actually a fancy way of saying “disappear” or “begone”. In the context of living things, it’s okay to translate it as “perish” sometimes, but if anything this tower strikes me as very mechanical, not organic.
  • Cid makes a shriek-like sound in the Japanese text. This is translated as, “Wooow!” which always seemed to convey excitement to me as a kid. I wouldn’t advocate keeping it as “Hyaaa!” in translation, but I think something as simple as “Waaah!” or “Whoa!” might’ve worked better.
  • Rosa uses the “Exit” spell in the English translation. In Japanese, she uses “Telepo”. This is because the name of the spell was changed in the translation, even in the battle menus and such.
  • An instance of Kain’s strong language was changed to “Watch out!” in the translation.

Kain’s strong language is brought back for the PlayStation translation. Cid’s line is changed entirely, though:

Kain: Dammit!

Cid: That bleeping broad!

That is probably the weirdest juxtaposition of swearing and not-swearing I’ve seen in a game!

OH CRAP IS THIS STILL A NINTENDO GAME?!OH CRAP IS THIS STILL A NINTENDO GAME?!

Since the GBA translation uses the PlayStation translation as a base, it’s pretty similar:

Kain: Dammit!

Cid: That bastard!

So this Nintendo game has stronger language than the PlayStation game? It almost sounds too crazy to be true!

Ah, okay, it looks like the GBA text was just a one-night standAh, okay, it looks like the GBA text was just a one-night stand

The DS translation seems to make some changes of its own too:

Kain: She left us no escape!

Cid: Oh, I don’t like this one bit…

For reference, the fan translation goes with “Damnit!” and “Hyaa!” But what stands out most in the fan translation here is the phrase:

Die along with this tower!

I’m amazed the translators didn’t realize how odd this phrasing is.

Baron Bedroom

Magma in my pocketMagma in my pocket

The party teleports out of the tower and reappears in Cecil’s room in Baron Castle. A key scene begins:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Cecil: Where are we….?Cecil: Where is it?
Rosa: Your room in Baron.Rosa: It’s your room in Baron.
Cid: With the fake king defeated, we don’t have to worry now!Cid: It’s safe, since the fake King is gone.
Cain: Cecil…. There is something I must tell you….Kain: Cecil… I have something to tell you.
Cid: Like what?Cid: What’s that?
Cain: It’s about the crystals….Kain: It’s about the crystals.
Cecil: The Earth Crystal we borrowed from Troia has been stolen too….Cecil: The Crystal of Earth from Toroia was taken away.
This means he has all the crystals now.This means… Golbez has gathered all the crystals.
Cain: No, he’s still only gathered four crystals!Kain: No. There are other crystals.
Rosa: Aren’t there only four in all….?Rosa: I thought there were only four.
Cid: I’ve heard rumors about this!Cid: Then the rumor is true!
Rosa: You don’t mean….
Cain: Indeed…. the Dark Crystals!Kain: Right. The Dark Crystals!
Cid: The four crystals of this world are the “obverse side” crystals, so to speak….Cid: The crystals of this world are those of Light and of open side, so to speak.
Yang: Then there exist “reverse side” crystals….?Yang: Then there are the hidden crystals!
Cecil: And those are the Dark Crystals?!Cecil: They are the Dark Crystals.
Cain: Yes. Which means only half of the crystals have fallen into Golbeza’s clutches!Kain: Right. Therefore, Golbez has only gathered half of all the crystals!
Cid: Still, I’ve heard rumors about the Dark Crystals, but I don’t know where they would be….Cid: But the rumors do not say the whereabouts of the Dark Crystals.
Cain: Golbeza located them, though.Kain: Golbez knows.
Cecil: We must hurry! Where exactly are they?Cecil: We must hurry then! Where is it, Kain?
Cain: They’re “reverse side” in the literal sense…. They’re underground!Kain: Literally, the hidden side of the earth, the Underground.
Yang: Underground?!Yang: Underground!?
Cid: We can’t get there, not without diggin’ a hole or somethin’!Cid: How? Dig a hole?
Cain: In any case, he said that once he’s gathered the obverse and reverse crystals – the Light and Dark Crystals, in other words – the path to the moon will open….Kain: Anyway, he said when all the crystals of Light and Darkness are gathered, the way to the moon opens.
Cecil: Path to the moon?Cecil: Way to the moon?
Cain: I don’t really know much myself…. but apparently this is the key to them.Kain: I guess so. And this is the clue to the secret, so he said.
I’ll give it to you.You should have it.
Obtained the Magma Stone.Received the Magma Key!

This is a big blob of text, so let’s dissect it a bit.

  • There’s some unusual phrasing in the translation that indicates not much editing focus was given to this scene. Things like, “Where is it?” in particular seem like translations done by a non-native speaker and possibly without context.
    Protons aren't very tastyProtons aren't very tasty
  • “King” probably shouldn’t be capitalized as used in the translation.
  • Cid’s line, “What’s that?” used to make me think Cid saw Kain holding something. I see now what was intended, but the ambiguous phrasing in the translation has no ambiguity in the original text.
  • One of Rosa’s lines is missing in the translation.
  • The Japanese script uses words that we would call “heads” and “tails” in English, except the Japanese terms don’t have any connection to body parts and can be used with more than just coins. As a result, these particular words are always tough to phrase well in any translation. In short, the Japanese script here calls the four crystals Golbez has the “Heads Crystals” and the other set of crystals underground the “Tails Crystals”. Again, this doesn’t work well in English though; we probably wouldn’t say, “Literally, on the tails side of the world – the underground!” but in Japanese the phrasing used isn’t particularly awkward.

    This heads/tails thing is always tough to handle in translation – at least in making things sound natural – which is why the official translation here has the really awkward phrasing, “The crystals of this world are those of Light and of open side, so to speak.”

    All the other translations have tried to struggle with this phrasing too.

    The PlayStation translation uses the phrase “of the surface” and then omits any descriptions about an opposite set, except that it’s underground:

    The GBA translation completely writes out the “heads” and “tails” thing entirely:

    This page is neverending nooooThis page is neverending noooo

    The DS translation tackles this issue with some interesting rephrasing:

    Cid: The four of this world are the Crystals of Light.

    Yang: And for every light, there is a shadow cast.

    Not necessarily, what if there was a universe with one light bulb and no other matter? Would it cast a shadow?Not necessarily, what if there was a universe with one light bulb and no other matter? Would it cast a shadow?

    The fan translation struggles with these phrases too. It goes with “crystals on the front side of the Earth” and “crystals on the reverse”.

    Personally, I really like the solutions the GBA translation and the DS translation went with.

    Incidentally, this whole coin-like front-and-reverse thing parallels a line we previously looked at in Agart.

  • The key item Kain gives Cecil is called the “Magma Stone” in Japanese, but is called a “Magma” with a key icon next to it in the English version. I never realized it was a stone until I played the Japanese version – I always assumed it literally was a key of some sort.
So, if Rosa's Teleport/Exit spell could take her back here, why didn't she use it before to escape capture? She was about to die and all, you know? I guess maybe it's because she needed to move her hands to cast the spell? She might've wanted to help Kain, but to the point of being crushed/sliced to death first? I dunno, seems a bit flimsySo, if Rosa's Teleport/Exit spell could take her back here, why didn't she use it before to escape capture? She was about to die and all, you know? I guess maybe it's because she needed to move her hands to cast the spell? She might've wanted to help Kain, but to the point of being crushed/sliced to death first? I dunno, seems a bit flimsySo, if Rosa's Teleport/Exit spell could take her back here, why didn't she use it before to escape capture? She was about to die and all, you know? I guess maybe it's because she needed to move her hands to cast the spell? She might've wanted to help Kain, but to the point of being crushed/sliced to death first? I dunno, seems a bit flimsy

The Easy Type version of the game changes a line in this scene – the phrase for “fake king” is rewritten to be simpler to understand. Originally, it mixed two types of kana and used a colloquial version of the phrase. This was changed to use one set of kana and the standard phrase.

Now we'll never use this remote control stuff ever againNow we'll never use this remote control stuff ever againNow we'll never use this remote control stuff ever again

The scene continues:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Cecil: What is this?
Cain: Apparently it can open a path to the underground if you hold it aloft somewhere….Kain: Use this at a certain place to open the way to the underground.
Yang: Somewhere?Yang: Certain place?
Rosa: Where exactly?Rosa: Where?
Cain: I don’t know….Kain: I don’t know.
Cid: What are you brooding about?Cid: What’s to think about?
We got the Enterprise! We can fly across this world in the blink of an eye!We have the Enterprise to fly around the world in no time!
Cecil: But it was left behind at the Tower of Zot….Cecil: But it was left in the Tower of Zot…
Cid: Don’t go underestimatin’ me!
I told you it was the latest model! It’s back in Baron thanks to remote control!Cid: Didn’t I tell you? It’s the latest! It’s back in Baron by remote control!
Yang: Then it’s decided.Yang: Good!
Rosa: Cid! You’re so dependable!Rosa: Cid, we really count on you!
Cid: Aren’t I though?!Cid: You think so?
Now that everything’s decided, we’ll leave tomorrow morning!
So let’s get some shut-eye before we head for the underground entrance!Let’s leave tomorrow morning to search for the entrance to the underground!
Cecil: Still…. Why didn’t Golbeza finish me off then….?Cecil: But… why didn’t Golbez just finish me off then…?
Rosa: What’s the matter?Rosa: Cecil?
Cecil: Oh, it’s nothing…. Let’s get some rest….Cecil: No, it’s nothing. Let’s take a rest.

A couple things of interest appear here too.

  • A couple of lines were removed from the official translation.
  • Kain’s understanding of the Magma Key/Stone was changed from hearsay to direct knowledge in the official translation.
  • Rosa praises Cid at one point. In the Japanese version, Cid gives a silly response stating that he knows he’s dependable. In the English version, the joke falls a little flat.
  • In the English translation, Cid says at one point, “Didn’t I tell you? It’s the latest! It’s back in Baron by remote control!” When I played this as a kid, I took this to mean, “Oops, I didn’t tell you before? It’s got the latest thing – remote control!”

    What he’s actually saying in Japanese, though, is more like, “I told you before that it’s the very latest, most cutting-edge airship there is! So now it’s back in Baron thanks to remote control!”

  • Near the end of the scene, Rosa asks, “What’s the matter?” in Japanese. In English, she just says, “Cecil?” As incredibly tiny and minor as it is, I feel the English line works better than a literal translation here.

The biggest thing of all, though, is that Easy Type version of the script changed “remote control” to “auto-pilot”. This change doesn’t exist in the English translation.

House Visit

I just came in to check your fire to see if it still hurts, stop harassing meI just came in to check your fire to see if it still hurts, stop harassing me

At this point in the game, a few NPCs around the world – but not all – have some new lines of text.

For example, if you visit Rosa’s house in Baron, Rosa’s mother has some new stuff to say:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Rosa’s mother: Rosa! You’re all right!Rosa’s mother: Rosa! Are you alright?
Rosa: ….I’m sorry.Rosa: Yes. I’m sorry for running away.
Rosa’s mother: Please don’t leave me ever again!Rosa’s mother: Never do it again, okay?
I never should’ve let you be a white wizard.I shouldn’t have let you be a White Wizard!
Rosa: You’re wrong, Mother! I’m glad I became one.
As a white wizard, I can help Cecil, who’s a warrior!
In fact, you were once a white wizard who fought alongside Father too!Rosa: But you did the same for Father!
Rosa’s mother: Rosa….Rosa’s mother: Rosa…
You’re right…. Your late father was an upstanding knight.That’s right… He was a well known knight.
Cecil. Please take good care of her.Okay. But be sure to take care of yourself.

Some background information is included in this little bit of text, but the translation muddies some of the details by leaving out a few lines and phrasing things oddly. Basically, it sounds like Rosa’s mother was once a white wizard too, and she fought alongside her husband who was also a knight.

The English version’s line, “But you did the same for Father!” almost seems to imply that Rosa’s mother let Rosa and Rosa’s father become white wizards. But then she states that he was a knight, so that clears up (or possibly adds?) to the confusion.

The English version also says he was a “well known knight”, which might’ve been the case, but the Japanese text doesn’t say that he was well known or famous, just that he was an upstanding, excellent, and/or splendid knight. The Japanese text also clearly states that Rosa’s father is dead. The English text doesn’t mention this, although you could make an educated guess based on the use of “was”.

You know, I find this little nugget of background info really interesting – I bet it could even make for a really interesting prequel story if done right.

A Royal Revisit

The priestesses in Toroia also have some new text to say.

Get used to it, things are only gonna get worseGet used to it, things are only gonna get worse

One priestess has her text shortened and given a weird capitalization issue:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
The Earth Crystal has? Oh, this is terrible!Oh, NO! Our Crystal!
What a weird translation choiceWhat a weird translation choice

Another priestess is thinking about the bigger picture:

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Oh no! Troia isn’t the only one in danger; the entire world is now!Oh my! It’s not only us! We are all in a crisis!

The English translation here sounds slightly comical after having the details replaced with “us” and “we”.

I'd hate to have their job, just standing in a hallway all day long for their entire livesI'd hate to have their job, just standing in a hallway all day long for their entire livesI'd hate to have their job, just standing in a hallway all day long for their entire lives

One of the priestess had her line altered for the Easy Type version:

Final Fantasy IV (basic translation)Final Fantasy IV Easy Type (basic translation)Final Fantasy II (Super NES)
It’s said that he who gathers the crystals shall gain terrifying power.It’s said that he who collects the crystals shall gain terrifying power.One who has all the crystals will acquire the mightiest power.

Here, the verb for “to gather” was used in a “ye olden” way in the original script, but for the Easy Type version this was changed to use the modern form instead.

The Bard Again

Picky picky mePicky picky me

Edward/Gilbert has a new line of text too.

Japanese Version (basic translation)English Version
Mr. Tella has!?Tellah too!?
Why…. Why does everyone around me end up….How come the people who I love always leave me?

There’s very little to say here, but more than anything I think most players miss this line so I thought I’d include it.

Actually, although there’s no doubt that Edward loved Anna, I’m not sure if you could say he “loves” Tellah or Rydia or even Yang, who left him temporarily. Still, as a translation, it does get the point across that everyone he interacts with seems to meet with disaster, so it’s not bad at all.

3 Comments
  1. The change from “Meteo” to “Meteor” in official English translations actually started with FF6. Also, for what it’s worth, the English manual, which includes a basic walkthrough up to entering the Underworld, actually does explicitly mention that Tellah turns his HP into MP against Golbez.

    Reply
  2. Your googly-eyed version of Valvalis is hilarious. She looks like a Muppet. Cookie-riccia Monster! OM-NOM-NOM!

    Reply
  3. I think I found out where the “dogu, magu, ragu” names came from by complete accident. It might be a reference to the Kyuusaku Yumeno novel “Dogra Magra”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yumeno_Ky%C5%ABsaku#Literary_career

    Pretty difficult to find any info about this novel in English, though. It was only translated to French.

    Reply

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