A Legends of Localization reader named Keith sent in a question about Splatoon and one of the game’s famous catchphrases:
Just a quick one here- can you shed some light on what the original Japanese line is for the Squid Sisters in the Wii U game Splatoon? Specifically, they have the catchphrase “Stay freeeeeeeeesh!” which they say before you start the campaign. What did the translate this phrase from? Is there some kind of “fresh fish” pun involved, since the game is squid themed? Thanks.
I haven’t played Splatoon or seen much of it, but after a little bit of digging I found the answer. Here’s the scene side-by-side in Japanese and in English:
|Splatoon (Wii U, Japanese)||Splatoon (Wii U, English)|
First, the English catchphrase is “Stay fresh!” For the non-native English speakers out there, this is a pun on the primary meaning of “fresh” and the slang definitions of “fresh”, which include:
- “acceptable and highly approved by someone”
- “very good and awesome”
- “cool and stylish”
- “to have attitude”
The Japanese catchphrase is quite a bit different: イカ、よろしく! (ika yoroshiku!)
In Japanese, “ika” can mean “squid” or “cuttlefish”, but there are several unrelated words that are also pronounced “ika”. In this case, the alternate “ika” is 以下, which means something like “after this” or “following this”. Unfortunately, “yoroshiku” doesn’t have a strong English equivalent, which makes the catchphrase difficult to translate. Basically, “ika yoroshiku” roughly means something like “I appreciate your help following this”, “Let’s do well together in the thing that’s coming up”, or “I have high hopes for you coming up”, but in this case it also has a squid pun.
Even if the Japanese phrase had been more easily translatable, though, the squid pun probably would’ve been lost in translation anyway. The localizers’ solution was to come up with an entirely new phrase that was short, memorable, and had a squid-related pun. In this way, even though it isn’t a direct translation, it’s an equivalent catchphrase that hits all the intended notes.
Hopefully that clears up Keith’s question, but now I’m curious to know what the catchphrase is in other languages. If you know, please share in the comments!