Darien asked a question recently about Pokémon X/Y. I haven’t played the game, but it’s such an interesting question that I HAVE to share it:
This one’s a little bit different, I think. In Pokémon X/Y, after beating the main game, there’s an optional set of quests you can do involving a detective agency in Lumiose City.
One step of this quest involves a woman (described as a tourist) who comes to the agency seeking help, but she doesn’t speak English — all of her dialogue is in untranslated Japanese.
I’ve taken shots of it and enclosed them; I’d be curious to know what she says, since the game never actually tells you, and I wouldn’t trust it even if it did — dialogue like this is notorious for being a spot to hide easter eggs. There’s quite a bit of it, so if it’s too much to ask, I dig that, but I thought I’d give it a whirl.
Wow! This is actually really cool! And I’m curious to see how it might’ve been handled in other languages – does the Japanese version have her speaking entirely in English, for example? I’d love to know!
Anyway, as I’m not aware of the full context and have no idea what the flow of these screenshots are or how they relate to each other, treat these translations only as crutches or as trivia tidbits!
Please! Please help me!
My dear little Pokémon was stolen!
Oh, you understand my language. Whew, that’s great! What a relief!
I understand this land’s language, but I can’t speak it!
The truth is, my dear little Pokémon was stolen at the station!
So, since I heard this was a detective agency, I came here!
Please, I beg of you!
Could you get my Pokémon back for me right away?
I- I’m sorry… But I’m in a hurry!
I can’t return to my homeland unless I get my dear little Pokémon back!
My plane is leaving soon, too!
Sheesh, what’s with that person?! He doesn’t understand me at all!
This is no time for me to be casually drinking tea!
Hurry and rescue my little Pokémon!
Whoa, what’s with this girl?
How rude, calling me old!
I guess people who dress filthy talk filthy, too!
Does this kid belong to that dumb man named “Looker” who left earlier?
……Hold on, old lady. What are you saying……?
Say what you want about me……
But I WON’T let you talk bad about Mr. Looker……
……Besides, there’s no way I’d be his kid.
That’s rude to him, you know.
You can understand my language?
Yeah, sorta, more or less.
When you hang out around this town you hear people talking in all sorts of languages, so I wound up learning it at some point.
Oh…… What a relief…… There’s someone I can communicate with.
Please forgive me for my rude remarks just now…… I was just feeling stressed out.
I was agitated because my dear little Pokémon was stolen, and it means more to me than my life……
I see…… So, where was it stolen?
This town’s station!
Some mean-looking people walked up to me, and before I knew it, they had stolen my bag and the ball inside it!
Do you think it might be…… them?
Y-you can’t be serious!!
Please, I beg you!!
Please get my little Pokémon back for me!
So there you go! Hopefully it makes sense for people who’ve played through the game. If I’ve messed anything up (like, who is this Looker guy? Is he possibly the little girl’s uncle?) let me know in the comments! And definitely let me know if you know how this was handled in other languages!
Update: BB Gang Zombie has sent me screenshots from the Japanese version of the game. Apparently the Japanese version and every other non-English version has this tourist lady speaking in English. So here’s a look at this scene in English!
Please! You must help me! My precious Pokémon was stolen!
Oh, thank goodness, you can understand me!
I can follow some of the language here, but I can’t speak a word!
Please, you must listen.
My precious Pokémon was stolen from me at the station.
I heard that this place is a detective agency, so I rushed right over!
Please find my beloved Pokémon and get it back for me immediately!
I’m sorry to be so abrupt. But I’m in a terrible hurry!
I can’t return to my home country without my darling Pokémon!
And my flight is about to depart!
What’s wrong with that man?!
He hasn’t understood a single thing I’ve said!
I didn’t come here to drink tea and chat!
I want my Pokémon back, NOW!
What’s wrong with this girl?!
She just called me an old woman! How rude!
What do you know, people with foul looks have foul mouths as well!
I’ll bet she’s the daughter of that useless detective, Handsome!
…Hey, old lady! Watch your mouth!
You can say all you want about me, but I won’t let you insult Mr. Handsome!
And I’m not his kid, I’ll have you know. You’re being very rude to him yourself.
O-oh? You understood me?
More or less.
You get to hear all kinds of languages on the streets of this city.
Growing up on these streets, I naturally picked up some bits and pieces.
Oh good. At least, there’s someone who can understand me.
Please forgive my hasty words earlier. I’ve been in a panic.
My darling Pokémon is more important to me than anything else in the world!
I just can’t hold myself together when it’s missing like this…
Hmm… Anything else? Where was it stolen?
At the town train station!
I was approached by a ruffian, and the next thing I knew, my Bag was gone–
and my Poké Balls with it!
A ruffian…at the station… That’s who it must have been…
Oh, please! You must help!
I beg you–please! Please find my precious Pokémon!
Neat! I wonder which was written first for this – the Japanese or the English. It’s also interesting to see the little differences that are hiding in the two versions, like singular/plural changes, plus the fact that they call him by his Japanese name “Handsome” while also using the English term “Poké Ball” rather than the Japanese term “Monster Ball”.
Thanks to everyone who’s commented with more info and sent me e-mails with more details!
If you liked this write-up and know any other fans of Pokemon, it'd mean a lot if you shared it with them. I appreciate it!
Looker is the man who sorta took the girl under his wing since she was homeless at the time. And yes, all that text makes sense considering that you do end up dealing with some shady guys at the station that the girl does know. It’s great to know that text, really gives more meaning to it all!
Looker is also in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum if I remember correctly. He was some kind of detective or something.
He appeared first in Platinum, then in Black/White and in X/Y.
Then we see his beginnings in ORAS
Wow that is a lot of Japanese for an English game. I wonder why they felt they needed to have that much, especially if it’s true that they never tell you what it translates to in the game.
I really want to know how it’s handled in every language as well, though I imagine that since Japanese people learn a little English in school it went over better having the tourist possibly be speaking English.
At first, Looker explains what he thinks she’s saying, but he doesn’t understand and believe she wants some tea. Then the little girl arrives, talks in japanese for a little while, but then she realizes that the player would not understand anything, and she uses her Espurr’s psychic powers so that the player understand what they’re saying (between each line, the translation appears).
Going by what I’ve heard, every version of the game except English has the tourist speaking English.
As for Looker, he’s a member of the international police who’s started showing up in the games and manga (not sure about the anime since I don’t watch it) starting with Platinum. “Uncle” is somewhat close here, the beginning of this quest involves him adopting the girl, who was homeless before then. Her “father” shows up towards the end of it.
It’s always nice reading these articles, since I intend to try getting into translation later on myself. Nice job as always, Mato!
Cool, thanks for the info! I honestly know so little about the series that it’s embarrassing. Yet somehow Pokemon articles are plentiful on here 😯
If you’re keen to get started, I’d say X/Y is a great choice; the learning curve (and the grinding) is a lot less pronounced than in the previous games.
I figured it would be all English except the English version or all Japanese except the Japanese version, but was only guessing. Cool to know!
He’s a reasonably major character in the anime as well, yes.
Wasn’t Looker called something else in Japanese? Does the game use his Japanese name for this batch of Japanese dialog?
Yeah, I looked into it now and it looks like the Japanese versions usually call him “Handsome”. So I guess “Looker” was always intended to be a less-obvious, more natural-sounding localization choice.
It’s very interesting that this particular Japanese text keeps it as “Looker”, though. It makes me think that maybe the English text was written first (since it’s used in all the other translations apparently) and then IT was translated into Japanese for this purpose.
I left the context bits out on purpose, partly to avoid spoilers and partly because holy miltank that was already a lot of images. 🙂
(Sneaky 3DS friend code plug: 0619-4279-2318)
I play the French version of the game, and the tourist is not Japanese, she’s English! And what she’s saying is almost the same as how Mato translated it from Japanese, the main difference is Looker’s name (he’s called Beladonis in French).
I only played the French version, but I’m curious about if there’s a lot of use of French words in the other versions, I think that some places have a French name…
By the way, if you intend to play the game, you can choose any language you want when you start the game, so no need to import it from Japan if you want to play it in Japanese!
There is quite a lot of incidental French in the English version. No big blocks of French dialogue like this wall of Japanese, though.
So, in previous games Looker was an interpol detective. He showed up in Sinnoh (based off of Hokkaido, where they’d speak Japanese), and spoke with a stereotypical foreigner accent. This games is set in Kalos (based on France) where he is set up. His bizarre accent is gone, so maybe it’s his native country. The woman is a tourist from one of the Japanese-speaking regions.
There’s some of Looker’s dialogue that happens between these screenshots. Looker says in English that he understands this woman, and that she really wants some fancy tea (so obviously he doesn’t really understand her). It’s a little in joke explaining why he spoke so bizarrely in the old games–his Japanese is awful.
Does anyone remember the girl on the bench in the Shalour city gate who speaks in German? Apparently, she speaks in German in every version, except in the German version where she speaks in really-bad-grammar German. I have no idea about it personally, though.
I’d forgotten that! Her dialogue is “Pokémon sind im Pokéball. Ich sitze auf dem Stuhl.” Google translate turns this into “Pokémon in Poké Ball. I sit on the chair,” which isn’t elegant, but gets the point across.
Most notable to me is the fact that “Pokéball” becomes “Poké Ball.” Apparently Google Translate recognises “Pokéball” as an actual German word, which is pretty funny.
About Google Translate, it’s weird that it sometimes recognises words like that. I can put フシギダネ and ゼニガメ in there and it corretly translates to English as “Bulbasaur” and “Squirtle”. However, ヒトカゲ doesn’t work for Charmander. Also it doesn’t translate Snivy, Tepig or Oshawott’s Japanese names either but hey, it’s an online translation tool, not a Pokémon fansite. 😀
Kinda funny that Google still screws it up :p
It’s nothing major but Pokémon in Poké Ball would just be “Pokémon im Pokéball” without the additional “sind”. But “Pokémon sind im Pokéball” is a pretty awkward sentence to begin with. It lacks a pronoun, which is not essentially necessary, but I think only foreigners would speak the way the girl is speaking here.
The second sentence is perfect though, so I wonder what’s up with that. Did they try to go for her speaking broken German, or did they just not know (or care) that the first sentence is kinda awkward?
Oh yeah, I don’t think Pokéball is a German word yet (considering the “Duden”, which is basically THE German standard dictionary) but seeing that Pokémon is… Well, I guess it will only be a matter of time.
Given what Yosh says below about her speech in the French version, I think it’s supposed to be poor.
“Pokémon sind im Pokéball” is literally “Pokémon are in the Poké Ball” while “Pokémon in Poké Ball” translates to German: “Pokémon in Pokéball”
In the French version, she’s saying : “Mon Pokémon is in the ball. Je suis on the canapé.”
She sounds like an English tourist trying to speak French!
In the Italian version she speaks proper Italian, albeit her dialogue is changed into “Thirty-three Pokémon enter in a Pokéball, all thirty-three of them throttling”
By the way, in the Japanese version she’s an English tourist who says in English (well, almost English): “Pokémon in the ball. あたし on the chair.” -> Pokémon in the ball. Me on the chair.
Well, the Spanish version text is:
“Mi Pokémon is in the Poké Ball.
Yo estoy on the couch.”
(Translation: “My Pokémon is in the Poké Ball. I am on the couch.”
Nice to see what other languages use, I’ve always wondered that 🙂
A person in a hotel in Lumiose, in the Spanish version, her text is written to simulate an English native speaker trying to speak Spanish. So…
In-game text (Spanish):
“Oh my God! ¡Este suelou está relusientei!
¡Yo tengou ganas de deslisarmei por aquí, yeah!”
“(Oh my God!) ¡Este suelo está reluciente!
¡Yo tengo ganas de deslizarme por aquí, (yeah)!”
“Oh my God! This floor is sparkingly clean!
I really want to slide/glide in here, yeah!”
This reminds me of one, just one, untranslated line in the PS2 localization of Persona 3 (bet no one ever found it). Though I’m not sure why they would intend to leave so much untranslated Japanese in the U.S. version. Do they think we’re weeaboos or something? It almost feels…insulting.
It’s not there as a mistake. It’s supposed to make the lady seem like a foreigner you can’t understand — which goal it accomplishes wonderfully, while also creating a fun article for LOL. 😀
I had a feeling this was intentional honestly. This would be a gross localization negligence if it were it a mistake. Still what were they expecting us to do in this case?
It’s not showed in the screenshots, but the text IS translated. First, Looker tells you what the tourist is saying (but he gets it wrong because he’s not very good at Japanese and believes that she wants some tea). Then, when the little girl arrives, she uses her Espurr’s psychic power so that the player understand what they’re talking about.
Here’s a video :
It’s hardly “translated” there. The espurr just gives you an overall impression of what’s going on; it’s pretty clear that there’s quite a bit you don’t get.
As Darien pointed out, that’s hardly a translation. It’s just using expressions and movements to determine what a person is trying to say (though in a sense, that could work though it’s easy to mess up something like that).
This reminds me of something in another game I played. It’s called The World Ends With You and there’s this one NPC who spoke entirely in Japanese! I was playing the English version and I wondered what he was talking about… I think he was a foreigner…which is odd because the game takes place in Japan.
That guy is an English-speaking tourist hoping to bring a katana home as a souvenir to show his friends, but he’s having difficulty because he doesn’t understand Japanese, nor does anyone else speak English.
In the Japanese version of the game, that same guy’s text is in English instead.
Also, in the english version, after the credits, the title is shown, only it’s changed from “The World Ends With You” to “The World Begins With You”, and i want to know how this is in the original japanese, where the title was “Subarashiki Kono Sekai”
or “It’s a Wonderful World”.
Tomato, I am almost at this point in the Japanese version of X and can send pictures of it if you’d like.
Ooh, that’d be cool!
I sent it to your e-mail, Mato. Hope I helped. 🙂
I found a video of the japanese version!
I confirm she speaks English in the Italian version too, albeit with some differences from the lines in the Japanese version you show (which I think are also in most of the non-English versions):
– “I can follow some of the language” is “I can follow some of the languages”
– Of course, she calls Looker by his Italian name, Bellocchio.
– “Hey, old lady!” lacks the suspension marks.
– After “my Bag was gone” there are three suspension marks instead of the line.
– She also says “and my Poké Ball with it!”, singular instead of plural. Since they stole a single Pokémon from her, it makes sense.
– “I beg you, please!” with a comma instead of the two lines.
So they fixed a typo (Poké Ball), but also introduced a wrong correction (“some of the languages” where “language” already made perfect sense)? Ha.
I can confirm that in the Spanish version, the tourist speaks in English,the text is exactly like the japanese version’s one. He is even called Handsome here too.
Kinda reminds me of that part in Portal 2 where (midgame spoilers) the power-mad Wheatley says something in Spanish, then remarks “I don’t even know what I just said, but I can find out!”.
He says “Estás usando este software de traducción de forma incorrecta. Por favor, consulta el manual.” which, naturally, translates to “You are using this translation software incorrectly. Please consult the manual.”
Apparently in each of the voice dubs for the game, he says that in a different language. E.g. someone on steam says the German dub says that line in English.
Looker SHOULD know both Japanese and English, considering he had been previously stationed in Hokkaido and New York. And when he’s in another English speaking area later on, Hawaii, his accent is gone and he’s able to speak perfectly albeit hurriedly (and occasionally lapsing into other languages under duress). So there’s no reason he should misunderstand the woman so badly.