Ys VIII Was Translated Twice – Which is Your Preferred Translation Style?

63 Comments

Reviews of Ys VIII's translation were so bad that the Japanese CEO had to step in and make a statement (source)
In 2017, an official English translation of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana was released. After fans pointed out that the script was filled with bizarre translation choices and genuine translation mistakes, a re-translated version was released months later. And because no two translations are alike, the updated translation feels quite a bit different from the original translation.

Anyway, I literally have 144,670 before and after images from both versions of the game that I hope to organize and share someday in some way. But for now, ignoring all the mistranslations and whatnot, I’m curious to see which translation “style” players prefer more – the original translation style or the updated translation style.

Below are nine sets of jumbled-up before-and-after Ys VIII translation screenshots. For each set, choose your preferred translation, Translation A or Translation B. When you’re done, click the “Display My Results!” button and you’ll find out which translation style you prefer!

Note that I programmed this survey thing myself, and it doesn’t store any information at all anywhere. So if you’d like to share your results with others, post them in the comments!

Also, this isn’t meant to be a super-serious thing, it’s just casual “I wonder what different people think” thing I threw together.

Set #1

Which of the above translations do you prefer?
Translation A
Translation B

Set #2

Which of the above translations do you prefer?
Translation A
Translation B

Set #3

Which of the above translations do you prefer?
Translation A
Translation B

Set #4

Which of the above translations do you prefer?
Translation A
Translation B

Set #5

Which of the above translations do you prefer?
Translation A
Translation B

Set #6

Which of the above translations do you prefer?
Translation A
Translation B

Set #7

Which of the above translations do you prefer?
Translation A
Translation B

Set #8

Which of the above translations do you prefer?
Translation A
Translation B

Set #9

Which of the above translations do you prefer?
Translation A
Translation B

Your Results

Once you’ve made all your choices, press the button below to find out which translation style you prefer more:

Which translation style came out on top for you? Share in the comments!


If you'd like to see more about video game translation problems and difficulties, see my other articles here. Or if you just want to read some funny stuff about game translation, see here!

63 Comments
  1. 6 to 3 in favor of updated, and I was 8 to 1 on correctly guessing which was updated. (The update changed the hair color label for the worse?)

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    1. Yeah, the hair colour is a bit… Well, I’d consider it mostly green, but I could understand some people seeing it as blue. Maybe just cut out the guessing and call it teal.

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      1. I unmistakably see it as green, though don’t take my word for it since I’m partually color-blind. I guess calling it teal would work as well.

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  2. My results said I prefer the updated translation. But I still really like “Archeozoic Big Hole” from the original translation no matter how stupid it sounds.

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  3. I overall prefer the colloquial style, I just don’t like that way that the other version sometimes sounds like it’s too simplified, even unfinished. I prefer when the characters can be heard through the writing, and not the fact that it was originally Japanese.
    However, I’m not the biggest fan of something like the “willy” line where it felt overly-goofy, but maybe the character IS really goofy, so it fits better than I think?
    Also, I chose the “took a dump” version rather than the “took a shit” one just because saying “shit” in that context sounds particularly vulgar and therefore not used in such a lighthearted sentence like that. Like, saying “shit” in the literal verb form like that so flippantly works for a character like… William Murderface from Metalocalypse (I’m sorry, I couldn’t think of a mainstream example) who is pretty openly unpleasant much of the time and not someone casual-but-friendly. Again, I don’t know Sahad as a character, so maybe he IS a dirty bastard.

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  4. Regardless of updated-or-not, “Icarusia” sounds more like an actual name than “Iclucia” to me.

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    1. Terithian Wanderer

      “Icarusia” sounds more like the translators were trying to force a potentially unintended reference to “Icarus” rather than an unrelated made up name, personally.

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      1. While that may be true, it’s also a much more natural arrangement of letters in English. “iclu” is really uncommon (not a single word in the FreeBSD words file contains it) and having two different pronunciations of the letter “c” in one word is slightly on the awkward side. As a result, to my eye “Iclucia” looks painfully like a Fantasy Scrabble name while “Icarusia” is easier to pronounce and feels more authentic.

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        1. Coming at it from a different perspective, the Japanese characters for her name are “イルクルシア” (“irukurushia”) which suggests that NEITHER localized form is particularly accurate to the original pronunciation.

          I would have gone with “Ilcrucia”. This is way more natural than either of them — so natural, in fact, that it’s Italian for “it burns”. (I haven’t played the game so I have no idea if this is relevant.) The same katakana is used for one of Astaroth’s moves in Soul Calibur II; I THINK that move was named “Hades” in the English localization of that game but I’m not 100% sure I’m lining up the move lists correctly.

          This suggests that the relocalization was done based on the first translation instead of going back to the source material. (Which isn’t too terribly surprising; rewriting something within the same language is a heck of a lot easier than translating it.)

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          1. Trust me, nothing about Icarusia suggests burning.

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            1. What about suffering? It’s used metaphorically in that sense (we have it in English too; see the word “excruciating”).

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              1. It actually does suggest “suffering” in Japanese (kurushia-> kurushii), but the sound is just off enough that I’d dismiss it without knowing more.

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                1. I would agree that “il crucia” vs “kurushii” is an interesting coincidence — I was going to reply to your other comment saying exactly that, except I got distracted away from my laptop before finishing the message.

                  My question is more about whether the meaning is relevant enough to the story to suggest that it was an intentional choice, or if it was just picked as an exotic (that is, European) sounding name.

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                  1. I think you’re reading far too into a name that simply sounds exotic to the ear.

                  2. If the EXACT same name hadn’t been used in other media (Soul Calibur II, as mentioned), I would have chalked it up to exactly that. As it stands, attention to localization means looking for the possibility of such references, because preserving that flavor is part of a good translation. I did acknowledge it might just be an exotic-sounding name, but taking at least a cursory look into other possible answers is just due diligence.

      2. I sort of get the opposite feeling. “Iclucia” sounds like they’re trying to avoid a reference with a weird spelling.

        (Sort of like F/GO – the English version changed Saber’s name from Arturia to Altria so they could trademark it.)

        I don’t get much meaning out of the original name (it sounds like “kurushii” but that can’t be right) but maybe if I’d played the game I’d know more.

        Reply
    2. Funny. I felt the exact opposite. Iclucia (Like Lucretia)sounds far more natural saying aloud than Icarusia. (Which sounds like gibberish to my mind. And one or two syllables too many)

      Reply
  5. Terithian Wanderer

    Looks like I chose the updated script every time except that last one. His hair definitely looks green to me!

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  6. I got “updated, carefully edited colloquial translation style”

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  7. It’s hard to tell from these, really, since I don’t know the original speaking styles. I prefer as straight a translation as possible whilst capturing as much of the original essence – but several of these are not just style switches, but content shifts.
    #2 changes about indicating whether this a usual routine or not
    #8 is an indication of what he’s going to do, versus an invitation for all to join in the same wish
    #5 changes from talking *about* someone to talking *to* someone
    And several of the others appear to be changing speaking styles entirely, which is hard to tell whether the translators are being more accurate or the usual “PUNCH UP THE DIALOG” twitch so many localisers seem to have…

    Reply
    1. #5 is for me the worst offender, since I don’t know the context of the scene and don’t know if it’s a narration or someone from that scene (probably the old lady) speaking. Some people complain about the change in name but I honestly don’t care; japanese-made fantasy-style made-up names feel like they are always a pain to localize because it’s not always that clear what the name was supposed to sound like just by looking at the katakana spelling, so I’ve kind of grown apathetic to wheter they do a good job or not at localizing them “correctly”.

      Reply
  8. Almost exclusively updated. That hair is blue, friends!

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  9. 7-2 in favor of updated. #9 will always make me laugh whenever I see it. It looks more green to me but it definitely looks like it could be either one

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  10. I think I got 6-3 in favor of the updated translation. I saw green hair as opposed to blue in #9 (more teal or aqua green, but still greenish), wasn’t a fan of the rather crude terminology in #1 and #2 (it’s funny; I’m not adverse to swearing, and do so a lot myself, but it kinda makes me cringe when I see it in games for some odd reason), and the ol’ “reference out of nowhere” in #6 just made me kind of sigh.

    On the whole… while I may joke sometimes about how flowery translations like FF12’s and the PSP ports/remakes of Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre are… ultimately I guess I prefer that style to a more literal translation that just feels… dry and stilted.

    Interesting little “quiz”, though. I grabbed this game a while back, but have yet to play it. I wonder which translation the version I have uses.

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  11. My results are in favor of the updated translation as well, which doesn’t surprise me. The previous translation was understandably stiff and awkward as well as far too literal at times, though the updated translation still had a few goofs in place; in Dana’s time, when talking to two of the townsfolk, the spelling of a certain place is not consistent between both text windows. Still it’s good they updated it, because we’re not idiots and we prefer English language translations to be coherent and effective, as well as flow naturally. Yet another example of why translating too literally is a bad thing, despite what certain ignorant types believe.

    Reply
  12. 8/9 for updated.

    I’ve only played the updated translation, and I’m definitely interested in a fuller comparison of the two. I’ve only been able to find a few images of the original, but it seems very stiff and has the standard translation mistakes that have come up on this site. “I’m a medical student.” “That’s a student that studies medicine” comes to mind for super obvious mistakes that I was able to find. The first line was changed to “I’m a medical resident” (or so) in the update.

    One of the things that’s a little funny about the “Archeozoic Big Hole” to “Archeozoic Chasm” change is that “big hole” fits better for the very first time it comes up, but is very weird every other time. It’s like someone made the decision to use the exact same phrase every time it came up. It’s a little ironic that since every instance of “big hole” was changed to “chasm”, that first occurrence is now awkward. Of course, the original JP version also called it “Crevice of the Archeozoic Age” which would have been fine to use if a little long.

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  13. 7-2 for updated (his hair is definitely green!) but I will say these standalone images do kind of lack context. Like for #5, those 2 statements kinda mean different things and without knowing which one is correct, it’s hard to choose stylistically which one is better. For #2, I figured that most JRPGs generally don’t swear (especially if they don’t take place in the “real” world; characters in Persona swear and that seems normal) so that didn’t seem right, but as someone who didn’t play the game, maybe that could’ve actually been the correct characterization! Kind of the same with 4, I do like the “flower-y” version more, but maybe that’s not an accurate characterization.

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  14. Wow, I can’t even answer a single one of those questions. They both feel like they’re either too literal, or too localized.

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  15. My memory issues keep me from giving an actual count (although at least one I know was original; his hair is fucking green, dammit!), but I did get that I preferred the newer translation overall, which tracks for my tastes overall—I know that the Gaggles line in Shadow Dragon was a punch-up, for one. Most of these were kinda overwrought for my tastes, but slightly overwrought is usually better than extremely stilted and stiff as long as the same concepts are carried across.

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  16. Yeah, like several people said, it’s hard to tell which of these are correct without context. Like I personally thought the more subtle groin joke was funnier cos it takes you off guard, but is it more in-character for that guy to speak informally? Who knows!

    Reply
    1. Yeah, I mention in the article that the quiz isn’t so much about “correctness” – disregarding mistranslations and such, just which “style” appeals to you more or feels better to you, basically. I know it’s hard to separate the two things sometimes though, which is why it’s meant more as a casual, non-serious survey.

      Reply
  17. As Events Warrant

    I got 6:3 for the original. I think some of it, especially #1, is because I prefer not having added accents or dialects in a translation, even if they were meant as an approximation or analogue to accents / dialects in the original text.

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  18. That guy’s hair is definitely green.

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  19. All of my preferences were for the updated style.
    And yeah his hair is green.

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  20. Apparently I prefer the original.

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  21. Prefer the original 7-2.

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  22. While the final comparison seems strange to a ton of commenters here, I don’t think it’s what NISA considers their “updated” translation. After PS4, they released ports to Windows PC (Steam and GOG) and Nintendo Switch, and both of those call Sahad a “Green-haired Man” in all contexts on the Lombardia.

    P.S. There have even been more (super minor) corrections to textual inconsistencies, contextual errors, and typos in the January 17th, 2020 Windows PC patch, even though it was advertised and indeed was for fixing issues with the port itself.

    Reply
  23. Not sure why comment wasn’t approved (I didn’t say anything nasty to anyone or something), but let me say it again. I ended up with the updated translation, which is totally fine because it’s definitely the better of the two. Regardless, there are still some little inconsistencies they didn’t catch, such as one example in Dana’s time. There are two villagers who mention the name of a certain place and the spelling is different between in both text boxes.

    I’m honestly glad they retranslated it. Proper English is important in all media and needs to flow well. Direct translations are too stiff and stifle the story and characters, which is why sometimes there has to be some allowances made. I hope certain folks out there understand this.

    Reply
    1. “I’m honestly glad they retranslated it. Proper English is important in all media”
      I’d say the only truly improper English among these examples is in the retranslation, though; “T’was”.

      Reply
      1. Yes I agree, that was a goof. The retranslation flows better, but it still has a few hiccups in places, mostly for consistency and this spelling mistake.

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  24. Alexander Keller-Nelson

    In #8, are those guys or girls? I guess it doesn’t really matter, a girl can want a wife too. Got 6-3 as well because of the hair thing

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  25. 6-3 for updated, though one of the three was the obviously-green hair.

    The others both surprised me – the updated versions seems *less* colloquial, and more stilted (for #2) or flowery (for #6).

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  26. Actually, I think both are weird. The original is too stiff, and other just doesn’t seem to flow naturally. Looks too much like it’s pushing to be more colloquial.

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  27. Updated, carefully edited colloquial translation style.

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  28. 1 – A
    2 – A
    3 – A
    4 – B
    5 – B
    6 – A
    7 – B
    8 – B
    9 – A

    Reply
  29. Friendly Frankenstein

    colloquial style all the way! I’m not really shocked either- stiff literal translations always just kind of…. slide right off for me. Like sure it gets the idea across, but losing out on personality sucks so much out of a game. I’d rather it shoot for a little goofy (see, Dragon Quest and The Phonetic Accents) then make everyone sound so stiff.

    Also thats GREEN hair, and it woulda driven me insane looking for blue hair.

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  30. Is it okay not to like either one?
    Sorry.

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    1. ^Dear lord, it’s the English translation hater again.

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      1. Oh no, I like English translations.
        But I don’t like ones that have gross jokes about certain body parts and are laced with profanity.

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        1. “Take a dump” isn’t profanity though.

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          1. Yes, but “take a sh*t” is.

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            1. So, what’s your point? They changed that line.

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        2. Seeing as how both versions have basically the same gross jokes, they were probably in the original. Are you saying they should have censored those jokes?

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  31. With the exception of #6 and #9, all of mine were the updated translations. Something about “gotta clean ’em all” annoys me. But even then, “Cleaning, cleaning” is a bit boring…
    With the original translation, I feel like I can sort of tell what the original Japanese sentence was structured as, so it doesn’t feel natural at all. The newer translations seem to have more clarity as to what they’re referring to also, so that’s a plus.

    Reply
    1. I made the same choices! For me “Gotta clean ’em all” sounds like a Pokémon reference which turns me off. I have a pet hate for pop culture references in video game dialogue.

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  32. Updated over original, 7-2 (#1 and #9 were the ones where I preferred the original translation).

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  33. 8 of 9 for updated and colloquial. The original just sounds like the base translation that’s used to punch up later. The updated version sounds like fantasy, which makes sense as a JRPG. Also that hair is GREEN.

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  34. It seems I picked the new TL for all but the one with the dump/shit line. While I don’t inherently have a problem with saying “took a shit”, I just thought “dump” sounded better there. But what influenced me more is probably “I’m feeling great today, as usual.” Just didn’t sound as natural, I’m pretty sure the original was 今日も. I work in translation, if that matters at all. Would’ve been interested to see the Japanese lines to compare further.

    Reply
    1. You have your translations mixed up. The “took a shit” line is from the old script, and the “took a dump” one is from the new one. The left and right pics aren’t always from the old and new translations respectively, since that would defeat the point of the exercise.

      Reply
  35. I wound up with the updated translation, but I think I’d want to be greedy and compare each version of each line to the original Japanese; a snappier take can just as easily veer too far from the intended meaning.

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  36. Gotta clean ’em, Pokémon! Shame that line was re-translated! 🙁

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    1. That line is the updated version

      Reply
  37. Never played any YS games before… It is rather curious that Falcom decided to switch publishers after having been partnered with Seed for so long. Hopefully this won’t impact their output from now on.

    Reply

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