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Strange Video Game Translations: Street Fighter 2 — 22 Comments

  1. When reading the original Japanese for Final Fantasy VII, I caught Cloud using the phrase “to win a girl’s heart” (I think 物にする?) in reference to Sephiroth. IN SEPHIROTH’S PRESENCE. To make it better, this was in a story he was telling to his friends about all the stuff that happens at Nibelheim, meaning Cloud could have left that detail out.

  2. I have to admit, it was really funny to read.懐かし過ぎる。 I don’t know if you notice, but the legs twisting attack 竜巻旋風脚 is almost inaudible in the game,unless your force your ears; I always heard Ryu/Ken saying ”tektekturugen”.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgP5AgSlEKk
    And now audible,quite clear.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf8I3OXCxEc

    I vote for a segment of texts in these line. Maybe a extension for this one.

  3. That’s really interesting! I’m curious about that the Sheng Long translation of Shouryuken. Is that a Chinese reading of the kanji? But the screenshot is in hiragana only so I suppose they must have translated from another source that used kanji?

    • Wikipedia confirms the reading part: “the words “shō ryū” (昇龍 rising dragon) from Shōryūken (昇龍拳), Ryu’s flying uppercut, is “shēng lóng” in Chinese pinyin.”

      It’s likely that the original script used kanji and it was converted to hiragana and katakana at some later point. (Either they wanted to save ROM space or they wanted it to readable by a wide (young) audience.)

  4. I can tell you all about game localisation!
    More often than not, the translator doesn’t get a chance to actually see the game and is left with a list of strings from the game, often in no particular order, that he somehow has to make sense out of.
    Sure, he’s allowed to ask for clarification, and then it all comes down to whether the developer is willing to help or not.

    The following is probably not far from what actually happened:
    Translator: Is 昇龍拳 a name (Chinese?), or the name of a move maybe?
    Developer: Yes.

    This is now, so I can’t imagine how it was back then. Probably worse.

    There’s the same kind of story with the Varia Suit from Metroid, which was originally バリアスーツ in Japanese, or Barrier Suit. Got mistranslated once, and it stuck :)

    • Very interesting. So I guess it’s not really a “blame the translators.”

      Do you work in the localization industry? I hope you can also chime in on the next video game translation post, as this is all fairly new to me.

      • It’s not always the translator’s fault, no. It can be of course, but more often than not the developer has a part of responsibility too.
        You can’t expect someone to translate something right if you don’t give them some context :)

        I do work in game localisation, yes. Things like those happen almost everyday!

    • How does it become the developers responsibility that a translation is bad? O.o The developer is not a translator (or I guess most developers aren’t), so if you make the developer responsible I’d expect a bad translation… Just as when you make the developer responsible for doing graphics or something else that is not developing.

      • Not the translation itself, but developers can be responsible in many other ways:

        -Poor communication with the translation team (ex: giving them a massive excel sheet of strings with no greater context, no access to playable builds of the game, or being unavailable to answer translator questions)
        -Failure to account for translation needs during development (ex: Not enough time or space given for proper translation [some languages take up more space], lack of support for localized number displays, etc)

        Of course we’ve come a long way since the stuff pictured here, but there are still a lot of places where programmers, designers, etc can be more conscious of localization needs to make the translation process better.

        • Ah I see your point here… That can be said for all work that is dependent on other work. If whatever you depend on is not properly done, then you might not be able to do your work to the best of your capabilities.

  5. I don’t know if you did go any further with this comparison between the english/japanese texts from SF2…. but I can tell somethings that were screwed up:
    1: Almost all winning quotes were removed and a new, generic one was written (two, if we count the console exclusive ones). Originally, each character had 5 or so winning quotes in the jap version. The character stories also suffered changes. In the jap version, Chun-Li’s father was only missing, in the western, he was murdered. In SF2 Champion Edition, Guile’s story give us some info on how Nash/Charlie was killed, in the western version, both were ambushed in Cambodia and Nash/Charlie was killed. Also, CE tells us some details about Vega/Bison’s origin. Something that the western audience would never know until the english version of the “Eternal Challenge” book;
    2: The endings also suffered MAJOR meaning changes. Like in Guile’s were he asks Vega/Bison if he remembered him and Nash/Charlie from Cambodia (the Cambodia part was made up in the western version);
    3: Super SF2 added more winning quotes (Vega/Bison had completely new ones) and some where removed. The western version had the same one from SF2 – WW;
    4: Cammy’s ending was changed. The japanese version mentions that she worked for Shadaloo and that Vega/Bison slipped her in the British Empire. The western version…. they were lovers!!!!
    5: In SFZero 1, Vega/Bison’s ending mentions that he and Rose both have the same power, and that, with her defeat, Vega/Bison became the sole user of Psycho Power. The western ending says that Rose was a fool to challenge Vega/Bison and that he replayed the the battle over and over in his mind.

    Those are only a few differences between the jap and engl versions of the SF series…. there’s a LOT of things that were butchered in the western version….

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