Breath of Fire 2 original translation discussion

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Breath of Fire 2 original translation discussion

Postby Nina Windia » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:15 pm

Does the English translation of Breath of Fire II's text make the game more or less entertaining?

I personally found a lot of stuff to be cooler in how it was translated, but maybe it's because English is my second languge. While I played the Re-translation patch, I felt like few things were missing to me, like the part where Sten says that he will spank Shupkay XD
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Re: Breath of Fire 2 original translation discussion

Postby Nina Windia » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:46 pm

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Re: Breath of Fire 2 original translation discussion

Postby CoolHandLuke » Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:47 pm

Yeah, I just finished playing the Ryusui translation of Breath of Fire 2 a few weeks ago, and personally, I was pretty disappointed. The whole reason I played it is because I (and I think many fans) were under the impression that this was a more faithful translation of the original Japanese text, when in reality it actually isn't. From all of the interviews I've seen, it seems like Ryusui been pretty up front about the fact that this isn't meant to be an "accurate" translation at all, rather its him simply rewriting the game to be more of the way he wanted it to be. He tosses in pop culture references that were completely absent from the original, simply because he likes the source material, and drastically changes some character's personalities, I think usually not for the better. His team also seems intent on making the game edgier than the original, including a lot of really superfluous (and usually pretty lazy feeling) swearing. Now look, I don't have anything against swearing in video games (and heck, if I remember correctly, Breath of Fire II was one of only three North American SNES releases to actually include swearing), but like other artistic decisions, I feel like it's most effective when its used in the service of an artistic purpose. Here, it just feels gratuitious, and like a lame attempt at feeling cool and edgy, which also seems like it was the motive behind a lot of their creative decisions.

Despite its pretty heavy themes, Breath of Fire II still manages to be a surprisingly light-hearted game most of the time, and I feel like their decisions more often kind of clash against that. At their worst, it causes party members and NPC's to glaringly break character. Again, the swearing is one of the more dramatic examples of this. If Sten swears I can totally believe that. If Rand does, sure. But when Nina starts swearing left and right that seems to come completely out of left field and totally contradict her character from the original translation. The two things I will give the translation credit for for are:
1) They mange to clear up a couple of conversations that were badly mangled in the original game (Sten's conversation with El is a good example of this), and...
2) I really feel like they make Katt even better developed and more endearing than she was in the original.

Katt's the character they really hit it out of the park with, and Sten's not too bad either, but I feel like some of the other party members and a disappointing amount of the NPC's are really neutered and lose a lot of their personality and charm, with Bow, Nina, and Patty being some of the worst offenders. I felt like Nina had a really well developed personality in the original, here she just comes off as a completely vanilla anime princess.

Overall, the original SNES translation as error-ridden as it was, had a lot of charm and a very distinct flavor to it. Just like the best dialogue from Super Mario RPG, Chrono Trigger, or Lufia II, I could read a couple of paragraphs from Breath of Fire II and instantly tell you that's the game it was from, just because it had that level of personality. The retranslation just feels like a hodgepodge that tries so hard to force the game into being a 21st century JPRG (instead the time capsule it actually is) that it sacrifices the original's flavor in charm in order to be generically modern and generically bland.

So yeah, while I appreciate anything that sparks interest in the series, I really feel like this was a missed opportunity. We could have gotten a faithful translation of the original Japanese, instead we get to play through what is essentially the team's attempt at revisionist fan fiction.
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Re: Breath of Fire 2 original translation discussion

Postby MrBaba » Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:28 pm

Okay, CoolHandLuke, I cannot say that I agree with you. At all.

Honestly, the original translation was a mess and while it had some stupid funny moments in it, I am not really seeing any 'charm' in it due to how awful it is. Call me bias, but I cannot go back to the original translation no matter what, just.. just no.

Let me put it this way, one translation has an error message in it, the other does not. :T
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Re: Breath of Fire 2 original translation discussion

Postby CoolHandLuke » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:23 am

Hey, that's fine, we don't have to agree. I think that there's definitely a lot of good writing and solid characterization in the original, otherwise the Super NES and GBA versions wouldn't have endured the way that they have and nobody probably would have cared enough to make a fan translation to begin with. There have already been some solid conversations on here, GameFaqs, and at the old Dragon Tear site about just how nuanced the original writing is, whether it's its mature treatment of religion or its subtle literary allusions (not just obvious references like the credits, but more subtle and substantial stuff like the way that Nikanoru functions on multiple levels, or the way certain sections of the game's story alternately work as either homage or arguments against works like Autumn of the Patriarch and Flowers for Algernon). There really is a lot of skillful writing here, and about 75-80% of the script isn't plagued by poor translation at all. It's just that remaining 20% that stands out for their errors and gets the (deservedly) notorious reputation. I just feel like overall the Japanese writers were probably more skillful writers than the fan-translation team was, even if the Capcom translation team let them down petty badly in a lot of spots, which is why I wish that Ryusui and co. would have given us a faithful translation of the original Japanese script instead of writing their own fan fiction version of it. But I get that not everybody's going to agree with me, and that's totaly fine.
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