Significant Differences Between English and Japanese

tobakudan

Lv. 1 Adventurer
#1
On my first time through the game I played with Japanese audio (speech) and English text (subtitles, menu, etc.). I actually tried to make the text Japanese too, but for whatever reason I wasn't able to find a way to do this in the settings. I changed the language setting to Japanese, but the text remained English.

Anyhow, this turned out to be interesting because the Japanese and English are often very different. The translators took a lot of liberty, as I'm sure they were instructed to. This is in contrast to the original FFVII, in which translations tended to attempt to stick to the original meaning to the point of being a bit too rigid, and where there were differences they were often translation errors. In the remake, the English text is often completely different in meaning from the Japanese yet communicates a similar emotion that the particular scene wants to convey. It's as if the translators were told to prioritize communicating the emotion present in each scene rather than the literal meaning of what is being said. Also, it probably goes without saying, but the quality of the translation is magnitudes better than the original. I can only remember seeing one clear mistake.

I'm currently playing it a second time on hard mode with English speech. I'm noticing that the differences in the quality of a voice can also totally change the impression of what's being said, even if the English and Japanese are practically equivalent in meaning. So far I can only think of one clear example, and that's Tifa. Her Japanese voice has a tinge of maturity (especially relative to Aerith) yet still retains an sense of being young and cute. This matches a lot of the body language she displays, especially in the Sector 7 slums. In my opinion, this is lost in the English voice. She sounds motherly and middle-aged, and as a result her physical appearance, facial expressions, and body language feel dissonant. I saw in another thread that many people seem to like Tifa's mature English voice, so I might be the odd one out and my point here isn't to criticize; just pointing out what I thought to be an interesting difference.

I'm hoping that eventually somebody will make a video series comparing the Japanese and English, something like the "Let's Mosey: A Slow Translation Of Final Fantasy VII" created by Tim Rogers (that series was godlike, btw). In fact I might be interested, although I would probably be unable to pull it alone.

Anybody else play in both languages and notice interesting differences?

(For those wondering, I'm an American born and raised in Japan, so I'm fluent in both languages and work as a translator.)
 

youffie

Pro Adventurer
#3
If it helps any, they only did subtitles for Italian, and I heard that they are much closer to the Japanese, probably more so than the other languages with dubbing since they didn't have to adapt the speech as much to make it sound natural.

I have only played in English with English subtitles though, it was getting too distracting to follow both the English speech and the Italian translation. But I will definitely try to take note of any notable differences that I can spot in the future… whenever I replay the game (not for some time to be honest).
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#4
The one translation issue I know of that bugs me, is
Jenova's name, "Dreamweaver." It's apparently "Beat" in Japanese.

Don't know why they changed it. Granted, its a cool new name, but I would prefer the intended meaning, you know? What other ones are you aware of?
 

Dark and Divine

Pro Adventurer
AKA
D&D
#5
This is nothing particulary important , but I noticed that when it's Aerith who joins Cloud in the first transition of
the Sephiroth Battle, in the japanese dub she doesn't say anything similiar to "Screw him". She just says something like "Let's Go".
 
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JBedford

Pro Adventurer
AKA
JBed
#7
The one translation issue I know of that bugs me, is
Jenova's name, "Dreamweaver." It's apparently "Beat" in Japanese.
I can only imagine the localisation is planning to eschew the whole
Birth/Life/Death thing.

Wasn't its English name Jenova Pulse in the demo leak? I thought that was a cool name. Dreamweaver just makes me think of the web development program.
 

Tetsujin

Ready for the mosh pit, shaka brah
AKA
Tets
#8
The one translation issue I know of that bugs me, is
Jenova's name, "Dreamweaver." It's apparently "Beat" in Japanese.

Don't know why they changed it. Granted, its a cool new name, but I would prefer the intended meaning, you know? What other ones are you aware of?
I kind of thought
Dreamweaver sounded so un-Jenovaish. I checked the German translation and it's Jenova Pulse.
 

SailorStarDust

Kept you waiting, huh?
AKA
SSD
#11
I'm just going to copy/paste some examples of differences. I'm seriously annoyed that my localization fears from that other thread (from several months back) we were discussing stuff in, ended up true. I'm not asking for a literal translation here, because that's quite silly and not how languages work. The irony that the original game translation was a translation (the general feel was there despite various line screwups in some key moments) while this is a strange localization is quite telling, I think.

For safety's sake I'll spoiler tag these, since I openly mention a Chapter 14 mechanic. If I missed anything big or small, do feel free to add!

  • From the ending itself. Aerith's "I miss it. The steel sky." was in Japanese "I hate the sky." (Referencing "...Because it takes away people dear to me." Her 30th Anniversary monologue about her real mother, Zack, and Cloud.)
  • Aerith's " 'Cause I'm not sick of you yet." in EN just before Cloud has a crying freak out is "I want to spend time with you." (Referencing "I want to spend more time with you."...23 Tiny Wishes.) This is a huge one IMO because it shows the beginning of her feelings transferring from Zack to Cloud.
  • Aerith's Chapter 14 Resolution scene includes her in Japanese saying "It hurts, but I'm happy." (can't remember the English rendering) yet another reference to her 30th Anniversary monologue. (Fiance and I got CloTi Hug on first playthrough, but we unlocked Barret and Aerith's scenes later.) Honestly, this entire scene felt like her saying farewell ala the Sleeping Forest, so where do they plan to go from here?!
  • Madam M in Japanese when pissed off Cloud and Aerith having to do a bonus battle is swearing with comical bleeps. The English could've had a smart callback to OG with the script &^#$# ing ala Cid and Barret but instead it's played painfully straight (sigh).
  • Neither Cloud or Reno say "Bitch" in Japanese nor does Tifa ever talk about "kicking ass".
  • I guess they misheard Aerith's "uso!" (No way!) as "kuso!" (shit!) when she almost falls off the ladder, because otherwise it's a head scratcher how they did that.
  • I forget if this was Aerith's red/best dress, but in EN Cloud's disinterested "Eh...." was actually an acknowledgement (ああ) "Yeah.", Cloud agreeing it's nice.
  • EN Aerith's "Aren't you worried what might happen in there?" was in Japanese ティファは大切な人でしょう?"Isn't Tifa special to you?"
  • On another note from what I've seen, JP Cloud talks pretty similarly to Jessie, Aerith, and Tifa. Seems like some fans are downplaying romance if it gets in the way of their 'ship, but Cloud's attraction to all 3 girls (despite his subconscious practically screaming for Tifa this go around), is quite obvious IMO. Gotta love Sakurai-san's Tifa bias since '97, though :3 I know that feel~
  • Tifa's EN "I don't care!" to the Shinra Manager was "You're not the enemy!" in Japanese...we've discussed ever since E3 how they changed her wanting to protect everyone to her being a badass with "My turn!" and such, so nothing new, but character motivations altering for sure.
  • A lot of Jessie, Tifa and Aerith's EN lines come off as pretty rude and bitchy towards Cloud when they aren't that way at all towards him? They girls are generally playful more than anything so I don't understand, why the change of intent?
  • There being dubbed versions of Midgar Blues (loved the Japanese song since February) and Stamp's Theme was amusingly weird. I understand why, but it was amusing, regardless.
  • A lot of the Japanese script was quite similar or verbatim lines as VII itself, so I don't understand the English localization's fascination with changing things around so much? For instance, character weapons/Limit Breaks/Enemies retain their Japanese names (unless there's something I missed) so the English feeling the need to spice things up for random reasons was ??? mindboggling. Funny enough, Chapter 3's title was "Seven Heaven" (in English it's "Home Sweet Slum") and Chapter 8's "A reunion of flowers" (English "Budding Bodyguard" which works with the word play).
 
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oty

Pro Adventurer
AKA
ex-soldier boy
#13
I gotta, I even prefer some EN things too. Aerith saying "shit" is goddamn perfect, and completely encapsules Aerith's snarky attitude from a girl from the slums. Reno saying "Nothing personal, bitch!" is also goddamn incredible. It is such a Reno thing to say, of course it became personal to him.

Some things however, I would say are downgrades. Limit Break and Ability names, pratically the whole Chapter 14 Aerith scene.
 
#14
Yeah, as usual with these kinds of differences I like pretty much all of the localization changes. I don't feel much (if anything) was lost, and I still think that the script here is the best SE has put out in quite a while.

The changes to ability names gets a big WTF from me though. Especially changing "Beat Rush" to "Rise and Fall." Rise and Fall isn't even a good name dammit.
 

SailorStarDust

Kept you waiting, huh?
AKA
SSD
#15
I disagree that most of those being significant departures, and some that are hard to say without knowing the full context of the JP conversation.

But as an example this one:
Tifa's EN "I don't care!" to the Shinra Manager was "You're not the enemy!" in Japanese.

She is saying literally the same thing.
I'm curious, how do you see it the same thing when the Japanese script situation is her explaining they're not at odds with each other (which Barret believes they are)?
 

SailorStarDust

Kept you waiting, huh?
AKA
SSD
#17
Just have to agree to disagree that it paints Tifa in a different light (a lot of her lines do, sadly). Reminds me how some of her English AC lines wound up giving fans fuel to hate her when....she wasn't saying anything rude in Japanese. The best example there is "Are we losing to our memories?" which in English turned into "Which is it, a memory or us?" . Fans misunderstanding = taking that as Tifa forcing Cloud to choose, which isn't the case. At all.

Oh, another Tifa line and some of Jessie's below:

・Cloud in an important scene asks Tifa if she's alright. In Japanese she simply offers a "No, I'm okay" which the English renders as "Nothing you need to worry about."....Just comes off as Tifa being bitchy when it's seriously uncalled for. Couldn't they have rendered the English instead as "No, everything's fine"? I mean.
・During Reactor 1: "I fell on purpose so you'd help me." to which Cloud retorts "A true to life performance". (Hilarious when we consider Jessie's dream job). The English instead gives us "If I couldn't walk, believe me you'd be the first to know!" A similar feel of flitting, but presented differently.
・Also, during a spoilery scene, in English Jessie comments how "My hero's so gentle." whereas she's sarcastic in Japanese about "I'm getting rescued again...." Heck, Cloud even mentions (I forget if this scene or another big one) that he'd rescue her whenever she needs it (pretty romantic IMO), which sadly in English that didn't quite come across.
 
#21
I gotta, I even prefer some EN things too. Aerith saying "shit" is goddamn perfect, and completely encapsules Aerith's snarky attitude from a girl from the slums. Reno saying "Nothing personal, bitch!" is also goddamn incredible. It is such a Reno thing to say, of course it became personal to him.

Some things however, I would say are downgrades. Limit Break and Ability names, pratically the whole Chapter 14 Aerith scene.
What's wrong with the Ch.14 scene?
 

Suzaku

Pro Adventurer
#22
The one translation issue I know of that bugs me, is
Jenova's name, "Dreamweaver." It's apparently "Beat" in Japanese.
In the demo build it was localized as
Jenova Pulse -- one of the few major changes I noticed -- and the battle track is still Jenova Quickening. Obviously referring to a prenatal pulse, IMO.

I assume the name was changed late in development to more effectively convey the hallucinatory aspect of the fight. I suppose dreaming can still imply a nascent state.


As for the liberal translation, I know fairly early on there was talk of them attempting to localize the game less literally to better match the way Western players remembered the original English translation, which characterized characters somewhat differently and pushed a somewhat more profane tone.
 

rkss

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Rks
#23
Chapter 14 Aerith scene. Aerith sounds very romantic in Jp, Cloud's a bit neutral. English VAs don't translate the emotions well

  • (despite his subconscious practically screaming for Tifa this go around), is quite obvious IMO. Gotta love Sakurai-san's Tifa bias since '97, though :3 I know that feel~
I thought that was just me :D. In Chapter 17 when they're separated, Cloud calls them "the others" in EN but in JP he always says "Tifa-tachi". It's a cute little detail.

also this :
 
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The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#24
Not that I don't love adding spoiler tags to all you guys' posts, but ... :wacky:

Anyway, I do legitimately love this topic. Seems like some of these localization choices make for quite significant losses while others really don't -- and some actually came out better.

I'll go through all the ones that were brought up and cast my 2 yen:

  • From the ending itself. Aerith's "I miss it. The steel sky." was in Japanese "I hate the sky." (Referencing "...Because it takes away people dear to me." Her 30th Anniversary monologue about her real mother, Zack, and Cloud.)
  • Aerith's " 'Cause I'm not sick of you yet." in EN just before Cloud has a crying freak out is "I want to spend time with you." (Referencing "I want to spend more time with you."...23 Tiny Wishes.) This is a huge one IMO because it shows the beginning of her feelings transferring from Zack to Cloud.
  • Aerith's Chapter 14 Resolution scene includes her in Japanese saying "It hurts, but I'm happy." (can't remember the English rendering) yet another reference to her 30th Anniversary monologue. (Fiance and I got CloTi Hug on first playthrough, but we unlocked Barret and Aerith's scenes later.) Honestly, this entire scene felt like her saying farewell ala the Sleeping Forest, so where do they plan to go from here?!
  • Madam M in Japanese when pissed off Cloud and Aerith having to do a bonus battle is swearing with comical bleeps. The English could've had a smart callback to OG with the script &^#$# ing ala Cid and Barret but instead it's played painfully straight (sigh).
  • Neither Cloud or Reno say "Bitch" in Japanese nor does Tifa ever talk about "kicking ass".
  • I guess they misheard Aerith's "uso!" (No way!) as "kuso!" (shit!) when she almost falls off the ladder, because otherwise it's a head scratcher how they did that.
  • I forget if this was Aerith's red/best dress, but in EN Cloud's disinterested "Eh...." was actually an acknowledgement (ああ) "Yeah.", Cloud agreeing it's nice.
  • EN Aerith's "Aren't you worried what might happen in there?" was in Japanese ティファは大切な人でしょう?"Isn't Tifa special to you?"
  • On another note from what I've seen, JP Cloud talks pretty similarly to Jessie, Aerith, and Tifa. Seems like some fans are downplaying romance if it gets in the way of their 'ship, but Cloud's attraction to all 3 girls (despite his subconscious practically screaming for Tifa this go around), is quite obvious IMO. Gotta love Sakurai-san's Tifa bias since '97, though :3 I know that feel~
  • Tifa's EN "I don't care!" to the Shinra Manager was "You're not the enemy!" in Japanese...we've discussed ever since E3 how they changed her wanting to protect everyone to her being a badass with "My turn!" and such, so nothing new, but character motivations altering for sure.
  • A lot of Jessie, Tifa and Aerith's EN lines come off as pretty rude and bitchy towards Cloud when they aren't that way at all towards him? They girls are generally playful more than anything so I don't understand, why the change of intent?
  • There being dubbed versions of Midgar Blues (loved the Japanese song since February) and Stamp's Theme was amusingly weird. I understand why, but it was amusing, regardless.
  • A lot of the Japanese script was quite similar or verbatim lines as VII itself, so I don't understand the English localization's fascination with changing things around so much? For instance, character weapons/Limit Breaks/Enemies retain their Japanese names (unless there's something I missed) so the English feeling the need to spice things up for random reasons was ??? mindboggling. Funny enough, Chapter 3's title was "Seven Heaven" (in English it's "Home Sweet Slum") and Chapter 8's "A reunion of flowers" (English "Budding Bodyguard" which works with the word play).
- Re: "the steel sky": I actually kind of prefer this. Probably just as a matter of cultural something or other, this feels more impactful to me whereas I know the expression of antipathy would feel more so in Japanese and to a Japanese audience. I feel it still comes across in English when you're familiar with other things the character has said, but both phrases do the most important thing here, I think, which is convey the loss of security she feels

- Re: "Because I'm not sick of you yet": Oof. This one is tough. The loss of the Zack reference is a genuine loss, but this is such a cute and flirty line, and delivered so well by the voice actor. I don't know. Can't make up my mind

- Re: "Happy Hurts": I feel like this comes across just as well, even if the precise wording doesn't quite make the reference to the 30th anniversary exhibition obvious. Again, a really well written and effectively delivered scene, in either language

- Re: Madame M: Hard to decide here

- Re: "kicking ass" and "bitches": English localization is superior there; no contest

- Re: "Shit": Much funnier this way; the girl embarasses herself right after trying to talk herself up. Comes across perfectly natural

- Re: Cloud's "eh"/"aa": Either a mistake or a misguided alteration

- Re: "Isn't Tifa special to you?": I think what they went with here comes across more like two people talking while the original Japanese comes across more like the script trying to get the player's attention

- Re: Cloud's fondness for all three girls: I think it comes across, though I have no doubt there are many nuances lost

- Re: "I don't care": Yeah, I don't care. :awesome: No, actually, I prefer this. It feels more like the Tifa thing to say to me

- Re: bitchy lines towards Cloud from the women folk: I would probably need several specific examples to really weigh in, but I'm sure there are some where the localization folks give a sense of trying too hard to make one or more of the girls sound tough (I address one of them below). It's become unavoidable

- Re: dubbed Stamp theme: I have no comment

- Re: drastically renaming stuff: Yeah, dumb

・Cloud in an important scene asks Tifa if she's alright. In Japanese she simply offers a "No, I'm okay" which the English renders as "Nothing you need to worry about."....Just comes off as Tifa being bitchy when it's seriously uncalled for. Couldn't they have rendered the English instead as "No, everything's fine"? I mean.
・During Reactor 1: "I fell on purpose so you'd help me." to which Cloud retorts "A true to life performance". (Hilarious when we consider Jessie's dream job). The English instead gives us "If I couldn't walk, believe me you'd be the first to know!" A similar feel of flitting, but presented differently.
・Also, during a spoilery scene, in English Jessie comments how "My hero's so gentle." whereas she's sarcastic in Japanese about "I'm getting rescued again...." Heck, Cloud even mentions (I forget if this scene or another big one) that he'd rescue her whenever she needs it (pretty romantic IMO), which sadly in English that didn't quite come across.
- Re: "Nothing you need to worry about": Agreed. I heard this and immediately knew it was a tryhard localization choice

- Re: "A true-to-life performance": The Japanese does sound better

- Re: "My hero's so gentle": Sounds like the Japanese probably wins again, but there were a lot of cute lines with these two

The one translation issue I know of that bugs me, is
Jenova's name, "Dreamweaver." It's apparently "Beat" in Japanese.

Yeah, change was dumb as fuck.
 
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