Lost in Translation?

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Lost in Translation?

#1

Post by Deepfake » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:26 pm

Or just not translated. Sometimes the titles or names of things just don't make it through translation or localisation. Let's start with the names of games and move on from there:

A Link to the Past's japanese title is commonly translated as the Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods

Link's Awakening's original title is something like the Legend of Zelda: Dreaming Isle, or Island Dream Vision

Majora's Mask translates more literally to Mask of Majora as I understand it, which actually contains more implication to English speakers and just as plural meaning as the original. I'd favor that translation, for the sake of similarity to the titling trends in the series.

Oracle of Ages has the lengthy title of The Legend of Zelda: Fruit of the Mysterious Tree: Chapter of Time and Space

Seasons has the similar The Legend of Zelda: Nut of the Mysterious Tree: Chapter of the Earth - perhaps there are relevant cultural associations between the differences in the japanese terms for 'nut' and 'fruit' - or maybe just for each specific term.

Wind Waker's literal translation is most accurately The Legend of Zelda: Baton of Wind, which is admittedly a bit less exciting in English. Naming the baton was appropriate for localisation, but some of the meaning is left unclear in the English titling.

Minish Cap's title is the slightly more evocative The Legend of Zelda: The Mysterious Hat

Phantom Hourglass translates more literally to The Legend of Zelda: Hourglass of Fantasies - I've had a few fantasies about an hourglass in my time, if you know what I mean.

Spirit Tracks actually translates to the drastically different The Legend of Zelda: Steam Whistle of Earth
-
Personally, I think it has a more classic feel to it.

A Link Between Worlds is actually just The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods 2

And that catches us up. Others such as Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword include English words adapted into local characters for as close a phonetic match as possible, probably just for graphic design purposes more than anything.

If anyone here can offer more apt or just more fanciful translations, feel free to try your hand.
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#2

Post by CaptHayfever » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:24 pm

I doubt I can help here, as my Japanese consists of a handful of anime & video game references & the numbers 1-10.

But I can offer an opinion:
Sometimes the original title works better (Steam Whistle of Earth, Mysterious Hat, Mask of Majora),
sometimes the localized title works better (Link to the Past has been a favorite of mine since 1991, Link Between Worlds follows from it perfectly, & the Oracle titles are tight),
and sometimes they could've split the difference ("Waker of Winds" perhaps?).

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#3

Post by I am nobody » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:00 pm

Majora's Mask and Mask of Majora are written identically in Japanese, so it's difficult to call that one a mistranslation.

Nut and fruit are similarly the same kanji (実), so that's likely where the difference in your source came from. Both titles are read み (mi), so none was intended.

Other than that, yeah, looks like localization differences.

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#4

Post by The Missing Link » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:07 am

Olestradamus is Going 3rd Party, post: 1472188, member: 25415 wrote:Majora's Mask translates more literally to Mask of Majora as I understand it, which actually contains more implication to English speakers and just as plural meaning as the original. I'd favor that translation, for the sake of similarity to the titling trends in the series.
ehhhhhhhhhh...

That's a quibble over semantic differences that isn't present in Japanese (nor most languages, really). In so many ways, "X's Y" and "Y of X" are semantically equivalent (not always, but there is an injection from the former to the later). The Japanese is ムジュラの仮面 (mujura no kamen), which literally translates to "Mask of Majora" but also frequently translates to "Majora's Mask." It's the same for the Spanish title la máscara de Majora, where de literally means "of" but it also frequently employed as the standard possessive indicator. In this case, it's impossible to differentiate the two.
Seasons has the similar The Legend of Zelda: Nut of the Mysterious Tree: Chapter of the Earth - perhaps there are relevant cultural associations between the differences in the japanese terms for 'nut' and 'fruit' - or maybe just for each specific term.
ehhhhhhhhhhhhh

Season's Japanese title:
ふしぎの木の実 大地の章 (fushigi no ki no mi daichi no shou)
Age's Japanese title:
ふしぎの木の実 時空の章 (fushigi no ki no mi jikuu no shou)

The first-pass translation goes to something like "mysterious {no} tree {no} fruit/nut, [earth|space-time] {no} chapter." The trick is the word 実 (mi) literally translates BOTH as "fruit" and "nut" because they are both the product of plants. Again, this is an ambiguous case.
Phantom Hourglass translates more literally to The Legend of Zelda: Hourglass of Fantasies - I've had a few fantasies about an hourglass in my time, if you know what I mean.
It's worth noting that the word you translate to "fantasies" also translates as "visions" or "dreams."[DOUBLEPOST=1403856450,1403855942][/DOUBLEPOST]...... yeah, what Ian said. >_<
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#5

Post by X-3 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:38 am

Sounds like the English titles are better. Link's Awakening subtly reveals the twist in a way that makes you go "oooooh" when you figure it out. Dreaming Isle meanwhile is almost like naming a book Harry Potter and the Old Wizard's Demise.

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#6

Post by Kargath » Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:19 am

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#7

Post by Thanous » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:09 am

[QUOTE="X-3, post: 1472340, member: 27765"]Sounds like the English titles are better. Link's Awakening subtly reveals the twist in a way that makes you go "oooooh" when you figure it out. Dreaming Isle meanwhile is almost like naming a book Harry Potter and the Old Wizard's Demise.[/QUOTE]
[Spoiler] Spoiler much? XD [/spoiler]
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#8

Post by Marilink » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:28 am

The only non-localized title that I like better is "The Mysterious Hat," because I always think that "Minish Cap" kinda stands out as being an odd Zelda title.
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#9

Post by CaptHayfever » Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:32 pm

[QUOTE="The Missing Link, post: 1472334, member: 19860"]ehhhhhhhhhh...

That's a quibble over semantic differences that isn't present in Japanese (nor most languages, really). In so many ways, "X's Y" and "Y of X" are semantically equivalent (not always, but there is an injection from the former to the later). The Japanese is ムジュラの仮面 (mujura no kamen), which literally translates to "Mask of Majora" but also frequently translates to "Majora's Mask." It's the same for the Spanish title la máscara de Majora, where de literally means "of" but it also frequently employed as the standard possessive indicator. In this case, it's impossible to differentiate the two.
[/QUOTE] I'm definitely familiar with that construction as a Spanish-speaker. My preference for "Mask of Majora" is mostly aesthetic.

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#10

Post by Sir Bolt the Dragoon » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:00 pm

[QUOTE="thanous, post: 1472354, member: 38553"][Spoiler] Spoiler much? XD [/spoiler][/QUOTE]
It's literally a 21-year-old game.[DOUBLEPOST=1403892028,1403891978][/DOUBLEPOST][QUOTE="Olestradamus is Going 3rd Party, post: 1472188, member: 25415"]
A Link to the Past's japanese title is commonly translated as the Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods
[/QUOTE]
Yeah but using "God" was too edgy for mid-90s Nintendo, so we got the punny title we all know and love.

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#11

Post by Thanous » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:05 pm

^I was taking about Harry potter Image
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#12

Post by Deepfake » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:57 pm

[QUOTE="X-3, post: 1472340, member: 27765"]Sounds like the English titles are better. Link's Awakening subtly reveals the twist in a way that makes you go "oooooh" when you figure it out. Dreaming Isle meanwhile is almost like naming a book Harry Potter and the Old Wizard's Demise.[/QUOTE]
Yeah, except that implies that it was never really supposed to be a secret anyway, but it was more of the nature of the secret. It doesn't tell you anything about the Windfish's involvement.

Beside that, it was never a secret to me, the story is rather obvious from the beginning if you'd played the previous games, especially with the characters breaking 4th wall constantly and all, and the title is still rather incredibly obvious as it was to me on release - not any less so than Dreaming Isle. LA is a decent title in its own right because it has plural meanings, though.

Not that I completely disagree with you, although it certainly does eschew the whole concept of the tasteful fairytale titling.
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#13

Post by The Missing Link » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:08 am

^ Honestly, it took me a long time to figure out the double meaning. Because honestly, the game starts out with "Link's awakening." Sure there are telltale markers before the big reveal circa Dungeon 6 that things aren't as simple as they appear, but I didn't pick up on them early on. Personally, I feel that the title is as excellent a case of fridge horror as it gets.

The same sort of them worked its way with Twilight Princess since Midna lampshades the title by applying it to Zelda when, in fact, it actually is referring to her.
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#14

Post by Sir Bolt the Dragoon » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:41 am

Twilight Princess is a purposeful double entendre though.

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#15

Post by Apollo the Just » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:32 am

^^ Oh, that instance in TP was brilliant IMO. Because Midna had that quote at the beginning, I never saw the plot twist at the end coming.

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e: also, I also prefer "Mask of Majora" because coming right after "Ocarina of Time" it seems more fitting somehow
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#16

Post by Marilink » Tue Jul 01, 2014 7:51 am

^Conversely, I prefer "Majora's Mask" because it breaks the rhythm. :P
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#17

Post by Deepfake » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:05 am

[QUOTE="CuccoLady, post: 1473181, member: 30977"]^^ Oh, that instance in TP was brilliant IMO. Because Midna had that quote at the beginning, I never saw the plot twist at the end coming.[/QUOTE]
Again, I thought that was rather obvious, although it was nice of them to give it something of a red herring.

^ I disagree somewhat about the rhythm for Majora's Mask, I rather like the timing to MoM (a wild M:OM reference appears) and how it appears to further emphasize plural meaning to the title in English. Either way, both of them somewhat clumsily runs a soft consonant into another soft one. My preference may at least be somewhat influenced via of Majora implying less about it being a single entity and potentially being something like an Order of Majora, which sounds like it derives from magus or magi - and that just gets my interest piqued. The implication of a fantasy culture with mysterious rites, artifacts, etc, well then, that'd be something especially cool in a Zelda game.

Order of the Masked Magi is mine, I call dibs.
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#18

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:11 am

^ Although I think Majora's Mask sounds better, I like your reasoning.

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#19

Post by Deepfake » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:20 am

Yeah, I dunno, that's just the stuff I crave. Mind you, it shouldn't be like YOU ARE JON GRIMLINK, BORN INTO THE SECRET ORDER AND DESTINED TO LEAD THEM FROM BIRTH, BUT WILL THE GAME'S CONTRIVED AND HALF-HEARTED LINEAR PLOT LINE ALLOW YOU? Which is basically about as much clever as you could expect Nintendo or even most games to manage, since they refuse to hire any bloody writers and give them any control over the outcome. The way most game companies seem to work with writers is they hire them, the writer creates characters and such and puts them together into a world with a mission statement and a struggle, and then the game designers who are not writers theme their game after it and give the game player no leverage over the story whatsoever. Like, I get it that there are sometimes wrong decisions and bad outcomes which mean the player dies or whatever, but that's what game-over and load are for. Really.

If it's a JRPG, btw, then Jon Grimlink finds out that the shadow organization he's been raised in is secretly no good and the badguys were goodguys all along.
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#20

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:40 am

The best solution would be to have the lead writer also be the game designer. Tall order but a solution.

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