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Lion War: Translation Synthesis

Started by Ironside, March 31, 2022, 01:43:22 am

Ironside

March 31, 2022, 01:43:22 am Last Edit: March 31, 2022, 02:50:30 am by Ironside
I've been enjoying a playthrough of the Lion War, revisiting the story for the first time since I last touched FFT 1.3 in... 2009? Curious at how FFT modding has developed, I took a peek into FFTactext and EntryEdit and looked under the hood. I wondered how difficult it would be to adjust the game's script and it seems... very possible to achieve a certain 'vision' I have for the game.

The way I see it, there are problems with both the PSX and PSP translations of Tactics.

The PSX translation is non-sensical at parts. Sometimes crucial parts. The end of Chapter III comes to mind, with Ramza saying "I didn't think the God made holy stones but...more evil... Well... Lucavi made them to hand in this world..."

The WOTL translation is sensical but at times unnatural and some of the names make more sense while others seemed to have been changed a bit unnecessarily. The original Japanese for Teta is 'ティータ' or Tīta. Tietra may help readers pronounce the first syllable more accurately but the 'r' is superfluous. I do also prefer the dramatic punchiness of lines like "Blame yourself or God." over "'Tis your birth and faith that wrong you, not I."

There is a third option, a fan translation made by Sugnuf buried in the forgotten archives of the Germonick Scriptures GameFAQS. Sugnuf's version is sensical and its vocavulary is somewhere in  the middle of the punchy directness of the PSX translation and the flowery elegance of the PSP translation.

While I can't read or write Japanese, I'm a pretty competent writer. Enough to get paid for it on occasion. If the Lion War mod is supposed to be the definitive way of playing FFT, a synthesis of the PSX and PSP versions, then I'd like to make a script which is similarly a synthesis of these three translations. I think I can do it.

The biggest challenge is likely keeping the text all within the same general character count. I fear if I just copy and pasted Sugnuf's translation, the words would run outside of the speech boxes. That being said, a lot of speech boxes in FFT's english translation contain empty spaces that would give some wiggle room if you're creative. Notice the second line of Barinten's speech here is shorter than the third. I believe myself to be creative enough to work around the limitations and to take advantage of the opportunities.

But really, there's the other problem. Creative liberties and nostalgia. Any story, when translated, conveys a different tone.

For example, the Japanese version very clearly has Ovelia praying to plural Gods. 'Kami-gami' in Japanese. The PSX version (and Sugnuf's translation) just uses the singular 'God' while the WOTL translations goes with 'O Father'. Both official versions also seem to pull some punches with the Catholic allegories. Marge Funeral's job and title is indeed Pope in Japanese and not High Priest or High Confessor. So the Japanese text sends mixed-messages about the Glabados Church being both polytheistic and papal. I have noticed WOTL's translation borrows a bit from Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire, and things like 'O Father' might be an effort to draw on the same impression George R.R. Martin gives with his own church-like faith of the Seven, which has seven gods (including 'The Father') who are one like the trinity in Christianity. Both plural and singular. The holy trinity is a somewhat esoteric concept even for westerners, much less Japanese video game developers in the era before wikipedia. It's hard to determine whether the use of plural gods 'Kamigami' was a deliberate attempt at vagueness, a deliberate attempt at conveying polytheism, a deliberate attempt at conveying a concept like the holy trinity, or... maybe it wasn't deliberate at all.

So then... do I think Marge Funeral should be called Ivalice's Pope? Do I think that the Glabados Church has one God or many? Or perhaps a God with several aspects like the Trinity? Is Ovelia praying to the Braves like they're saints and not strictly gods? I'm not really sure.

That's why I'd like to use this thread to ask for your input on various topics.

Here's a big one, in addition to the whole 'gods' issue above. Hokuten/Nanten.

So these names are clearly inappropriate and out of place for Ivalice. It's just straight up untranslated in PSX. These words translate literally to 'Northern/Southern Sky Knight Troop' which WOTL translates to Order of the Northern/Southern Sky. Both of these are... verbose and likely would be a real pain to fit in the text boxes. Sugnuf uses 'Knights Aquilor' and 'Knights Austeron', for the northern and southern winds. It sounds cool and I like it but I think it loses some of its meaning to the average reader unless you're versed in Roman mythology...

I myself am partial to 'North Sky' and 'South Sky' for informal speech and 'North Sky Knights' (or Knights of the Northern Sky, if space permits) for formal usage. Gafgarion and the Death Corps would likely speak informally while the prideful Dycedarg would try to say the whole thing.

There is another option, which requires departing from the translation more drastically. Using words like 'White Lions' or 'Black Lions' in the informal manner. In the War of the Roses, the historical period that FFT draws heavy inspiration from, the Duke of York's supporters were called 'Yorkists' and their foe the 'Lancastrians' from the House of Lancaster. I think 'Largist' and 'Goltanist' could also be plausible as a name for their supporters/retainers/knights... but that kinda sounds dumb in my head.

What do you think?
  • Modding version: PSX
  • Discord username: Ironside

nitwit

The State of the Arc guys have similar opinions on the pros and cons of each translation, though they don't give an exhaustive list of issues with each. One of them is fluent in Japanese too. Wouldn't hurt to ask them on Twitter or their Discord what specific issues they have, or to ask them if they're interested in a re-localization.

If you're willing to do the legwork they'd probably be interested, and getting featured on their podcast could bring in a lot of people.

FFT Video List:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4QImTA2JlE&list=PLJCH8faf6GawmeIU86FKFiJ1Qzs0lCP4N&index=2

Discord:
https://discord.gg/vWzXpTc

Ironside

Oh, I dare not impose on them when I have nothing to show for it. :P

Here's an example of something I whipped up for the Orbonne battle. I tried to prioritize clarity of storytelling over all else, so there's some liberties. I also thought to include a little information from records and rumors, if possible. You'll notice the first time a character speaks in a scene, their last name is given. If possible, I'd like to include ranks for people like 'Larg, Duke of Gallione' but I'm not sure if it would work quite right.

Also, is there a reference for the text? Color 00 is black and 08 is red, that's easy... but is there a handy reference for the others? I guess I can just test it sometime but I'd rather not if the legwork has already been done.

{Delay 05}"God,{Delay 0F} {Delay 05}please save us{Newline}
sinful children of Ivalice{Delay 3C}.{Delay 01}

{Color 08}Knight{Newline}
{Color 00}Princess Ovelia, we must go.

{Color 08}Ovelia Atkascha{Newline}
{Color 00}Just a while longer, Agrias...

{Color 08}Agrias Oaks{Newline}
{Color 00}The mercenaries have already{Newline}
arrived.

{Color 08}Priest{Newline}
{Color 00}Princess, you musn't give{Newline}
Agrias trouble. Please hurry.

{Color 08}Mercenary{Newline}
{Color 00}What's going on in here? {Newline}
It's been nigh well an hour!

{Color 08}Agrias{Newline}
{Color 00}You stand before a princess,{Newline}
Gafgarion! Kneel!

{Color 08}Goffard Gafgarion{Newline}
{Color 00}Will this suffice,{Newline}
Agrias?{Newline}
There's little time for courtesies.

{Color 08}Agrias{Newline}
{Color 00}So there are vulgar recreants{Newline}
even among the North Sky Knights?

{Color 08}Gafgarion{Newline}
{Color 00}I'm being more than kind{Newline}
to you, bodyguard. Besides,  {Newline}
Mercenaries aren't obliged to{Newline}
show the same courtesy as  {Newline}
their knightly patrons.

{Color 08}Agrias{Newline}
{Color 00}What? How dare you!

{Color 08}Ovelia{Newline}
{Color 00}Enough. Let us depart.

{Color 08}Priest{Newline}
{Color 00}Go with God, dear Princess.

{Color 08}Ovelia{Newline}
{Color 00}You too, Father Simon.

{Color 08}Female Knight{Newline}
{Color 00}Lady Agrias!...{Newline}
We're... under att-...

{Color 08}Simon Penn-Lachish{Newline}
{Color 00}Duke Goltana's men!?

{Color 08}Gafgarion{Newline}
{Color 00}Of course this job{Newline}
wouldn't be easy.{Newline}
What, {Ramza}? {Newline}
You afraid to get your hands dirty?

{Color 08}Ovelia{Newline}
{Color 00}Oh God...

{Color 08}{Ramza} Lugria{Newline}
{Color 00}...I'm a knight no longer.{Newline}
Just another sellsword.

{Color 08}Gafgarion{Newline}
{Color 00}...Ha, right.{Newline}
{Newline}
Well then. Let's get to killing 'em!

The battle...

{Color 08}Agrias Oaks{Newline}
{Color 00}The crest of the Black Lion!?{Newline}
{Newline}
So it truly is Duke Goltana!{Newline}
Is he mad!? Sending his{Newline}
men after the princess, {Newline}
Does he want to start a war!?

{Color 08}Goltanist Knight{Newline}
{Color 00}There's no point in{Newline}
in resisting, woman!{Newline}
Just give us the Princess,{Newline}
or that fair face of{Newline}
yours might get scarred forever!

{Color 08}Goffard Gafgarion{Newline}
{Color 00}Those lackwits...{Newline}
Attacking from the front like this!

{Color 08}Agrias{Newline}
{Color 00}We'll handle this well enough ourselves then!

{Color 08}Gafgarion{Newline}
{Color 00}Oh no, blood is money for a mercenary!{Newline}
{Newline}
Rad, {Ramza}!{Newline}
Follow me!!

{Color 08}Gafgarion{Newline}
{Color 00}Kill them all!{Newline}
Spare none!

{Color 08}Agrias{Newline}
{Color 00}Nonsense! It's enough to{Newline}
just frighten them off!{Newline}
Kill them all and Duke{Newline}
Goltana will lay the{Newline}
blame upon us!

{Color 08}Gafgarion{Newline}
{Color 00}The dead speak not!

Ovelia screams...

{Color 08}Ovelia Atkascha{Newline}
{Color 00}Unhand me!

{Color 08}Agrias{Newline}
{Color 00}Oh God!

{Color 08}Goltanist Knight{Newline}
{Color 00}Come with me! Quietly!

{Color 08}Ovelia{Newline}
{Color 00}Why should I go quietly!?

{Color 08}Knight{Newline}
{Color 00}What a troublesome Princess.

{Color 08}Agrias{Newline}
{Color 00}No!!

{Color 08}Knight{Newline}
{Color 00}Tough...Don't blame us.{Newline}
Blame yourself or God.

{Color 08}Agrias{Newline}
{Color 00}Princess...

{Color 08}{Ramza}{Newline}
{Color 00}...Delita!?{Newline}
{Newline}
You're alive? But why{Newline}
are you with Duke{Newline}
Goltana's troops? Why{Newline}
kidnap the princess?
  • Modding version: PSX
  • Discord username: Ironside

Akashachi

We have another project already completed that tried to achieve something similar. Is called Second Read: 

https://ffhacktics.com/smf/index.php?topic=12845.0
  • Modding version: PSX & WotL

Ironside

I did see this.

I wanted to compartmentalize just the script edit, though. Second Read has a lot of changes to gameplay and sprites so my idea was to restrict myself to JUST fixing the PSX translation with an emphasis on a totally new player's experience. Prioritizing clarity of the narrative above all else. I wanted to keep it modular so that people could use or discard it in conjunction with TLW as they please.
  • Modding version: PSX
  • Discord username: Ironside

3lric

Quote from: Ironside on April 09, 2022, 02:23:34 pmI did see this.

I wanted to compartmentalize just the script edit, though. Second Read has a lot of changes to gameplay and sprites so my idea was to restrict myself to JUST fixing the PSX translation with an emphasis on a totally new player's experience. Prioritizing clarity of the narrative above all else. I wanted to keep it modular so that people could use or discard it in conjunction with TLW as they please.

I like this idea personally. I am of the mind that a translation hack should never take other liberties outside of the text, as it will turn off many people who want a vanilla experience with a new take on the dialogue. Keep it up.
  • Modding version: PSX

Ironside

Quote from: Elric on April 11, 2022, 11:44:36 pmI like this idea personally. I am of the mind that a translation hack should never take other liberties outside of the text, as it will turn off many people who want a vanilla experience with a new take on the dialogue. Keep it up.

That's encouraging.

And well, since I have you here... ;)

I've gotten a little familiar with EntryEdit but that's just modding vanilla FFT. When making an add-on TLW, I'm guessing any script-editing should be done on RavenOfRazgriz's EasyVent Editor?

That's been easy enough to use. Easier than EntryEdit even.

Yet if I want to playtest the script or actually implement it, how do I get it from EVSP's event directories to... y'know.. the ISO? I'm guessing compile the directory into the TEST.evt provided in TLW resources... but after that, I'm not sure what to do with it. Something with CDmage?
  • Modding version: PSX
  • Discord username: Ironside

3lric

Quote from: Ironside on April 12, 2022, 10:23:26 pmThat's encouraging.

And well, since I have you here... ;)

I've gotten a little familiar with EntryEdit but that's just modding vanilla FFT. When making an add-on TLW, I'm guessing any script-editing should be done on RavenOfRazgriz's EasyVent Editor?

That's been easy enough to use. Easier than EntryEdit even.

Yet if I want to playtest the script or actually implement it, how do I get it from EVSP's event directories to... y'know.. the ISO? I'm guessing compile the directory into the TEST.evt provided in TLW resources... but after that, I'm not sure what to do with it. Something with CDmage?

Compile your TEST with the EVSP found in one of the spoilers of the resource thread. Then reimport the test.evt using CDMage

You can also savestate event, but you should learn how to import the test.evt first off.
  • Modding version: PSX