Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wow BN4 Translation Are Awful

Can you believe this game came out over 10 years ago? Let's look over again at how vague, bad, or outright wrong a lot of the BN4 chip descriptions were.
This list looks so bare and unintelligible. TopM, hmm? Like, just spell out the whole name. There's clearly room. It doesn't matter if two name lists have to be maintained. There's room! Ah, yes. VideM. Did you fight VideM today? What time did you get? Rumor is you can get VideSoul, guys!

 "Explosion by Wide attack"
Why is Wide capitalized? It has nothing to do with this. It's like Heat/Bubble Side distracted the translators and it somehow ended up in the description. Maybe anything about the 3x3 range you get after hitting something would have been at all useful.

"The burning flame in cross!"
You can't make this stuff up. This sounds like what you get when you put the Japanese description in Google Translate. China-knockoff-tier. The... The!

"Assassin who sneak into enmy"
Oh really? Who? Where? This just sounds like an incomplete thought. You can imagine this as an assassin sneaking into the enemy field, but this fragmented mess on its own means nothing. What is even happening? Does it go literally in the enemy? It means stage, but you wouldn't get that from here. Or better yet, just forget the elaborate language you can't fit and just describe how it's a long-lasting shuriken trap.

"Sets a TimeBom"
So one TimeBomb, plus one TimeBomb, plus one TimeBomb, equals just setting another one? And why is the 'b' missing? There's clearly room as it's consistently spelled out "TimeBomb" everywhere else! What makes this different? It's really lacking in detail. In fact, it shouldn't even be TimeBomb+ as it is spoken GigaTimeBomb in Battle Network 5 DS. The spoken word is canon as is the Japanese version since it coincides. But oh well...

"3 boomerang atk enemies"
Can you even grammatically correct when there actually is room? Piling small oversights really start to stink up the game. All that had to be written was "3 boomerangs atk enemies", and it makes more sense and reads better. The full name for the PA should also be PitRange, I think, so there's no reason they couldn't fit an 'e' after the 'g'. It wouldn't try to read like "Ring" or "Rang" or some other word that might not belong. QA must have been asleep on this one.

"The ricocheting Hockey"
Oh man, this is right up there with FlameCross for being absolutely awful. Fortunately, 5 and 6 fixed this one but it started out so bad. Why is Hockey arbitrarily capitalized? How is this any different from the regular "the Hockey"? How about how it's stronger and lasts longer? No?

"Numerous Fangs are continued"
Such long words for little effect. Looks like someone can't quite grasp the English language in a limited text space. To get to the point faster and clearer, how about mentioning how it fires many fangs rapidly? Remember at the batting cages how many balls are continued at you? Yeah.

"3-shot ball atk reduce HP"
Something something 3-ball something HP. Someone completely missed the point. They got lost among how it's a 3-shot attack and it involves your HP becoming its damage. Like PitHockey, this description also got improved in BN5 and 6. There, it's actually useful. Of course an attack chip will reduce HP. Did nobody even read this? Playtesters? QA?

"Creates 8 whirlwind ahead"
Whirlwind, 8 times, yeah okay. Oh! Wait a minute! Ha, good going proofreaders and/or anyone else who should have caught this one. Like NumberBall, the true meaning is mixed in a blender and what you see is what you get. Yeah, it hits 8 times, but that is not the place to say so. Even replacing the number 8 with an 'a' would make it read better. Again, 5 and 6 rewrote this better so it actually makes sense. Whirlwind is such a long word you can't afford here.

"Fires a sonic blast"
Nothing in the entire series even comes close to being so flat out wrong and misleading. Even when I first encountered this description, I had to actually use it in battle to see what it did. When that happens, translators, QA, PT, they all failed to catch this day 1 flaw. A sonic blast? What game are they even translating? Maybe some random other game ended up getting the correct description for this chip. And why "Binder"? That confusing name only helps in generating more confusion. For those who don't know, all this does is throw that Melody enemy and has them bounce on an enemy. Bounce. Do you see the word bounce anywhere? But no, watch out for those level 3 Melody enemies in the Undernet! They'll shoot their sonic blast at you!

"Appears Hole in front"
 Ugh, doesn't this just hurt to read? It really makes you wonder if anyone even proofread this game. Their word randomizer looks to have failed at creating a coherent English sentence. Is "Makes a Hole appear in front" really that hard to describe? The Hole chips were all bad, so it's not like anyone should have bothered with these anyways. This is coming from BN3 that had an identical chip, but not an ass of a description. Curiously, the DarkLine chip is not the grammar crime this one is.

"Fire atk damages you"
Even though the chip icon gives away this chip's function, the description could at least be more correct. You mean me using Fire chips damage me? The point of view changes the context of this. I suppose if you like reading out your chip descriptions to your friend in a battle, then this would make sense. Otherwise, this just had to be rewritten to mention how these are elemental traps and hurt the opponent, not yourself. No other chip refers to your opponent as "you" because that's dumb.

"Makes enmy's HP same"
HP same. You can really see the effort in this one. The direction this one was going in is a tad more accurate than what BN5 and 6 got, but all they had to do was add the word 'the' before 'same'! And look! There is even room for it. "Makes enmy's HP the same" But sure, if you just read it quickly once, you would never even know anything was wrong. But it is wrong.

"WoodTowr pierce in enmy area"
Third time's the charm, right? You wouldn't know it just by looking at this, but this is the only version of the chip that switches the word 'on' for 'in'. No, the effect isn't different. I hope they weren't actually typing out the duplicated descriptions manually. Because then, bad mistakes should have happened less.

"Ices over all and slides!"
Something with ice, and slides! This nonsense roughly translates to ColdMan pushing an Ice Cube and other objects on the field. "Ices over all"? Did anyone even understand the original Japanese description? This makes it sound like an Ice Stage chip. And I'm pretty sure the verb "slide" is not the same as "push".

"A laser pierces 1 thru!"
Pierces one through? One does not use the number 1 to say that in the English language. The psychology of chip descriptions is that when the player sees numbers, it's most likely referring to range or targets. So saying "1 thru" is just another confusing output of randomly removing words from a longer, detailed description. It fires over 1 column, yes. But 1 thru sounds like it stops on the second target or something.

 "Attack tape slam 2.5 in"
What am I even reading? When I first encountered this, and subsequently every time since, it's always frustrated me that this description is just so devoid of meaning and incoherent. This reads like words literally randomly generated. I could probably randomly generate my own meaningless description and it would still be better. "2.5 in"? In? Inches? Why is there a period between the numbers? There's no half panel so it can't mean panels. This description might as well have been in Japanese because I can't understand it. I might have actually seen a useful number at least. Just like the aptly-named Binder chip, I had to use it in battle to see what it did. In people-speak, the VideoMan chip spawns two 2x2 tape rolls two panels away. They spin and hit 3 times. There are many ways to say that, in less words, that don't start with "Attack tape".

And this is what makes BN4 look shoddier overall when compared to the other Battle Network games. I'm sure there are numerous mistakes in the story as well that I haven't nitpicked, but I can't dig those up now. Since the player would be seeing these so often, they really dropped the ball.


Black Ace said...

I've always considered playing bn4 because people seemed to think it was an OK game... Ima stick to bn5proto and bn2 :P

MegaRockEXE said...

I am way pro-4. It's got some things going for it. Don't skip it. At least decide for yourself.

Black Ace said...

OK, thinking it over it's probably worth it, the descriptions shouldn't bother me as much as I supposed earlier. Besides, first bn game to have soul unison! If only the music was better too, I think the score of bn4 was... meh.

RPG Hacker said...

I remember these horrible, horrible Capcom translations. What I hated most about the Battle Network games was how they never had spaces after any kind of punctuation marks (whether it were commas, periods or something else). That bothered me more than it probably should have. And it weren't even just Battle Network games. A lot of Capcom games had these kinds of abbreviations. I think Capcom just sucks at programming internationalization support into their games, so whenever someone gets their games for translations, they can't really do much with the games without reprogramming them, so all they can do is work on a limited space and abbreviate a lot of things or something like that.

MegaRockEXE said...

Because of the "tech" nature of these games, CamelCase and similar capitalization and abbreviations had to be used to make the most of text limits. They didn't need spaces after punctuation marks (except any new dialog in BN5DS) because the tile places the graphic closer to the letters. Dialog fonts have dynamic widths and enough space can be created without visible rivers, if done correctly. Most other fonts are monospaced and are limited as it is. Double spaces are never supposed to be done in any typing and that is what it tends to look like when it's done with their font.

RPG Hacker said...

That's true, but to me it was still noticable that the spaces behind the punctuation marks were "smaller" than regular spaces. I think the only game in the whole series where I was somewhat satisfied with the on-screen text was Star Force 3. Here they didn't only use a variable width font, but also left the spaces behind punctuation marks. And I think the game also had overall less abbreviations, although, if I remember correctly, the menus and battle cards still had to use a monospace font and therefore often were limited. But of all the games in the series I still think it is the one with the best internationalized text system. Star Force 2 also used a variable width font, but that game, like the Battle Network games, didn't have spaces after punctuation marks. And with the variable width font it was even more noticable than with the old monospace fonts, so in that game it annoyed me even more. Nintendo really did better jobs with their text systems in localised GBA games! :P

MegaRockEXE said...

Yes. The budget really shows.
Star Force 1 also supports variable width, but it's been zeroed out in the US version. That's why it looks so awful. This line length is probably what message boxes have to be translated with. It could explain why there is awful word wrapping in some messages.

Anonymous said...

You should check the Spanish translations of BN5DTDS, SF1 and SF2 :P
Well, they got better with StarForce, but there are some hilarious errors in BN5DTDS Spanish version (I guess they made similar mistakes with the German, Spanish and Italian translations). For example, there is a Humor NaviCust program joke that involves Lan, MegaMan and Dex. I can't remember it exactly, but Dex says something like "Oh, he has picked my vibe!". Well, the word 'vibe' was awfully translated into Spanish as "vibrador" (vibrator)...
So, it's like a piece of art of shameful translations.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the "There are so many electrical store!" line.

RPG Hacker said...

Yeah, the German translations of BN5 and SF1 were just as bad (can't say for SF2 since I only played that in English). You could clearly see that not much money went into the localisation of these games. Just Star Force 1 alone had so many mistakes, I don't even remember them all. But what I remember is the line "Look, there's a wave balls!", where they used the plural of wave ball instead of the singular. There were multiple mistakes of this kind. Also everything was even more abbreviated than in the English version. For example: "Continue" became "Fort.", "New Game" became "N. Spe." or something like that. And overall, everything just sounded kind of weird.

Black Ace said...

And here is where fan patches can come in... not that I'm aware of anyone who cares enough to fix up those translations :P I was never really bothered by the translations (I played BN2, BN5TP, SF1P and SF2ZXS) and the only thing that bothered me about the text was just the monospacing on sf1

RPG Hacker said...

Fan patches are a good thing, but you can only play them on the original system with a flash card. And then again, there aren't really enough German fans to even bother fixing the bad German translations or making new translations. For the English versions it might be worth it, though.

Black Ace said...

Actually, if I recall correctly, tools like Lunar IPS can be used to apply patches to roms. I once used a patch on OSS to get rid of the battles you get every step you take on a rom and I ran it on my pc...

RPG Hacker said...

I think I worded that badly. What I meant was this: If you want to play the game on the original system, you can only do that with a flash card. I know you can play the games on a PC, but for me that isn't quite the same as playing it on the original handheld.

Black Ace said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. Emulating BN5TProto and SF21Pegasus were never the same as actually playing them :( so wait were the translations for those games OK? As I recall, I don't recall any instances where I saw something was off with them.

MegaRockEXE said...

Team ProtoMan and the DS version of the game have that one line of dialog at the MagnetMan freefight that if you are using ProtoMan, a line is still in Japanese.

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