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Re(4):FFVI: British Accents Return
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[b]FFVI[/b]: I can't think of a game that better exemplifies the comments earlier in this thread about how a good translator must also be a good writer. Even with the occasional error or space/censorship limitation, Woolsey is an extremely good writer who accurately reproduced the extreme range of tragedy and comedy contained in FFVI's original script. The GBA retranslation is the most creatively bankrupt of the bunch. Here, Square did not have the courage to actually create a fresh translation, leaving the translator to wedge in wordy new additions to Woolsey's basic script, occasionally flubbing entire scenes. Take the classic combination of horror and comedy when [URL=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiLnVDI0v38&t=1m20s]Celes stabs Cefca on the floating continent[/URL], sparking him to destroy the world by awakening the Three Gods of War. Here, we have Cefca's characteristically unsettling speech patterns: Japanese: "Ouuuch! Blood, blood! Da...damn you...damn damn damn... damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn youuuuuuuu! Now, you gods who were born only to wage war! The time has come to show me your power!" Woolsey: "Ouch!! B..blood? You... vicious brat! I hate hate hate hate hate hate... hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE YOU! Goddesses... you were born only to fight. I implore you... show me your power!!" GBA: "Ouch! B-blood... Blood! Blood!!! You vicious brat! Argh... Grrr...! You know, you really are a stupid... Vicious... Arrogant, whiny, pampered, backstabbing, worthless... LITTLE BRAT!!! Gods, you were born to fight! Now is the time! I implore you...show me your power!" Which of the two translations best matches the original's mix of comedy and violence, and which adds fluff that detracts from it? I think the answer is clear. And this links nicely into... [b]Cefca's speech patterns[/b]: One of the more impressive things about Woolsey's rendition of Cefca is that he creates the same creepy-comic personality by necessarily different linguistic means. In Japanese, Cefca switches regularly between (aggressive) everyday casual speech, everyday polite speech (non-keigo/non-honorific), and occasionally childish speech (especially in his first-person pronoun). In Japanese, you can switch from everyday casual to everyday polite speech to create a comedic effect, but with Cefca, it's more extreme since he's talking politely about how he will kill you. I should note that this polite speech is not arch or formal, as you commonly see in villains who are being haughty or arrogant. Cefca is merely expressing violent thoughts and commands with the same speech pattern you would use if you bumped into someone you knew at the office. The result is a depiction that is comic while also extremely unstable and violent. In this sense, Woolsey's use of funny phrases or puns for Cefca is very apt: you still end up with a villain who vacillates between humorous and horrifying, and thus the same sense of instability and tension in the character. [b]Accents[/b]: I would be interested to hear how British speakers evaluate the use of British actors and dialogue. As with the Middle English-ification of FF Tactics, FFXII, etc., I'm simultaneously impressed with the added effort but dubious about the necessity, plus a little suspicious that it makes it harder for non-British people to tell if the translation or acting are actually any good, given how easily Americans assume that British accents=classy. Back on the subject of writing, maybe the use of regional UK accents is actually a good thing, on the other hand. Inferior translations used to use a Southern US accent to substitute for Kansai accents, but the in addition to being really difficult to read, they had far too many hickish connotations to be taken seriously and brought all kinds of baggage to the dialogue.
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