NIS America’s English localization has once again fallen under scrutiny due to the translation work done to the 2020 release of Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen.
@iuntue is a Twitter account dedicated to highlighting inaccurate translations and outright censorship when English localizers adapt Japanese video games; having showcased the flaws in titles such as Live A Live, Rune Factory 5, Triangle Strategy, and Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition, among others.
Their latest work discussed was Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen, a remake of the 2002 tactical role-playing visual novel which launched last year. While the remake removed the adult scenes from the original release, it seems the English version pushed censoring even further.
To start, there is an alteration when Aruruu lies about Eruruu carrying protagonist Hakuoro’s child (Hakuowlo in the English version). The fatherly Teoro’s response is different in Japanese and English. In Japanese he is supportive, while in English he laments as though the pregnancy was unplanned.
Aruruu: Aruruu and her baby boy.
(Machine Translation: DeepL)
Teoro: Anchan… nice one.
Aruruu: Aruruu and daaaddy’s baby.
Teoro: Now you’ve done it…
Another change comes shortly after characters Dorry and Guraa reveal they are actually men, despite their feminine appearance. They tease Hakuoro by asking him if he wants to confirm their claim. Eruruu joins in the teasing, asking if Hakuoro likes boys.
In English however, the joke is somewhat toned down by Eruruu asking if he likes grown men — removing any mention of “unusual preferences.”
Eruruu: …….. Are you interested in boys , Hakuoro-san?
I-it’s alright, even if you have unusual preferences, I would not mind.
Eruruu: … Are you interested in men Hakuowlo?
I-it’s alright. I don’t mind if you are.
Speaking of the twins, the original Japanese heavily implies Dorry and Guraa get Oboro drunk and take advantage of him. “Young master, would you like another?” inquired Guraa in a flashback.
The English version changes Oboro’s recollection from them awakening on the floor naked, to being on the roof while Oboro had a mask on. The twin’s reaction also had suggestive elements removed.
Oboro: Seems like we’ve made quite the racket. In the morning, we were all lying on the floor bare naked…
Hakuoro: From the shadows, two gaze at Oboro with concern, while seeming oddly flushed…
Oboro: Apparently, I wreaked some kind of havoc. In the morning, we were all lying on the roof… I had my mask on…
Hakuolo: From the shadows, two burning states are gazing at Oboro with concern.
A similar change happens in another scene. Hakuoro asks the twins to look after Oboro after a night of heavy drinking. While in English they merely appear to be attentive bodyguards.
“Well, after pounding sake like that, and then waving his head up and down, I guess this is to be expected…” Hakuoro states. In the original Japanese, the pair are less concerned with his well being, but very eager to take care of him.
Hakuoro: Take care of Oboro. Take him to his room.
(Machine translation: DeepL)
Dorry & Guraa: Can we really!?
Hakuoro: Uh? Yeah…
Dorry & Guraa: Thank you very much!
Hakuoro: This isn’t something they need to thank me for… But they do seem oddly happy about it.
Hakuolo: Please take care of Oboro. He needs help getting back to his room.
Dorry & Guraa: Is he alright?
Hakuolo: Uh… he will be…
Dorry & Guraa: Thank you very much for your consideration towards the young master.
Hakuolo: This isn’t something they need to thank me for… At least they looked eager to help him out.
For the next change, @iuntue highlights how Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen had “Localization by NISA.” While the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita remake were published by NIS America in 2020, Shiravune published the 2021 PC version.
They then highlight a scene where Karura pulls Hakuoro into an embrace, but omits where his hands are placed in English.
Saying that, Karura grabs my hands. Bringing one to her chest and the other below her abdomen.
Saying that, Karulau grabs my hands and forces me to embrace her.
Yet another change saw something “lost in translation” as @iuntue aptly notes. As Aruruu mocks someone for repeatedly being a cheapskate, she ends up in a tongue twister and saying the word ‘penis’ by mistake. This doesn’t translate beyond Japanese and an attempt was not even made, with Eruruu seemingly recoiling at the insult instead.
Aruruu: Kechinbo, kechinbo, kechinbochinbochinbo~
(Miser, miser, miser, penis, penis)
Aruruu: Miser, miser, mister miser miser…!
Another scene that removed any inappropriate implications has Hakuoro’s patting and implied groping of Aruruu being changed to poking and prodding.
Hakuoro: Are you sure… you’re not hurt…? (Machine translaton: DeepL)
*touch touch* *feel feel* *pat pat*…
Aruruu: Mhuu~, it tickles.
Hakuolo: Do you really… not have any injuries?
Aruruu: Heh, tickles.
A slightly more serious change comes from a scene where the word “inferior” is untranslated. In Japanese, Kuuya calls those who oppose her an “inferior species,” while in English merely calls them a “tribe.”
Kuuya: Who would accept such an inferior species as their rulers?
Kuuya: Who would accept such a tribe as their ruler?”
In context, Kuuya was the ruler of the Kunnekamun kingdom, a nation that faced years of abuse, harassment, and prejudice from other nations. Despite otherwise showing kindness as she slowly opens up to trust others, the original scene arguably shows how prejudice can create more prejudice.
Referencing a similar change in Live a Live’s localization, @iuntue notes that Utawarerumono’s English localization cuts mention of women standing back when a man acts in a desperate situation. Instead, the term “bystander” is used.
Karura: Stop. When a man puts his own life on the line, there’s no place for women to interfere.
Karulau: Stop. When a man puts his own life on the line, there’s no place for bystanders to interfere.
“This is the second time ‘女としての幸せ’ [happiness as a woman] was removed from the translation,” @iuntue illustrates with their next example. “Seems like this phrase gets the same treatment as ‘お嫁さんに行けない’ [I can’t go to my wife].”
In the scene, Genjimaru begs someone (likely Kuuya who he serves under) to know the joy of raising a child. In English, the message is made more about embracing whatever path in life makes them happy.
Genjimaru: Hereafter… I beg you to seize your happiness as a mere woman.
Genjimaru: Please… Find your own happiness.
This woman’s happiness line is also removed elsewhere. In @iuntue’s post on Varis Forum another comparison was shown that wasn’t posted to Twitter. In Japanese, Oboro talks about helping make a female character “happy as a woman,” while in English this is merely his hope for her to have her dreams fulfilled.
Oboro: I don’t know how long it will be, but I want to make her happy as a woman…I want to give her what she wants. (Machine translation: DeepL)
Oboro: I do not know how much time she has left, but I would like for her to fulfill her dreams.
References to men are also removed. In Japanese, Hien condemns the idea of a man not dying “when he ought to.” In English, this comment is made more unisex. It should be noted the tactical RPG part of the game does feature male and female units on the battlefield.
Hien: When a man does not die when he ought to, it is nothing but shameful. There is nothing more deplorable.
Hien: When one does not die when they ought to, it is nothing but shameful. There is nothing more deplorable.
Finally, @iuntue highlights how even referring to a baby girl is seemingly problematic, as the line “女の子だから” — which roughly translates to “Because it’s a girl” — is left untranslated.
Iceman: They say a child who sleeps grows up. I am sure she will grow up to be a healthy child. (Machine translation: DeepL)
Mikoto: She’s a girl, so I hope she won’t be too rowdy.
Iceman: A sleeping child is growing. I’m sure she’ll grow up to be rowdy.
Mikoto: I hope she won’t be too rowdy.
What do you think? Let us know on social media and in the comments below.