Ib Translation Notes

So I figured there was enough stuff worth mentioning about Ib's translation to post about. Spoilers, naturally!


Ib! Garry! Mary!
I played no part in deciding the English spellings of the three main character names - these were official. They were always in English on the save file portraits, as well as a couple other places. (With one exception: check the folders and you'll find that the filename for Mary's painting calls her "Marry.")

"BUT HER NAME'S TOTALLY EVE," you say in a way which I apologize for implying is annoying. Well, the Japanese spelling is "Ivu," whereas the most common spelling of the name Eve is "Ibu." Of course, "vu" is sort of a really weird character and bu and vu sound similar to Japanese people, but the alternative spelling seems very much intentional. Ib's parents are implied to be fairly wealthy, and that means they have terrible taste in names a fondness for "unique" names.

Arguably, this means I could have gone with something like, I dunno, "Eev." But if "Ib" isn't a mistake, then why not be consistent? Everyone over in Japan spells the title "Ib" in English all the time. Besides, if we didn't take the #ib tag, then we couldn't laugh at International Baccalaureate students not knowing what the hell.

Weiss Guertena
Weiss is pretty clear-cut, but Guertena not so much. It's spelled "Gerutena" in Japanese, which could reasonably equate to a number of English spellngs. (As long as they start with G, given that poster in the lobby.)

Some people thought it came from Picasso's Guernica ("Gerunika" in Japanese), though, so I went with that. kouri later agreed with me, putting "Guertena art museum" on his Ib page, apparently unaware of my translation at the time.

Death of the Individual
"Mukousei," literally "no personality." Yeah well your NAME has no personality, so I figured Death of the Individual sounded much more like a name for an art display. And they do end up wanting you dead. I didn't really expect the statues to get so much attention in fanworks, though, so maybe I could have thought of something a little more convenient to call them.

"COME IB" was "o-i-de yo I-vu." "Oide [yo]" just means "come here," and "come Ib" has the perfect number of letters! kouri also agreed with this in an image on his gallery page, again apparently not aware of my translation. But it's not like there's many other options.

Guess what? You got it for free. Are you proud of yourself?
"THIEF" was "ka-e-se," or "give it back." Way too long for three letters, but THIEF works just as well in five, and I was able to modify it pretty easily to look like it was always five. We were always at war with two plus two.

Ukkari-san and the King's Cake
Alliteration is not really a thing in Japanese, sadly. "Carrie Careless" was "Ukkari-san," which could either just mean "a careless person" or "Mr./Mrs. Careless" if you're generous. (Fun fact: type "ukkari-san" in Japanese into Google, and it completes with "and the galette des rois.")

But does that sound like the title of a children's book? Not really. So I essentially went with the latter and gave her a suitable name. Looking into alternate dimensions, I could have gone with such choices as "Clumsy Claire," "Whoopsy Whoopie," "Miss Take," or "Accident Ally." Truly we live in the best of all possible worlds.

Oh yeah, "galette des rois." The Japanese title spells it like that and I figured it sounded fancier than just "king's cake." That's about it.

"Loves Me, Loves Me Not" is known in Japanese as "hana-uranai," or "flower fortune-telling." It's the exact same thing, really, with "suki" and "kirai" for "loves me" and "loves me not," but I just figured I'd mention because it's kind of a clunky name in English, geez.

Garry totally talks like a lady. He uses "atashi" to refer to himself and speech patterns considered feminine ("onee," similar to lavender linguistics), which associates him with the LGBT community. kouri also drew Garry in a kimono once with a comment about "wanting to cross the barriers of gender." I feel the main intent was to make Garry kind of a "big sister" figure to Ib - as he says, it's better to be gentle. Naturally, I didn't want to go overboard and make him sound like a homosexual caricature or anything. It's hard to strike the right balance of avoiding that and still having people pick up on it, but, you know. Engliiiiish.

To be clear, Garry is explicitly referred to as a man in three places in Japanese: the line where you first find him ("the man is holding a key"), Mary asking if Garry is Ib's dad, and Forgotten Portrait ("a sleeping man"). Thus, while Japanese doesn't have to use pronouns like "he" and "she" if it doesn't want to, the game telling us he's male implies that the characters would use "he" to refer to him in English. It's strictly Garry's personal pronoun ("I," "me"), atashi, that's feminine, which says nothing definite about how Garry actually identifies (gay men will use it, for instance); still, there's room left for interpretation.

Ib's question in the safe room is technically not "Why do you talk like a lady?", but just "Why do you talk that way?" (I changed it because it sounded better and helped bring the fact that Garry's supposed to sound feminine to people's attention.) If she were more knowledgeable, she'd probably ask him something like "Why do you use that onee dialect, Gyarii-onee-chan~?" To which he'd reply: "New rule of the gallery: Don't call me that."

Wedding rings... those go on the thumb, right?!
I'm glad there are at least the two hands, or this would have just instantly become the worst puzzle, all because of the English language. "Ring finger" in Japanese is "medicine finger" for... reasons you can look up yourself.

What else was I supposed to do?! Even if I did something stupid like "third finger from the thumb," it's not like people wouldn't know that's the ring finger. I've had it with English, I'm translating everything into Esperanto from now on.

The Abyss of the Deep puzzle plays out a little differently in the Japanese version. You see the hint that the password is the name of the fish mural, and Garry recalls that it was "Shinkai no ___," with the missing word being just one syllable. You have three choices: "ma" (realm), "yo" (world), and "e" (picture). (If none of these seem right, that's because "realm" and "world" were too similar, so I went with abyss for a greater sense of scale.)

However, you never technically need to go check that hint at all. The solution is to enter "Shinkai no Yo" manually via a naming screen. Unfortunately, the English RPG Maker version I initially used to translate the game had non-functional naming screens. So I modified it so you have to make the right choice when Garry asks, and then go to the door. Not a big deal, really.

A similar problem occurs with the door in the brown area: you're supposed to see Marvelous Night in the purple area, and when shown the painting on the naming screen, enter its name manually. But without naming screens, I had little choice but to make it multiple-choice and super-easy to brute force. Still, there are enough puzzles in those two areas already, and that one's not hard.

Arufabetikaru Order
The collections were always split into pages by letter. Yes, English letters; they used the first letter from the Romanji spellings. (Initially, I thought this meant kouri had the foresight to know it would be called "The Hanged Man" in English before I realized that the Romanji name started with T, too.)

And yeah, the page choices (SHM and LGJ in English, DTM and AKJ in Japanese) were never in alphabetical order or anything. If they had been sorted, I would've re-sorted them according to the English names, but they weren't. Well, unless Mary breaking the order was intentional.

The Secret of Mary's Secret
"I HEARD / MARY'S / SECRET♪" was "shiri-c-ch-a-t-ta / shiri-c-ch-a-t-ta / Me-a-ri-i no hi-mitsu" (with no music note). Literally, "I learned it, / I learned it, / Mary's secret," with an implication of "I shouldn't have learned it" in the verb conjugation.

The graphics file for this part had an unused kanji for "heard" instead of "learned," as well as a music note. I figured "heard" was better since the Strained Ear was listening, and by shortening that and adding the music note, it happened to fit perfectly. It even puts the pauses between each word except I and HEARD. So the exact same knocking sounds play in both Japanese and English! If only that actually meant anything.

Marvelously Midori
Marvelous Night was "Midori no Yoru," or "Green Night." What was wrong with that? WELL. If you go back to read Mary's entry in the collection after you regroup (after failing the doll room), it's been changed to Midori no Yoru... because it also starts with M. TRICKY.

And that's about it. Anything I didn't mention was probably just translated straight enough that there's simply nothing to say about it. Not that there aren't probably lines which painfully-literal translators might find complaint with (WHY DIDN'T GARRY CALL IB HIS NAKAMA?!), but, y'know.

Posted August 11th, 2012


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