Discuss: Final Fantasy Tactics’ new translation

By Spencer . October 17, 2007 . 1:16pm


I’ve been toying around with Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions again. After spending a considerable amount of time unlocking the three cameo characters, I was still excited to play the retranslated version. The experience different from the PS1 version I played many years ago and I love the new translation. The story in Final Fantasy Tactics has a stern undercurrent that wasn’t well represented with the hasty English version released on the Playstation. The new eloquent, pseudo-Shakespearean text fits the game much better than the memorable comedic one-liners found in the original localization. 


Square-Enix also changed the terms to make them self-explanatory without prior Japanese knowledge. Take Nanten and Hokuten as an example. Instead of Romanized words the two groups have been translated to Order of the Northern Sky and Order of the Southern Sky respectively. Doesn’t that make much more sense?


Then there are the tweaks for the names of the abilities. Square-Enix wisely chose to use the traditional –ra –ga –ja system for spells instead of numbers for magic, excuse me magick. In Ivalice magic is spelled with an extra "k". The monk’s skills sound much better as Aurablast and Pummel than Wave Fist and Repeating Fist. The same goes for the Mysic (read: Oracle), which has much more eloquent skill names than Blind and Spell Absorb.


Probably the most controversial change is how Square-Enix altered the character's names. The much maligned Algus is now known as Argath Thadalfus and Delita Hyral is now Delita Heiral. I tend to think of these as minor because spelling aside, the characters are the same. The only slightly disappointing name change is how the rather useless “Rad” is now named “Ladd”. While Ladd is more fitting the Rad, the original name always struck me as humorous. I mean how many times do you meet a mercenary with the name Rad? Ladd makes him sound like the worthless squire that he is. Either way I always throw him out so I wasn’t bothered by it.


Overall, I give the translation a thumbs up. Not only does it draw players into the game more than the first draft it feels more in place with the consistent fantasy tone found in world of Ivalice.


Since it’s been out for a week now, I’m wondering what everyone else is thinking about it. Do you like the changes? If not what would you have done differently?

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  • Bwa-ha-haw.

    And so, the incessant whining of Japanese fanboys who will complain about the new translation starts now!

  • SomeDude

    This was a step in the wrong direction. While they were right in redoing the script (I can’t forgive renaming Sweegy Woods.) the change to pseudo-Shakespeare was awful. It was the part of XII I hated the most, and now it’s carried over into what used to be my favorite Final Fantasy.

    I’ll take “Wave Fist” over “Aurablast” any day of the week, btw. Chi doesn’t strike at your “aura”, nor does it use your aura to make an attack. Your chi and your aura are two entirely different things, and a monk would not use such a move. The best translation would be “Chi Strike”, in my opinion, and it indicates that the changes to FFT were being made just to change things, and they are actually just as inaccurate as the translation that preceded it.

    I’d be happy if Square-Enix rewrote the script to make it more accurate and understandable, but that’s not what they’ve done at all. They’ve just made it a different flavor of wrong, because that’s the flavor they prefer. I’m not going to defend the previous translation, but I will say that I’ll take the old over the new, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the random character names that makes the citizens of Ivalice sound like they inhabit some bad elf-based-LARPer’s wet dream.

  • Angelous

    Actually, I find the new translation to extremely pleasing. It really helps me enjoy the sotry now. I’ve played through the PSX original 3 times since it’s release in ’98 and all I ever remember is how I made m party and what character I used, nothing about the story.

    But now on the PSP I feel that I am playing for the story. The translation really makes it feel like an entirely new game.

  • @SomeDude – I absolutely agree with you about the random names. Those were over the top for me, but I kept any of the random people I got anyways. I always recruited new characters so I could get higher brave/faith and named them myself.

  • SomeDude

    I’m hoping more people besides you and I start speaking up about those names. The last thing I need is some ya-hoo editor getting the idea that we’d all love to play a game with a main character named Ellywyyn or something similarly bad.

    The only time they’re acceptable is when some guy wants to brand himself with the shame and stigma that comes with them. I should never be forced to encounter stuff like that in a game.

    The new translation is actually pulling me OUT of the game right now. In the PSX version I got a few good chuckles, but when I see lines like the screenshot you posted above, where the editors use the words “succor” and “envenomed” awkwardly… (The sentence would more commonly be written, “Your venomous words grant me succor, for when at last you yield — as you must — their poison will consume you!”) when I see that kind of stuff, that actually makes me start cursing the localizers through my PSP.

  • Oh, for the record – I was making fun of the people who insist on having Japanese move names and such. Those of you who have legitimate issues with the retranslation, such as the language used and the general writing style, are cool with me.

    I just can’t stand people who refuse to listen to reason and accept that nobody outside Japan will use names like that in anything other than anime or manga.

    I’m a real translator, mind you. English to Spanish. I spent five years learning the craft, so I get annoyed when people who don’t have much knowledge of the subject start complaining like that.

  • Alexander

    I’m really satisfied with this new translation. The previous times I’ve played the game, I often found it difficult to understand some things because they simply didn’t make any sense. But now everything sounds right, and the Shakespearian style fits this game perfectly. The few character names and move names that changed don’t bother me, and I’m already use to them. So as far as the translation goes, I give it A++. The game’s story is great, and has now received the translation it originally deserved.

    My only real issue with the game is with the lag that occurs when doing special techniques. Also, maybe it’s unnoticeable(it’s almost to me) to others, but the audio quality doesn’t sound perfect. I’ve played original game on my psp via the ps1 emulator, and I think it sounded slightly better. The game still sounds great though.

  • Pichi

    I strongly would have prefered if they just fixed grammar and spelling from the old translation. Not really liking the changed names and the likes. And how they like to replace “God” with “gods” in a minor PC way.

  • Chris

    The game needed a new translation, as long as they don’t actually change the story.

    I’m sick of everything that takes place in a fantasy setting having a British accent, though. It started with Lord of the Rings, and then it was Harry Potter, and now it’s EVERYTHING. The only reason to have characters talk like British people is if the characters literally are British people. In any other case, it’s just the writers trying to sound pretentious.

  • SomeDude

    Chris: Seriously. Word up. *high five* A lot of the time it just reeks of, “Oh, look at me! I watch Graham Norton on the BBC, I totally know how to be British!”

    Pichi: Also a high five. For having my back.

    Alexander: *shakes head*

  • Alexander

    @ Somedude

    *shakes head* I couldn’t care less if you agree with me.

    Hell, all of the reviews I’ve read commended Squenix for the new translation. And the reviews aside, I’d bet you’re in the minority of people who share a negative view of the new translation.

    Also, Pichi had your back huh? What is this a debate? *sigh*

  • Hero

    I like the new translation. Yes it’s overly fanciful faux-Shakespearian English and I LOVE IT. It’s so over the top it’s cute and makes playing all the old cutscenes feel like new again.

  • Jason C.

    SomeDude, obviously you are forgetting that Sabin had a move called “Aura Bolt” in FFVI, so “Aurablast” brings the name more in line with that. Either way, I think “aura” is a perfectly good psuedo-medieval-european analogue for the concept of “chi.”

    Vagrant Story and FFXII were two of my favorite translations (Alexander O. Smith roooooocks), so I’m sure I’ll love the writing in War of the Lions when I pick it up.

  • Ariston

    “breath” instead of “bracelet”.

    so if you EVER say that the move names should have been kept the same, i’ll just have to breathe some dragon bracelet at you.

    chi is a vital force that flows through the body. emotional energy is concentrated in the fist and then propelled forward. this is a legendary technique fabled to have been used in ancient asia. if “emotional energy” doesn’t sound like aura, then what does? i suppose you’d say prana wasn’t life force either. aurablast speaks of a blast of emotional energy, thus, it is the same as chiblast, or pranablast, or lifeforceblast, or whatever. just live with it.

    alexander o smith DOES rock. kudos to him for vagrant story. i admit, however, that words like “succor” are a bit over the top. nice use of “envenomed” though.

    on that note, lord of the rings sounded british because OMFG who’d have guessed that it was filmed by BRITISH PEOPLE. what other famous movies are done by british people? you guessed it, HARRY POTTER.

    so if you want fewer fantasy films to sound british, then please please please try convincing an american film producer to finance the creation of a fantasy movie. good luck with that.

    name changes like algus to argath??? well, you’re WRONG. his name was always argath, but it was MISTRANSLATED because they were so hurried. the L-R mixup? the S instead of a TH? that’s all classic japanese-english mistranslation. argue with me and you fail at life. or at least you fail at being otaku.

    of all the criticism that i’ve seen so far, the only bit that really strikes me as true is what somedude just said. “some elf-based LARPer’s wet dream” indeed. names like ellywyyn really annoy me because they are overused.

  • some other dude

    omg i ALWAYS call myself SomeDude in these anonymous forums

    anyway i hate shakespeare with a passion, and from what ive seen seem to like the original classic psx version that i beat 2+ times (i forget) cos the story lines were short and simple like i make in rpgs lawl

    no need to ressurect shakespeare again i have to deal with him in english class almost every day

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