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Author Topic: Translations: First Spanish translation of Dragon Warrior I for NES completely faithful to the English script, in its form, meaning and style  (Read 1855 times)

RHDNBot

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Update By: RodMerida

A new translation of Dragon Warrior 1 for Nintendo NES to Spanish has been made and released by Traducciones Crackowia. This is the first translation to Spanish of the NES version of this game that is totally faithful to the English script in its form, style and meaning. It has been published during the night of 3rd, January of 2022.

This translation has been done over the basis of the Northern American ROM of the game, that was published in English language in 1989, three years after the original release of Dragon Quest in Japan. An important characteristic of this version is that it included, by first time, characters' frames for the main and secondary characters, in four directions, depending on which they move, something that was not present in the original release in Japanese language. Added to this, many names were modified or redone, by replacing the Japanese ones. For example, the name for the legendary hero, Roto, that was changed to Erdrick in the English-speaking version, or the name of the wandering bard and his town, Garai, that were replaced by Garin and Garinham. Same happens with many names of places, of secondary characters, and enemies. A distinctive element of this translation is the fact that it faithfully translates this official naming system for English-speaking territories, that are found in the US cartridge. The goal of this is letting the Spanish-speaking player be conscious what the names used by this historical version were in those times for this platform. It may be considered a archaeological gaming element, on itself.

The aforementioned translation has been carried out in record time by Rod Mérida, over two unique days, during November 12th of 2021, in which the entire script and list of items and enemies were translated, and during December 31st of 2021 , in which an issue related with the lack of correspondence between the two lines that compound each item and enemy name, which prevented them from being displayed correctly, was fixed. These two working days, separated in time, were followed by other two that have been dedicated to ßetatesting tasks, carried out by Damniel Vyp throughout the 2nd and 3rd days of January, of the new year 2022.

This translation incorporates all the special symbols of the Spanish language required throughout the script, such as accents, ñ letter and the opening question and exclamation marks. Said incorporation was carried out sometime during the day before the whole of script was translated, that is November, 11th of 2021, after analyzing requirements and one day after the decipherment of the two character tables used throughout the gameplay.

Some extra technical difficulties have been encountered, related with the fact that the English version of this game had been designed to detect whether a given item or enemy name used as a variable in a dialog began by vowel, in which case the program added a lowercase letter "n" followed by space before that name. This was regarded in its day as solution to the problem of English indefinite article "a" varying its form to "an" before words beginning by vowel. Since this behavior, however, does not occur in the Spanish language, it has been necessary to deactivate this behavior inside the ROM, which has required the ROMhacker of this project to make use of his knowledge of assembly language for NES and SNES machines; knowledge that he had the opportunity to acquire throughout the process of correcting numerous bugs in the unofficial English-speaking ROM of Dragon Quest I+II and its derived translation to Spanish, made by Crackowia team, too.

Another complication has been how to enlarge the space available for commands in certain menus, so that they fit and look well. This has led the hacker and translator of the project, Rod Mérida, to immerse himself in reverse engineering tasks, in order to decipher such windows and menus behaviour. He has been able to elucidate after this which codes allow such windows to be altered. Such a task has been achieved during the two days that followed the translation of the script, when the betatester was already underway.

Special attention has also been paid to the kind of language that the original Anglophone version recreates, with the constant use of the archaic English you for singular, "Thou", and its conjugation nowadays unused in normal speech, that has been translated by the use of "Vos" for polite situations, as an archaic form of courtesy treatment (sort of equivalent to modern "usted"), and the use of the normal "tú" pronoun in situations that denote familiarity or neutral tone, or when whoever speaks to you holds a superior position.

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mikeprado30

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The use of archaic Spanish forms makes this for myself :)

Gracias to the people involved in this project!  Lo estaré probando en los siguientes días. :thumbsup:

Hemlock

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While I do not speak Spanish, I do congratulate the effort put into this translation.

RodMerida

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The use of archaic Spanish forms makes this for myself :)

Gracias to the people involved in this project!  Lo estaré probando en los siguientes días. :thumbsup:

You are welcome, Mikepardo30, ¡de nada! Thanks you for appreciating this. Dale una buena probada a ver qué se cuece.

While I do not speak Spanish, I do congratulate the effort put into this translation.

Thank you too for appreciating the translation and ROMhacking effort devoted to the creation of this patch, even though not understanding Spanish at all (and even though it was done quick)!
« Last Edit: January 08, 2022, 04:17:04 am by RodMerida »

Dwedit

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I noticed the "(a)" character, this seems like it could be ASM-hacked away to become a conditionally appearing "a"?

Is this for noun gender on monsters?  Seems like you'd put a lookup table in there, and use a new control character to be a conditional "a" depending on the monster's gender.
"We are merely sprites that dance at the beck and call of our button-pressing overlord."

RodMerida

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There is no way this NES program can know the gender of a monster without making a list of genders.
It's not only programming the appearing or not of an "a" plus space before the name if it starts or ends with a letter or another, Dwedit.

And besides, it's not neccesary. The Royal Academy of Spanish Language considers correct the use of "/" or brackets for optional terminations, for either plural or gender mark, in those cases where you are not able to know in Advance if a certain addressee is singular or plural, or masculine or femenine, but you are refering to a certain addressee that you will know, and if you use generic masculine you will make a grammar mistake in case it happens to be feminine.

Let's not confuse this with talking in general, like in "todo ciudadano deberá..." (every citizen will have to...), or talking about mixed groups of things or people ("escuchad alumnos" = "listen up, students", or "los pantalones y las camisas están baratos" = "pants are shirts are cheap"), in which case you use generic masculine, no need to add os/as.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2022, 09:22:09 am by RodMerida »

Dwedit

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My previous post suggested making a "lookup table", which means a list of genders for each monster.  There are 40 monsters in the game, so this would take up 40 bytes.  If there is also a need for other flags, such as distinguishing singular vs plural, another bit could hold that.  There could be up to 8 flags associated with each monster.

When the game displays the monster's name in a sentence, the monster number is already written into RAM somewhere, so when the game encounters the "display monster name" control character, it knows what to display.  It could be possible to make another control character to conditionally display text depending on the new lookup table data (gender, singular/plural, etc).

In this situation, the monster on the screen is known, the main character is known, and the game player (or person reading the text) is the only unknown addressee.

Let me know if you are interested, or need help with the ASM hacking part.  It took me a long time from messing around with ROMs to being fluent in 6502 ASM, so I understand how daunting it can be, and why you'd try to avoid anything that requires ASM hacking.

I've just played too many English translations that mangle the grammar due to not using conditional text.
"We are merely sprites that dance at the beck and call of our button-pressing overlord."

RodMerida

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Doing what you say exceeded my capabilities and patience in that moment and I didn't consider it necessary at all, since that "(a)" is acceptable in those cases.
It doesn't mangle the grammar. In something like battle messages or menu actions it's very normal.

But what you say could be an interesting improvement for my translation of Dragon Quest 3 for SNES to Spanish, where the hero can be male or female. But it'd be harder to implement, since it could replace a special symbol by either o or a, yes, but it would need to check the sex not only of the hero, but of whatever character in your group the message is addressing, and sometimes that o/a symbol refers to monster names too, that are far much more than in DQ1 for NES, what would add complexity.

At the end, for not messing more, I solved it with that o/a (that is standard in such case) trying to use synonymouses that don't require it in as many sentences of that kind as possible, so there are not so many o/a all the time, actually there are few, maybe in 15 sentences for the whole game, that is much longer.

Anyway, if you really knew how to do this for DQ3 for SNES and want to advice, send me a query, please.

YoshiWhite62

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pretty cool, it's better than the previous translation which to my taste wasn't bad either

Erdrick

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RodMerida, congratulations on your work. Three comments/suggestions:

1. In the menu, the infinitive should be used for all verbs or not at all. For example, if you say "Hablar", you should say "Abrir", not "Abre". If you prefer to say "Abre", then you should say "Habla", not "Hablar". Etc.

2. You mention that "Thou" is translated by either "Tú" or "Vos", according to whether it is an informal or courteous tone. Please note that in old English, "Thou" was the equivalent of "Tú", whereas "You" was the equivalent of "Vos" (which, as in old Spanish, could be used in either plural or courteous singular). Therefore, I believe that "Thou", "Thy", etc. should be translated only by "Tú", "Tu", etc., if your translation is to remain faithful and free of interpretations.

3. You've translated enemies' names into Spanish, but left people's and locations' names in English. In my opinion, there are two options: it should either be all left in English (if your goal is to be faithful to the English script), or all translated to Spanish (if you want to use Castile history and geography names, the same way the English translators used England history and geography when they converted the original Japanese names). The 2nd option is of course more challenging and interpretative, but would give Spanish-speaking players a more comparable understanding to that of English-speaking players (for example: "Tantegel Castle" will remind many English players of medieval England's Tintagel Castle, while leaving most Spanish players clueless).
« Last Edit: January 11, 2022, 06:19:04 pm by Erdrick »

RodMerida

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The problem, Erdrick, is that they never use "You" for singular at all in this game, unlike they do do in Dragon Warrior III for NES. I believe this was due to having a very stereotyped concept of archaic English. So they don't difference among courtesy and informal situations, as they would do in any work of Shakespeare, for example (if we go to works written in actual Middle Age they'll probably be written in Anglosaxon or French, if not Latin).

But I translate their intention of using archaic pronouns in this way. I'm very aware of that difference among archaic Thou and singular You/Ye, anyway.

Regarding the use or not of infinitive in all the commands, I decided to switch to imperative for "OPEN" verb (ABRE), to leave a little of gap among the central lines of the window and its right margin; I could have used ABRIR as well, but it produced me claustrophobia; anyway, it seems he is ordering the door to be open, in a shortened, quick way. And for ACCEDE, that one was really difficult and complex to translate, and I prefered it that way instead widening more the window and making it too different from its original form, and much bigger, covering more screen surface. I could have used CRUZAR instead, but it was much less intuitive.

Names of people and locations are names, not words. Names are not translatable, or should not be translated, except when they refere to names of kings, dinasties, and other historical characters of much relevance that have produced a Castilianized form, like in Henry IV = Enrique IV, Marie-Antoniette = María Antonieta, Jeshua = Jesús, Muhammad = Mahoma, Cristophe Colombus = Cristóbal Colón, etc.

Making up new names here just because Enix did so for the American version, in 1989, makes no sense here, because they won't be official, but just my invention; they won't be recognizable nor very accepted by the community, that they do know their official counterparts for either Japanese, English or both versions, that constantly reappear in fandom webpages and official printed guides. And also because that was a historical oficial version that has got a major relevance worldwide, result of a historical decision. Many people have grown with these names in many countries since decades ago, even Hispanic ones, through emulation, but not with my names, because I'm making this translation in 2021/2022, that is 32 years later, let's remind it, when NES system is discontinued and not so played as before; it's more treated like a nostalgia matter or an antique.

If you refere to finding an equivalent for those names that do refere to historical names, by distorting them: how do you know the place I'm finding instead is actually equivalent? Just imagine the laughs if instead Tantegel I wrote "el Palacio de la Cerzuela", or some other nonsense equivalent.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 02:25:03 am by RodMerida »

Erdrick

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RodMerida, thanks for the explanation. A few comments:

. Commands: OK, so perhaps you could replace infinitives with shorter imperatives then? Habla, busca, toma. Just for consistency.

. Tintagel / Cerzuela: nice find  :) although these two buildings are from different eras. To anglophones, Tintagel is synonymous with the Arthur legend. I understand that finding something comparable, if any, in Spanish history and/or literature would need some careful research. And yes, maybe players would find the result funny, as the Japanese (and Western purists) probably found silly the conversion of Dragon Quest's Toriyama universe into Dragon Warrior's Olde England atmosphere in the first two episodes.

(On a side note, I've always deplored those RPG series that change their translation style through the episodes: for example "Dragon Warrior" changed to "Dragon Quest" later on, old English changed to modern English with DW3, Erdrick changed to Loto, established magic names changed to confusing onomatopœia... all this to sound more "faithful" to the original Japanese, and actually resulting in a break in the series' continuity for Western players.)

RodMerida

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Completely agree with you in that last paragraph. But notice that in DW3 still there is some archaic language, but less, because the kind of society is less feudal than in DQ1 and 2. There seems to be more trade and communications thanks to portals, kingdoms are better defended, towns or cities seem to be more prosperous, or for example, there is the discovery of the Americas already, even though the action happens centuries before DW1 and 2. It sort of seems as if after the world of DW1 and 2 became isolated from the world of DW3, there was a dark age, with some "social regression", more into feudalism.

And about the second paragraph, it's very interesting, I like it, it's a philological challenge. But it seems to be a linguistic experiment. It's better not to experiment that much with this translation of a classic; but if I finally managed to find the right names (in the case of Spanish language the names of the castle could be from Amadís de Gaula) I would include it as an extra optional patch.

Anyway, notice that King Arthur is also part of Latin tradition, cause it started in Roman literature, there are lots of chronicles and writings about King Arthur written in Latin. Actually, King Arthur was originally britanno-Roman, before being "celtized" or "anglosaxonized". So that Tintagel castle may be as part of the literary Spanish tradition as from the British one, it's Internacional, at least in Europe. Same as Troy legends (or history, there is a slight frontair among both). You wouldn't say the story of Troy is just Greek, would you?

Actually, many of those names in Arthuric literature have their Spanish equivalents: King Arthur is El Rey Arturo, Lancelot is Lanzarote, etc. And one Castilianized form of Tintagel could be Trevena (from Cornish language Tre war Venydh). Actually it is first mentioned in a book written in Latin during the XII century: Historia Regum Britanniæ (History of British Kings), by the Welsh historian Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Erdrick

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RodMerida, interesting. I love your idea of two patches, one keeping the well-known English names and the other one with their proposed Spanish cultural equivalents.

Concerning the chronological (and geographical) consistency of Dragon Quest in particular, and games series in general, I agree with you. It often doesn't make sense and you can tell that the developers didn't give it much thought. Actually, much worse than DW3 would be Final Fantasy XI, that makes you travel just 20 years in the past in one of the expansions. The areas are basically the same, but with a ton of extra infrastructure - towers, walls, fortified borders, cave/area entrances, stairway sculpted in a hill, etc. - that has simply disappeared without a trace in the present. To say nothing of new areas (that make the world map inconsistent), new monsters, and new items nowhere to be found just two decades later... Huh? It's absurd, and whetever explanation you can think of is unrealistic. Add to this the upgraded graphics, and it feels more like the future than the past. You end up thinking "OK, it's just a game, let's not take this too seriously", as Konami developer Igrarashi once admitted when asked about Castlevania storyline incongruities (or should I say "dissonances"? ;) ). RPGs are more about myths, legends, and retellings than historical rigor, I guess!

RodMerida

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After having been meditating I have reached the convicción that names regarding Arthuric legends belong to pan-European and specially Latin tradition, too, and there is no reason yo re-translate those names of places. The editorial respect to the historical form of this US ROM gets imposed in this patch, as a consequence.

Anyway, I think if a game's plot is well constructed these kind of elements that you mention must be coherent. Just sometimes creators don't care so much. Final Fantasy XI is an online massive game: I think they didn't effort so much in the plot because you can play however and go however without a fixed order. Probably in different server updates of it they have gone on adding things, as it happens in Dragon Quest X, that is online too.