I wanted to discuss a change I’m sure people will notice.

Those of you who have played the original Edelweiss might remember Panchu, Kazushi’s classmate who looks and sounds like some kind of Yakuza member, but is actually pretty nice to his friends and has a soft spot for women. In the original game released by MangaGamer, the text was just as normal as everyone else’s, but some of you may have noticed his speech was really odd.

The truth is, the creators, Overdrive, put a joke behind Panchu’s character. The joke is that while his sentences are well formed and his grammar is correct just like most characters in the text, his speech is slurred all together until one cannot understand what he says. In the original Japanese, the fun of his character was being able to pick out what he was saying when you heard his voice.

So at the creator’s request, I tried to preserve this as best as I can while translating the text for Edelweiss Eiden Fantasia. In other words, Panchu’s text is going to be rather hard to read, but this was done on purpose. I tried to indicate and keep the slurring of text and words, but also write it in such a way that it’s still understandable provided context. For example, here’s one of his lines in the game:

Panchu: “’resi’en huh?
So, you’re ‘e ‘ea ‘o ‘e ‘ass ‘en.”

Now, here’s the line in context:

Kazushi: “I, I’m sorry… I’m our Class President now, so…”

Panchu: “’resi’en huh?
So, you’re ‘e ‘ea ‘o ‘e ‘ass ‘en.”

Kazushi: “Yes, thankfully.”

Panchu: “’en a’ you ‘e’ared?

Kazushi: “P-Prepared for?”

I didn’t like the way this sounded.
Did prepare always sound this threatening?

Panchu: “Are y’ ‘e’are ‘o ‘isk y’ ‘ife ‘or ‘e ‘ake ‘o ‘our ‘ass?

Kazushi: “Hii?!”

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  1. I’ll be honest with you, I couldn’t understand a word of that. It made my head hurt trying to read it. It felt like you just picked random letters and replaced them with a ’.

    “So, you’re ‘e ‘ea ‘o ‘e ‘ass ‘en.”

    Not a clue what that’s supposed to be.

    • I can assure you I didn’t replace random letters. I did actually go through the lines and drop the letters that would hinder slurring of the words together, which is why it’s mostly consonants that were removed. If you listen to his voice and notice the way he slurs it all together, you should be able to see why I removed what I did.

      There is a method to my choices of removed letters. Even in the example line, it should read as if he was speaking the line.

  2. Too much missing letter
    I think you should only replace less letter because, like Peter said, i don’t understand at all some sentence… And it’s even worse since English is not my native language.

  3. I just thought, if he slurrs his words together, do something like this:


    I could put up with that and you’d get your point across. What does everyone else think?

  4. A character who “eating” letter is not uncommon… it’s just too much here.

  5. Can we get the original Japanese lines and “fixed” versions of those Japanese lines for comparison?

  6. oh, i was thinking of something…
    I think the way of speaking that’s the fan translator used for Akumetsu (in the Manga of the same name) for volume 11+, it’s the ideal way to portaying someone talking in a rough way.

    hrre an exemple, the the 3rd panel you see a good way of speaking for this type of character :

  7. Like the others, I really couldn’t read a single bit of the lines. When you talked about slurring the lines together at the beginning, I was figuring you’d do something like what Peter suggested: slurring them together.

    Wholesale dropping of letters, like you’ve done, reminds me of Kotaku when they would disemvowel somebody’s comment. It makes it a pain in the ass to read, but even that was a bit easier than reading that dialogue.

    I’m behind Peter’s suggestion, personally.

  8. Kazushi: “I, I’m sorry… I’m our Class President now, so…”
    Panchu: “President, huh?
    So, you’re the head of the class then.”
    Kazushi: “Yes, thankfully.”
    Panchu: “Then are you prepared?
    Kazushi: “P-Prepared for?”
    I didn’t like the way this sounded.
    Did prepare always sound this threatening?
    Panchu: “Are you prepared to risk your life for the sake of your class?
    Kazushi: “Hii?!”

    I’m aware of characters like the one in the example you linked, but if you actually listen to Panchu’s lines, you can tell it’s far more than that kind of punk-speech. His speech is nigh-impossible to understand. In the original, the characters even comment that it’s almost a miracle that they can.

    The instructions I got from the creators even went so far as to say:
    “Since most of the English speakers won’t get the gag by listening we want you to completely break his text. We don’t mind if his sentences become impossible to understand. In fact, we welcome that.

    However, please do not use symbols like $, &, etc. Panchu isn’t an alien and there are times when you can almost make out what he says.”

    So, as per the request, I broke his text. I did try to make it possible to understand him though.

    I have to admit that I did feel the decision to leave Panchu’s lines as easily understood in the original game was not as true to the intentions of the creators and their concept of the character. His speech is far worse than a simple “punk” or Yakuza-type character. If anything his speech is closer to the completely unitelligible grunting and shouting that Shion interprets for the readers in Higurashi’s Meakashi-hen.

  9. As a compromise, what about only removing letters that are not the first or last letter? Or maybe removing only vowels? I think that will at least make it possible for someone to decipher the text; right now, it’s nearly impossible. I believe that the goal here should be to make it difficult and time consuming, but not impossible to figure out what he’s saying.

    • The problem is that nearly impossible is exactly where his lines are supposed to be. Also, simply removing the vowels would create a mess of consonants which couldn’t ever be actually spoken, and leaving the first and last letters of words that begin or end with hard-consonants would make it nearly impossible to slur words together as well. I went through his lines and tried to make it so that it was possible to read them just as the character would have spoken them.

      My goal was that with the context of other characters’ lines and the game’s current scene and chain of events, his lines would be decipherable. This is why I’ve tried to keep the grammar markings and such intact as well as keeping the space in between words so the reader still knows how many words are actually in the slur and which letters go with which word.

      • Yes, the goal is to have it be nearly impossible but not actually impossible. But as it currently stands, for certain cases it is simply not decipherable at all; it needs to be shown to someone who hasn’t seen the script at all to determine whether it’s decipherable or not. You are not a good judge of whether it’s decipherable or not because you have seen the original.

        Good usage:
        “’resi’en huh?” <- decipherable due to context

        Bad usage:
        "So, you’re ‘e ‘ea ‘o ‘e ‘ass ‘en." <- not decipherable due to context, because unlike Japanese, English vowels have so many different readings that you can't just "sound it out" to guess what the reading was. There's also way too many words to guess here. Furthermore, people usually assume that when something's missing, there should be an apostrophe, but in this case, there's only apostrophes at the beginning of words. Even something like "??e ?ea? o? ??e ??ass ??en" would make it closer to being decipherable, although still quite tricky.

  10. I think that most of the people who buy this game understand japanese a little bit (everyone catches words while playing VNs and watching anime), so it wouldn’t be entirely impossible to maintain the original intent of the creators when the written translation is somewhat indecipherable.

  11. Acrocdnig to a raceersh at Cgmbdirae Unieirsvty, it deson’t matter in what oerdr the letrets in a word are. The only iopmrtnat thing is that the first and last lteetr be in the rghit pacle.

    The rest can be a ttaol mess and you can siltl read it wioutht peorlbm. This is because the hmaun mind does not read eervy leettr by iesltf, but the word as a wlhoe.

    Theerfore let me suggset unisg tihs wrod sarcmbler:

    • But that makes it easy to decipher, which is exactly what kouryuu’s trying to avoid here.

      • Not that easy.
        Remember that’s not all the customer of MangaGamer (and other Company who translate Eroge) are english native speaker.

        Myself i’m not, my native language is Latin Based… What ChielScape written was not really difficult to read, but it took me more time to read it.

        My point is, that if you use kouryuu9 way, it will alienate a good number of people from their customer base.

        I clearly undestand what he want to do, and i respect it… Since it’s rare enought to see company who trasnlate japanese to try to find a way to be close to the original… but still, actually it’s to hard for people who only learned English in school and don’t use it everyday (and especially from my Country…

        So, i like the word scramble of ChielScape.

  12. Is Mangagamer really in a position where it is wise to deliberatly screw up the text? Those that don’t read the blog will just say you’re worse than usual.

    And on that note, just emulate the same translation quality that the original Edelweiss got for him. That was incomprehensible enough in places.

    Would look something like this: “Huh, President?
    Class of the head, then so are you.”

    • It’s not deliberately screwing up the texts when it is just following the style in the original. In the original these scripts were not in plain Japanese, spoken or written. Translating it into plain English like the original Edelweiss did however would be screwing up the the original script. Your suggestion would not match what he is saying at all, because kouryuu did say “The joke is that while his sentences are well formed and his grammar is correct just like most characters in the text, his speech is slurred all together until one cannot understand what he says.” Messing up the grammar would not get that across.

      • My apologies, my post here was somewhat incorrect. Everything about grammar is fine, your approach still would not work, however my inaccuracy is about the Japanese scripts.

        “In the original these scripts were not in plain Japanese, spoken or written.” – I saw this somewhere and went with it, however since then, hearing from TakaJun, (a well known fan translator who has played the original Japanese version), this was a mistake.

        The Japanese text is fine to read, and just the spoken is incomprehensible.

        The suggestion he gave was to include both incomprehensible text and regular English, to quote him.

        since they can’t really get that across in japanese text… so the way I would do it (considering what overdrive asked) is ^%&^@#%&^@%#^@% (insert what he says here)
        or do “yteyr uairyauieyghs uayruaywui (here, eat bread)”
        something like that

        and later

        Arch: the problem is that japanese people understand what he’s saying
        audio: incomprehensible, text: normal
        so how would you do that in English? I say do both in the text since you cant change the audio

    • It’s one thing where everything sounds weird; but it’s totally different if only one character sounds weird.

  13. Smae hree, cuodl’t raed it at all, it ins’t the smae as tihs werhe you can raed tihngs as lnog as the frsit and lsat lteter are in the rhgit pacle.

  14. Well, my point basically is, if the text is virtually illegible, it’d be too much an annoyance to keep playing the game for the good parts it might have.

    Its one of those fine lines to be found, and never crossed.

    I gave a suggestion, but thats obviously not THE way to do it.
    It’s just that according to the original it has to conform to these demands:
    -Proper grammar;
    -Well formed sentences;
    -Messed up yet miraculously intelligible.
    That last part is especially important, because both the japanese characters, as well as players are able to understand what he says, so that should not change in the English version if there’s even a slight intent to stay close to the original.

    That’s just what I believe anyway.

  15. Then, can’t you misspell words, remove letters from words and connect words in a way that it still remains semi-legible? Such as:
    Kazushi: “I, I’m sorry… I’m our Class President now, so…”
    Panchu: “Prisidin, uh?
    So, yur de hed ode class then.”
    Kazushi: “Yes, thankfully.”
    Panchu: “Then ae ya pripaed?
    Kazushi: “P-Prepared for?”
    I didn’t like the way this sounded.
    Did prepare always sound this threatening?
    Panchu: “Ae ya pripaed ta resk yur life fede sake ef ya class?
    Kazushi: “Hii?!”

  16. This is an interesting problem.

    At the risk of sounding arrogant, I didn’t have too much trouble figuring out what Panchu was saying. In this case, Kazushi’s reactions were more than enough for me to fill in the blanks. Still, it did take me a moment each time, and I’m sure this would break the in-game flow since players would need to scroll back the message log to compare each line with its follow-up every time.

    The way I see it, Panchu is analogous to Kenny McCormick; the characters who understand him react accordingly, and the audience is left to decipher his words based on that. Personally, I haven’t ever seen Kenny’s lines subtitled, nor would I ever expect to. I think MangaGamer should continue translating Panchu’s lines exactly as they have been doing.

    Many manga translations use less-legible fonts wherever a character’s speech is slurred, so that’s something to consider. Granted, considering MangaGamer’s current poll, this may not be the most timely suggestion, but I still present it as food for thought.

    • You know, I hadn’t thought of that myself, but I’d say that’s actually a rather accurate analogy. I’ve even had a friend who at least claims to understand Kenny.

      And yeah, TDOMMX, that’s exactly the reaction I was going for. It’s not meant to be understood at a glance or a single read-through, but with help from the surrounding lines and context.

  17. So did anyone think of using the barely understandable translation in the game, and then including a completely understandable translations of his lines in the readme file or in a pdf etc.?

    This way, Overdrive can stay happy and people who look for a challenge can actually struggle deciphering the lines, while the people who don’t want to get troubled by it could just print out/open the file and read it from there when Panchu speaks.

  18. Hi Kouryuu,

    I understand your reasoning for garbling Pancho’s speech to the point of nigh indecipherability. However it is simply unreadable at this point. I tried to read it and found that even with context I was missing most of what was being said. The Japanese audience at least have the ability to hear and to some extent understand the voiced dialogue in addition to reading the text; an English audience does not.

    I doubt the majority of English readers have picked up any Japanese from reading translated manga or watching subtitled animation. I have been a fan of anime, manga and visual novels for some years; at best I know a handful of common words.

    If your serious about appealing to your consumer you need to find some middle ground between respecting the original work and adapting it to be read by an English audience. If you release the game with the current garbled speech you will just be inviting someone to release an unofficial patch replacing your text, which will in turn defeat the creative rationale behind it.

    Kind Regards,

    • Well, I have the lines drawn up in pdf (with original and “readable”) lined up together. I will probably release it after the game is released since fans have been insistent on the matter. I may wait a few days before posting it on the blog though, since I do want people to give it a try and the creators wanted it this way.

  19. I am wondering if the game is still on track to be released at the end of this month

  20. I support the suggestion given by VDZ above. It’s really messed up, but still possible to understand what he’s saying, with a little effort — and it sounds funny to boot.

  21. Woah i think what kouryuu just said a few post up really helps and solved the issue we can buy the game and play it and try to figure the stuff out and continue but if your the type that wants to know what it is just wait a few days till kouryuu will maybe post the original/readable version of what panchu says and line it up[as in open the readme] with the one ingame if you have trouble.Now we have no issue even if you gotta wait a few more days atleast you’ll get the game right :D?

  22. As others have said the lines you posted are unreadable.Even after reading the normally translated text l still have trouble deciphering the words.Japanese people have the advantage of understanding the voice,that’s not the case with the majority of western fans.

    I’d suggest using the word scramble as a base
    then manually editing the text by adding a sort of mafia accent and misspelling like vdz, to the point the dialogue doesn’t translate naturally in the reader’s mind.

    But no matter what it’s imperative that we can read the dialogue without too much trouble as that’s the only way to get the meaning at least for us who can’t comprehend Japanese.

  23. I dunno why so many people are having trouble. I could read them all pretty easily after looking at them for a bit. It helps if you try to kind of imagine them being read aloud (or read them aloud yourself if you’re not that good at imagining)

  24. Also, you guys have to remember, even if a line is easier to read if it were translated normally, you’d be missing something in the process. Part of the purpose of a translation, at least in my opinion, is to give off an experience as close as possible as to what a native reader of the original text would get. It’s not all about just a literal translation of the text.

  25. Amen to that, Echo. This is one of the reasons why I essentially gave up on fansubs for the majority of 2009 despite being an anime fan for over twelve years; too many bored teenagers with minimal understanding of the translation process decided to kill some free time by fansubbing anime. Rather than applaud groups that make the extra effort to create a proper localization (gg and SHiN-gx come to mind), weeaboos decry them as trolls for not adhering to their own misguided expectations of what an English release should look like (honorifics, last-first naming, verbatim Japanese expressions, etc.).

    Please excuse the tangent – I just felt like venting a little. Thankfully, quite a few people have the right idea (the description to is a good example). I’m hoping MangaGamer will follow suit, but I won’t be holding my breath.

  26. I thought this was a clever idea. I could read Panchu’s lines in the excerpt above – not quite as easily as Kazushi’s, but easily enough. And I like the idea of making something that’s hard to understand on its own, but easy to understand in context.

    The people who’re complaining surprise me. Perhaps it might be better to omit all the letters, and translate Panchu’s dialogue as “#@~&@~ #@$£#! &*@??” That way it’d be clearer that you’re meant to be able to figure out what he says from the surrounding text, and not the actual text itself. Either way, though, the style of transcription of Panchu’s dialogue won’t bother me.

    All sorts of media do this kind of thing. Order of the Stick had a while when one of the characters was affected by a curse such that her speech came out garbled via a substitution cipher. It’s possible to figure out what she’s saying in 90% of those speech bubbles, given enough effort, but it’s also not required if you’re just trying to follow the story. This seems the same.

  27. What about something you really gotta dissect, but not something completely destroyed? You said it was like a slur? How about something like this:

    Kazushi: “I, I’m sorry… I’m our Class President now, so…”
    Panchu: “presdenhuh?
    Soyurda hedofdaclassen?”
    Kazushi: “Yes, thankfully.”
    Panchu: “Thenaryu perpard?
    Kazushi: “P-Prepared for?”
    I didn’t like the way this sounded.
    Did prepare always sound this threatening?
    Panchu: “Aryuperpared tariskyurlife fordasake ‘o yurclass?
    Kazushi: “Hii?!”

  28. i think that his speech needs to be worked so that it will be readable and so that people with english as a second or third language can read and understand what is going on ingame

    here is a big question about edelweiss eiden fantasia
    when is this game going to come out and subbed since the last time that i have checked it said at the end of january!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    • They already said it might be the end of january but after awhile they decided during Q1=Quarter one of this year which is january-april so one of those month they’ll release it and the solution to panchu talk has already been decided: A pdf file with what panchu says thats understandable will be released several days after Eiden fantasia is out so you can skip/try to find out or wait till pdf is out. Anyhow Panchu only has 31-32 lines ingame.

      • Release Day for Eiden Fantasia has been shown March 20th is the day for it and if in the rarest occasion it “might be delayed” but if it does get delay atleast it would be around that date and we would know but lets just hope it doesnt xP.

  29. I can’t believe that nobody suggested using an alternate, hard to read font rather than dropping letters until deciphering the word is a matter of guesswork. Why nod make his letters squiggly and hard to read, but include the full word and correct grammar? That way we understand that he’s hard to understand, and yet those that actually take the time to try and read the word carefully will be able to understand what he said without guessing.

    Probably too late now, but it seems obvious, at least to me, that that would have been the best solution rather than cutting out entire chunks of his words and replacing them with apostrophes.

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