Translation Woes

I'm excited for the official launch of the game, but even before this weekend's beta, I figured the translations would be different compared to the Japanese version, but after playing, I think there are going to be some serious issues if the game releases with the translation as it is.

This game has been around for 8 years in Japan, and even though it's only been in Japanese, there are plenty of English speaking players who can either read Japanese, or used the fan translation. This is an MMO, and that means there's a lot of information to take in. Anyone who wants to look up that information can easily find it online in the form of both written, and video guides.

That said, I will once again point out that this game has been around for 8 years, and so that's 8 years of guides that already exist for the game. That's nice and all, but every English guide for this game is going to be based off either the fan translation, or the writer's own interpretation of what the Japanese says.

This is going to cause some confusion no matter what you try to do about it. If I looked right now to see what kind of Mag I should have for the Braver class, you'll see a lot of people saying that an S-ATK Mag is the best mag for Bravers. What is S-ATK though? Well, that would be MEL Pwr, but how am I supposed to know that?

For the record, even the fandom wiki refers to stats as S-ATK, R-ATK, etc...

I won't get into the names of some of the Photon Arts, but those are so drastically different that you're better off looking for the icon and going off that.


Now let's talk about the translation itself. It's kind of not great in some areas. It's not terrible, and I'm happy to see the game has a translation at all, but it could do with some consistency checks.

For example, in the Braver skill tree there is a passive skill called "Average Stance". Branching off of Average Stance, there are skills that augment the power of Average Stance, however these skills refer to Average Stance as "Basic Stance". See Image: https://i.imgur.com/ENGjOof.jpg

I'm not sure why they decided to go with "power" for the attack stats, but it seems that in some cases, even though in the menu Melee Attack Power is referred to as "MEL Pwr", it is sometimes called "MEL Atk" as well. I'm not really sure why the stats even needed to be changed. Is S-ATK, R-ATK, T-ATK, etc. not easy enough to understand?

One of my biggest gripes about the translation is that there are a lot of cases where even in Japanese, there are english words written in Katakana. Meaning, that there should be very little actual "translation" needed once romanized out of Katakana. However in a lot of places these words were completely changed instead.

A quick example here is once again "Average Stance" in the braver skill tree. In Japanese, this is アベレージスタンス, which roughly romanizes to "abereji sutansu", so it's literally just Average Stance. While that's what they call the main skill, they somehow change it to basic stance for the rest of the tree, even though it's still called Average Stance in Japanese. I can't think of any reason why they would do this unless it was intentional. But why?


I expect a good number of the veteran players from the Japanese version will continue to play the Japanese version, but I don't expect any of the ones who move to the NA version to call the stats and abilities anything but what they're used to.

The translation is good enough I guess, but at the very least it needs to be looked over thoroughly to ensure consistency throughout. If things are referred to by multiple names, even within the game itself, it's just going to lead to even more confusion that you've already got going.

Great catch with the Average/Basic Stance, I highly recommend you submit that as a bug here so it can be looked at faster: https://pso2.com/support#contact-us

It's also strange how "Just Attack" was changed to "Perfect Attack" in the official translation but JA is kept in the skill names. I imagine changing them to "PA" like "Combat PA Bonus" would only cause more confusion but keeping as JA still seems a bit odd.

Yes, I need to spam guren FLASH OF THE LOTUS for my braver memes.

@Mokari said in Translation Woes:

It's also strange how "Just Attack" was changed to "Perfect Attack" in the official translation but JA is kept in the skill names. I imagine changing them to "PA" like "Combat PA Bonus" would only cause more confusion but keeping as JA still seems a bit odd.

It was even called Just Attack in PSU so I would prefer they stay consistent across the series.

I find consistency wasn't a thing, and that they probably got people that had no clue what the series had previously to apply here...:/

@Home-Dog and @Mokari , actually although PSU used "Just Attack", the trend of localizing "Just Attack" began with Phantasy Star Portable 2. PS Portable 2.jpg

The SEA version which was partly based on Sega of America's script for the original 2013 release also had "Perfect Strike" as well. This is more of an argument regarding "Accuracy vs Consistency vs How the term sounds to native speakers" similar to other arguments involving how the iconic "Sato" mag from PSO1 is localized differently or the Techter situation.

For those unfamiliar / curious here is the thing involving the Sato mag, here's its Japanese and Romaji spelling:

シャト (Shato)

The mag name supposedly follows Phantasy Star's tradition of using European languages for certain names (some of the Technique names are based on German words), in this case the name "Shato" is a Japanese interpretation of the French spelling for the word "Cat" which is just "Chat". When PSO1 was being localized the localizers maybe missed this and changed the mag name to "Sato".

Now come PSU (which btw, comes with its own fair share of localization errors "Gigobooma = Jigo Booma", "Rika's Claw = Falclaw", etc) which localized the name as just its Romaji spelling; "Shato". Then Phantasy Star 0 comes along and appears to have come to a compromise... "Chato" and now we got PSO2 NA's localization... "Chat", the original word.

Which one is better / more accurate / better handled is up to debate (and I would love to see some people's opinions on this 😳 But going back to the original issue concerning "Perfect Attacks", I haven't looked too much into the Romaji spelling but what I can say is that it appears its presence in Phantasy Star Portable 2 AND Phantasy Star Online 2's initial 2013 translation seems to imply that it would have been what future titles would have used starting from Portable 2... thats my take on it at least.

@CFR said in Translation Woes:

One of my biggest gripes about the translation is that there are a lot of cases where even in Japanese, there are english words written in Katakana. Meaning, that there should be very little actual "translation" needed once romanized out of Katakana. However in a lot of places these words were completely changed instead.

A quick example here is once again "Average Stance" in the braver skill tree. In Japanese, this is アベレージスタンス, which roughly romanizes to "abereji sutansu", so it's literally just Average Stance. While that's what they call the main skill, they somehow change it to basic stance for the rest of the tree, even though it's still called Average Stance in Japanese. I can't think of any reason why they would do this unless it was intentional. But why?

Just wanted to give my input on this particular bit, and I say this as a Japanese speaker who has lived in Japan for many years.

Just because something is named in katakana and is an "English word" does not necessarily mean it is automatically the optimal translation for a western audience. There are literally hundreds of examples in countless games where Japanese developers name things with "cool" English words to give it style or make it stand out, but in the fully English-read context, just comes off awkward or as nonsense.

It doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with changing Average Stance to Basic Stance, because honestly to me that just feels like an arbitrary modification, but something being katakana or being a typical English word does not always mean it's the best translation choice.

@Home-Dog said in Translation Woes:

It was even called Just Attack in PSU so I would prefer they stay consistent across the series.

But does name "Just Attack" does even make any sense? I'm not sure how it's in final translation, but I would much prefer to have meaningful names than consistency with series.

@Chiryuu2609 said in Translation Woes:

@Home-Dog said in Translation Woes:

It was even called Just Attack in PSU so I would prefer they stay consistent across the series.

But does name "Just Attack" does even make any sense? I'm not sure how it's in final translation, but I would much prefer to have meaningful names than consistency with series.

At the time of making that comment I think it was more I just wasn't used to calling it "Perfect Attack". But I do agree with you, meaningful names are better. Let's just hope they don't change it back to Just Attack in the next Phantasy Star game.