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Improved SF1 Retranslation (IPS patch available!)

Last update: 9/21/2014, patch version 2.1

Discussion about the original classic Genesis/Mega Drive game. Posts about the GBA remake belong in the forum below.

Improved SF1 Retranslation (IPS patch available!)

Postby taleden » Mon Sep 01 2014 6:36am

This thread will serve as the home for my Shining Force (LoGI) Improved Retranslation project.

For Newcomers
The official US/English translation of Shining Force was poorly done, and inexplicably left out a lot of important context, background and character development that had been present in the original Japanese script for the game. (The GBA remake, Resurrection of the Dark Dragon, featured a much more accurate translation, but also inexplicably added many characters and story elements that... didn't quite fit the tone of the original.)

Two fans from SFC, Mew seeker and Siel, generously spent the time retranslating the entirety of SF1:LoGI from the original Japanese. Their work can be found on these forums, in the Shining Force translation topic. However, because they were intent on delivering an exact-as-possible translation, the resulting English text is a little rough around the edges in some places, and was never edited and reformatted to actually fit into the dialogue boxes in the game itself. Their retranslation was also only published as plain text in forum posts, so you can't experience it for yourself in the context of the game.

My goal here is to solve both of those problems. I am editing, tweaking and smoothing out their retranslated script, and packaging the result into an IPS patch which you can apply to your own copy of the Shining Force US/English ROM file (in BIN format). After applying that patch, you can play the game as its writers would (presumably) have wanted -- with their storyline intact.

Lunar IPS Homepage
This is the utility you will need in order to apply my script patch to your own Shining Force ROM file:
http://fusoya.eludevisibility.org/lips/

Update 9/21/2014: ~25% Complete
IPS Patch (v2.1):
Shining Force (Retranslation) v2.1.zip

I have completed all of Chapters 1 and 2, including the main introduction, main menu, headquarters dialogue, and Nova's battle advice. Besides the overall script changes, "Luke" is now "Lug", "Kane/Cain" is now "Kain", "Marionette" is now "Michi Doll" (because "Mishaela Doll" is too long), and the "Orb of Light" is now the "Shining Orb". The patch also expands the ROM file (in BIN format!) from 1.5MB to 2.5MB to accommodate the new script.

Previous Updates
WARNING: SPOILER!


If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please post them here! I intend to complete this project no matter what (all eight chapters and the epilogue), but any feedback I can get along the way can only make it better.

(Also, this forum doesn't let me post again while I still have the last post, so I can't post updates unless other folks chime in and post as well.)
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Last edited by taleden on Mon Sep 22 2014 3:45am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Lobo » Mon Sep 01 2014 1:55pm

That's great news! :thumbsup:

I've used the translation topic translate the game to portuguese.
I know it's hard work. But it's a must-do! :excited:

I'll try to help you a bit whenever I have the time. :thumbsup:
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Omega Entity » Mon Sep 01 2014 3:28pm

Technically, the cryogenics still exist.
(8:23:45 PM) ehow1990: stupid question: why do you have hay there?
(8:23:54 PM) YsFanatic18: She was feedigng horses
(8:23:58 PM) MXC0Spike: Barn sex
(8:24:07 PM) ahath714: She stuffs.
(8:24:39 PM) ehow1990: ask a stupid question and everybody has an answer XD
(8:23:45 PM) ehow1990: stupid question: why do you have hay there?
(8:23:54 PM) YsFanatic18: She was feedigng horses
(8:23:58 PM) MXC0Spike: Barn sex
(8:24:07 PM) ahath714: She stuffs.
(8:24:39 PM) ehow1990: ask a stupid question and everybody has an answer XD
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby taleden » Mon Sep 01 2014 5:20pm

Omega Entity wrote:Technically, the cryogenics still exist.

Where do you find this? As far as I can tell, the words "cryo" and "frozen" don't appear anywhere in the translation topic, and when I read through it I don't remember seeing anything that specific.

There does seem to be some strong implication that
WARNING: SPOILER!
are somehow related to the ancients, but whether they're literally from the past or merely descendants or reincarnations or something else doesn't seem to be explicitly specified. It seemed to me there could be a number of interpretations of that backstory.
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Lobo » Mon Sep 01 2014 8:16pm

I agree with no cryogenics.
To my understanding they are just descendants of a lineage meant to fight the devils.

Have to check out the texts again.
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Omega Entity » Tue Sep 02 2014 3:07am

The capsules in the battle with Chaos are the cryogenic chambers. The image of Lowe carrying Max to the village has Max wearing what looks suspiciously like the underarmor of his promo armor, which in itself is unique in that it has a futuristic feel compared to that of everyone else in the party, and looks very much like Kane's.

What we know from the manga (which is supposedly canon) is that Dark Dragon is a biological weapon, a creation of the ancients. The guy working on the translation of that hasn't gotten to any mention yet to clarify what Darsol is (Ancient, controller for Dark Dragon, etc.).

I have a more thorough argument somewhere, but my brain is deciding to be a butt.
(8:23:45 PM) ehow1990: stupid question: why do you have hay there?
(8:23:54 PM) YsFanatic18: She was feedigng horses
(8:23:58 PM) MXC0Spike: Barn sex
(8:24:07 PM) ahath714: She stuffs.
(8:24:39 PM) ehow1990: ask a stupid question and everybody has an answer XD
(8:23:45 PM) ehow1990: stupid question: why do you have hay there?
(8:23:54 PM) YsFanatic18: She was feedigng horses
(8:23:58 PM) MXC0Spike: Barn sex
(8:24:07 PM) ahath714: She stuffs.
(8:24:39 PM) ehow1990: ask a stupid question and everybody has an answer XD
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby taleden » Tue Sep 02 2014 3:27am

I guess I'm just not convinced that those are really cryo tubes in the Chaos battle. I know that's what RotDD called them, and the artwork in RotDD also embellished them in that direction, but I think that's an unjustified departure from the original intent, so I'm not inclined to accept it as canon.

As far as I can tell there is nothing in the original japanese script which supports that interpretation, and the artwork in LoGI also doesn't really make them look much like cryo tubes. I just pulled it up in SF1Edit to be sure, and it's true that there are rectangular bits of geometry in those positions in the original battlefield, but even allowing for the limitations of 16bit graphics it really doesn't look to me like that original artists were trying to convey "cryo tubes" with that artwork. Some kind of unspecified ancient technology, sure -- there are dials and meters and such around the edges -- but its function could be anything.

As for the imagery of Lowe rescuing Max and the futuristic armor, there are plenty of other ways to explain that besides cryogenic freezing. Some kind of time travel is one easy option, which I actually find less objectionable in the Shining universe than cryogenics (for reasons related to my made-up lore about the Egress spell), although I'm sure others may disagree. Another possibility is that Max and Kain were raised in some enclave somewhere that has kept the old knowledge alive (for exactly this purpose, preserving the bloodline of the ancients and training the warriors who would have to face DD again), and when it was clear that Dark Dragon would be returning during their lifetimes, they were given that old tech armor that had been stored away for 1000 years. I'm sure other folks can think of other possibilities.

Anyway, I don't want to derail this thread too much on our various interpretations of the lore, I was just curious what had led you to that conclusion.
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Omega Entity » Tue Sep 02 2014 4:42am

Honestly, it's been rehashed so many times that I don't remember which thread has the info. I can tell you, however, that the Character Profile Translation thread has some interesting info in it.
(8:23:45 PM) ehow1990: stupid question: why do you have hay there?
(8:23:54 PM) YsFanatic18: She was feedigng horses
(8:23:58 PM) MXC0Spike: Barn sex
(8:24:07 PM) ahath714: She stuffs.
(8:24:39 PM) ehow1990: ask a stupid question and everybody has an answer XD
(8:23:45 PM) ehow1990: stupid question: why do you have hay there?
(8:23:54 PM) YsFanatic18: She was feedigng horses
(8:23:58 PM) MXC0Spike: Barn sex
(8:24:07 PM) ahath714: She stuffs.
(8:24:39 PM) ehow1990: ask a stupid question and everybody has an answer XD
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby taleden » Tue Sep 02 2014 5:34am

I'd be curious to know where that's sourced, then. The only place I've seen it myself is in RotDD, and although that seems to be considered a more accurate translation from the original japanese compared to LoGI (and in 95% of cases I think it is), there is definitely some stuff in there that is *not* anywhere in the original japanese.

So for my purposes, I don't care about those bits, although I'm still curious how much of it is corroborated by other sources and how much was just made up for RotDD and never used anywhere else.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, my goal here is to clean up Mew seeker and Seil's translations and turn them into a better english telling of the story from the japanese edition of LoGI. To that end, if anyone has comments or suggestions on the work I've done so far, please chime in!
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Siel » Wed Sep 03 2014 12:21am

This clean-up seems more a complete rewrite, as it adds a lot of extraneous stuff and strays quite a bit. Also, the dialogue has everyone sound rather brusque.

All the nitpicks and some clarifications:

WARNING: SPOILER!
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby taleden » Wed Sep 03 2014 1:22am

Siel wrote:This clean-up seems more a complete rewrite, as it adds a lot of extraneous stuff and strays quite a bit. Also, the dialogue has everyone sound rather brusque.


Well, let me clarify my intent: my priority is not necessarily to always capture exactly 100% of the style and word choice that you'd get from reading the japanese. You and Mew seeker have already given us that kind of very literal translation, and it is invaluable for understanding the intent of the original story, it's just that it doesn't flow as well when dropped directly into the game.

But that said, it is certainly not my intent to completely rewrite or add a lot of extraneous stuff or stray quite a bit. I *am* trying to stay true to the original storyline as much as possible, although I'm not above taking a bit of artistic license with the phrasing and tone, as long as the facts match the original.

Think of it like an oral tradition -- if you've ever heard a friend tell you a story, and then tell someone else the same story, I'm sure the wording and details were slightly different, even though the essence of the story was the same. That's what I'm trying to do here -- make it sound as good as I can, while retaining the essence of the original.

So, that said, let me respond to your comments:

WARNING: SPOILER!


Thanks for all the great feedback! I have an update to this batch that I'll hopefully post in a few days, which will also include the changes mentioned here.
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Siel » Wed Sep 03 2014 4:14am

I see. I was just initially expecting less drastic changes after seeing the terms "retranslation" and "cleaned up".

A lot of my comments weren't really for demanding change, but just me noting certain things, since a bit of freedom indeed seemed to be intended. Responses to responses:

WARNING: SPOILER!
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby taleden » Wed Sep 03 2014 5:58am

Siel wrote:I see. I was just initially expecting less drastic changes after seeing the terms "retranslation" and "cleaned up".

I guess I could call it an "adaptation" or somesuch. But like you say, it depends how much of a hopeless purist you are. ;)

So I guess this is as good a time as any to put the question to the forums -- would folks rather see the kind of adaptation I've started here, which (hopefully) tells the same story but may depart slightly on small details for the sake of style/flow/storytelling? Or would you fine folks rather see a much more literal cleanup which preserves as much of the translators' phrasing and word choice as possible, at the cost of sometimes sounding a bit more stilted in the context of a game narrative?

My inclination is clearly to the former, and after some revisions I'm hoping I can demonstrate the potential of that approach. But if the community is decidedly against my philosphy, that would be good to know now, before going through the other seven chapters doing something nobody wants.

And now, responses to responses to responses! ;)

WARNING: SPOILER!


EDIT: I posted an updated version of chapter 1 a few days ago, but I'm not allowed to post the details of what changed until somebody else posts.
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Dr. Doom » Tue Sep 09 2014 1:20am

Never fizzled out, just no interest from people. Also, issues from mods here left me with the decision to leave. What i did was clean up the text and did my best to keep it true to the original japanese text while making it proper english.
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby taleden » Tue Sep 09 2014 5:12am

Dr. Doom wrote:Never fizzled out, just no interest from people. Also, issues from mods here left me with the decision to leave. What i did was clean up the text and did my best to keep it true to the original japanese text while making it proper english.


Ah. Yeah, not seeing a flood of interest here either, although there's so little traffic it's hard to tell. But it sounds like our philosophies were slightly different anyway; I'm somewhat less concerned with absolute literal adherence to the japanese, and more interested in telling the story as naturally and fluidly in english as possible, while still honoring the original intent. So, I dunno. If people show up here and seem interested, great; if not, maybe I'll just see it through anyway and release a patch.

So, that said:

Update 9/4/2014:
Intro (v2): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... P-Q1A_5x9U
Chapter 1 (v2): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... pzSpvv9T34

This update is primarily brought to you by rubixcuber's super awesome very cool SF1Edit, whose extensive capabilities will make this whole project much easier for me. Specifically:
  • I now have the exact pixel widths of each character in the dialogue font, so I can calculate exactly how much text will fit on each line of dialogue, and in each three-line window.
  • I've just finished going back through the entirety of the intro and chapter 1, reformatting everything to fit and flow nicely in-game. This also includes the codes to wait for a button press after each set of 3 lines, and some delay codes to add brief pauses and hesitations at opportune times in many lines of dialogue.
  • I have set up a system to easily dump my modified script into a file that SF1Edit can import, so I've been able to play-test all of my changes and make sure they look and feel right in-game. Hopefully this also means I won't need the help of a ROM hacker after all, since I can patch the script myself with SF1Edit and generate a patch from my modified ROM file.
  • While updating all of my new dialogue with the proper lengths and formatting codes, I also took the opportunity to just do some general editing. A number of lines sound better (to me anyway), and many more have been adjusted to more closely match the original translation from japanese.
  • A number of other changes were made as a result of Siel's great feedback from earlier in this thread.

Also note that I'm using a set of unused characters (not found in the game font) to represent the various special dialogue codes, because I find them easier to work with. So if you see odd punctuation in those spreadsheets, here's what's what:
  • "@" [Hero] The name of the hero character
  • "~" [Delay1] A short pause or delay, which can also be skipped by pressing/holding a button
  • "|" [Delay2] A longer delay, which cannot be skipped
  • "^" [Wait2] Show the "continue arrow" in the lower-right corner of the box, and wait for the player to press a button before continuing
  • "<" [Num] Placeholder for a number, i.e. damage dealt, XP gained, etc
  • ">" [Name] Placeholder for a character's name besides the hero, i.e. someone joining the force
  • "{" [Item] Placeholder for an item name, i.e. when received or used
  • "}" [Spell] Placeholder for a spell name, i.e. when learned or cast
  • "\" [Class] Placeholder for a class abbreviation, i.e. when someone is promoted
  • "=" [Dict] No idea what this technically does, but it appears in the line where the King of Guardiana dies; maybe it's what makes his eyes close?

As always, please post any comments or suggestions. The google docs should also be open to comments from anyone who has the link, so feel free to add notes there if that's easier.
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Dr. Doom » Tue Sep 09 2014 6:29am

I got much of my translation done but ended up using some heavy paid-for language translation apps to help myself because no one was around to help when i did it, which is why it took so long.

Either way good luck on your version
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby taleden » Wed Sep 17 2014 12:02am

Update 9/16/2014:
IPS Patch (v1.3):
Shining Force (Retranslation) v1.3.zip

This IPS patch can be applied to the official US/English version of the Shining Force ROM (in BIN format). It expands the ROM from 1.5mb to 2.5mb to accommodate the uncompressed modified script, changes Luke's name to Luug (Lug in the next update) to more closely match the intended pronunciation, and of course modifies the game script and dialogue.

From here on, updates will be numbered according to the last complete chapter that they cover, and the latest revision of that chapter. This being the third published revision of chapter 1, the current version is 1.3. The introduction, main menu, Nova's battle advice and force members' HQ lines are also included.

As always, feedback is welcome. If anyone would prefer to see the latest updates in the multi-column spreadsheet format, let me know and I'll put up new google drive documents.

And if nothing else, if you'd like to see this project continue, at least post once for filler so that I'm allowed to post again when the next update is ready.
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Omega Entity » Wed Sep 17 2014 2:02am

Should only be one 'u' in Lug. Unless that's just a typo in the post.
(8:23:45 PM) ehow1990: stupid question: why do you have hay there?
(8:23:54 PM) YsFanatic18: She was feedigng horses
(8:23:58 PM) MXC0Spike: Barn sex
(8:24:07 PM) ahath714: She stuffs.
(8:24:39 PM) ehow1990: ask a stupid question and everybody has an answer XD
(8:23:45 PM) ehow1990: stupid question: why do you have hay there?
(8:23:54 PM) YsFanatic18: She was feedigng horses
(8:23:58 PM) MXC0Spike: Barn sex
(8:24:07 PM) ahath714: She stuffs.
(8:24:39 PM) ehow1990: ask a stupid question and everybody has an answer XD
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby taleden » Wed Sep 17 2014 2:52am

Omega Entity wrote:Should only be one 'u' in Lug. Unless that's just a typo in the post.

Do you think it's intended to be pronounced "lug" as in "lug nut", rhyming with "slug"? Because that's what I think when I see "Lug", even though that is the spelling in SF:CD.

But, as I recall, the voiceover in the SF:CD intro pronounces it like "loog", rhyming with "loon". That is, I thought "Luke" was wrong not because of the vowel (long "oo" vs. short "uh"), but because of the final consonant (unvoiced stop "k" should have been a voiced stop "g").

So with that in mind, I figured Luug would indicate the correct pronunciation better than "Lug." But if I'm wrong about that pronunciation, I'm happy to be corrected.
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Re: Improved SF1 Retranslation

Postby Omega Entity » Wed Sep 17 2014 4:12am

Considering the katakana of his name is ラグ (Lagu/Ragu) and not ルグ (Lugu/Rugu), Lug is more appropriate, pronunciation-wise.
(8:23:45 PM) ehow1990: stupid question: why do you have hay there?
(8:23:54 PM) YsFanatic18: She was feedigng horses
(8:23:58 PM) MXC0Spike: Barn sex
(8:24:07 PM) ahath714: She stuffs.
(8:24:39 PM) ehow1990: ask a stupid question and everybody has an answer XD
(8:23:45 PM) ehow1990: stupid question: why do you have hay there?
(8:23:54 PM) YsFanatic18: She was feedigng horses
(8:23:58 PM) MXC0Spike: Barn sex
(8:24:07 PM) ahath714: She stuffs.
(8:24:39 PM) ehow1990: ask a stupid question and everybody has an answer XD
Omega Entity

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