Let’s Bring a Storm to Let’s Play! Super Robot Wars Z3

Some joker‘s got a Z3 LP going on already. I have no idea how popular or well-referenced it is, but it’s pretty bad. Well, a ridiculous amount of the dialogue is skipped (to an even greater extent than my summaries of Z2), but on the flip side, the guy translates a few lines, and they’re atrocious. I don’t remember all the lines from this game, of course, but he’s been kind enough to attach the original Japanese to some (not all?) of the bits he translated.

As a guy who loves SRW, Z, and Z3 to bits, and a guy who has done some translation of it himself, I cannot let this stand. (In addition to being startlingly invested in all this, I’m also pretty bored.) But I’m assuming he posted the Japanese so someone could check his work, right?

Chapter 1: Hope From That Which Is Forbidden

Or, as it’s put, “The Hope Called Taboo.” Whatever. Technically accurate. I’m not going to call my translations official, or correct; this is strictly a difference of preference. To be clear, this isn’t wrong. I just thought I’d call it out since I did do something different.

In this chapter, the ACW and UCW combine into one, everything changes, and Hibiki Kamishiro meets his destiny. But let’s start from the beginning, where most of the actual translation is.

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1) Seriously? Kei, the smooth, laid-back ’80s hero, is going to curse like a high school punk? (The writing is generally this bad, but I’m not going to quibble on that. Yet.)

2) “alot”

3) “We went through a lot over there, but looking back on it, there are some good memories.” Don’t recontextualize this like that. That が is an important conjunction that refers to contrast: a lot of (bad, stressful, etc.) stuff happened to them, but those experiences have also borne nostalgia. No one in ZEUTH is the type to sugarcoat the fact that it was a war with lots of death and tragedy, even if they made friends they can remember fondly.

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Amuro says “let’s each do what we have to in our own world.” Kei’s response here is a complete guess translation. He says, “That’s right. First, let’s see our loved ones again.” This is a really basic part of Kei’s character (almost his first thought on getting to the ACW was that he wanted to see Mimsy and their unborn child again) as well as the unambiguous meaning of the words he says. I’m almost offended that this was screwed up so fundamentally.

Luckily, it gets worse.

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“Carved into stone?” Roger says almost the exact opposite, that their fate and futures are being toyed with. The suggestion is that they are under someone’s or something’s control (most likely the taiji) and that something will despoil and ruin them. The fate of the world at large is carved into stone, allegedly, but this is a completely separate issue from the Stigma and turns out not to be true anyway.

Actually, something is carved into something in the sentence; what it actually breaks down as is “because it [the Stigma] is carved into us, our fates are still in turmoil.” The fact that he’s missed that betrays a basic misunderstanding of, apart from Japanese grammar, the nature of the Stigma itself. Throughout Z and Z2, it’s spoken of in these words: we, or they, or those, who are engraved with the Stigma… Someone who’s played through them and really paid attention, enough to produce a translation, should recognize that turn of phrase.

Camille’s comment is, once again, a complete guess. What the line actually says is “If Ime is to be believed, being marked by it [the Stigma] is why we were thrown into the other world” (take note: once again, “that the Stigma is carved into us”). Ime Liard may have been too much of a villain, but there’s no need to attribute things to him that didn’t actually happen. This is a recap of the major metaplot revelations of Z2: Restoration. Didn’t you translate that, “YJ”?

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And why does Shinn keep unnecessarily cursing in this thing? Better him than Kei, I guess, but… come on, what gives?

Anyway, the translation skips over the school time introduction and gets straight to Hibiki meeting his new robot:

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He does know the robot’s name, but also “how to control it, how to fight with it!” What he’s talking about is what he needs to do right now to use the Genion. 方 kata means “how to do something,” not knowing any facts.

Also, translating “koitsu” as a reference to an object as if it were referring to a person? Please.

From here on out it’s mostly gloss-overs and gameplay commentary (though I swear there’s another school segment at the end), but the chapter doesn’t end without YJ assing up possibly the most important thing in Z3 to get completely accurate: foreshadowing.

From the translation, I get the impression that YJ is either playing this game blind, or didn’t read it the first time. I’d guess the latter, because like I said, there are also signs that he has only the vaguest idea of what happened in Z2.

Personally, I wouldn’t dream of putting out anything and calling it a translation of Z3 without playing it all the way through at least once to see all the plot beats and understand exactly what all the cryptic babble means.

Anyway, let’s meet Annalotta…

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“As I was chasing that Daemon that started automatically, I seem to have seen something quite interesting.”

No one cares that Daemons start automatically. The main OG robot is not a Daemon. A Daemon is clearly labelled as the enemies you fight in this chapter. This “translation” creates a red herring that is not supposed to be there and completely misrepresents the (actually interesting) mystery surrounding the main character. Strike one.

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この星, as anyone with a basic grasp of Japanese who has read any Japanese space sci-fi at all (for instance, hit game Super Robot Wars Z2: Either Of Them) should know, means “this planet.” Not Zodiac. There is nothing in Z called a “zodiac” apart from the actual zodiac, and 星 decidedly does not mean anything close to that. Someone who played Z and Z2 should know that if she were referring to what this mistranslation suggests she’s referring to, she’d say “Sphere-bearer” or “Sphere Reactor,” or maybe something immediately identifiable as cryptic jargon like “bearer of a Fragment.” Not a word that just means “celestial body.”

In short, YJ has created a concept that doesn’t exist, and in exchange, failed to translate the actual hint here, which is that she’s clearly an alien. Good job.

Oh, and the second line is “‘threat’ doesn’t describe it,” but that doesn’t matter because it’s already fudged that it’s referring to the world’s military might instead of one anime high-schooler’s new magical robot. To be generous, this is strike two.

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“Enjoy your peace as much as you can, sheep. All that awaits you afterwards is…”

Once again, missing that this isn’t about your anime hero, it’s about the world and the people in it. She knows what their fate is, but we don’t, and this says something about our villains, their priorities, and the nature of their plan. As we’ll find out, that plan actually doesn’t give a shit about Hibiki or his machine. (“Pet” in this case means “domesticated;” I’m still thinking of a better way to put that analogy in English.)

If nothing else, though – if not the words in the first line, if not the pregnant trail-off and its unambiguous grammatical particles – it should be obvious that she’s not just referring to our hero in the second part because she says 貴様達. Not “you,” but “you” plural – you all, you people, you spineless sheep. (Ooh, “sheep.” Retroactively using that one.) Strike three.

Edit: For the sake of completeness. I’ve just replayed the chapter myself, and there’s an entire line missing here that not only foreshadows the plot, but the story’s theme: “All that awaits you… is a choice between two dooms.”

Look. YJ, if that is your real name. I’m not saying you’re playing Super Robot Wars wrong. I’m not saying you’re hopeless at Japanese, or that you’re wrong for trying to learn. I was here too. I used to be stupid. I’m still pretty goddamn stupid. But I still don’t think it’s a good idea for you to publish this and call it an actual translation you want someone to think is an accurate representation of this piece of fiction. Because if this is how it’s going to be once you get to the real heavy stuff like Imitations and Chrono and the Time Prison (I won’t reveal what it is, but it’s real, and it’s why we all messed up royally right out the gate by calling the game “Z3: Hell”), however many people read your stuff are going to have some serious issues understanding the game. Neither of us wants this to happen.

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One Response to Let’s Bring a Storm to Let’s Play! Super Robot Wars Z3

  1. TopHatMcGree says:

    I’m all for this actually and btw, your z2.1 guide was simply amazing. I stumbled on it while looking for guides. Waaay better than the ones I seen. I was playing for gameplay + sr pts alone but you having the quotes and the summaries each chapter changed that real quickly. I loved being able to get into the cross characters interactions like I was able to in past srw translations. (Crowe calling Char Lt. Shades made me chuckle in rl) The real thing is I looked into your archive and was instantly deeply saddened to find you didnt do one for z2.2. The way you write a guide is the next best thing to a translation. So im wondering, if you have time of course, will you do a z2.2 guide? I just dont think I could even get into that much even when playing as black getter without your guide.

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