Final Fantasy VII's Use of 'Dandy' In Japanese Is Surprisingly Complex

Let's Mosey: A Slow Translation Of Final Fantasy VIILet's Mosey: A Slow Translation Of Final Fantasy VIIPart Japanese grammar lesson and part meditation on the impossibility of a "perfect" translation, Let's Mosey presents a "slow translation" of Final Fantasy VII.

I’ve been playing through Final Fantasy VII in both English and Japanese at the same time. I’ve been making videos documenting all the tiny little nuances I’ve been finding. Wow! This is the seventh video of that series!

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Our cast of characters is following sparse clues as they chase Sephiroth around the world. Today, they’re going to hang out in a beach resort and then climb a mountain. Along the way, we’ll meet this guy:

Illustration for article titled iFinal Fantasy VII/is Use of Dandy In Japanese Is Surprisingly Complexem/em
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This is one of my favorite text boxes in probably any video game ever. I sure am excited for you all to find out what he’s saying in Japanese.

We’ll also talk to Shinra’s science guy, Hojo, who has his share of admirers:

Illustration for article titled iFinal Fantasy VII/is Use of Dandy In Japanese Is Surprisingly Complexem/em

This box is a tiny bit different in Japanese, in that somehow, somewhere, the girl wedges in the word “Dandy.”

I am also excited to keep making these videos. I love making these videos, and hopefully you, at the very least, extremely enjoy watching them. You can find a whole playlist of them on our YouTube channel right here.

I make videos for Kotaku. I make video games for myself and my friends. I like writing fiction. Someday I will publish a novel. Who knows!

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DISCUSSION

I think the English translation does a big disservice to Red XIII. It completely misses all the foreshadowing. Right now there is an English re-translation project going on, and the translators had the same problem. There realized there is a big nuance to his dialogue. Basically, how do you translate from Japanese a child trying to sound (somewhat convincingly) like an adult. Try and picture how a 15-year-old trying to pass himself off like an adult would sound. It’s quite hard, which is why I find translating subtext so interesting.

I can’t remember what his voice was in Advent Children (he had like 1 line), but I’m assuming it’s probably deep and sounds “adult” to human ears.