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1bitHeart Translation Notes

Wao! This game is more than just one bit Nippon!

(Contains spoilers for the whole game, including all Friend Events in Free Time and the bonus chapter. Be wary of the Other Characters section if you've played through the plot but haven't befriended everyone.)

——

= GENERAL

I was a little unsure at first whether to go with "BitPhone" or "BitPhones," as while they're worn like headphones, they seem like the device which cellphones would evolve into in the future. Ultimately the former seemed more right and less confusing. And many of the designs don't really resemble headphones at all due to the lack of a connection between the "earbuds."

The Master Program was originally just the "Control Program," but that seemed like a pretty lame name that didn't adequately express how much it manages (read: just about everything). I mean, not that Master Program is the most creative name in the world either, but.

Mutter was ポツリ (or POTURI on the menu), which means, well, "mutter" - it's usually a qualifier for how you say something (ぽつりと言う, "say under your breath"). The name similarity to Twitter was a nice coincidence, and I probably would have wrangled out a Twitter parody name had it not just fallen into my lap like that. Nanashi's use of "tweet" while explaining it is mostly a joke on how it's basically Twitter (I mean, he did use つぶやく, and also says "TL"), but I also think it's a fun idea that by the year 2222, the word "tweet" has permanently acquired the meaning "post a brief message to an online service."

The varying typing styles and emoticon usage on Mutter are basically all me, because I love that stuff. (Also note that BitPhone is always properly capitalized regardless of typing style, similar to how "iPhone" will auto-correct on an iPhone.) There is precedent to making it different from just normal talking - messages on Mutter use less punctuation, and there are differences like that if you compare Mikado's messages about the virus in Chapter 1 to what Nanashi reads out loud during the cutscene. As a side-note, due to Japanese being able to fit more stuff in the character limit, Japanese tweets are capable of being more "formal" and detailed than English ones.

Umai?bo is a reference to the snack Umaibo, originally "Umainokabo" ("umai no ka" being a question, "is it tasty?", as opposed to simply "Tasty Stick"). Ao Haru Road is a reference to Ao Haru Ride. SEVEN PEACE is a reference to One Piece, arguably with some Dragonball. BEAUTY IS PORK is a reference to BUMP OF CHICKEN - the all caps English name, the two-letter middle word, the animal food. (And B-Pork is not meant to be a Bjork reference - it was "Bippo" in Japanese). Tummy Tummy Ache ("Pomu Pomu Pain," which refers to stomach aches) is an allusion to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Wolpis is based on Calpis... I guess it's wolf piss now I MEAN.


= STORY

"I can't promise I'll remember [to call you Misane-chan] all the time" is just a small addition I made as an out for dropping the -chan when it feels unnecessary or whatever, since I drop honorifics most everywhere else. Of course, this later meant I could make reference to that when Mikado apologizes for having to call Misane "-san" instead all this time.

Natsukage's nickname is "Shachi," orca. However, there are several variations. Yukinaga actually technically called him "Shacchii" (which fits with "orecchi" and "Nasshi"), but there was no good way to make that distinct in English, especially as he's the first one to tell you the nickname. Miumi calls him "Shaakun" (Orkun). And the wrong nicknames the fake Yukinaga used were "Micchii" (Orcho) and "Nacchii" (Orko).

At the end of Chapter 1, the thing Misane finds unusual about Nanashi is actually that he uses "ore" to refer to himself, which certainly would seem unfitting for a nerdy recluse like him, but he says he picked it up from his friends. Translating this semi-directly seems like it could work, until you realize... Never in the English text is it mentioned (nor really can it be) that he uses "ore"; you'd have to have noticed it during his voiced introduction. Thus, no matter how much subtle explanation I provided, it would be super out of place for anyone who doesn't already know a thing or two about Japanese personal pronouns. Anyway, what this scene is really about is the fact that Mikado uses "boku," so...

CocoAlley is spelled ココアリー in Japanese, making it indeed a portmanteau since the ア isn't repeated. (The "a" in "cocoa" is not silent in Japanese - it's ココア.) While the music for it is listed in the data as "COCOA ALLEY," and I was originally going to go with that for clarity (so people weren't going "what's a co-coal-y?"), the town's "logo" reads "Cocoalley." So CocoAlley was my compromise.

Miumi said that after Akitaka bumped into Natsukage, the latter became 激おこなプリン (geki-oko na purin). Which literally means "extremely pissed pudding," but it's a messed up version of 激おこぷんぷん丸 (geki-oko punpunmaru), a weird bit of slang for extreme anger. Nanashi also remarks that it's a very outdated phrase. This became, of course, "tofu tofurious." ...It's pretty tricky to get all that in there, okay?

Before Kotora is named, he's referred to as simply "ojisan." With no non-awkward word to use ("Middle-Aged Guy"), I just replaced all of that with calling him "the cafe owner."

Larikkuma's name is a reference to Rilakkuma (whose name is a portmanteau of "relax" and "bear"), but the rest is clearly a reference to Dangan Ronpa's Monokuma.

When Misane asks if Enri and Asuto will "mug" them, they don't know what "katsuage" means and think she means "tonkatsu," recommending the tonkatsu burger at WAC Burger. The apparent near-repeat of the joke with the thugs and Aira in the Backstreet was something different in Japanese - she asked if they meant to say "tsura" (face, but rude in a way that makes it very much equivalent to "(ugly) mug") or "dzura" (hairpiece) - but I sorta couldn't think of how to make them different. You can maybe see it like a callback, though???

I asked Miwashiba if "WAC Berger" was spelled that way intentionally, and... well, apparently it wasn't, but it still sort of works, so they said to keep it. Also, people shortened WAC Berger to "Wakudo" in reference to McDonald's being "Makudo." Even though it's WAC Berger... (Though, the Big WAC description accidentally called it WACdonalds.) I didn't use any abbreviation in English, it would be too silly to have them say "Wacky B's" or something.

"Shake paws, Pawtete!" was "Potete no o-tete!" Same basic meaning, but wasn't as awkward a pun in Japanese.

Notably, present Nanashi uses "ore" and Mikado/future Nanashi uses "boku," which helps a little to distinguish them when the latter has revealed himself and they're both talking with the name "Nanashi." In Chapter XXX, though, Nanase uses "ore."

According to Miwashiba, it's intentional that the game is "1bitHeart" and the ending song is "1BitHeart," the little b representing a "little heart."

Miumi's grammar is much improved in the future, so she doesn't speak nearly as weirdly, with only a few exceptions.


= MAIN CHARACTERS

"Yoshi Nanase" is a pun on his number ability - it's literally just (in Japanese name order) "7744." (Nanashi, too, is readable as "774.") "Nanashi" can also mean "nameless" (or even "Anonymous"), as the game eventually points out.

I'm fairly sure Nanashi calling Mikado "brother" (nii-san) in Japanese is just... something that's viable in Japanese for cousins, for whatever reason. Still, it seemed reasonable to me that Nanashi could consider Mikado like his brother (from another, tangentially-related mother) since he's an only child. Plus "cousin" just doesn't sound affectionate enough to me, frankly. And this did help with Tobari briefly thinking he's Nanashi's brother in Chapter 4, though that could have been easily removed/modified anyway.

Miumi... was, uh... Miumi. Her Japanese grammar is pretty strange (literally saying "desumasu!" and strange conjugations in general), and she uses English words a fair bit, but not too excessively. In the translation, I tried to strike a balance of broken sentences that were still understandable, and sticking Japanese words in places where their meaning could be assumed from context. I think this does the best job of depicting the fact that she has an imperfect grasp of Japanese specifically while still, you know, making her dialogue readable to English-speakers.

Nomiya's use of prefixes like "giga" and "yotta" is much the same as in Japanese. But that's mostly all he uses, so I sprinkled in other computer puns where I could. "Kubi o nagaku shite" means "waiting eagerly," and he says "kubi o yot(t)aku shite" - I translated it as "re:ally looking fwd to." And of course I had to use something like "that bytes!" at least once.

Aira used her name in place of any personal pronoun, which was clearly appropriate to retain in English. But since it's awkward to use it literally all the time, I'll make the excuse that her "upbringing" is why she uses both "Aira" and "I" interchangably - she was made with no particular identity, then given a heart and a name by someone else.


= OTHER CHARACTERS

Shitara insists on being called お姉さん (lady, miss) and not お兄さん (mister), which to me makes it pretty clear-cut that she identifies as female. (Not much alludes to her being genderfluid; like, she never wants to be called anything else.) There wasn't much to go on from the other characters to indicate whether they respect that or not, but the childhood friends trio seems to get along well enough that I would think at least Hakuhi and Takamiya do. (And of course I'm going to have people use correct pronouns in translation unless it's clear someone is being a narrow-minded jerk.)

Also, the twins call her "babaa," old hag (translated as "witch"), so even with their disrespect they seem to acknowledge her gender identity. But in the list of ages and genders from Miwashiba's Tumblr, hers was given as "♂?", which... well, I hope that isn't really a reflection of Miwashiba's view, as I feel everything else is done more or less tactfully. Also, she uses "uchi" to refer to herself, because her Kansai dialect overpowers all else. And lastly, some bonus comics show that she wore a male uniform in high school - presumably she had no other choice.


Somewhat related to the above: Hakuhi calls Shitara "Shicchan," although she also calls Takamiya "Tacchan" and Takada (who she knows as female) "Takada-kun," so I'm not too sure what to make of that. (If it's meant to be an "inversion" of the norm - calling males -chan and females -kun - then maybe "Shicchan" is a holdover from before Shitara started identifying as female, and she doesn't mind Hakuhi using it still. Probably because, well, it actually matches.)

At any rate, since I made them "Taka" and "Shi-chan" in the translation, the impression given now is that Hakuhi calls Takamiya a pretty normal affectionate nickname and gave Shitara a distinctly feminine one to support her.

Also, I suspect this is more or less how the first phone call from Hakuhi's swindler goes: He says he's an old friend who Hakuhi hasn't seen in a while. She thinks about who that might be and asks if it's "Takada-kun." He confirms it (assuming Takada to be a male since she said "-kun"). And she's like "oh, okay, your voice has changed a lot!", a leap she has an easier time making since one of her longtime friends is trans.


The names Kuroku and Shiroro are based on "black" and "white," but as pointed out in-game, the names are backwards compared to their actual colors. They make several references to Japanese children's games. One is "Greenpeace" which I... don't know if I understand the rules for, but it involves rock-paper-scissors and the joke is that Kuroku just says the "I win word," so to speak. Another is "Acchi Muite Hoi" (Look the Other Way), which is rock paper scissors, followed by the winner having to point in a direction which is not the same direction the other person turns their head toward. Kids love rock paper scissors, I guess?

There was a little bit more to the "what's 1+1" conversation in Japanese relating to how 1 and 2 are written 一 and 二 in kanji - Kuroku notes that 2 is just written like two 1s, so how do you know it's not 1 followed by another 1 (which in his mind would be 11)? - but yeah, mostly the same.


Sekiyu is likely a pun on "security." (セキユ → セキュリティー) (EDIT: Nope, Miwashiba says this is just a neat coincidence.) In her intro, she tells Nanashi "ototoi kiyagare," literally "come back two days ago" - the idea is to never come again, because that's impossible. But Nanashi's response is "Too bad I'm not able to time travel." While that's arguably amusing foreshadowing, it didn't work out in English, so I changed it to "Don't touch me with a 10-foot pole." "What about an 11-foot pole?"


Yukinaga uses "orecchi" to refer to himself, which according to Miwashiba is the foundation of his character from which everything else branched out. Nanashi actually focuses on that over the alien thing, being all "oh yeah, Orecchi-kun!" at one point in the Japanese version.


"Ohnai Akutamori" (芥森鴎内, Akuta's pen name) is connected with his real name, Akuta Kamome (鴎乜芥). It takes two of the kanji from his real name (albeit flipping the names - 芥 from real first name to pen last name, 鴎 from real last name to pen first name) and appends two random ones after each of them. Even though one of the kanji from his real name isn't present in the pen name, those two shared kanji can still be, on their own, read 芥 "Akuta" and 鴎 "Kamome." So it's even more... unoriginal, I guess, than it might seem without seeing the kanji. I guess an English equivalent would be, I dunno, "Richard Williams" taking the pen name "Williamsworth Dickson."


While Hapitan does often refer to Moroku like someone separate ("koitsu," "this guy"), it's tricky to determine exactly how "sentient" Hapitan is. This is further complicated by Japanese grammar allowing for Hapitan to speak sentences that could be either a) Moroku talking about himself through Hapitan or b) Hapitan saying something about Moroku. (Note that any time the names Moroku or Hapitan are explicitly used, those are unchanged from what was used in Japanese.)

The same goes for how others regard them; usually I had people considering Hapitan like a separate entity reading Moroku's mind and talking for him. Which is more or less true, and makes sense considering the event where Nanashi does that for Moroku, and Haruya sees it as Nanashi "filling in" for Hapitan.


If you didn't notice, Misato calls her dolls "my children" in English. So yeah, there's that.


Naturally, Akashi's "confession" was a joke on him saying "suki" (which just on its own can be taken as "I like you" from context), then turning it into "sukiyaki." This makes his insisting of "hey, I sort of said it!" more true.


The faux name for the Playstation was technically the "Playstathion" or something, but Playstasis sounded better in English. In Japanese, it was abbreviated to "Puresute," which is... literally what people use for the real Playstation.


Ryuuri's Mutter log originally ended with a joke about how, since Ryuuri responds to Nanashi's question about little brothers/sisters with a remark about his family as a whole, he "doesn't have a bro-com(plex), doesn't have a sis-com(plex), he has a Famicom!" Which is a joke on the Japanese version of the NES (Family Computer), although given everything else, it probably wouldn't actually exist by that name in this world. That just wasn't particularly translatable, really. Imagine Nanashi being Guile and saying "Go home and be a family man," that's close enough.


Gyaru speak is wild. There was a lot of strange lingo used, much of which is actually legitimate gyarugo; some of it is strange corruptions of words, quite a few are English words used oddly. Sometimes there were even things like "hippopotamus baka," a pun on "kaba" meaning hippo. (I think the point where it elevates to parody is once, in Kirara's third scene, they start dropping a bunch of words and leave only key parts - everything before that may well be accurate. I think.) I did... the best I could... I also made copious use of "like" and "totally," of course.


The use of things like xxDarknessSpacexx for Sagara is based on her usage of ヰ (wi, a character that's hardly ever used in Japanese anymore, which clearly makes it 12-Year-Old Cool) like a "separator" between "darkness" and "space."


Meu's "ardor/adore" joke was originally a pun on "moeru" being both "burn (with passion)" and "to find cute" (er, more or less).


The "knock-knock joke"... joke in Izuchi's second event was originally in reference to a kind of formulaic Japanese riddle called a "nazokake." Essentially, you present two things, then ask "Sono kokoro wa?", which in this case means more like "What's the core element (which they have in common)?" It's not too common to use "Sono kokoro wa?" as a general way of asking "Why is that your answer?", so Nanashi finds it weird being used outside that context.


While it seemed better to romanize her name as Mary, I figured I'd leave Mary's Mutter handle as @meari (as it was in the Japanese version) just because it seemed suitably weird for her.


= NAMES AND KANJI

Everyone in the game has a first name represented by just a single kanji. However, kanji have multiple readings, and their "actual" names are generally derived from the various readings of that kanji. For instance, "Yoshi" reads the single kanji 四 as "yo" and "shi." Natsukage reads 夏 as "natsu," "ka," and "ge." So... everyone's names are kind of bad puns, in a way. (Or DQN names, as they're called.)

During the game proper, the names are just given in katakana, so that their readings are actually clear - suffice to say, you'd lose track of people's actual names if they just used the kanji most of the time, because you don't normally read 心 as "Misane" by any means. (Not to mention it'd be really confusing with the actual word "heart"!) But the full names are given with kanji in their bios. Here are the meanings of those singular first-name kanji. Some of them are pretty appropriate, or the opposite of that.

Yo-shi: 四 "Four."
Mi-kado: 門 "Gate."
Mi-sane: 心 "Heart."
Natsu-ka-ge: 夏 "Summer."
Mi-umi: 海 "Sea."
Aki-taka: 空 "Sky."
Haru-ya: 陽 "Sunlight."
Ai-ra: 藍 "Indigo."
Eru-no: 憂 "Grief."
No-miya: 雅 "Graceful." (Maybe "no miya" is a pun - he has no grace. Style, maybe.)
Ko-tora: 琥 "Tiger-shaped jade." ("Ko" from the only actual reading; the "tora" comes from tiger, the kanji for which is embedded in this kanji.)
Ki-rai: 來 "Arriving" or "next."
To-bari: 榛 "Hazelnut."

Ya-su-ne: 子 "Child."
Shi-ta-ra: 楽 "Comfort."
Kuro-ku: 黒 "Black."
Shiro-ro: 白 "White."
Haku-hi: 拍 "Clap."
Taka-miya: 宮 "Palace."
Shiren: 試 "Trial." (Reading it as "Shiren" comes from 試練, the "full word" for trial/ordeal.)
Ka-ori: 栞 "Bookmark."

Ki-ri: 織 "Weave."
Nio: 薫 "Fragrant." (Reading it as "Nio" probably comes from 臭い (nioi), aroma.)
Saku-ma: 咲 "Blossom."
Seki-yu: 夕 "Evening."
Yuki-naga: 遊 "Play."
Akuta: 芥 "Rubbish."

Rok-ka: 鹿 "Deer."
Chi-no: 乃 (Possessive particle.)
Sora: 天 "Heavens." (Reading it as "Sora" comes from 空, sky.)
Mo-roku: 麓 "Mountain base."
Aka-shi: 暁 "Dawn."
Misa-to: 都 "Capital."
Momo-ri: 李 "Plum."

En-ri: 焉 (Pretty weird, technically means "how"? It's the second kanji in 終焉 "shuuen," demise.)
Asu-to: 歩 "Walk."
Azu-sa: 杏 "Apricot."
Jin: 迅 "Swift."
Hi-yu: 百 "Hundred."
Yuu-to: 兎 "Rabbit."
Ryuu-ri: 龍 "Dragon."
Kira-ra: 晶 "Crystal." (Reading it as "Kirara" comes from "kirakira," sparkle.)

Sagara: 宛 "Address." (I don't see how it connects to the reading at all, which is probably the intent...)
Me-u: 雨 "Rain."
Izuchi: 雷 "Thunder." ("Izuchi" just takes the ka out of the "ikazuchi" reading. Notably, both his and Kirai's kanji have the reading "rai.")
Sa-aya: 彩 "Color."
Me-a-ri: 愛 "Love."
Me-ru: 鳴 "Sound (verb)."
Hito-hito: 人 "Person."


Posted February 14th, 2015
#1bitheart

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