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Witch's Heart Translation Notes
Is there a wish of yours that you want to come true so much you would even kill a person?? Just wondering.
(Contains spoilers for all of Witch's Heart and Witch's Heart -Bonus Stage-.)
Witch's Heart (the jewel and the book) is written in Japanese as "Majo no Kokoro." Kokoro is "heart" in the sense that's closer to "mind" (like "I know it in my heart"), while the organ kind of heart is a separate word (shinzou). So that reveal might be a little more sneaky for Japanese players, but not hugely so. When people bring up the legendary treasure, they tend to say it's "also known as Witch's Heart
[in English]." This is also what's used for the game name; even when the game title is not written in the English alphabet, it's still the English words (Wicchizu Haato).
I've yet to figure out if there's any real meaning or pattern to the eyeball monster's keysmashing. There are a few cases where certain parts are repeated implying the same words are being said, but that's about it. The text is identical to what it was in the Japanese version, except the capitalized parts were originally hiragana. (Although when it shows up in Bonus Stage, it uses a few capital English letters, which it never did in part one... further telling me there's probably no standard here.)
The name Wilardo probably "should" be Willard, in the sense that I would definitely use that in lieu of an official spelling. But IZ uses that English spelling a whole lot, so let's just roll with it. (Also, via an older version having an outdated image in the bad ending credits, it turns his last name was originally planned to be Arkwright. Wilardo Arkwright... Hmmmmm...)
Similarly, you could argue Zizel (Jizeru, so I'd say it's like "Zee-zel") "should" be Giselle. It is actually the filename of the picture for her name introduction, but everywhere else, IZ wrote it in English as Zizel, which indicates a clear decision on the spelling. And I have to say, "Zizel" does have a nice "pure demon" feel. (Granted, Rouge has a fairly normal name.)
Charlotte's nickname was "Sharu," and "Charlie" seemed a lot more natural than "Sharl" or "Charl."
Notable honorifics for the honorific-understanding crew: All the demons except Rouge call Claire "-chan" and the guys "-kun." Sirius calls everyone in the mansion "-kun," including Claire. Ashe calls everyone "-san," but calling the guys "Mr." felt odd, so it only manifests as "Miss Claire," which I think fits with his general approach of getting close to Claire.
The "SCP" abbreviation was also in the Japanese version. However, some switch names spell it "SKP." IZ's remarks: "At first, it was SKP instead of SCP, but a test player told me "keeki
is spelled C-A-K-E, so it's C!", and I went "oops, what a rookie Japanese mistake!" and changed it to what it is now. I actually had no idea that abbreviation had a different meaning... When I found out after release, I was shocked... It's not like I meant to make a joke!" (Regardless, it's good.)
Not exactly a translation note, but "invective" is a word meaning "abusive language." So that's fun.
I'm guessing Lime's former name being E016 is probably a Japanese number pun, though in what way, I'm not certain. First of all, you could read 0 as "ra" (may be a bit of a stretch), 1 as "i," and 6 as "mu," making Ra-i-mu. Alternatively, you could read it backwards: 6 as "ra," 1 as "i," and 0 as "mu" (as in "nothing"). Or lastly, an interpretation that incorporates the "E": read it backwards as before, but just take the first letters. So you get R/L, I, M, and E.
"Hater" is an anagram of "heart." That may not be intentional, but noticing it convinced me not to change the term to something else. Which I was considering at first, because of the way "haters" is like... used in English.
"What does moldy milk get you? Cheeeeese!" was "What's 5 minus 3? 2!" Or rather, "niiiii!" Like "cheese," it makes you "smile" while saying it, and is short for "nikoniko," smiling. Yes, this is also sort of the explanation behind "Nico Nico Nii."
There's a monster in hell who's like "more like monstrously stupid." I couldn't really think of a particularly great translation, but it was originally a joke saying "up one hiragana," which confused the hell out of me until I figured it out: The speaker's name is "Bakemono" (化け物), so if you shift the single hiragana character in that from "ke" to "ka," it becomes "bakamono" (stupid person). At least... I think that's the joke??
I did make a couple lines about Patricia and Noel the slightest bit more sensitive. (Spoilered for slightly transphobic language.)
Sirius originally had a line like "You [Claire] had forgotten everything, Patricia was a man... I didn't know what going on." Which felt sort of... harsh and dismissive? Like, implying "this person is a different gender than I knew them" to be cause for utter bewilderment kinda sucks? So I rendered that as "and "Patricia" was Noel," which is less focused on the gender aspect, and more "how did things get from there to here?" in the same way as "why does Claire not remember?" Ultimately, I feel that's the intent of the line, moreso than depicting Sirius as insensitive.
I also made sure Sirius was careful with pronouns in the initial reveal (Japanese can often avoid gendered pronouns in places where English is expected to have them), and with the wording of his "at the time, he was dressed as a girl" line. Overall though, I wouldn't say I did anything huge in that area.
Prior to Bonus Stage's release, the trans Noel interpretation was the number one subject I was concerned about in future releases. It would've been unfortunate to see it shut down after the first game left it as a pretty reasonable reading. Thus, in the event that IZ ended up doing the unfortunately-common thing, I had considered translating it such that the interpretation was still on the table. It'd be unfortunate otherwise, and I would have to suddenly warn about how the subject was handled in my content warnings. But as it turns out... IZ didn't really take it off the table. In the crucial scene, it really does just say "because I resembled mom," and leaves it at that.
The only thing that goes against this a bit is the speaker name in that scene being "Noel." But you probably shouldn't read too much into those anyway (Noel vs. Patricia is typically a matter of what people are calling them?), and it would look odd for the game to be calling Noel "Patricia" right as Noel is denying being Patricia Millers. Also note that Noel can work as a female name; in fact, his birth name (and any use of "Noel" in 12-years-ago scenes) could be intended to be "Noelle," as that would be written the same way in Japanese.
In the Bonus Stage credits, the last lines in Japanese are sort of like "What will it be? The witch - whose wish will touch her heart, and who will she smile upon?" However, the word "witch" has "you" written in small text underneath it, implying that it's directly speaking to someone who is a witch - most obviously Claire, but likely also you the player. This is clearly an important detail, and ruby text isn't really a thing in English no matter how hard you will it to be, so I went with "You there, witch - what will it be?"
And finally, a tweet from IZ on Pippi:
"He's actually the one character I didn't think up. He appears because my little sister tantrummed him into the game."
Posted October 3rd, 2018