Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dark Souls 2

 This is the first of four posts I did on Dark Souls 2, the remaining posts are here:


So I recently started playing Dark Souls 2. I'm playing the Japanese version and I can't help but notice that the dialogue and text is jarringly different at times. Also I've seen people arguing about stuff in the story about which there's no question about in the Japanese version. The translation seems to be pretty bad, being more of a full-on rewrite than a translation at times; Usually this wouldn't be a bad thing but it looks to me like it has people arguing about all sorts of ridiculous nonsense that doesn't even exist in the Japanese text ("Ichorous Earth" for example). Wow.

Iron King Hammer item description, English:

"Great hammer forged from the soul of the Old Iron King.
The tip is formed of molten rock.
The corpse of the Old Iron King became the vessel that bred Ichorous Earth. The heavy rock tip is formed of cooled magma, with a still-smoldering core."  



A great hammer born from the soul of the Old Iron King.
The rock at the end is the condensed form of molten earth.

The thing that became molten earth
gained a body by possessing the corpse of the Old Iron King.

Though the earth has now turned to cold, hard rock, it still hides heat within it.
1) The English version implies there's some sort of being named "Ichorous Earth". There's no such implication in the Japanese version; "Molten earth" is a description.
2) The hammer isn't forged (implying actually made) from the soul but born (implying supernatural shit) from it.
3) The use of "molten earth" in the two spots suggests that the boss you fought was transformed into the fucking weapon.
4) The last line in English just says it's magma with a hot core, while the Japanese version implies, once again, supernatural shit.

Stuff like this is found all over the game. I'm not surprised that people are confused by the lore; It was translated by someone who clearly didn't care about continuity and just wanted to be really pretentious. I'll go through more later, maybe.

Edit: I was told that Shalquoir (whose name in Japanese is closer to "Shalagore", incidentally), mentions "Ichorous Earth" too. I just checked it out.

It reminds me of someone who lived long ago. A vainglorious liar who ended up hurling himself into the flames. Now he's Ichorous Earth, if I'm not mistaken."
There was once a man just like that. A show-off and a liar, in the end he threw himself into the flames. Now he's become... what, was it, ah yes, "molten earth". 
Edit: The second DLC added the Crown of the Iron King (item)

The King sunk below the scorching iron, met the one whose name must never be repeated, and became Ichorous Earth.
After he sank into the iron, the king met one whose name is forbidden, and became molten earth.
So molten earth describes the thing that is a combination of the "liar" "whose name is forbidden" and the king himself. This keeps in line with the hammer's description which refers to a "thing" that later became molten earth after getting the king's body. So the only question is what is this thing?

In subsequent playthroughs the old iron king drops the old king's soul.

Soul of the ineffable.
名を禁じられた者のソウルSoul of one whose name is forbidden.

Note that in Japanese, both "the ineffable" and "the one whose name must never be repeated" are actually the same phrase,  名を禁じられた者.

Edit: Regarding the imported set: That is to say, the imported hood, imported tunic, etc.

In Japanese "imported" is 異国の = "foreign". They're a foreign hood, foreign tunic, etc., because the player character is a foreigner to these lands. I can see how a translator could make this mistake if just presented the item names without any context, but I don't see why the hell they thought it'd be a good idea to do so when they didn't have any context. It's dumb.

「異国のフード」等の異国シリーズは英語版だと「imported hood」(輸入品のフード)等になっている。翻訳者は「異国から来ている」=「輸入品」だと考えたんだろうけど、これはプレイヤーキャラが最初から身に着けている装備であり、PCが異人だと示唆しているので、この解釈はどう見ても間違っている。てかなぜ変えたし。

Edit: Boss names. The literal translations are to clarify what the original text was, not suggestions for alternate translations (every time I do something like this some retard starts yelling "hurrr but duh english names is better ur translations a shit". Maybe they are, maybe they're not, but that's not the point. Yeesh.


English name Japanese name Literal translation 英語名の和訳
(if any)
The Last Giant 最後の巨人 The Last Giant

The Pursuer 呪縛者 Cursed One 追跡者 "Jubaku" implies being enthralled or controlled, anyway binded in some way, by the curse. 者 indicates that it is in fact a person and not an empty suit of armour or something like the Empty Guardians/Ruin Sentinels.
Dragonrider 竜騎兵 Dragoon
"Dragoon" in Japanese is literally "dragon cavalry", so "dragonrider" and "dragoon" are synonymous.
Old Dragonslayer 古い竜狩り Ancient Dragon-hunter

Flexile Sentry 流罪の執行者 Executor of Exile 柔軟たる衛兵 This guy isn't a guard, he's the guy in charge of sending hollows into exile. Due to how close "flexile" and "exile" are, the former could be a typo or spellcheck error.

Ruin Sentinels 虚ろの衛兵 Empty Guards 廃墟の哨兵 Empty because they're empty suits of armour. The actual word used is closer to "hollow" but I refrained from translating it to that because of the use of the word in the English version (in Japanese the "hollows" are actually 亡者/mouja, which are the wandering lost spirits of the dead in Buddhism)
The Lost Sinner 忘れられた罪人 The Forgotten Sinner 失われし罪人 People keep speculating about what "Lost" means, coming up with ridiculous explanations. It means forgotten. That's it.
Belfry Gargoyles 鐘守のガーゴイル Bell Guardian Gargoyles 鐘楼のガーゴイル
Skeleton Lords スケルトンの王 Skeleton Kings

Executioner's Chariot 刑吏のチャリオット Executioner's Chariot
Could also be "Executioner Chariot" which would mean the chariot itself is the executioner.
Covetous Demon 貪りデーモン Gluttonous Demon 強欲なデーモン Covetous implies wanting something, while the nuance of "musabori" is gobbling stuff down like a pig.
Mytha, the Baneful Queen 毒の妃ミダ Queen of Poison Mida 災いの女王ミサ That's pronounced "Me-dah". Which is nothing like Mytha.
Smelter Demon 熔鉄デーモン Molten Steel Demon 製錬のデーモン
Old Iron King 鉄の古王 Ancient King of Iron 古鉄王 Some people say he's the [king] of [old iron]. Nope. He's the [old king] of [iron]. Also "old" isn't old as in aged, but old as in "ancient".
Scorpioness Najka 蠍のナジカ Nazika the Scorpion 雌蠍のナジカ
Royal Rat Authority ネズミの王の試練 The Rat King's Test ネズミの王位官憲 Because the thing is a test. From the rat king. What the hell is a rat authority?
Royal Rat Vanguard ネズミの王の尖兵 Rat King's Vanguard

Prowling Magus & Congregation 彷徨い術士と信心者たち Wandering Magus and Followers
"Jutsushi" (translated to Magus) has a slight cult-ish nuance to it. Don't have any suggestions for a better translation.
The Duke's Dear Freja 公のフレイディア The Duke's Freydia 公爵の愛しいフレイヤ Could alternatively be "The Duke Freydia" implying the spider IS the duke, but there are no other cases of the game using that form of grammar for a boss name so probably not.
The Rotten 腐れ Rot 腐った者
Looking Glass Knight 鏡の騎士 Mirror Knight 姿見の騎士
Velstadt, the Royal Aegis 王盾ヴェルスタッド King's Shield Velstadt 王国の神盾ヴェルスタッ Just want to say that I really like "Royal Aegis".
Vendrick ヴァンクラッド Vanclad ヴェンドリック Name is totally different for some reason. Similar case with Benhart whose name in Japanese is more like "Banholt/Vanholt".
Darklurker 闇潜み Lurker in the Dark

Demon of Song 唄うデーモン Singing Demon 歌のデーモン
Guardian Dragon 護り竜 Guardian Dragon

Ancient Dragon 古の竜 Ancient Dragon

Giant Lord 巨人の王 King of the Giants

Throne Defender 玉座の守護者 Defender of the Throne

Throne Watcher 玉座の監視者 Watcher over the Throne

Not part of the name but FYI there are no indications to the watcher's gender anywhere in the game (i.e. in the watcher gear item descriptions)
Nashandra デュナシャンドラ Dunashandra ナシャンドラ There's an entire syllable missing from her name for no apparent reason. Inconsequential but it's really jarring for someone playing the game in Japanese; Since it's just a missing syllable and not the name completely different like Vendrick/Vanclad, I kept getting the feeling that my ears were missing a syllable over and over again.
Elana, the Squalid Queen 穢れのエレナ Elena of the Filth 卑しき女王エラーナ "Kegare" (which I translated to "filth") has some special connotations in Japanese (Shintoism); It's not just a physical thing like dirt, but can also be used to refer to a stain on the reputation or even soul. It's a much more fundamental thing than just being dirty.
Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon 眠り竜シン Sleeping Dragon Sin
Sin/Sinh/Shin/Shinh whatever
Fume Knight 煙の騎士 Knight of Smoke

Sir Alonne 騎士アーロン Knight Arlon
"Alonne" emphasises pronunciation on the "lonne" bit while the Japanese version has emphasis on the "Ah" bit. アーロン could also be "Aaron" but that's a pretty terrible name to use in Dark Souls. Might as well rename Vendrick/Vanclad to Robert or something.

Also, it's worth noting that the naming scheme follows Artorius' in Dark Souls 1 (Kishi=Knight Whatever). All instances of this in 2 have kishi changed to "Sir" which makes far more sense in the English language. I'm not entirely sure on this, but AFAIK Japanese commonly substitutes instances of knights being addressed as Sir Whatever to Kishi Whatever because there's no real equivalent of Sir in Japanese.
Nadalia, Bride of Ash 煤のナドラ Nadra of the Soot 灰の花嫁ナダリア Not a boss but I figured I'd include her here.
She's also referred to as the "Bride of Soot" (煤の花嫁) in the description for her soul.
I personally like the name change because of, you know, the ash all over the place, but at the same time soot is black which is more in line with the whole child of darkness thing. (All the references to ash in this context like in the Ashen Idols and Ashen Warriors are also soot in the Japanese version FYI; IIRC there are in fact no references to ash at all)
  Edit: About the "Writhing Ruin":

Freja/Freydia's soul, English:
Soul of the Duke's loyal Freja, the Writhing Ruin's Keeper. The Writhing Ruin is an ancient thing whose shadow remains cast over the land. Tseldora is a place burdened by terrible misdeeds, and those who remained there were transformed beyond recognition.

The soul of the guardian of the crawling mushi* (see below), the Duke's Freydia. The crawling mushi is an ancient thing that spread its sins over this land. Geldra is said to be a land where these sins lie, and all who stay in this place are transformed into grotesque monsters.
Okay, this bit's pretty hard to translate. First things first- "Tseldora" is "Geldra" (or Geldora/Jeldra/Jeldora) in Japanese. It's possible that the translator was working off a faulty script or something because it's clear that they thought it was ツェルドラ when it's actually ジェルドラ.

The "writhing ruin" is originally a "crawling mushi"; Both are vague descriptions and don't really matter, so the change is inconsequential. It should be noted that while frequently mistranslated to "insect" or "bug", in archaic Japanese "mushi" can refer any sort of animal, and while this is not usually the case in modern Japanese, it is in fact left over in the term 爬虫類 (reptile). So this may or may not be suggesting that the thing we're talking about is a reptile.

What I translated to "sins", and the official English translation describes as "a shadow cast over the land" and "misdeeds" is "gou", a word hard to translate to English. It's the Buddhist concept of karma, but also carries similar nuances to what "sins" does in English. I actually think the English version of the game does a really good job of rewriting the text so that it's completely different yet carries the same nuances here; There are a lot of bad translations in this game yet also a bunch of good ones; Looking in the credits reveals that there were five English script writers and three translation companies working on it so that probably explains the differences in the level of quality.

Shalquoir/Shalagore's line on this topic in English version is:
Men develop the most peculiar fascinations. Sometimes their fascinations seem to take control. Till there's very little man left. Hee hee hee… Oh, it's like that awful traitor long ago. He coveted what he did not have, and it drove him mad. What a curious conundrum. Hee hee hee… The Writhing Ruin keeps searching as we speak. Searching for its heart's desire.
And the Japanese text:
それとも、憑りついてるのかしら フフフッ
滑稽なこと フフフッ
Humans really do grow to like weird things, almost as if they're possessed. Or are they the ones doing the possessing? (Chuckle)
That pathetic traitor was just the same. He wanted things that belonged to others so very, very hard... Truly hilarious (chuckle). That crawling mushi is searching, even now, for what he wants.

Clarifications first: "Possess" in both cases is as in a ghost possessing a person, not as in taking possession of something. Also my translation and the official one both use "he" but the original text has no reference to gender.

Biggest differences: The English translation has mention of "what he did not have" and "drove him mad" but that's not in the Japanese text. The English version clearly wants the players to think of Seath from Dark Souls 1, and while the general consensus among Japanese fans is that the "crawling mushi" is referring to him, the correlation is a lot less clear than in the English version. It has been pointed out though that he betrayed the dragons, so Shalagore calling him a traitor (especially with the nuances in her dialogue which has her seem to particularly hate him) doesn't seem to make sense. Unless cats are actually dragons.

Edit: Someone requested the giant lord's stuff, so

Soul of the Giant Lord, who once conquered Drangleic.
The Giants landed on the northern shores, and set siege to King Vendrick's castle to claim an invaluable prize.


かつてドラングレイグを滅ぼした 巨人の王のソウル  
北の彼方から現れた巨人は ヴァンクラッドの居城を目指していた

The soul of the king of the giants, who laid waste to Drangleig long ago.
The giants, who came from the far north, sought out Vanclad's castle, as if their objective was solely what was there.
So yeah, he didn't "conquer" Drangleig. The giants didn't just land on the north shores, their home was to the north in the first place.

The "Giant's Kinship", English:
Each king has his rightful throne.
And when he sits upon it, he sees what he chooses to see.
Or perhaps, it is the throne, which shows the king only what he wants.
The Resonance with the Giants, Japanese:

There is a throne fitting for each king.
The view from the throne is known only to the one who sits upon it.
Or does the throne show he who sits upon it what they want to see?

I've seen people draw some pretty ridiculous conclusions from the use of the word "kinship", saying it makes the player an honorary giant or have giant blood or whatever the hell but that's a load of bullshit. The word is "resonance". That's it.

I've also seen the "he sees what he chooses to see" interpreted as the throne of want being a magic device that lets the user remake the world as he sees fit. Once again, not in the original text.

Edit: By request, stuff related to the Cursed One/Pursuer.

Ring of Blades description, English:
The Ring of Blades is modeled after the mad knight of Alken's weapon of choice. Increases physical attack. The kingdoms of Alken and Venn long ago flourished on these very grounds. They were both founded by the same man, but were reduced to rivarly and spite.
 Blade Ring description, Japanese:
A ring of power modelled after the weapon of Adgars, known as the Mad Warrior of Arken. Increases the equipper's physical attack power. Two countries, Arken and Vane, once existed on these lands. Though they shared the same origins, they despised each other greatly.
 The countries aren't referred to as kingdoms and Adgars isn't referred to as a knight (also, I translated kyousenshi to "mad warrior" but in fantasy stuff it typically means "berserker"). Also the English version drops Adgars' name for some reason. The English versions of the names are also, as is common in this game, completely different from what the Japanese version seems to be trying to convey. And it's blade, singular; The ring is modelled after Adgars' sword. 
 The Pursuer's soul, English:
Soul of the Pursuer, who lurks in Drangleic. The Pursuer, who seeks the bearer of the sign, will not rest until his target is slain.
 The Cursed One's soul, Japanese:
The soul of a/the Cursed One who wanders the land of Drangleig.
The Cursed One, who was ordered to hunt those who bear the mark, even now carries out his mission. 
 In Japanese it's unclear if the Cursed One is an individual or one of a group. Likewise, some details are gone- He isn't looking for the bearers of the mark of his own accord, but because he was ordered to do so. Once again, the sort of curse implied by "jubaku" is the sort that enthralls or binds a person, so it's possible that said curse is what drives him to go around hunting cursed undead.

Pursuer's Ultra Greatsword, English:
Ultra greatsword of the Pursuer. Known as the mightiest of the straight swords, it demands great strength and dexterity of its wielder. The Pursuer hunts down those branded by the curse, as if each Undead soul that he claims will atone one of his sins.
 Cursed One's Ultra Greatsword, Japanese:
呪縛者の特大剣 直剣の中では最大級の威力を持ち その分、高い筋力と技量を要求される   呪縛者は刻印を持つ不死を屠り続けている 自らの負った罪を購うかのように
Ultra greatsword of a/the Cursed One.
Though it is a straight sword with top-level power, wielding it requires high strength and dexterity.
The Cursed Ones(s) continuously hunt and kill the undead who bear the mark, as if to  atone for his/their own sins.
 Not much of a difference, aside from a bit of flourish. I really don't like the translation of tokudaiken to "ultra greatsword" (ULTRA? Seriously?) but can't think of anything better, myself. It's not said to be the "mightiest", just that it's among the best. The stuff about each undead soul is completely missing in the Japanese text.

Pursuer's Greatshield, English:
Greatshield of the Pursuer.
For those who can handle the weight of this
shield, it offers resistance to curses.
The Pursuer hunts down those branded by
the curse, as if each Undead soul that he
claims will atone one of his sins.
 Cursed One's Great Shield, English:

呪縛者の大盾 その重量故に扱う者を選ぶ 呪いに対する耐性がある   呪縛者は刻印を持つ不死を屠り続けている 自らの負った罪を購うかのように

Great Shield of a/the Cursed One.
Few can wield it due to its weight.
Has resistance to curses.
The Cursed Ones(s) continuously hunt and kill the undead who bear the mark, as if to  atone for his/their own sins.
So yeah, that's the Pursuer/Cursed One's stuff. I realise I may sound a bit of a dick saying this, but to be honest, the vibe I get off these translations (especially bits like "as if each Undead soul that he claims will atone one of his sins") is that they were done by somebody who wants to be a writer but doesn't have the talent to do so, and instead gets their kicks from rewriting stuff they're supposed to be translating. While I don't like that sort of stuff myself, many people do (remember how popular stuff translated by Working Designs were?) so eh.

But yeah, due to the nature of Japanese (don't ask me to explain, I'm not a linguist and don't know how to describe language shit), it's unclear if "Cursed One" is the title of an individual or a group, while the English version makes it clear that he's one guy. Also, the translation of the soul leaves out a very important detail- That he or they aren't doing this of their own accord, but because they were ordered to do so. That and they themselves are cursed in some way.

Edit: I've seen people read in a lot into the Emerald Herald (Japanese: "Pilgrim clad in green" ) line "without truly knowing why". I just got the king's ring and in this case, at least, in Japanese it's "whether you wish it or not" (can't recall what the other instances of it were but they were probably the same).

Edit: Shalquoir's dialogue on the ancient dragon, English:
You'll find a great creature far to the east.
A colossal thing, with the strength to match its size.
Or something playing the part at least
Shalagore's dialogue on the ancient dragon, Japanese:


It's there, far to the east.
A big, big thing, with the power to match its size.
Or at least an imitation of it.
Open the door, and venture past, and you'll smell even better.
It's somewhat clear in English, but even clearer in Japanese; A magaimono is an imitation, a knockoff, a phony... whatever it is, it's not the real deal. So yeah, that ancient dragon isn't the real thing.

Oh and the Ashen Mist Heart is in Japanese the 灰の霧の核, literally the "core of the mist of ash".

Edit: Cleared the Crown of the Old Iron King.

"Bewitched Alonne Sword"? What the fuck is going on with the grammar here? It seems like the item name was translated by someone who had no idea that Alonne/Arlon is supposed to be the character who owns the sword (judging from what I've heard of how game translation works, though, that was probably the case).

So yeah, it's supposed to be Alonne's Bewitched Sword. And I thought I'd elaborate on the "Bewitched Sword" bit a bit more because it doesn't really convey the nuances the Japanese word, youtou has.

The you (妖) in youtou (妖刀) is the same as in youkai or ayakashi (tou is simply katana which probably doesn't need explanation), and carries the nuances of "mysterious", "seductive" "creepy", "secretive" and "suspicious", amongst others. While "bewitched" does manage to convey some of the nuances, it may also be interpreted to simply mean a sword enchanted with magic, which isn't quite the case. Youtou is also occasionally translated to "cursed sword" which is also slightly wrong. In Japanese fiction, a youtou is typically a sword that (as according to Shintoistic beliefs) has gained sentience and a life of its own (possibly from being used to kill many people) and now seeks blood of its own accord, maybe even possessing its wielder and driving them to madness or death only to seek out a new owner to take control of. Youtou are said to have a mysterious, seductive quality to them, with regular people suddenly being driven to kill to take possession of one (the implication being that the sword itself has bewitched them). In many cases a warrior who is skilled enough will be able to remain in control of himself even while wielding a youtou, and this makes him even stronger because the sword's inherent magic makes it an extremely formidable weapon. In real life, there was said to be a single sword created by the swordsmith Muramasa that sought out and killed friends and family of Tokugawa Ieyasu, including his father, grandfather and nephew, known as the Youtou Muramasa. This is all folklore, of course, and a youtou may very well just be a regular sword to which people decided to attach a big scary backstory (kind of like the Hope Diamond).

So yeah, Alonne/Arlon using a youtou is a much bigger detail than what the English version conveys. This is unfortunately not a translation issue but a cultural one, as it requires one to be familiar with the concept of youtou. Anyway, the implications boil down to that he's either being possessed by a cursed sentient sword, or he's so skilled that he can wield a cursed sentient sword without being controlled by it. Or maybe it's just a way of saying that it's a really fancy sword. Either way, it's not implied to be enchanted, and "Alonne Sword" isn't its name; It's his sword, and it's a youtou.
tl;dr sir alonne super samurai skills weilds a cursed sword and doesnt afraid anything

Edit: There's a lot of speculation over the name of the last batch of DLC, specifically the use of the word ivory. People are talking about its relation to bone and mammoths and whatever.

In Japanese it's "white".

白王の冠 Crown of the White King.

Of course it could turn out to be about bones and elephants and whatever, but according to the Japanese text, at least, "ivory" is a fancy way of saying white. That's it.

Edit: Place names. Once again, the literal translations are only there to clarify what the intent behind the names are, and are NOT suggestions for alternate translations.

English name Japanese name Literal translation 英語名の和訳 Notes/備考
Things Betwixt 隙間の洞 The Grotto In Between 狭間にあるもの
Majula マデューラ Madula マジューラ
Forest of Fallen Giants 朽ちた巨人の森 Forest of Fallen Giants
Heide's Tower of Flame ハイデ大火塔 Great Flame-Tower of Heide ハイデの火の塔
Cathedral of Blue 青聖堂 The Blue Cathedral 青の聖堂
No-man's Wharf 隠れ港 Hidden Port 所有者なき港
The Lost Bastille 忘却の牢 The Forgotten Prison 失われし牢獄
Belfry Luna 月の鐘楼 Belltower of the Moon
Sinner's Rise 罪人の塔 Sinner's Tower
Huntsman's Copse 狩猟の森 Hunting Woods 狩人の森
Undead Purgatory 不死刑場 Undead Execution Grounds Leaving 不死 as "undead" but the Japanese word is actually what is usually used to mean "immortal" and literally means "undying".
Harvest Valley 溜りの谷 Pooling Valley 収穫の谷 "Harvest" is a complete and clear mistranslation; "溜り" means "to gather" but can NOT mean "harvest". Someone's just glanced at their dictionary and completely failed to account for what "gather" meant in this context. The nuance of the word is that of liquid gathering into pools. This is obviously referring to the poison pooling in the valley.
Earthen Peak 土の塔 Tower of Dirt 土の頂(いただき) Dirt/clay/earth/mud/whatever
Iron Keep 熔鉄城 Smelten Castle Funny how the same word is translated into different ways. 熔鉄 is the same word as used in the Smelter/Smelten Demon's name.
Belfry Sol 陽の鐘楼 Belltower of the Sun
Shaded Woods 虚ろの影の森 Forest of Empty Shadows 影の森
Doors of Pharros ファロスの扉道 Door-Road of Pharros ファロスの扉 (「扉」は複数形)
Brightstone Cove Tseldora 輝石街ジェルドラ Town of Brightstone, Jeldra 明石の小湾ツェルドーラ 輝石 (literally "shining stone") actually means pyroxene in real life, but this is clearly not the case here so I left it as "Brightstone".
The name of the town was translated by someone who read it wrong; They clearly mistook it for ツェルドラ ("tserudora") when it's actually ジェルドラ ("jerudora").
There are many possible ways of transliterating the name, including: Jeldra, Jeldora, Geldra, Geldora.
ゲームに登場するのは現実の「輝石」と明らかに違うためか、輝石は英語ではbrightstone (「明るい石」)に翻訳されている。
Lord's Private Chamber ジェルドラ公の隠し部屋 Duke Jeldra's hidden room 王の個室 For some reason even though "公" in all other cases is always translated to "duke", in this one case it's "lord" instead.
Also, in other cases in the game, "lord" is the translation for "王" ("king", as in the skeleton kings or giant king), which adds to the confusion.
Grave of Saints 聖人墓所 Saint's Grave 聖人たちの墓所 The Japanese name does not distinguish if "saint" is singular or plural.
The Gutter クズ底 At the bottom of the rubbish どん底 One of the few GOOD translations in the game; The Japanese name is just a description, while the English name is a single word that combines both important bits (bottom + lots of rubbish) from the Japanese name.
Black Gulch 黒渓谷 Black Gorge 黒峡谷
Shrine of Winter 冬の社 Shrine of Winter
Drangleic Castle 王城ドラングレイグ Drangleig Castle ドラングレイク城
King's Passage 王の回廊 King's Corridor 王の回廊 (Completely subjective but I like the alliteration in "King's Corridor" more)
Shrine of Amana アマナの祭壇 Altar of Amana アマナの社 "Shrine" is used in the English version for both the Shrine of Winter and Shrine of Amana, which some interpret to mean there's some sort of connection, but they're completely different words in Japanese.
Undead Crypt 不死廟 Undead Mausoleum 不死廟 See Undead Purgatory notes on "undead".
Throne of Want 渇望の玉座 Throne of Desire 欲の玉座 渇望 is literally "a thirsting desire".
Aldia's Keep アン・ディールの館 Mansion of An-Dil アルディアの城 "Aldia" is originally "An-Dil" (which sounds completely unlike any other name heard in the game even though the guy was Vendrick/Vanclad's brother, which is possibly the reason for it being changed)
Also, in the Japanese version, language used in the area name as well as in item descriptions show that "An-Dil" is for some reason used both as the name of the person as well as that of the building itself.
Dragon Aerie 護り竜の巣 Guardian Dragons' Nest 竜の高巣
Dragon Shrine 祭祀場 Ritual Site 竜の社 Again with the word "shrine" being recycled for a totally different word.
Dark Chasm of Old 古き闇の穴 Hole of the Old Dark/Old Hole of Dark 古の暗き裂け目
Memory of Jeigh/Orro/Vamar 巨人オジェイ・ロー・ワムダの記憶 Memory of the Giant Ojeigh/Rouh/Wamda 巨人ジェイ・オロー・ヴァマールの記憶 Name changes, plus the Japanese text makes it clear that they're giants (as if it isn't obvious from the context, but I've seen some people actually speculate about this so you never know with some people)
Shulva, Sanctum City 聖壁の都サルヴァ City of the Holy Wall, Sulva 聖域の都シャルヴァ
Dragon's Sanctum 竜の聖壁 Holy Wall of the Dragon 竜の聖域
Dragon's Rest 眠り竜の褥 Sleeping Dragon's Resting Place 竜の褥 Resting place as in where he's resting and not where he died (obviously).
Cave of the Dead 死者の洞 Grotto of the Dead 死者の洞窟
Brume Tower 黒霧の塔 Tower of Black Fog 霧の塔
Iron Passage 鉄の回廊 Iron Corridor
Memory of the Old Iron King 鉄の古王の記憶 Memory of the Old King of Iron

Edit: Got this question from someone:

I was wondering if you had played DaS1, in DaS1 there is a very specific definition of Demons, a being born from chaos, this seems to go against the Covetous Demon and the Demon of Song in DaS2 which seem to have no link to any form of Chaos. So in short i wanted to ask you if Covetous and the Demon of songs names were in somehow different to the ones from DaS or even just the smelter demon, which actually seems to have links to chaos.
 My answer:

I haven't played Dark Souls 1 yet, but the three demons in 2 all use the same word for demon (デーモン which is just English demon/daemon rendered in katakana).
The names are Covetous demon: 貪りデーモン Singing demon: 唄うデーモン Smelter demon: 熔鉄デーモン
Checking out the Japanese wiki for DS1 says that the bed of chaos does in fact use the same word when saying that it's the "mother of demons".
FYI the use of the same word is clearly intentional as it isn't something commonly used in Japanese, and especially stands out in Dark Souls where it's clear that the writing typically tries to avoid using katakana words aside from for names and such.

Edit: However, it should be noted that the Titanite Demons from Dark Souls 1 which are seemingly completely unrelated to chaos also use this same word (楔のデーモン). The Crow Demons also from DS1 though are NOT referred to as demons in Japanese (ベルカの鴉人, "the crow-people of Velka").

Edit: Just figured I'd say something about sorceries, pyromancies and hexes.

Miracles in Japanese are "kiseki" (奇跡), which is pretty straightforward. They're miracles, as in stuff gods make happen, simple enough.

Sorceries are "majutsu" (魔術)- Magic. Magic as used in fantasy is usually "mahou" (魔法), though, and "majutsu" has a darker occult nuance to it- Aleister Crowley, for example, would be referred to as a practitioner of majutsu, and not mahou. An English word with a closer nuance to the Japanese terminology used would be "witchcraft"- Though this of course doesn't match the lore of Dark Souls, where majutsu was made by a dragon and witches use jujutsu (see below). If you consider the background story, sorcery's a decent enough translation.

Pyromancies are "jujutsu" (呪術), which carries a more primal, shamanistic nuance to it. Jujutsu is the kind of stuff practiced by fortune tellers and old ladies who live in the middle of swamps. The English term clearly draws inspiration from how most jujutsu spells revolve around fire, but as there are a few that are completely unrelated to fire (poison and acid) it's not perfect. "Hex" would actually be a better translation for jujutsu than for anjutsu.

Finally, hexes are originally "anjutsu" (闇術). This is a pretty bad translation. This explanation will be a bit longer than the previous ones. First of all, "jutsu" (術) which is also used in the two terms above means "technique" or "skill". Ma(魔)-jutsu(術) is the skill of using magic (魔) while ju(呪)-jutsu(術) is the skill of using shamanistic magic (呪). Ninjutsu (忍術) is the skill of shinobi/ninja (忍), Ansatsujutsu (暗殺術) is the skill of assassination (暗殺), and so on. So, an-jutsu (闇術) is the skill of "an"(闇), which is an alternate reading of "yami" (闇), which means "darkness". This is what I don't like about the translation- The term "dark" pretty obviously has a very large signifincace in Dark Souls, and the English translation just decides to drop how anjutsu's name outright says that it's about using the dark. Basically, the name "anjutsu" suggests that it's a sort of magic that manipulates souls, humanity, and darkness. That's why there are spells that use up souls to cast. You can of course infer to all this from spell descriptions and people like Felkin and Grandal blabbing on about darkness all the time, but still, "hex" is pretty bad.

Edit: Aldia/An-Dil stuff

Dragon Acolyte Mask, English
Mask worn by acolytes of Aldia.
Several of the greatest minds converged in Aldia
to weave strange new rituals, but rumors suggest
that during the course of their work their thoughts
were not their own.
The nebulous face of the mask is designed
to deflect the ire of the ritual sacrifice

Mask of a Student of the Dragon, Japanese
Mask of a student of An-Dil.
Many intelligent people gathered at An-dil, and created many new [spells](see explanation), but it is unknown if this was intentional.
This fearsome mask is said to deflect the curses from those killed for their spells.
First of all, "acolyte" has a religious ring to it, while in Japanese it's clear that they're STUDENTS, not some weird cult.

Likewise, the English version goes on about rituals and ritual sacrifice, but both are "higi" in Japanese, and "higi" is also used in Japanese fiction to refer to magic, specifically powerful, mostly unknown, possibly forbidden kinds.

So basically they're MAD SCIENTISTS, not crazy cultists.

Also, there is speculation that "greatest minds converged in Aldia" means that the guy merged other people's consciousnesses into his own (people point to Navlaan as proof of this) but nope, Aldia/Al-Din refers to the place, and the "greatest minds" is referring to these guys you're killing.
"It is unknown if this was intentional" is slightly ambiguous- It could be referring to the creation of new spells (them making new discoveries was an accident and they were trying to do something else), or it could be referring to them coming to Al-Din in the first place (they were kidnapped).

Dragon Sage Hood
Hood worn by the Archmaster of Aldia.

Hood of a Student of the Dragon, Japanese
Hood of a teacher of An-Dil.
It seems to have been worn by someone of a high rank.

Once again with the cult bullshit. The "archmaster" is a teacher of An-Dil (the place, not the guy). Also "the Archmaster" suggests that he was one guy, while the Japanese is ambiguous.
And finally, while the guy is a teacher of An-Dil, he's still a STUDENT of the dragon.
Dragon Acolyte Robe
This white robe is designed to bear the brunt
of the ritual sacrifice's gushing blood.

Dragon Acolyte Gloves
These white gloves are designed to bear the
brunt of the ritual sacrifice's gushing blood.

Dragon Acolyte Boots
These practical boots are designed to prevent the
acolyte from slipping on the blood of the sacrifice.

All of these references to ritual sacrifice are "秘儀のために屠ったもの" "those killed for the higi/spells".

Edit: Majestic Greatsword, English

"An ancient greatsword of unknown origin. This sword was passed down through generations, until it reached Gordin, wandering knight of Forossa, and was lost upon his death. Uncannily, every last one of the prominent swordsmen who inherited this weapon was left-handed."

Glorious Greatsword, Japanese (majestic is fine but I feel that it's a bit off because people might think majestic = majesty = royalty. Also I like alliteration)

由来の知れぬ古い大剣 数多の所有者を経てフォローザの放浪騎士ゴルディンに渡ったが彼の死を境に途絶えた 使い手は皆、名を馳せた騎士となったが彼らは左利きの剣士であったという
An ancient greatsword of unknown origin. This sword was passed down through many people until it reached the wandering knight of Forosa, Gordin, and was lost upon his death. It is said that all of its user became famous knights, and were left-handed swordsmen.


Since this post is getting more hits than the rest of the blog I'd figure I'd just add a afterword to clarify something for people who can't read.

Ridiculous bullshit like the nonsense this stupid chucklefuck-
 -is spouting (also the dumbfuck is straight up putting words into my mouth because since when the fuck did I say anything of that sort about Seath?) leaves me livid because for some reason these idiots on reddit who clearly don't understand ANY of the language ("durhur japan doesn't have a th sound so D is the same thing as th also O is the same thing as A" just fucking die) keep questioning my ability in a language I GET PAID TO FUCKING WRITE ARTICLES IN, a language I TRANSLATE FOR LARGE COMPANIES ON A PROFESSIONAL BASIS.

And anyway I keep saying this and brain-dead fucks keep ignoring so I'm saying it again: These are clarifications of what the original text said, not suggestions for alternate translations. Every fucking time someone somewhere links this stupid fucks come out of the woodworks to go "wahhhhh the official translations sounds better". That's not the fucking point.  



Wow reddit is a fucking shithole.

Also I went through the comments in this video and the sheer amount of stupid-
-and number of pompous assholes-

-is astonishing

Speaking of that video, even though that video links to THIS BLOG (also the old reddit account I deleted), a bunch of chucklefucks on Fextralife are claiming credit for everything I've done.


I haven't touched anything related to Dark Souls for over a year yet THESE PEOPLE STILL KEEP COMING:
 ("durhur japan doesn't have a th sound so D is the same thing as th also O is the same thing as A"; Also I said nothing of that sort about Seath so he's plain spewing bullshit out of what he calls a mouth)

What is with the internet and Japanese and stupid fucks who insist on pretending to be experts in languages they don't understand?


  1. Fascinating, I really enjoyed reading this!
    The change from Cursed One to Pursuer is really strange..are any of his item descriptions butchered in translation (ring of blades included?)

    1. Hi, nice to hear that you found it interesting. A lot of the changes are pretty bizarre; I mean, I understand how localisation is required and all, but many of the changes seem to be just completely pointless. It's not like they're replacing onigiri with sandwiches or something.

      But yeah, I've added the Cursed One/Pursuer's stuff to the bottom of the post, enjoy!

    2. I think your translation of Mad Warrior is spot on...can't believe I didn't make that connection until now! I've seen the "Mad Knight of Alken" theorized to be everyone from Pursuer to Raime but the answer was right there..

      Very interesting that the Cursed One(s) are under orders from someone/something!

      Unnecessarily embellished translations has always been a peeve of mine and in a series like the Souls games, its particularly egregious as the nuances are what makes the lore. Keep up the great work, I hope to see more posts like this as there's plenty of oddly translated mysteries to unravel!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thank you for putting so much work into this.
    Some people in the community can be really ungrateful, pretentious assholes, and I'm sorry you had to deal with them.
    I would like to ask you one question regarding the "hurr-durr voice acting" argument and the names being different: does the japanese version just straight up have the VA saying one name while the text writes another, and if so do you have any speculation as to how this could have happened? It's one thing to have a full japanese version with the original names and a full english one with the changed ones, but to have the characters speak the changed name while the subtitles contain the original one seems like it would be very jarring. I would imagine somewhere along the line japanese QA would have gone "hey, why are the voice acted names all different?". Is this some japanese culture thing where it's ok to have this type of inconsistency between voice acting and text in games? Is it weird there too?

    1. >does the japanese version just straight up have the VA saying one name while the text writes another,


      >do you have any speculation as to how this could have happened?

      The translation company itself has stated that the process is

      Japanese text > Translation > Dub based on translation

      >Is this some japanese culture thing where it's ok to have this type of inconsistency between voice acting and text in games?

      It's not as much a "culture" thing as much as much as how nobody cares. To the Japanese audience the English voice acting is, like English text in other stuff, a stylistic choice, little more than a decoration, that few people even pay attention to.

      There's also an innate belief that the native English speakers probably know what they're doing when they translate stuff to English, that they probably have their reasons for changing stuff, even if it's unfathomable to the original writer.

      We also get Hollywood movies with subtitles that go close to being plain nonsense at times, and sometimes have English phrases written in katakana that are absolutely nothing like what's being said, or, yes, name changes. The scene with Stan Lee calling Tony Stark "Tony Stank" in the latest Captain America movie, for example, was subtitled with the name as "トニー・スカンク"/"Tony Skunk" (which is of course a completely warranted change as the meaning of Stank wouldn't be obvious to a Japanese audience, while a skunk is still a skunk in Japanese).

      So no, it's not really weird and is totally normal.

    2. Sorry if this comes completely out of nowhere, but you've been fantastically helpful with these translations when it comes to sussing out the hazy lore of this game (especially compared to the stubborn dunderheads over on Reddit...). While I was refeshing myself on the more accurate translations, I noticed how recent your last reply was and thought I'd ask if you could clarify a few things for me?

      Is there anything in the original text that gives any clearer information (relative to the English text) for the following: the Old Knights, the Embedded, the Darklurker, the Old Dragonslayer, the Lost Sinner, the Aged Feather, the Ancient Dragon Soul, the Old Chaos (in Eleum Loyce), the Shrine of the Living (the humanity restoring altar in Shrine of Amana), Human Effagies and Bonfire Ascetics?

      I realize that this is a lot to ask of you out of nowhere, but there's a lot of confusion about them and I feel like a lot of these subjects are poorly translated and a more accurate translation of the text related to these bits of lore may help better explain their purpose and origins.

      If I've asked for too much here, don't worry about it. Just let me know and I'll be on my way. You're just one of the few who can give concise answers and I'm very curious!

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