Super Smash Latin Translation Bros.

Here’s the official translation of the Latin at the end of SSBB. The localization team that worked for the game take a lot of liberties when translating from Latin to English (with verbs in particular).

I’ve heard legends of that person. How he plunged into enemy territory, how he saved his homeland. Audi famam illius. Solus in hostes ruit et patriam servavit.
I’ve heard legends of that person. How he traveled the breadth of the land, reducing all he touched to rubble. Audi famam illius. Cucurrit quaeque tetigit destruens.
I’ve heard legends of that person. Revered by many–I, too, revere him. Feared by many–I, too, fear him. Audi famam illius. Spes omnibus, mihi quoque. Terror omnibus, mihi quoque.
Now that person stands with me. Now, my friends are with me. Some of them were once my foes. Some, my mortal enemies. Ille iuxta me. Socii sunt mihi qui olim viri fortes rivalesque erant.
And as we face each other in battle, locked in combat, we shine ever brighter. Saeve certando pugnandoque splendor crescit.

For those of you at home, please write this down in your workbook in the space provided.

Congrats to She Who Reads–no relation to The Ghost Who Walks–for getting the literal sense better than the translators. But don’t be too hard on the localization team; they’re translating into English something that was translated into Latin from Japanese. Or, I suppose they could be translating an Japanese ur-version directly into English and forgoing the Latin entirely.

I wonder if a Japanese original accounts for the imperatives that the official translation renders
as first person statements. Anyone out there know enough Japanese to speculate? Is there a special form of the declarative that’s rendered as an imperative in Japanese?

Still, we’ve come a long way since the original days of Nintendo’s NES localization teams’ inadvertent hilariosity.

For extra credit, you may now translate the following Nintendisms into Latin:*

Eyes of skull has a secret. –Old Man, Legend of Zelda
[Update from Vampire Brad Pitt: Oculi calvae arcanum habet.]

Uh oh, the truck have started to move! –Solid Snake, Metal Gear
[Update from She Who Reads: Heu, autocarrum movere inceperunt.]

The vest isn’t 100% against heat. –A duck that runs a store for some reason, Milon’s Secret Castle

The president has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president? — The head of the Secret Service, Bad Dudes

Fight, MegaMan! For Everlasting Peace! — Narrator, Mega Man
[Update from Fort Lesley J. McNair: Pugnate, MagnumHominem! Per pacem semper durando!]

*Extra extra credit for translations that preserve the bad grammar of the original.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • the foppish baker

    Sadly, I don’t know enough *Latin* to be more specific, but the Japanese imperative is different enough that it shouldn’t be confused. Unless they’re using the polite imperative-like form, which is the same as when using two verbs together in a “VERB and then…” sort of construction. (I don’t think this makes lots of sense…)

  • Logan

    oculi calvae arcanum habet

  • Eaquae Legit

    In the 6+ years I have used this screen name, you are the first and only person to get it right off the bat. It’s kind of a relief, really.

    Did you know there are people translating old Nintendo games into Latin in their entirety? A friend of mine who knows both Latin and coding has been at it for a year or two. I believe he’s finished one mod that lets you play a game all in Latin.

  • Eaquae Legit

    Heu, autocarrum movere inceperunt.

  • J. McNair

    Actually, I rather like Eaquae Legit’s more literal translation. The imperative forms are immediate and much livelier than the official. Only the last line comes out awkwardly (like bad Engrish) and needed Nintendo ‘s SEVERE poetic license. Like you, I blame the Japanese -> Latin -> English process.

    Oh, and here’s a terrible attempt at the last one from Megaman:

    “Pugnate, MagnumHominem! Per pacem semper durando!”

  • My medieval masters has renaissance bits…

    My Latin is terrible, I must admit, so I couldn’t add the translation I would love to have seen – I Garland, will knock you all down! The closest I could come (with no real help from online translators) was – Ego Garland, mos infligo vos totus but I can’t get “down” into it.

  • Nathaniel Tapley

    Um, I really hate to be this pedantic (no, I don’t), but, unless Megaman is plural , the imperative is ‘Pugna’. And does the imperative take the accusative? (It’s 13 years since I last did any Latin, so I actually can’t remember…Isn’t it the vocative?)

    I’d go with “Oppugna, MagneVir!” but then, I’d probably be quite wrong, too…

  • Got Medieval

    I assumed that J.McNair was addressing MegaMan politely.

    The larger question brought up by Mr. Tapley is important, though. Which is the better translation of MegaMan: MagnumHominem, or MagneVir? Though perhaps, given the Engrish nature of the assignment, the question should instead be, which translation is more delightfully weird?

  • J. McNair

    A million years later, I’ll answer to this. Why? To prove that I thought WAY too much about it.

    “MagneVir” is more correct, but rolls off the tongue MUCH too easily. “MagnumHominem” is a whole mess of awkward syllables. Also according to the story, Megaman is really more boy than man. A boy… robot… cyborg… thing, so hominem seemed “more betterest”.

    Now, I give on Pugnate. My Latin is rusty as well, so from memory it seemed the correct imperative and I just assumed it could take an accusative. But I shall cover my booty by saying an excess of formality is a hallmark of Japanese. So…there.

  • http://twitter.com/leoboiko leonardo boiko

    I for one can’t think of anything re: Japanese imperatives.  The J. imperative is quite rude and its usage very circumscribed.  There are some softer pleading forms, but they’d still only translate to “[please] listen [about] the fame of that person” at best.

    There’s something much more common in the volitional/exhortative mood (for desire or invitation), which is (sorta) morphologically related to the imperative.  But that still wouldn’t fit the English text (it would be “Let’s hear legends” or “I’d like to hear legends”).

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