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Tips for Buying EarthBound

March 26th, 2010 | EarthBound, Images, Uncommon Knowledge

Omnomnominous sent this in, it’s from issue 69 of Nintendo Power. It briefly talks about how Nintendo handled the translation of MOTHER 2 into EarthBound:

For some reason, people always assumed Dan Owsen did the translation for EarthBound. I don’t know why, from what I recall it was two Japanese women who translated it (and were listed in the credits), all Dan did was some editing work. Anyway, I hope this finally clears up that bit of misinformation.

I’m guessing that stuff like the Octopus Statue turning into the Pencil Statue were Dan Owsen’s doing. Also, you can see he’s holding a guide, is that the instruction booklet to MOTHER 2? Or was it some other guide? There’s also something else with “MOTHER 2” on it on his desk, and what appears to be some other type of guide (possibly a manga?) that’s open and facing down on the desk. I wonder what it is.


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19 Comments to Editing EarthBound’s Translation

Carl said on Mar. 26, 2010

I remember this article and still have this issue of Nintendo Power.

Frankly, the article DOES make it sound like Dan is the translator. Yes, it does say that he “receives rough translations in English and then rewrites them to add an American flavor.” But it also says things like “Earthbound…will be an extremely difficult game to translate. At Nintendo of America, the job falls to Dan Owsen,” which is incorrect if he’s only the editor.

Mato said on Mar. 26, 2010

Yeah, being in the profession myself, I’ve noticed that people (especially reporters for some reason) are kind of fuzzy about what a translator does and doesn’t do and get mixed up with that kind of stuff easily.

Anyway, I remembered I had this pic from long ago so here’s this:

Also, somewhat sorta related: http://www.thehylia.com/lost_in_translation.shtml

neonix said on Mar. 26, 2010

The thing on the desk looks like the MOTHER 2 box. The booklet in his hands looks like it folds in half, making it a long booklet like the instruction manual. I’ll have a look through my M2 booklet when I get home to see if there is a page that looks like that.

meleemario said on Mar. 26, 2010

Damn, when this came up on my twitter feed, I thought Earthbound was going to get retranslated by you guys. This was cool too, but i’d certainly love to play Earthbound with a more refined script, and with some of the differences from M2EB in there too.

Carl said on Mar. 26, 2010

The Mother 2 instruction booklet does not have any page that looks like that.

Kris said on Mar. 26, 2010

I like how they still call it the “Mother of all RPGs.” Pretty much only an inside-joke at that point.

KingDarian said on Mar. 26, 2010

The book he’s holding open is the offical Nintendo/APE published MOTHER 2 guidebook, pages 58-59 detailing monsters in Threed. The other thing with the MOTHER 2 logo appears to be the game’s box.

FinalstarmanDX said on Mar. 26, 2010

is it me or does the “The MOTHER of all RPGs” thing at the bottom of the article make you chuckle?

TossedCirno said on Mar. 26, 2010

Oh God, “THE MOTHER OF ALL RPGS” made me lol hard

PK.bobbin said on Mar. 26, 2010

English re-writing takes a lot of time and creativity as well. I always loved his way of phrasing things in earthBound…I’m more strongly considering playing through Link’s Awakening and A Link to the Past since I read here Dan Owsen did the re-writing for those also.

liarxagerate said on Mar. 27, 2010

meleemario, tomato does great work but I’m not sure how much better a localization can get than the one EarthBound already has.

Of course it falls to me to be the designated angry defender of the EarthBound localization every time, so it should surprise nobody that I’m taking up this hobby horse again. But: If EarthBound hadn’t been localized as perfectly as it had been–if they had come too close to the Japanese or just half-finished it, a la EB0–I feel totally confident in saying that we probably wouldn’t be on this website.

Sir Ilpalazzo said on Mar. 27, 2010

Earthbound’s translation is pretty awesome, but it’s not like there aren’t things that could stand to be fixed if the GBA version was ever hacked or whatever. Leaving out the line that says what the Apple of Enlightenment did screwed with the English-speaking fan community for years.

Kysafen said on Mar. 27, 2010

It’s official: NCAA Final Four Basketball IS The Mother of All RPGs.

JudgeDeadd said on Mar. 27, 2010

Huh, “Janglish”.

A new word for my collection.

Mr. Saturn said on Mar. 27, 2010

I’m guessing that Mother of all RPGs is intentional.

Poe said on Mar. 27, 2010

PK.bobbin – There isn’t nearly as much talking in those two Zelda games as there is in EarthBound. Zelda has always been more about the adventure, gameplay, and puzzles than the story. I don’t want you going in expecting the level of EarthBound’s story, because you will be disappointed.

Crav said on Apr. 4, 2010

You can really see Dan’s influence in Link’s Awakening, but maybe that’s because it’s more light hearted than most Zelda games. It’s really just the style he words things. If you pay attention, you can tell when he’s tweeked something.

BLMNDEF said on Aug. 21, 2010

I see Master Belch in Dan’s book.


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