This entry isn't about the translation in general, though. I wasn't going to write anything about it, since for the most part you can still understand what's going on, but I just had to vent about a certain event I just encountered. Fairly early in the game, Croix must make a decision... (minor spoiler, highlight to read)between protecting Luca or protecting Cloche, which then has a major impact on how the rest of the game plays out. The event I'm discussing happens in the next chapter on the Luca route.(end spoiler) One of the challenges you may encounter involves trying to select the "real" Luca out of a group of nine lookalikes, based only on what they say (there's also a Cloche version of this event). Or, to be more accurate, HOW they say it. Nuances of speaking style are typically lost in translation (since they simply don't translate!), but puzzles like this make it necessary for translators to be more creative and somehow find a way to make different styles more obvious, even if (and I wouldn't normally say this) they have to force the issue and make something up (outrageous accents, esoteric words, just as long as it's SOMETHING). How did the translators for this game do with this event? Well, you've probably guessed my answer already, but let's go into more depth anyway.
Fortunately for me, I was able to find a Japanese website that lists every one of these lines in the Japanese version of the game, as well as a wealth of other information about the game. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything similar for the English release, so I had to transcribe them myself, but that's easier than transcribing lines from a version I don't actually have, yes? Incidentally, the area is called "Love Flow" in case anyone's trying to Google it.
Let's start with the ones on the top left screen. These are overall the most obvious as wrong Lucas even in the English version:
"You insolent fool! Who do you think I am? I'm the royal maiden!" - originally 「無礼者！気安く話しかけるでないわ。余を誰と心得る。正当なる御子であるぞ！」This one had better be obvious. It's a rather over-the-top impersonation of Cloche in both versions. The English loses the archaic tone, but is still obviously not Luca. So far, so good. And for those who care about such things, 余 (よ) is an archaic and haughty first person pronoun somewhat comparable to わたくし.
"Oh, my dog. Eat some Pippencuit over there." - originally 「あら、私の犬。貴方なんてぺぺんぺいでも食べてればいいのよ。」
"Yo Croix! Of course I'm the real one! You better choose me!" - originally 「おう、クロア！俺が本物に決まってるだろ！絶対選べよ！」
Now for the top right screen, since the real one isn't there either:
"Hmph! Stop thinking so hard! Make a decision already!" - originally 「もう！そんなに悩むなんて、ぷーだよぷー！ちゃっちゃと決めてよ！」
"Please don't go! I'm sorry, I... I want to be with Croix." - originally 「行かないで！！ごめんなさい、私… 私…クロアと一緒にいたい…。」
Finally, here are the Lucas in the center screen:
"Meow, Croix. I'm the real one. Meow. Please pick me!" - originally 「にゃ、クロアにゃ。私が本物にゃ。是非私を選んでにゃ！」
"Hey, Croix. I'm the real one! You understand?" - originally 「あ、クロアー。あたしが本物だよっ！わかってるよね？」
"Teehee! I'm the real one. You better not get it wrong..." - originally 「えへへへへっ！私が本物だよ。間違えたら承知しないんだからっ…。」
"Teehee! I'm the real one! You won't get it wrong, will you?" - originally 「えへへ、私が本物だよっ！まさか、間違えたりしないよね？」
After searching through the game text, I was able to find exactly one other place in the entire game where they had Luca say "Teehee!" In contrast, the えへへ in the Japanese text, basically a nervous or forced laugh and fairly distinctive besides, is something Luca does over thirty times in the main text of Phase 1 alone. The English version uses the more unremarkable "hehehe" in most cases, "hehe" occasionally, and once in a while something else like "haha". It's more of an "eheheh", but, more to the point, needs to be handled more consistently, especially since it's an important part of her characterization.
Anyway, like I said above, translators NEED to do SOMEthing with situations like these. Throw in a Southern drawl, a Western accent, some awkward phrasing, even some random French, anything! In this situation, the literal translation is far less important than being able to distinguish which one is "normal".
As I originally forgot to mention, this reminded me of a puzzle in Wild ARMs involving five "treasure chests" you can open or close and five corresponding bookshelves with messages to clue you in to whether each of the chests should be open or not. The trick is that the content of the messages is absolutely irrelevant except for one thing: whether it contains the word "open" or "closed". At least, that was how it worked in the Japanese version, or to be more precise, the kanji meaning open (開) or closed (閉). Three of the English ones work just fine, with lines like "Closed minds will lead Filgaia to its doom," but a fourth, "For a thousand years, people have torn apart the land, looking for the future they've lost," requires more effort (read "torn apart" as "torn open"), and the fifth, "The Elws have gone to another world...", leaves nothing to go on. That last one is "closed", incidentally. Probably the original line reads something like "closed themselves off in another land."