AoL Japanese/English Translation Comparison

The goal of this feature is to compare the text of "The Adventure of Link" with that of its original Japanese version, "RINKU no Bouken." This is done by aligning the text of the story and enemy descriptions in tables. People who know Japanese better than I do have translated the original Japanese text quote by quote, allowing a comparison to be made with the "official" English translation given in the American game.

This has been made possible thanks to and . Johan has studied Japanese for two years and currently lives in Japan. Zethar II grew up in Japan for ten years, and currently lives in Hawaii. So far, the story from the manual has been compared. The complete table, and the most interesting findings, are given below.

Manual Story

» Download AoL Manual Story Translation Comparison Table
Created by Johan, Zethar II, and David Butler
Last Modified: 7/25/2003

The stories given in the two manuals are basically the same. Listed below are the most interesting differences between the Japanese and American versions. The complete table can be downloaded above.

  • Ganon's underlings aren't just waiting for him to return - they're actively plotting, and are just waiting for the right opportunity to act.
  • The sleeping Zelda is called the "Shodai" Zelda, which means "first generation" or "founder." That is, she is the founder of the tradition of naming princesses in the Royal Family "Zelda." There are several ways to interpret this. One might say that no princess before her has been named Zelda, which means that she either predates OoT, or is the Zelda in OoT. Or, one might say other princesses have been named Zelda before her, and those are just coincidences.
  • The Japanese version doesn't say how many parts of the Triforce the prince is missing. It only says that he searched for what he did not have. The English version says the prince is searching for the missing "parts." This implies (though not necessarily) that he only has one piece in his possession, since there are only three parts of the Triforce. In any case, the Japanese version is less clear about just what he inherited.
  • Impa only reports that "it is said" that the wizard died. So maybe it was just hearsay that he died, and maybe he didn't really die. Impa could, however, be talking this way because she is reciting the story second-hand.
  • The Great Palace is not really a palace, it's a "Shinden" (temple).
  • The final bosses in the palaces are called "Shugoshin" - "guardian deities." This is the same word used in such games as MM (remember when the owl says the swamp has lost its guardian deity?) So, in a way, the bosses are like guardian deities of their temples.
  • The "binding force" on the Great Palace is actually called a "Kekkai" (barrier). This is the same word used in OoT in Ganon's castle to describe the Forest Barrier, Shadow Barrier, etc.
  • The last sentence in the American manual starts out saying, "At that time, Ganon's underlings were calling up new allies from the Underworld..." This is inaccurate in several very important ways. First, "ally" is kind of a mistranslation. "Chuugen" are more like common soldiers, the hordes of low-level minions. So, it's not like powerful new allies are being called forth. Rather, more cannon fodder are being brought up (i.e. all the relatively low-level enemies you see in AoL). Second, "Underworld" is a complete misnomer. One might think that this refers to the Underworld from LoZ, but this is not the case. In LoZ, the word for Underworld translates literally to "underground." (Overworld is translated from a word meaning "above ground.") So in LoZ the Underworld is literally underground. But here in AoL, the word given translates to "world of spirits" or "hell." This is the same word used in OoT by Zelda and Rauru when they tell Link what happened to the Sacred Realm when Ganondorf got the Triforce. (In the U.S. version of OoT this translates to "world of evil" or "world filled with evil.") So, it appears, Ganon's army is not being called up from the Underworld, but from the tainted Sacred Realm!