"Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 vs S2

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"Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 vs S2

Postby Switch » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:46 am

The latest post on Phantom River Stone looks into the difference in the naming of certain characters between the first and second Shenmue games when playing the English versions, and how these relate to the native ordering in Japan & China.

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Read the analysis here:

http://www.phantomriverstone.com/2017/09/zhu-yuan-da-or-yuanda-zhu-characters.html

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Re: "Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 v

Postby MiTT3NZ » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:54 am

Always preferred the order in Shenmue I. Just as an added thing for you, in the DC version of Shenmue II the arm wrestling announcers (or the first one you come across, at least) refers to Ryo has "Hazuki Ryo", though it's switched back round in the subtitles)
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Re: "Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 v

Postby Sappharad » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:16 pm

Based on the content of the article, I prefer the way they did it in Shenmue II just because it's clear what the first and last names are.

I like the way the first game sounds though, and maybe that's why they took that approach? I think the reason is that, at least in my experience, first names are usually common names and last names are usually more complex. Hence I'm used to hearing simple / common name followed by complicated last name. With Zhu and Tao being one syllable each, it sounded better to hear them in that order.

I'm glad they fixed the problem in 2, I just hope if they re-release that that could do something to flip the names in 1 back around. (Either by splicing the audio to change the order, or if that sounds weird splicing clips from 2 instead)
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Re: "Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 v

Postby OL » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:46 pm

I wouldn't call it a "problem." I personally prefer the first game's method, if only because it's more authentic, and I'll take authenticity over western accessibility every time with stuff like this. If they said it one way in the Japanese audio, that's how I want to see it in the subs, or hear the English VA saying it. Always bothers the crap out of me playing the Yakuza games, where the Japanese voice actor obviously says "Kiryu Kazuma" but the subs say "Kazuma Kiryu."

Anyway, as for why there's this discord between the two Shenmue games, I'd guess that the localization for the first game was just done really quickly; Ryo's name was "corrected" the way it was because he's the single most present character in the entire game, so westernizing his name was a priority, while ones like Zhu Yuan Da or Tao Li Shao are just mentions in dialogue, and therefore get passed over more quickly in the translation.
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Re: "Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 v

Postby O Rei do Frango Assado » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:34 am

Personally, I've always been against the practice of reversing the order of East Asian names for Western audiences. I find it condescending and insulting. Not to mention it is plain wrong. The fact is, Shenmue's main character, to give an example, is called Hazuki Ryo, not Ryo Hazuki.
How about educating people instead? Which, by the way, is what Switch is doing, so, once again, thanks!
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Re: "Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 v

Postby BlueMue » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:50 am

It was an interesting idea that they kept the reversed order for the Chinese names in Shenmue but compared and it was fine as it is. Only when going to Shenmue II we realized the was something odd in the first game.
I personally like the way it's done in Shenmue II more. It makes more sense among all the other names and they simply just sound better this way.

And I think they made the right decission with that and the genral adaptation of how the names are said in general. It simply doesn't work out to say the last name first in English. I don't see a problem with the change at all. It's more concerning when they translate "Onii-chan" into "Ryo". But I know it's difficult to adapt this to western languages.
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Re: "Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 v

Postby Sappharad » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:11 pm

BlueMue wrote:And I think they made the right decission with that and the genral adaptation of how the names are said in general. It simply doesn't work out to say the last name first in English. I don't see a problem with the change at all. It's more concerning when they translate "Onii-chan" into "Ryo". But I know it's difficult to adapt this to western languages.

Kind of off topic, but this reminded me of Yakuza Kiwami which came out last month and I finished a couple of weeks ago. They made a similar choice there which I found to be odd. Pretty much throughout the entire game, Haruka refers to Kiryu as "Oji-san" but they just subtitle it as Mister the entire time. It's not until the post-credits sequence after you finish the game where she still calls him Ojisan, but then they subtitle it as "Uncle Kaz" like in subsequent games. I think their choice made sense, they were trying to create a distinction between someone she just recently met and someone she's known for a while, but the fact that you can hear her calling him the same thing the entire time made it odd.

Anyway, I agree with you. The point of a translation is so that the reader (or listener) can fully understand the meaning of what's being said. I think knowing what is someone's given name versus their family name is kind of important, and if you don't correct that most players won't realize they're getting the last name first. I honestly thought Yuanda Zhu's first name was Zhu back when I played the first game. If I knew the names were in Japanese order then I'd be fine with it, but I think in general I'd prefer if the translator doesn't assume that a reader would know about the differences and just do what the majority of readers are expecting.
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Re: "Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 v

Postby Shenmue_Legend » Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:12 am

O Rei do Frango Assado wrote: Personally, I've always been against the practice of reversing the order of East Asian names for Western audiences. I find it condescending and insulting. Not to mention it is plain wrong. The fact is, Shenmue's main character, to give an example, is called Hazuki Ryo, not Ryo Hazuki.
How about educating people instead? Which, by the way, is what Switch is doing, so, once again, thanks!


I don't like Hazuki Ryo. To me, he will always be known as Ryo Hazuki. It sounds better and just more "right". Also, I prefer Lishao Tao and Zhu Yuan Da.
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Re: "Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 v

Postby shenmue852 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:26 pm

in both China and Japan, names are ordered by family name first and given name second.

the proper translation convention in English is to keep the name order for Chinese names, but switch the name order to Western style for Japanese names. Hence, Ryo Hazuki and Zhu Yuan Da are the proper translations for Hazuki Ryo and Zhu Yuan Da.

Shenmue I was done properly and Shenmue II was rushed and fucked up.

They also ruined the pronunciation of Yuanda in the English dub for Shenmue II. Which is a shame because they could have just used the first game as a reference since it was properly translated there. Inconsistency in both name order and pronunciation.

Yet another reason to ignore the garbage English dubs altogether. I have NO CLUE why people wanted to mod the Xbox dub over onto the DC version.

The first game's dub was bad but had a quaint, dreamy otherworldly charm to it, even if it was worse than the Japanese dub to the point where it ruined the game's reputation and critical reception in the west.

The second game's dub was worse than having no dialogue audio at all. When I watch HD videos of Shenmue II, if the voices are in English I turn the sound off.
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Re: "Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 v

Postby BlueMue » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:14 am

shenmue852 wrote:the proper translation convention in English is to keep the name order for Chinese names, but switch the name order to Western style for Japanese names.

Dictates who or what?
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Re: "Zhu Yuan Da" or "Yuanda Zhu"? | Character Names in S1 v

Postby Truck_1_0_1_ » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:08 am

Sappharad wrote:
BlueMue wrote:And I think they made the right decission with that and the genral adaptation of how the names are said in general. It simply doesn't work out to say the last name first in English. I don't see a problem with the change at all. It's more concerning when they translate "Onii-chan" into "Ryo". But I know it's difficult to adapt this to western languages.

Kind of off topic, but this reminded me of Yakuza Kiwami which came out last month and I finished a couple of weeks ago. They made a similar choice there which I found to be odd. Pretty much throughout the entire game, Haruka refers to Kiryu as "Oji-san" but they just subtitle it as Mister the entire time. It's not until the post-credits sequence after you finish the game where she still calls him Ojisan, but then they subtitle it as "Uncle Kaz" like in subsequent games. I think their choice made sense, they were trying to create a distinction between someone she just recently met and someone she's known for a while, but the fact that you can hear her calling him the same thing the entire time made it odd.


I believe that in Japan, that is still the respectful term for your elder..

When I was over there last year, I called many men, older than myself (cab drivers, hotel people, restauranteurs, etc.), "Oji-San," and they graciously replied to whatever I had said before calling them that, so I think I did alright lol.

How I've always seen it, is that she called him, "Oji-San," from the start and it has become a nickname of sorts.

Someone shared a good POV on Gamefaqs on, I believe, the 5th game's boards, as to why she keeps calling him that, because he too was a bit weirded out as to why she keeps calling him, "Mister."
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