Why "Noble Phantasm"?

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Why "Noble Phantasm"?

Unread postby arkady18 » May 20th, 2009, 1:06 pm

Hi, folks!
It's the first time I have ever posted something in this forum, so I think it's polite to introduce myself before continuing writing^^
I'll introduce myself in spoiler tag, so the ones who don't want to read about me don't have to.
I'm an Italian boy who's studing American English and Japanese at university. I enjoyed mirror moon's translation of F/SN so much that, after asking for Takajun's permission, I started translating mirror moon's translation into Italian, since my Japanese is still so poor! The only problem is that the quality of translation can't be perfect in this way, being a translation over another translation, but I'm trying to solve this problem translating some of the text (that in English version sometimes is bad translated, not so totally bad, but in some scenes there are some phases far from perfect; anyways, I'm talking about only some phrases that I'm sure were very difficult to put in English: I'm not critizing anyone!) directly from Japanese, where I can.


Anyway, what I really want to ask is why English version of Fate translates 宝具 (hougu) as Noble Phantasm. The first kanji means treasure and the second one means tool. But how have English translator ended up translating 宝具 with Noble Phantasm? Italian translators of FSN manga (a shitty, crappy and whatever-bad-you-could-think-about-it adaptation into manga of the visual novel) translated it as "strumento prezioso" (in English, precious tool). I don't like this translation, but I don't think that it's wrong. But I can't understand why Noble Phantasm. I don't even know if Phantasm is a English word, since my dicyionary doesn't know it. "Phantasm" recalls me the italian word "fantasma" (the Italian for ghost, phantom), but I don't know if it's really a synonym of ghost.
Now, I don't know how to put it in Italian. I've translated the first 5 days of Fate route and I left Noble Phantasm untouched up to now; but, now that I'm correcting translated files, I have to decide if I should translate Noble Phantasm(and how), if I should leave it N P or if I should re-write it as Japanese version hougu.
So, is there anyone who knows why hougu became Noble Phantasm?

Thanks a lot!
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Re: Why "Noble Phantasm"?

Unread postby solopy567 » May 20th, 2009, 1:16 pm

The Phantasm part can be related to the fact that heroic spirits are sort of like ghosts with a physical form, and their weapon is also kind of ghostly.
The Noble part is the fact that this weapon was the reason a servant became a hero, so it is a noble weapons.

So we get Noble Phantasm, the noble weapon of spirits.

That's what i think it means at least.
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Re: Why "Noble Phantasm"?

Unread postby abscess » May 20th, 2009, 5:23 pm

Hmmm.... interesting discussion. You (OP) could wait for someone knowledgable in moonspeak to appear or you could try asking the translator himself (TakaJun). That or checking the mm IRC channel, there are times when translators from other teams appear there.
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Re: Why "Noble Phantasm"?

Unread postby arkady18 » May 20th, 2009, 7:38 pm

I don't know. I don't want to disturb anyone, so I think that I'll wait for someone to answer me.XD Beside, I don't even know how a IRC channel works..
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Re: Why "Noble Phantasm"?

Unread postby TheRedArcher » May 20th, 2009, 9:26 pm

I think I might know why. When I practice Japanese, I read manga. And usually they have the pronunciation of Kanji right along the side of the Kanji. The same is true for the names of an attack. When they say the name of an attack, the words are in kanji but on the side, it will have a katakana "translation". And the "translation" says the English version but the Kanji pronunciation is totally different. For example, In a doujin, Gilgamesh uses Gate of Babylon, but it is written in Kanji. The japanese pronunciation is "Ou no Zaihou", which literally means "King's riches". On the side, it says "Gate of Babylon" in Katakana. So I guess the katakana on the side is how the author wants it to be said. I am pretty sure the untranslated game does not have the little katakana lines, but I can't really think of any other reason why it would be called "Noble Phantasm". Maybe Nasu said that he wanted it to be called "Noble Phantasm" during the process of making FSN and that info was leaked out.
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Re: Why "Noble Phantasm"?

Unread postby Grelline » May 20th, 2009, 10:07 pm

TheRedArcher's statement sounds about right, they also have both versions of the names for noble phantasms on the status screen of the VN.

He does have a point, it wouldn't have sounded as cool if he shouted "King's Treasure" instead of "Gate Of Babylon", same thing with hogou, "precious tool" sounds like you love a power drill or something :P....and shouting "Star of creation that split heaven and earth" is too much of a mouthful compared to "Enuma Elish", Saber woulda cut him in two before he finished XD
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Re: Why "Noble Phantasm"?

Unread postby Sovran » May 21st, 2009, 10:05 am

Volume 6 of Fate - Stay night manga, about confrontation with Rider, the last chapter is called "Noble Fantazm".
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Re: Why "Noble Phantasm"?

Unread postby arkady18 » May 21st, 2009, 10:53 am

And usually they have the pronunciation of Kanji right along the side of the Kanji.


I felt the same way, so I searched in the translated and in the original text. The first time the words "Noble Phantasm" appear is in prologue 2 and they appear two times, one describing the Holy Grail and one actually speaking about what we know as Noble Phantasm. As for the Holy Grail, there are no furigana; when it speaks about the real Noble Phantasms, there are furigana over the kanjis.

English version:

"...I'll have to live without his Noble Phantasm until his memory returns. Well, there's no way he can use it if he doesn't remember it."


Japanese version:

「……あいつの記憶が戻るまで[ruby text="きり"]宝[ruby text="ふだ"]具は封印か……思い出せないんじゃ使いようがないしね」


[ruby text=""] is the code for furigana. So, in furigana is written the word "kirifuda", which means trump card.

In this page, they says:
A Noble Phantasm (宝具 hougu, lit. precious tool) is a weapon or an ability owned by a heroic spirit.

"Noble Phantasm" is the official English name, as given by the katakana reading of its kanji in its encyclopedia entry.


I just can't understand which katakana reading nor encyclopedia they're speaking about. The only furigana reading I found out is the kirifuda I was speaking about some lines up.

Now, I still can't understand why "Noble Phantasm".

Volume 6 of Fate - Stay night manga, about confrontation with Rider, the last chapter is called "Noble Fantazm".


Are you speaking about the original Japanese manga or about the translated one?
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Re: Why "Noble Phantasm"?

Unread postby Sovran » May 21st, 2009, 11:40 am

arkady18 wrote:
And usually they have the pronunciation of Kanji right along the side of the Kanji.

Volume 6 of Fate - Stay night manga, about confrontation with Rider, the last chapter is called "Noble Fantazm".


Are you speaking about the original Japanese manga or about the translated one?

Original, of course.
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Re: Why "Noble Phantasm"?

Unread postby arkady18 » May 21st, 2009, 12:29 pm

Ok, I guess I'll let Noble Phantasm be as is, without trying translating it.
Thanks a lot!
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