amielleon: Nasir from Fire Emblem 10. (Nasir: Sorrow)
Ammie ([personal profile] amielleon) wrote2017-03-12 11:22 am

Hitori Omou (Lost In Thoughts All Alone) - Translation & Analysis

While helping a friend with a French translation, I noticed that the existing literal translations of FE14's signature song were somewhat haphazard. I think many of those translations were done before we all had a great understanding of the game, and since grammar in poetry can be somewhat loose and open to interpretation, many of those translations involved a copious amount of guesses (unfortunately wrong ones).

In fact, the original song was an incredibly accurate reflection of the events of Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation. I think a literal translation of the song is worthwhile just to appreciate that fact. I wrote this up for said French translation friend and figured it would be worth sharing with the wider community.

The Japanese lyrics are copy pasted from this site, and revised to reflect the official lyrics.

JapaneseLiteral TranslationCommentary
ユラリ ユルレリ
泡沫 想い 廻る 秤 
伝う 水脈
その手が 拓く 未来は
wafting, swaying
a balance where bubble-like thoughts swirl;
a telling crystal;
the future opened by these hands:
"Yurari yurureri" isn't totally meaningless--it's related to mimetic words for swaying--but it's closer to onomatopoeia than actual words. "Splish swoosh" is undignified in English, but "wafting, swaying" have an impressionistic quality to them.
"Utagata," bubble-like, might be a bit of wordplay as "uta" is a homophone for "song."
I believe word here for "thoughts" (omoi) actually refers to the deeper meaning of one's experience, consciousness, qualia--probably referring to the characters' lives hanging in the balance.
The second/third lines are whimsical noun phrases setting the stage, but the last clearly links into the upcoming verse.
Birthright Verse:
光へ 手を伸ばす
水晶 柔く光散りて
独り 思う
you reach your hands to the light.
the incorrigible blade of silver
and tears apart those thoughts.
singing tranquility;
the crystal weakly scatters light;
in the dawn driving away the dark,
you think alone.
While it seems odd that the "blade" remains "slumbering" and violently tears apart the "thoughts" established in the chorus, in the context of Birthright, it makes sense: Yato doesn't fully awaken, and you slay your foster kin.
"Singing tranquility" (not tranquil song) probably refers to Azura. The word for "scatter" can also mean "disperse," and I believe this line is a play on her ultimate fate in Birthright, which leaves Corrin standing, thinking, existing alone.
ユラリ ユルレリ
泡沫 想い 廻る 秤
伝う 水脈
その手が 拓く 未来は
wafting, swaying
a balance where bubble-like thoughts swirl;
a telling crystal;
the future opened by these hands:
(Same as before)
Conquest Verse:
闇へと 進みゆく
黒曜 鈍く 崩れ落ちて
光去り行く 黄昏
you advance toward the dark.
the vacant white throne;
you deceive your whole self;
revolving justice;
the black day dully crumbles and falls;
in the twilight where light dies away,
you think alone.
"Revolving justice" probably refers to the sense of not knowing what's right, as Corrin struggles mightly with this concept in Conquest.
"Black day" clearly refers to Garon's crumbling reign, and is probably also a play on the Japanese name for Nohr, which meant "black night".
Revelation Chorus:
選びしは 正しき道 すべてが
嘆きも笑顔も 悔いも夢も きっと
行く末に 迷い疲れ 流離い
茨をその身に 刻むもまた きっと
your choice is the right path. All of it,
the tears and smiles and regrets and dreams, surely;
toward your future you wander exhausted;
thorns in your flesh; you are cut up again, yet surely
"Thorns in your flesh" happens to be the name of the Revelation version of Chapter 6, hence that line clearly refers to how Corrin gets torn apart from all their families in the beginning. (The Birthright and Conquest verses' first lines are also their respective Chapter 6 titles, but I thought the "Thorns in your flesh" reference is less clear out of context.)
Revelation Verse:
亡骸 埋もれ 狂い果てて
我が意を 誰が知るや
you go sink into the ravine.
your wandering, swaying heart;
your childhood
wish you wanted.
the lineage that joins you;
the corpse without mind, its madness completes;
reflecting on the water's surface,
who will know my thoughts?
In Revelation Corrin gets their dreams of world peace and sibling love and meets their real dad in the process, hooray.
In "corpse without mind," "mind" is meant only in the sense of "reason" or "logic."
It's worth noting that while I've been assuming the "you"s throughout this song because Japanese likes dropping pronouns, the word "my" is explicitly there.
"Thoughts" in the last line uses a different word than before, this time more closely related to "consciousness" or "will".
It's also worth noting that this is the only verse that doesn't end in "hitori omou/you think alone"... probably because Azura actually survives.
ユラリ ユルレリ
泡沫 想い 廻る 秤 
伝う 水脈
その手が 拓く 未来は
wafting, swaying
a balance where bubble-like thoughts swirl;
a telling crystal;
the future opened by these hands...
(Same as before)

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