Questions about character names


#1

A few random questions that have always been in the back of my mind:

Question 1. A substantial portion of the games we discuss here were developed in Japan, but then translated to English…and, so when I see some of the strange character names that have graced these games over the years, I have to wonder whether some things were lost in the translation.

For example, Tiamat’s SF canon suggests that Urien’s name might have been intended to be “Julian” or “Ulian”, but due to katakana interpretations it eventually became “Urien”. Now, I sincerely doubt that Capcom intended a man wearing diaper-like attire to be one letter switch away from being called “urine”. It’s not in his character. He’s too serious for a silly pun like that…so chances are his name really was supposed to interpreted as something else.

Other names I wonder about:

Guile- Umm? According to my one semester of Japanese, the katakana tells me “Gah-ay-ru” or “Gah-ay-lu”. The closest name I know would be “Giles”. The random “u” is a mystery to me. “Guile” is a word, sure…but as a name? Pretty strange to pick such an awkward name for a guy who’s supposed to be “Mr. Typical American Hero Man.” (although Guile used to look like a scumbag in his original SF2 profile) Any thoughts as to what his intended name might have been?

Geese- Now, that’s some crazy ish…but, I dunno, it works. Now. Some 15 years later. The original Fatal Fury was a pretty cheesy game…so I wouldn’t put it past them to put some silly pun in there…(“DUCK King”…“Billy KANE”)…maybe “Geezer” Howard? After all, in Fatal Fury 3, a number of characters talk crap to Geese about his age…
Where ever his name came from, I don’t think SNK took the English word “goose”, made it plural, and slapped it on the boss of their shiny new game. That’s impossible.

Goenitz- shrugs

Rugal- Katakana says “Ru-Gah-Ru”…Since R’s and L’s are interchangable, maybe some variation on the name “Luger”?

**Question 2. ** Why is it that the Sakazakis names are always in Katakana, when other Japanese SNK characters’ names are usually in Kanji? Just look here:
http://kofaniv.snkplaymore.co.jp/character/index.php

or here:
http://game.snkplaymore.co.jp/official/svc/chara/chara_top.html

The Sakazaki family always sticks out. I’d imagine that Ryo is a pretty common Japanese name. Yuri, too. I’d imagine that Kanji exists for their names…so why not use it? I defer to those much more fluent in Japanese…

Any insights to these trivial questions?


#2

Urien is an old, obscure Anglo-Saxon or Norse name. There’s actually a character named “Urien” mentioned in Beowulf.

I’ve wondered about why the “Sakazaki” name is peculiarly written in kana rather than kanji as well.
At first I assumed it was because they’re Japanese-American, but then again Ken and Ryu’s names are always written in katakana as well…


#3

I wouldnt worry too much about name translations. For the same reason that a lot of song titles and such don’t make much sense to us as native english speakers, they didn’t intend for anyone to really sit there and test the legit-ness of the names, methinks. And i think for names they KNOW are foreign, they prolly write it in English first and then Katakana-ize it. Not vice versa.

As for the katakana/kanji thing. I think its just one of those things that there’s prolly no real good reason behind. It could be some crazy long complicated kanji that not a lot of people can read (cause keep in mind, while the Japanese are obviously better at Kanji, they still say that there’s a ton of them that they don’t know). So maybe the Sakazaki kanji was just way too much for the average gamer or whatever to be able to read, so they just wrote it in Katakana to simplify it. Thats the best logic i can think of, but it could be something as simple as “developer felt like it”.


#4

urien is a real name he fucked catherine the great ok

he was also a dude that got his ass beat by king arthur and became his pal

most names are probably “hey whats a cool name for this dude” “balrog” “ok”


#5

Katakana is a pain in the ass. it’s suppose to be the alphabet to translate foreign words but since japanese is so lacking in phonetics the word you are trying to translate won’t be exact

Spoon- suupun OMG!!! kanji is more easier


#6

Katakana is necissary tho. If everything was written in english if it was an english word, then everyone woudl say everything differently.

The thing is, if i said “supuun” (spoon), they would understand it. When they’re saying “supuun” to eachother, thats how they understand it. If it was written in english, some might say “suppun” some might say “supuun” others might say “suupun”. You need Katakana to have that one correct way to say it. No difference from having to learn a word in hiragana and say that instead. Instead of saying plate, you say “sara”. If it was “puretto” or something, it doesnt matter if katakana sounds dumb, you still have to learn a new word for the word you want to translate.


#7

…and also the most easiest?:wgrin:


#8

“Rugal” intended as “Luger” is possible, but I think “Luger” would more likely be transliterated as “???” ?as it is in “Lex Luger”) than “???”. The rest I don’t buy. “Goenitz” is just supposed to be a Polish-sounding surname, I think (he is Polish right)?

“Rolento” was probably supposed to be “Laurent”, though. Old beat 'em ups have a bunch of these, actually. Andore (Final Fight) = Andre, Galsia (Streets of Rage) = Garcia, etc.


#9

Until I see him hit himself with a tornado, I’d say no. Shit, I dunno. :lol:

lol, the japanese alpha 2 announcer calls him “Rolex”!


#10

The “u” is probably to get people to pronounce it with a soft “g”.

The hard “g” found in names like “Giles” is represented by the “j/zy” (depending on your romanization scheme) group of kana. Looking at a name dictionary, “Giles” is “zyairuzu” (or “jairuzu”).

It could be a weird mistake, as people do sometimes use “Goose” as a nickname. Unlikely though.

On the other hand, I can see them taking the English word “geese” and slapping it on the boss of their shiny new game. Picking a name based on sound, or even just for being a foreign word, isn’t strange. And it isn’t like America doesn’t do similar with Asian names.


#11

Goenitz is German, properly spelled Gnitz, but is often changed to oe for various reasons. I don’t know what it means, though, but there’s a town with that name in Austria, and it appears to be a real surname as well…

So that one is actually correct for a change… The others I have no idea about, except I agree that Rolento probably was supposed to be ‘Laurent’, and his surname ‘Schugerg’ is obviously wrong as well, since Schugerg isn’t a name but Schuberg is.


#12

I always assumed Guile was named Guile because it looked like he was blocking/defending when he was actually charging up for a flash kick/sonic boom. It makes perfect sense that way, as Guile is a “sneaky” character (or would be when the game first came out, and people were unsure about characters and moves.)


#13

Urien is a welsh name. Used in welsh mythology along with others. Urien is still a used name now in Wales, just not overly common.


#14

I’ve heard that Katakana can be used when you want to give emphasis to something, so it could just be that SNK wants to give them “oomph”. Kind of makes sense to me, since they’re sort of main characters (along with Kyo, Terry, Iori, K’, Ash…) .

Edit: For further example, look at Akatsuki BLITZKAMPF. The main character’s name is written in Katakana. He’s the central point of the story, and therefore garners emphasis.


#15

I believe Guile is a real name as well. It’s really just a last name, though.


#16

How do you know it’s a last name?


#17

Cuz’ Colonel William F. “CHOVE LOST JOOR BAWS” Guile said so. :annoy:


#18

It’s actually quite easy to find out which names are real, at least as far as English last names are concerned; just put say ‘john’ in front and enter into Google and see if you get any real people with that name.

Incidentally, there are lots of people called John Guile, so yes it is a real last name. Another question is whether Capcom actually knew this (or intended it as a last name), or just got lucky ;)…

Mhahaha, there actually are people called John Geese too btw, for example:
http://www.149th-nysv.org/Roster/Co_A/geese_john.htm

No Geese Smiths though… Maybe they messed up because the name order is different in Japanese, and he was supposed to be ‘Howard Geese’, which apparently would be a real name.


#19

:rofl::rofl::rofl:

That is the question indeed. Capcom USA’s known him as Guile, but Capcom Japan’s called him Major Guile in profiles, or First Lieutenant Guile in the Zero series.


#20

Though I’m pretty sure that Pielle from Breakers/Revenge was meant to be Pierre. Lanky sword wielding dude fighting at a cafe… they must have meant him to be French.