I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I sort of feel obligated to respond to two of your major issues with my post:
It harder to argue original intent with something, like FF7, that was only available to us in translation in the first place - ever without addressing the fact that the original translation is really bad.
I would first like to point out that I never made a case for authorial intention, either with regard to Shakespeare or Squaresoft. No reputable Shakespearean critic (who I know of, at least) who has been published in the last thirty-or-so years would ever claim to have access to the author's intent. Indeed, it is generally agreed upon that all
texts (both Elizabethan and otherwise) possess diverse and variegated meanings and that there is no true, or fixed, expression contained within them. Even if we had
access to the author's intent, the work produced by that author need not be a manifestation of his or her intended goal, it could be something altogether different regardless of their intent. For that matter, in a post-Freudian world, we know that the author himself or herself may not even have complete access to their own
Final Fantasy VII
relates to Shakespeare because a "really bad" translation of the game is similar to a "really bad" Quarto or Folio. In the past, many individuals derided Q1 Hamlet
as an infamous "bad quarto" because of its translation; but today, these very quartos are generally called "early quartos", and they are occasionally performed, at that! My point is merely that value-laden judgments such as "good/bad" and "better/worse," especially as applied to artforms such as plays and video games, have been applied for a long time, and to little useful effect. When a work is redone, re-edited, or re-released, changes occur disguised as improvements. These improvements, however, come at a price.
At which point it's worth pointing out that there is no "uniquely Squaresoft phraseology" in the English text- FF7 was localized by Sony.
Then I hereby change "Squaresoft" to "Sony localization" in that sentence; it makes no difference. With regard to the original FFVII
, it doesn't matter who localized the work any more than it matters who translated it - we have a published work regardless, and subjecting it to a "better" translation would alter the meaning of the 1997 English original. It was the idea of altering avenues of interpretation that I was talking about in my post, not which company worked on the game itself. :)
You're right that the fact that FFVII
's script is a translation complicates the matter, but this complication need only be slight for our purposes here. Many great works are read through translation, and each critic prefers a particular translation for his or her own reasons. Take, for example, the Divine Comedy
: it has been translated time and time again but that doesn't mean that there can ever be a "best" translation; even calling something a "better" translation requires a sizable amount of qualification (my spouse and I prefer Mandelbaum for the text and, of course, Doré for illustrations - but don't ask why, that's another debate! lol).
Essentially, I think my tone may have seemed more argumentative than I myself actually was. Yes, I was making an argument, but that argument was neither about authorial intent nor Squaresoft translation. It was about the ways in which a re-release of FFVII
would alter the 1997 original and how the case is astoundingly similar to past editorial treatment of Shakespearean texts.