Super Famicom Manual Includes Special Halcyon Welcome (April 27, 2022)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Goofing around with image translators I discovered that the Super Famicom Wing Commander manual has a section where Colonel Halcyon welcomes you aboard. Also how crazy is the future?

I am Colonel Halcon, commander of the carrier fighter squadron.
Permission to board Tiger's Claw.
As you already know, we are facing a serious crisis.
The war with Killers is getting worse and worse, and it is no longer a moment's notice.
I don't know what to do.
You boarded the aircraft carrier as a replacement for the lost aces.
It is a lot.
However, in this war situation, you will have to experience actual combat immediately.
It's not that easy.
You have information in every room of the ship, you have orders, and you're ready.
Have you sortie immediately. The defeat in this battle is directly related to the destruction of humanity.
It is a critical phase to conclude.
-I want you to struggle for the future of mankind.
I hope you all survive to Tiger's Claw.
I pray for a good fight, that's it!

Original update published on April 27, 2022
I think I get the gist of what he's supposed to say. As remarkable as machine translation can be, acknowledging its (current) limitations is important too. Is it any wonder how the infamous 'all your base' came to be?
I think it's remarkably clear what he's saying. It wasn't that long ago when this technology didn't even exist, and if you would have tried it in 2015 or so, the results would have been pretty gibberish. The point of this post was not to acknowledge the limitations in the translation - rather, that translations like this have improved extraordinarily over the last five years or so. Also not sure the connection to 'all your base' since this is already superior to that, and that had a real live translator doing the work.
I understand Japanese to English is a lot more complex than translation from European languages. The phrasing just reminded me of the kind of (mis-)translation from the likes of Zero Wing. If you think it's a good translation, then that's great.
My Japanese isn't great, so take this with a grain of salt, but here's my attempt at a cleaner translation:

I am Colonel Halcyon, commander of the carrier fighter squadron. I welcome all of you aboard the Tiger’s Claw.

As I’m sure you’re aware, we are facing a grave crisis. The war with Kilrah continues to get worse, and time is of the essence.

You greenhorns have been brought aboard to replace our fallen aces.

Green as you are, given the current situation, you’ll face real combat soon enough.

You will receive intelligence in your quarters, be given orders, and as soon as you are ready, will sortie. Defeat in this battle could directly lead to the destruction of the human race.

I ask you to fight hard for sake of humanity’s future.

I pray that you will all return safely to the Tiger’s claw, and I wish you all good luck. That is all!

Also, has an AI based translation tool that's much better with Japanese than Google Translate is. If you guys think Google is impressive, you should check it out. I used Google's OCR to get the text, and plugged it into Deepl as a sanity check while I worked on it. It also made dictionary lookups a hell of a lot easier -- I didn't know most of the kanji, and it would have taken forever to look it all up by radical or handwriting recognition. I've copied the original text below, and you can punch it in for yourself and see the difference. I still had to make quite a few changes and reinterpret some things that tripped up the AI, but the starting point was a lot better.

私は、空母戦闘機隊司令ハルコン大佐だ、諸君を歓迎すると共に タイガースクローへの乗艦を許可する。

すでに承知のこととは思うが、 我々は重大な危機に直面している。 キルラーとの戦況は悪化の一途をたどっており、もはや一刻のゆうよもならない。


しかし、この戦況下ではすぐにも実戦を経験してもらうことにな るだろう。

諸君は艦内の各部屋で情報を得、 指令を受け、 準備が整いしだい、 ただちに出撃してもらう。 この一戦での敗北は人類の滅亡にも直結する重大な局面である。


願わくば、諸君が無事タイガースクローに生還することを 健闘を祈る。 以上!!
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Thanks for the effort. The kind of tone he's given makes it sounds much more like it was written for a Japanese audience, which is the impression I got from the machine translation too.
Thanks! Really it was just a good excuse to practice, so I was happy to do it.

And sort of. It's more just the difference between the languages themselves that's shining through -- basically what I gave you isn't really English, it's translationese. The actual meaning of what he said wouldn't feel out of place for Colonel Halcyon as he appeared in the original (English) game, but the phrasing is very Japanese, feels very natural in Japanese, and it's very hard to convey the same feeling in English without basically rewriting the passage entirely. And that's despite trying to at least do a little bit to localize it.

This part, for example:

You greenhorns have been brought aboard to replace our fallen aces.

Green as you are, given the current situation, you’ll face real combat soon enough.

I was more liberal with than almost anything else because of how unnatural a nearly literal translation would feel in English. More literally it would have been something like

You are new pilots brought aboard the carrier as replacements for our lost aces.

However, under the current war situation, it won't be long before you get real combat experience, I think.

Which doesn't even really make sense in English because it's not clear what that "however" is referring to. And even that involved inverting parts of the sentence structure because of just how different the two languages are.
I'm aware of the challenges and the extremes between literal word-for-word translations and more broad localisation efforts that attempt to convey thoughts/concepts between cultures. Heck, even within a widely-used language such as English there's constructs and idioms that fit more in one region than another. America's cultural dominance often means that Anglophones outside of the US accept American-English publications, however, I'm rather bemused when there needs to be American 'translations' of non-American English literature (Harry Potter is one example).

Anyway, good on you for taking the time to practise your craft and share with the community. Yes, I agree the core eaning of Halcyon's words would make sense, the Japanese 'feel' of the phrasing is what I was referring to. Not saying it's bad or wrong at all, just that it comes across as different.
Thank you very much for the translation! Would you be interested in doing any more? The Super Famicom manual also has extra dates that were added to its timeline and I'd love to see them accurately translated.
Here are the scans of the timeline and the intro page, in case anyone is interested in tackling them! I'll drop the Claw Marks English version of the timeline in the next post.

SFC Timeline 1.jpg
SFC Timeline 2.jpg
SFC Manual Intro.jpg
The original timeline breakouts:

--------- 25 Years Ago ---------
Exploration and colonization ships of the Terran Confederation increase their penetration into Vega Sector.
On 2629.105 (3/15/2629 Terran reckoning), the exploration ship Iason encounters a spacecraft of unknown origin. Iason commander Jedora Andropolos beams the standard wideband non-verbal greeting designed by the Committee for Interaction with Alien Intelligences.
Captain Andropolos keeps Iason motionless for twenty-two minutes standard while the alien vessel waits. Finally, the alien vessel opens up with all guns, utterly destroying Iason and all hands.

--------- 20 Years Ago ---------
On 2634.186, war is formally declared by the Terran Confederation on the Empire of Kilrah for countless acts of piracy and unwarranted assault.
On 2634.228, Confederation cryptographer Ches M. Penney partially decodes the current Kilrathi cipher. The intercepted message refers to a punitive strike being launched against the Confederation, starting with the colony on McAuliffe and the space station Alexandria in orbit around it. Confederation High Command launches a couter-offensive twice the size of the anticipated enemy fleet; it is to reach McAuliffe first and ambush the attackers.
On 2634.235, the Kilrathi fleet reaches McAuliffe. It is four times the predicted size; the incomplete translation of the intercepted message had underestimated the size of the Kilrathi offensive. So begins the McAuliffe Ambush engagement.
In several days of bloody combat, the Terran fleet is all but obliterated, leaving a still-sizeable force of fuctional Kilrathi spacecraft. But the Kilrathi, momentarily daunted by the ferocity of teh Terran resistance, turn back to regroup and repair. The first large-scale Terran-Kilrathi engagement ends with the Kilrathi spearhead momentarily broken.

--------- 15 Years Ago ---------
On 2639.033, Kilrathi occupation forces land on the human-occupied world Enyo, put a quarter of a million human prisoners under orbital guns, and await Terran reprisals. So begins the Enyo Engagement, a tactical situation made difficult by the presence of so many hostages.
Phase One of the Enyo Engagement involves bringing in an attack force against teh Kilrathi fleet at Enyo. The attack force consists principally of Raptor-Class heavy fighters reconfigured to carry extra Porcupine Space Mines and practically no milssiles. The force is small enough that Kilrathi foces at Enyo are certain of victory.
The Phase One forces drop their Space Mines in one region of space near Enyo and engage the enemy. Kilrathi ships maneuver to get out of the mined region and turn their attention to destroying the invaders.
By the time the Kilrathi navigators realize that the mined region corresponds to Enyo's principal jump point, it is too late: Phase Two has begun. A single radio signal detonates all the specially-modified Porcupine mines, and moements later the remainder of the Terran fleet appears at that jump point, in the middle of the engagement.
The Terran fleet strikes first against the gunships threatening the human colonies. The enemy ships are destroyed with minimal loss of life among the colonists. Then the two fleets settle in for a pounding match.
The Enyo Engagement ends with the Kilrathi in retreat. Losses have been nearly identical between the two fleets, but the Kilrathi have been forced to abandon a strategic position.

--------- 5 Years Ago ---------
Terran ground forces launching an attack on a fortified Kilrathi colonial position are routed by unexpected Kilrathi fighter-craft support. The Terrans quickly reform and advance back into Terran space, their lightly-armed transports pursued by Kilrathi warships. TCS Tiger's Claw is detached from its previous station and sent to the Terran fleet's path.
Tiger's Claw fights a delaying action, subsequently called Custer's Carnival, to allow the Terran fleet time to reach Terran-controlled space. Though swarmed and badly damaged by Kilrathi fighter-craft, the carrier occupies the Kilrathi forces until the Terran fleet reaches safety. The Claw is able to limp back into Terran space, though three-quarters of its engines are destroyed and half its pilots are listed as casualties.
Subsequently, two Gold Stars and numerous other medals are awarded to Tiger's Claw personnel, and the carrier spends six months in spacedock being repaired and refitted.

And then the separate Tiger's Claw timeline:

Pride of the Fleet
The TCS Tiger's Claw

2642: The Confederation military command, determining that a need exists for a heavy space carrier, authorizes design of the Bengal-class carrier line. Trojan Four Spaceyards wins the assignment to build the new line of carriers.

2644: The newly-launched TCS Tiger's Claw, on its shakedown cruise, carrying a minimal spacecrew and an under-experienced command, finds itself in the path of a surprise Kilrathi invasion force. The ship's unexpected presence along the Kilrathi flight plan, clever tactics on the part of the command crew, and performance above and beyond the call of duty by the spacecrews rout the superior Kilrathi force. Shortly thereafter, Tiger's Claw is given permanent assignment in Vega Sector.

2645: The second Bengal-class space carrier, the Kipling, is launched. Owing to design modifications, the Kipling and all subsequent Bengals are 10 meters shorter and several tonnes less massive than the Tiger's Claw, making the Tiger's Claw the biggest space carrier in its class.

2649: Tiger's Claw performs a delaying action to allow Confederation transports carrying ground troops to retreat out of Kilrathi-occupied space. The engagement, known as Custer's Carnival, concludes with Tiger's Claw seriously damaged but able to return to port. The carrier is in spacedock undergoing repairs and refitting until early '50.
I took the first two pages everything and ran it through an OCR, then used my (bad) Japanese knowledge to correct typos. Surprisingly there doesn't seem to have been a lot of them, though see previous sentence. Hopefully a fluent proofreader and translator can be found.

Some interesting points:
"Kilrathi" is spelled "Kilraa", so the machine translation of "Killer" is a reasonable one.
The McAuliffe portion adds a new entry that attributes the Kilrathi retreat to the loss of their flagship. I remember seeing this when the timeline was partially translated and thought it interesting that Action Stations used a similar plot point years later. I wonder if this was intentional?
Probably the biggest point, in 2642 several human colonies declare independence. A lot of other bits after Enyo are different too, like the callback to McAuliffe and no mention of the Tiger's Claw up to Custer's Carnival.

Original text, with line breaks preserved for ease of proofreading:



宇宙暦2629年第105日 (地球暦2629年3月15日)
ポスは、ICAI (知的異種族交流協会) 考案の "言葉にならない歓
迎” 通信を広周波で送信。22分間の沈黙後、異星船は全砲門を開


を解読。 連合に対しての報復計画が判明。 目標として惑星マコー

連合司鍛部は。キルラーの. 「マコーリフ奇襲作戦」に対し、、敵予
想戦力の二倍の艦隊をマコーリフに配備。 一大反攻作戦を決行。

が不完全だったるとが判明。 戦局は連合にとり大きく不利にかた


ら地上に砲艦をならべ、 都市ごと民間人を銃口下の捕虜とし、 地

あり、キルラーの強襲艦隊に比べあまりにも小規模であった。 ご

ている艦隊と迎撃隊艦が二分したとき宇宙機雷は一斉に燥発。 数



七つの植民惑星が次々に独立を宣言。 事態を重く見た政府はこの、
こうちゃく状態を打破すべく直接交戦よりも、 敵の戦力、配備、

最重要前線基地の位置、および戦力、 艦艇の配備なごどが判明した。

戦が開始された。 完璧な作戦と戦力は確実に地球軍の勝利と思わ



よび 「テランメダル」が授与され、空母は6ヵ月の修理期間の後、

すべては、 25年前の日から姶まった……。

地球暦2629年。 地球連合の勢力は、かべガが星域
艇 『イアソン』 が未知の宇宙船と接触。友好通信を送
る 『イアソン』 撃沈というかたちでなされた。
も、これが人類と異生命体 「キルラー」 との間にかわ
 その後も数年に渡り、 キルラーによる海賊行為、不
最大規模の星域戦争 「ベガ戦役」 の火蓋が切って落と
た地球連合軍最強最大を誇る重戦闘空母 「タイガース
クロー」 であった。
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Sorry it took me so long to respond, but I just saw Loaf's reply yesterday morning.

This is a lot of text, my Japanese is still pretty bad, and I can't promise I'll be back to get it all translated (it took me a while to get this much done even with a machine translation as a base), but I got up through the McAuliffe raid translated and I guess I should share it. It's mostly a direct translation of the English version, but there's some interesting differences. The biggest one is that the Terran forces manage to take out the Kilrathi flagship during the McAuliffe raid, and that's what forces them to retreat. (Edit: And I see Bob McDob already mentioned that someone had already translated at least up to that point and it was known, so I guess that's less news than I thought it was.) Everything else is pretty minor, but that's an interesting choice. The "Space Calendar" thing is a literal translation of a phrase that could just as easily be rendered as Stardate, and I've left out the word "year" in those dates because it's normal in Japanese dates to specify X year, Y month, Z day, but not normal in English. There's a remnant of it in the way I specified the days, because it makes it clear that the YYYY.DDD thing in the dates from the original English version is the year and the number of days into the year. I never picked up on that before myself. Translator's notes with a few other observations are marked out in spoiler text.

Earth/Kilrah Military history

Space calendar 2615:
Terran Confederation (Note: literally "Earth Alliance") exploration and colonization ships begin to expand into the Vega Sector. (Note: Vega Sector is spelled out as something more like "Planet Vega" or "Vega Star System" in Japanese, and then the English word "sector" is spelled out in parentheses)

Space calendar 2629, day 105 (Earth calendar March 15, 2629):
The exploration ship Iason makes contact with an unknown spacecraft. Captain Jedora Andropos sends a wide spectrum non-verbal greeting designed by the ICAI (Intelligent Interspecies Interaction Assocation). (Note: I can't find any way to fit the Japanese into the acronym, but it's almost an initialization of the "International Committee for Interaction with Alien Intelligences" from the original English, they just also gave it a Japanese name that means the same basic thing.) After 22 minutes of silence, the alien vessel opens fire with all guns, sinking the Iason. Note: In Japanese sci-fi, the convention is that spaceships are sunk just like wet navy ships are. They don't really distinguish between sea ships being sunk but space ships being destroyed like we do in English. Really I guess it's more accurate to say they have a word that specifically refers to the destruction of a ship and they use it for both space and water ships.

Space calendar 2634, day 186:
The Terran Confederation formally declares war against the Kilrah Empire for repeated acts of piracy and unjustified raids.

Space Calendar 2364, day 228:
Confederation Cryptographer Chess M. Penny deciphers part of Kilrah's code. A plan for retaliation against the Confederation is revealed. The target is assumed to be the planet MacAuliffe and the orbiting station Alexandria.

Space calendar 2634, Day 230:
In response to Kilrah's "McAuliffe Ambush," Confederation command deploys a fleet twice the size of the enemy's expected force to McAuliffe. A major counteroffensive commences.

Space calendar 2634, day 235:
On the day of the McAuliffe Ambush, Kilrah's fleet is four times larger than expected by the Confederation. The size of the fleet reveals that the code had not been completely deciphered. The war turns against the confederation.

Space calendar 2634, day 239:
After several days of fierce combat, Earth's fleet is almost completely destroyed. In contrast, Kilrah's fleet still has a considerable number of ships in servicable condition. However, due to the Confederation's desperate resistance, Kilrah's flagship is destroyed. The disruption in the chain of command forces the fleet to regroup, and Kilrah retreats.
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