I got this e-mail recently from Bartolo:
I’ve loved reading your notes on the translation of Final Fantasy 4 (I think it’s really given me a new appreciation for what the localizers were able to do with the English release of the game, given what limited resources they had. Certainly it’s worlds better than the truly awful translation Final Fantasy Tactics would get, years later….) What strikes me as odd, though, is how the Playstation version adds dialogue that’s clearly not a translation of the original, but is just made up out of nowhere. Now I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with an updated version of a game putting in new dialogue, although you have a valid point about the stuff they added not fitting the characters, and what the GBA version did, replacing perfectly good dialogue with imbecilic memes, is just despicable.
What I’m wondering, though, is whether there were any similar additions to the Japanese text in the Playstation and later ports of the game. Do they ever add things like that, or do they just use the same script as the Super Famicom version?
I’ve often wondered this myself, so I hope to look into this when I get the chance, but from what I can briefly tell, not very much was changed in the Japanese ports’ scripts (well, dunno about the DS version though). I’m pretty sure (like 90% sure) that the new lines introduced in the Playstation translation weren’t a result of added lines in the Japanese Playstation version, though. But I’ll dig into it and find out more. In the meantime, if anyone has any insight, please share it!
Although I guess I should briefly mention that the GBA version (and I assume PSP and DS) have the option of displaying the Japanese text in all-kana, as the original script had, or a mix of kana and kanji like modern games have. It doesn’t change the meaning or pronunciation of anything but it technically changes the text in a way.