I get occasional inquiries about the terminology I chose for my original, unofficial translation. To answer these questions (and to provide a deeper look into the writing of Baroque), I'll be explaining the most notable differences between our localizations.
Many of the outsider NPC names follow the naming convention “Xの者” (literally “person of X”). I’m assuming Atlus came up with names such as “Box Bearer” and “The Bagged One” because occupations in Japanese are often written as “X者”, where X is the subject of their vocation. Following this logic, their names attempt to make a profession out of whatever subject (X) is offered, most noticeably in “The Collector” (lit. Person of Things). The problem here is that the “の” these names omit fundamentally changes how the word is read. Japanese “letters” (kanji) usually have two or more pronunciations. The reading of the character “者” is “sha” or “ja” 90% of the time, and you’ve probably already heard it in words like “ninja” or “geisha”*. However, the “の” present in Baroque names signifies that the character “者” should not be pronounced as “sha”, but as “mono”. The “Baroque Report” series, the audio track for the Baroque remake (which the translators were apparently not provided with), and even watching first time players play the Baroque Switch port will demonstrate this point.
The “mono” reading of “者” is used in much more nonspecific and impersonal classifications of people (such as “young people”), and also in derogatory titles (“coward”, “traitor”, “fool”, “prostitute”). This makes sense, as “mono” is a homophone for “thing” (the same “thing” that appears in “Thing Person”). Addressing people in a way that makes them sound like objects puts a clear emotional distance between them and the speaker. As such, the whimsical and even grandiose titles Atlus came up with for the characters are inappropriate and inaccurate. You could possibly even say that my titles of “Box Person” and “Bag Person” are too respectful, going so far as to call them “Box Thing” and “Bag Thing”. This would also preserve the wordplay present in Thing Person’s name, which is read as “mono no mono” (Thing Thing).
*Contrary to what Western popular culture has painted them as, geishas are professional entertainers, not sex workers.
Baroque Vendor vs Baroquemonger
This is entirely irrelevant to the original game, as the term is only referenced in the prequel stories and the remake. I chose "vendor" as the original Japanese name is neutral and doesn't hold the negative connotation that "-monger" carries. Another aspect of the "屋" used in his title is that it can be preceded by an adjective to describe someone who exhibits the quality of that adjective. Since the titular "Baroque" concept can be either a noun or an adjective, his Japanese name can either mean "a person who sells Baroques" or "a person who is Baroque" (which serves as subtle foreshadowing in the Baroquism Syndrome novel). To get this dual-meaning to work, the NPC's title has to be two separate words (i.e. a "Baroque Vendor" is either someone who "sells Baroques" or is a "Vendor who is Baroque"). On the contrary, the single word "Baroquemonger" Atlus chose can only be read one way.
Coffin Man’s verbal tics
The way Atlus handled Coffin Man’s manner of speaking is perfect (as he uses repetitive phrasing that is both polite and rude in equal measure), and I used it as well in my translation. However, the PS1 port (and therefore the remake) introduced a second, more obnoxious gimmick into his dialogue - death puns. Japanese sentences often end in “desu” which is pronounced nearly identically to how you would pronounce the English word “death” in Japanese. Therefore in later iterations of the game, Coffin Man replaces the “desu” sound with “death” whenever possible. This led to hours of trying to work death puns into his PS1 dialogue with extremely mixed results. Atlus decided it wasn’t worth the effort (because it isn’t) and just cut them out entirely.
Guardian Angel vs Doctor Angelicus
The name of this character literally reads as "The Angel of Divine Guidance". The Archangel also has a rather awkward to translate title in Japanese - "Senior Angel" or "Advanced Angel". Atlus made a good call and localized "Senior Angel" as "Archangel", because an Archangel is what we call a higher-ranking angel in English. I followed their logic and applied it to this character as well, to come up with "Guardian Angel" (because an angel that provides divine guidance is exactly that). Atlus didn't go this route because Sting's remake team really messed things up on their end. Instead of staying with "Angel of Divine Guidance", they opted to revert the character's name back to what she was called during development: "Doctor Angelics". This is a reference to Thomas Aquinas's nickname "Doctor Angelicus", so that's what Atlus rightfully chose.
Worker Angels vs Fist/Scythe/Brain/Neophyte, etc
Just like in the case of Doctor Angelicus, Atlus USA was not to blame for the bizarre digressions that occurred with the rest of the ranks within the Malkuth Order. The team at Sting who remade Baroque started rechristening the more lackluster angel units from the original game using terminology that was cut during development back in 1997-98. The most egregious example is Sting's decision to change the vengeful Worker Angel into a character from the Baroque Missing Paradigm manga. As far as I know, Atlus was just working with what Sting was handing them.
Crypt Angel vs Cursebringer Angel
The character's name literally translates to "Cursed Burial Angel", or an angel that was improperly buried. I can't know for sure, but I assume Atlus went with "Cursebringer" because desecrated burial sites in Japan are generally thought to generate curses/impurity in the surrounding area. I feel that "Cursebringer" is too ominous and suggests that players should beware this NPC. I certainly thought that overusing his services might be inviting disaster when I first played Baroque for this exact reason (as the remake was my introduction to these games).
For a time I went with the simplified “Cursed Angel”, but later chose to favor the ‘burial’ aspect of the name which resulted in “Crypt Angel”. Crypts have a creepy, impure connotation in English speaking cultures, so this term was about as close as I could get to acknowledging both aspects of the original name. “Baroque World Guidance” has a lot of terribly translated English suggestions for names/terminology, but they call him “Entomb Angel” - also favoring to emphasize the burial aspect over the cursed element.
Sense Sphere vs Consciousness Orb
The Japanese "感覚球" literally translates to "Sensory Ball", similar to the Japanese term for "eye ball". This is because they're the sensory organs of God, and the name needs to directly reflect that in order to help the player better understand the world they're slowly discovering throughout the course of the game. The official translation's use of "Consciousness Orb" completely misses the point and instead conflates them with the introductory "Consciousness Simulation" sequence. "Consciousness Orb" is also a pain to pronounce. "Sense Sphere" is my attempt at a more elegant term which also preserves the original meaning.
The God of Creation and Preservation vs the Absolute God
Literally translated, the unwieldy name of God reads "The God of Creation and Maintenance". Yonemitsu explains the thought process behind this name in multiple interviews. He wanted it to convey that it's the ultimate creator of the universe, and also that it's the entity which maintains the data comprising said universe. "Absolute God" certainly captures the idea that it's the one true creator, but it drops the part about actively maintaining the world. I went with the more literal and cumbersome "God of Creation and Preservation", but shortened that to "Creator and Preserver" whenever possible for brevity's sake.
The original script interchangeably refers to Littles as both "Littles" and "Angelic Insects". I left this distinction in, while Atlus flattened the two terms into one. Incidentally, the Guardian Angel uses a female pronoun when referring to the Littles.
Abnormals vs Meta-beings
The original Japanese script uses kanji that can be read in two ways: either the more judgemental sounding “igyou” (grotesque, strange/suspicious looking) or the more clinical “ikei” (something with an atypical appearance). I went with “Abnormal” because it was as close to a middle ground as I could find in English. The official Atlus localization uses “Meta-Being” which outright misses the dual-interpretation by making up a brand new fantasy term. It's a matter of opinion, but I also personally think that "Meta-Being" sounds like the kind of embarrassing, pseudo-sophisticated name you'd find in a Saturday morning cartoon.
Nicoli and Nicola vs Nicl and Nicr
The names of the individual enemies don't really matter (and don't appear in the original game), but the choice Atlus made for this particular enemy is atrocious and sounds like a racial slur if you say it out loud. Yonemitsu clarifies the name was inspired by the "Funiculi Funicula" song, so you really can only read it as "Nicoli and Nicola". Additionally, the name of the "Glue" enemies from the remake's localization is spelled exactly the same way as the "Grue" creatures of Zork fame. Atlus likely changed this to avoid copyright issues.
Nerve Tower vs Neuro Tower
The original Japanese term can also be read as "Path to God". This is something that both terms omit (because it's impossible to express it in English), but "Neuro" is another unnecessary (and lame) attempt to make "Nerve" sound more sophisticated. The Nerve Tower is supposed to be analogous to a literal nerve structure which is wired up to God, hence "nerve". "Neuro" relates to the brain, but in a nonspecific sense that muddies the original intent.
Great Heat Wave vs the Blaze
"Blaze" (besides being another tacky 'cool' name) implies an intense increase of temperature, but doesn't really describe the phenomenon beyond that. My translation is 100% literal here, as "Wave" effectively illustrates that the cataclysm emanated outward from a single source (the Nerve Tower). This is a vital early clue to the plot, and it simply didn't need to be changed.
False Wings vs Wings
I will readily admit that my translation of the wing items is much more cumbersome than the simplified terms Atlus went with. This is because the items never fail to clarify that the wings are only "imitations" and not real. I chose "False Wings", because we typically refer to prosthetics as "False" (false teeth, etc) in English. Atlus made the right call here as a mass distributor of commercial products, but since I'm an amateur who is catering to the original game's incredibly niche audience, I want to stay as close as possible to the game's original atmosphere and intention.
In the original Japanese script, the Sentry Angel often refers to the main character in the plural - providing subtle foreshadowing to the protagonist’s existence as countless clones. It’s both clever and endearing, creating an image of the Sentry Angel trying to herd a multitude of clueless and stubborn #12s away from the cloning laboratory. Unfortunately, Atlus removed this element entirely, so the Sentry Angel only ever addresses the player character as “you”.
(Idiot Flesh vs Guryu Flesh, Mediocre Flesh vs Churyu Flesh, Genius Flesh vs Kenryu Flesh)
I suspect Atlus chose to leave these items untranslated because it didn't make sense to them that the flesh cuts would have intelligence ratings (as they do in the original Japanese text). There is absolutely significance to these strange names, and so I've properly translated them as they were originally meant to be read.
Branding Irons and Sigils vs just Brands
This is a very minor change, but the original game refers to "Branding Irons" and the marks or "Sigils" they create separately. Again, Atlus simplified both terms to just "Brand". Maybe "Sigil" is me trying to make things sound too 'cool' like I keep accusing Atlus of doing.
Patterns vs Disks
Again, minor changes that don't matter. I went with the literal Japanese "pattern", while Atlus chose the less confusing and more visually accurate "disk". Not a big deal either way.
Worms vs Parasites
The original Japanese script refers to the parasite items as both "寄生虫" (parasite) and "虫" (insect/worm). Again, Atlus flattened the terms into just "parasite" while I preserved the distinction. Whenever only "虫" is used, I chose to translate it as "worm", since Yonemitsu clarifies that the creatures are cameos of the earthworms from Baroque's canceled predecessor "A Lifetime of Plucking Earthworms".