It’s been a while since my last Ace Attorney post. In the meantime I’ve saved a lot of people from a lot of jail time in part 4 of the series, and now I’m playing 逆転裁判5(Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies) for the 3DS.

Several years have passed since the events of the previous game. New characters have appeared on the scene, including a new foil to Phoenix and his friends. 番 轟三(Ban Gōzō, English name: Bobby Fulbright) is a police officer full of grand gestures and rousing speeches about Justice!

Enter the witness

Right around the end of the game, during the final case, officer Bobby makes his appearance in the witness stand:

「ジャスチス!よい子のみんな!お待ちかのね、番 轟三が登場だ!」

「だ、誰かと思えば あなたですか。」

Bobby’s line roughly means, “Justice! The one you’ve all been waiting for has arrived! Bobby Fulbright is here!” (Yes, “Justice” is his catchphrase 😕)

Phoenix’s reply – really just an internal monologue, accompanied by Phoenix’s patented exasperated expression – is what had me puzzled. My best attempts to translate it went something like this:

誰か “someone”

or “who?” as an embedded question

と思えば “if I think/you think/one thinks”
あなたですか。 “is it you?”

How to make sense of that? “If I think about someone, is it you?” … Is – is there some romance going on behind that goody two-shoes cop and our favorite defense attorney? If so, I’d think it’d be revealed in a standalone game, most likely a steamy dating sim. This is neither the time nor the place! 😳

Romance aside: the cold, hard facts

The lesson I learned this time was: if you can’t make sense of a jumble of words, just plug them into a dictionary together. Sometimes, trying to pluck a string of words apart because I think I “know” what some of them mean, and only need to get the rest translated, makes me miss the whole picture.

So eventually I decided to look up the word sequence 誰かと思えば in a dictionary, and additionally just do a web search for them, and it turns out this is a phrase meaning “who should it be but…”, “who else but…”, or “Look who’s here!”

Side note: It can be a good idea to add “英語” to your web search when you’re looking for translations. You might stumble on pages made for Japanese people studying English. This kind of stuff can be really helpful for understanding the Japanese and often yield unexpectedly on-point translations.

What to make this

I’m still not 100% sure of this, but my attempt at a translation would now be:

“Justice! The one you’ve all been waiting for has arrived! Bobby Fulbright is here!”

“Who else would it be but you!?”

Meaning Phoenix wasn’t at all surprised by Bobby’s grand self-announcement. Probably because he fully expected Fulbright to appear as the first witness…

Moral of the story: I need to get off my high horse once in a while and search for whole phrases, instead of being a know-it-all who only looks up what he doesn’t already “know”. 😉


逆転裁判, Phoenix Wright, and Ace Attorney are trademarks of Capcom Co., Ltd.
I claim no copyright on any of this, yo!

Categories: Japanese


ケイト · August 18, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Oooh! a new blogpost from Senpai! I’ll save for future reading and already looking forward to the next one!

Someone · August 23, 2017 at 2:21 pm

That was one wise tip… I should follow your advise in my own attempt of translating this mysterious language that Japanese is, thank you!

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