From the Final Fantasy Wikia:
You Spoony Bard! is a quote from Final Fantasy IV, and is one of the best-known and recognized quotes in the Final Fantasy series. Famous for its outright silliness and used as an example of poor translations, it has entered popular culture and been referred to outside the Final Fantasyfandom. The line itself is spoken by Tellah as an insult to Edward Chris von Muir.
What is the context behind this phrase? In Final Fantasy IV, when Tellah blames Edward for Anna’s injuries at the raid on Damcyan. Tellah fights the bard with rage in his heart and exclaims “You spoony bard!” What’s the meaning of Tellah’s strange choice of words? From dictionary.com:
spoony [spoo-nee] adjective, spoonier, spooniest. Informal. foolishly or sentimentally amorous.
bard [bahrd] noun (formerly) a person who composed and recited epic or heroic poems, often while playing the harp, lyre, or the like.
So, what is Edward? He’s a prince that acts as a bard. Who is Edward?
Edward is introverted around others. He is sensitive and somewhat of a coward.
And he’s amorous, to the point of being a fool.
So then, it really doesn’t seem to be that silly. In fact, the translation fits perfectly. But “authorities” on the matter seem to throw the translator under the bus. Why, because they’re kowtowing to internet culture to gain popularity points.
So why do people on the internet think it’a silly? Sorry to say, but immaturity is the answer. He said “spoon”. He “spoons” Anna. Funny right? Well, he probably did spoon with Anna. So then he’s literally a bard who spoons. And? Even if this was the context, so what?
Don’t be jealous.
Was it due to censorship of the strong language Tellah used? Yes. But it doesn’t make a difference. The word choice works. For purists, this may be bothersome. But in the end, the translation fits. Let’s see how this works out in the script:
Tellah [JP]: きさま あの時の吟遊詩人！ きさまのせいでアンナは！
(Literally: You! You’re that bard! Thanks to you, Anna’s…!)
The word used for both instances of “you” is “kisama”, the single rudest way to say “you” in Japanese. Because of its harshness, “kisama” is somewhat akin to “you bastard” or “you son of a bitch” in English. And the SNES version wouldn’t allow for this word into English.
Tellah [ENG]: You’re the bard! You did this to her!
No difference between English/Japanese translations.
Tellah [JP]: きさま よくも娘を・・・・
(Literally: How dare you do this to my daughter…)
Again, “kisama” for “you”.
Tellah [ENG]: You swindler!
A strong word needed to replace “ kisama”, no doubt. And according to Tellah, some bard literally swindles his daughter away from him. So in other words, the translation actually does the story justice.
Edward [JP]: ちがうんです！
(Literally: It’s not like that!)
Edward [ENG]: Please! Listen!
Tellah [JP]: なにがちがうと いうのだ！
(Literally: How the hell could it not be like that!?)
Nintendo frowned upon cursing, so the localized translation became…
Tellah [ENG]: You spoony bard!
That’s what he is. So what’s so funny here?