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Unread postby ILPPendant » March 4th, 2009, 11:30 pm

inferno_flamex wrote:Honorifics...
You know.. The easiest way and most probably the best way to deal with that... is...
like some translations.. fan-made or otherwise...
..
THey actually HAVE a 'help' booklet...
giving abit of a quick lesson on -kuns, -samas, sempais... Etc etc..
..
From the way i see it.. Theres no FRIGGING WAY ANYTHING can be translated into ANY Language... EXACTLY the same... as how its supposed to be meant...
no way.. no effing friggin way..
...
Not unless you have that bit of understanding for the language in the first place... Therefore.. once again.. in comes the 'built-in Help booklet'...

So your argument for not translating honourifics is because it's hard to do? It's because it's hard that it's so crucial the translator gets it right, not palms the responsibility onto the audience. I'll be damned if I pay someone for the privilege of doing their job for them.

Of course, by "or otherwise" you are referring to such shockingly popular shows as Lucky Star, which drew in millions of viewers delighted with the cogent, comprehensive and oh-so-accurate dub. Meanwhile, programs like Naruto languished unloved in the bargain bins in small speciality corner stores, forever cursed by their supreme arrogance at actually translating the holy, sacred Japanese language so that people who hadn't been watching fansubs for years stood a chance of understanding it.

(I compressed this quote a little but it's otherwise unchanged.)


inferno_flamex wrote:But.. WHat's so great about the English language.. Or ANY language in particular.. that whatever it is, that is to be translated must be 'fully, and completely' translated to a perfect degree?

What's so great about Japanese that completely arbitrary component parts of it brook no translation whatsoever? It's not what's so great about the target language (or the source language), it's simply the principle of translation.



Gilyu wrote:I couldnt help but think that you are basicly asking MM to pull a "4kids" on the VN... Let's replace every foreing references with western ones...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what Im understanding and while your intents might have been good, doing so will not help the VN.

Please (re)read my posts, especially the original one. I'd be much obliged if you give an exact quote where I say "replace all references to foreign culture and settings with Western ones". I'll change it since it seems to be "confusing" so many people.

Have you seen the Disney dub of Spirited Away? Hell, you ever play a Final Fantasy game? They all get by. That is exactly my intention. In a way, I'm a little impressed people seem to have missed this quite so... thoroughly.



nobaka wrote:@ILPPendant:

Ms. = Miss

Term for an unmarried woman.

Where I've been brought up it's the female equivalent of Mister; the motivation appears to be that it's unfair for only women to have titles based on their marital status.
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Unread postby serialies » March 5th, 2009, 2:21 am

whole thread TL;DR

Thread OP want's a Woolseyism
(http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Woolseyism)
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Unread postby Chaos Chaud » March 23rd, 2009, 1:40 am

Just asking, ILPPendant, but everyone here was a Never-saw-japanese-before sometime, including you and me, cuz like you said we're not born in a Japanese environment. But if it was THAT difficult to get along with this japanese-language thing, I don't think we would be arguing about this right now, don't you think?

The visual novel (not only that, but anything that is not from our natural environment) will only be pleasant for people if people like the "feeling" it passes from its original meaning.
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Unread postby z2000 » March 23rd, 2009, 4:09 am

ILPPendant wrote:Oh dear, I got overloaded with Uni coursework and forgot about this thread. My apologies.

AddleBoy wrote:I appreciate the translations that mirrormoon have provided, but the only reason I would read anything that is translated is that I can't understand the original language. When I read a foreign novel or watch a foreign movie, the main reason I watch them is because I want a foreign experience. The same thing goes for Fate/Stay Night. Westernizing it too much would be like having pizza available at a Chinese buffet. Why the hell would you go to a Chinese buffet to eat pizza?

I spent one hundred and twenty American dollars so I could enjoy a good story. I very much doubt you spent (presumably) a similar amount so you could enjoy reading Japanese terms mixed into English.



I did.
Actually more than that if you include Realta Nua and the shipping for both games. I felt very poor when I bought Fate, only later buying Realta Nua though.

Also, most Japanese -> English books often still use honorifics when needed. Such as Battle Royale, No honorifics except for a few pages in the middle of the story, in which a normal person would think "wtf?" as to why they suddenly use it. Not a good way to do it, but its the best I've seen really while keeping it mostly "English".

Lastly, the Liner Notes take about 10 minutes to read at the most and are easy to memorize. A person who is reading a visual novel will very often have a good reading speed and able to absorb important trivia easily. All you're doing is promoting laziness often found in youth when it comes to reading.

Anyways, as stated before, if you want to read a visual novel, you'll almost always be very familiar with common Japanese words and usages.
As for the others who don't, well they're just plain dense.

And, for the "Foreign Experience" terminology using Chinese restaurants and crap... You're practically saying you're gonna go to a Chinese buffet and you end up only eating the Mac n Cheese available for the kids unsuited to Chinese food. Or, going to a Vietnamese restaurant, ordering Pho, and eat it with forks and without adding the proper condiments into it. It's just not right.
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Unread postby Shockz » March 23rd, 2009, 4:47 am

Fear not, ILPPendant, for you have at least one ally on this forum...
...even if he's a n00b with only two posts to his name.

I actually think this is a good idea. While I personally prefer the Japenglish-hybrid-slang style someone mentioned that most fansubbers (and MirrorMoon) use, it's definitely not to everyone's taste (especially someone new to VNs).

Someone mentioned Ever17 earlier in this thread. Despite the (occasionally rather serious) flaws in Hirameki's translation, the parts that DID have halfway decent proofreading were a pretty good example of exactly what's being suggested here--they got across the story clearly without using terms unfamiliar to English-speaking audiences. (And then, on the other hand, we have "Naturally I knows the hacker." Christ, no wonder they went bankrupt...)

Some responses to specific translation problems that have been mentioned:

"Fuji-nee": Have Shirou just call her "Taiga". Him being comfortable with calling his teacher by her first name IMO indicates a similar level of familiarity in English as "Fuji-nee" does in Japanese. (My god, that sentence was terrible.)

"Sempai": ...I can't figure one out for this, either. English simply doesn't have a word or phrase with the same definition and connotation. This may require some creativity.

serialies is right, a Woolseyism is exactly what we're looking for here...and the very fact that that trope exists proves this can be done.
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Unread postby zweiterversuch » March 23rd, 2009, 5:19 am

...[b]
I really don't understand what is the problem here...

Yes...the translation of some works, novels and stuff is just wrong.
It leads to confusion and missunderstanding...

apparently Ipp is against this...or something like that.

but come on Ipp...I have read "Flowers of Hiroshima" ("Hiroshima no hana" maybe?) and even though I haven't read the original in japanese I would say it is a good book.
Of course, in japanese it must be a lot better but no matter how much you try to translate something into other lenguage you won't get the same impression from the people.

The lenguage dominates us; not us the lenguage.
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Unread postby Keeper of Gil's Vault » March 25th, 2009, 3:08 am

Well, you are the consumer, the right to purchase is in your hands. If you deem a translation is bad, simply don't buy it. If the majority of the community agrees with you, then the product will fail and the producer will take corrective action. This is the basic model of market economy. However, considering how many badly translated products are still floating around and selling well, I say most people just don't care (not as zealous on the matter as us).
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Unread postby Chaos Chaud » March 27th, 2009, 8:11 pm

Keeper of Gil's Vault wrote:Well, you are the consumer, the right to purchase is in your hands. If you deem a translation is bad, simply don't buy it. If the majority of the community agrees with you, then the product will fail and the producer will take corrective action. This is the basic model of market economy. However, considering how many badly translated products are still floating around and selling well, I say most people just don't care (not as zealous on the matter as us).

Hmm, but this translations aren't exactly "sold", you know... They are , most times, done by fan-groups that don't seek monetary benefit.
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Unread postby Keeper of Gil's Vault » March 28th, 2009, 12:53 am

You misunderstood me, I was just joining the rant about the "4Kids" style translations sold by the American publishers, and the majority of the consumers who purchase them despite the poor quality and strict censorship.
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Unread postby Chaos Chaud » March 28th, 2009, 3:42 pm

Oh, I'm sorry then... I guess I really misunderstood you
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Unread postby ILPPendant » March 28th, 2009, 8:40 pm

ILPPendant vs. Entire Mirror Moon Forums (less Shockz): Take VI

Chaos Chaud wrote:Just asking, ILPPendant, but everyone here was a Never-saw-japanese-before sometime, including you and me, cuz like you said we're not born in a Japanese environment. But if it was THAT difficult to get along with this japanese-language thing, I don't think we would be arguing about this right now, don't you think?

The visual novel (not only that, but anything that is not from our natural environment) will only be pleasant for people if people like the "feeling" it passes from its original meaning.

You might understand from an academic perspective but when you're reading fiction as entertainment you won't (or shouldn't) be thinking academically. There's a crucial difference between knowing what something means and actually understanding it. As I've tried to explain, you can read definitions all day but that doesn't mean you'll understand the subtle meanings they imply.

Let's go with a non food-related analogy for once. I can define the reals using Dedekind cuts. I could show you a proof of this, and then tell you what a Dedekind cut is and how it works until I'm blue in the face. However, I doubt you'd truly understand what's going on until you'd been using cuts for some time yourself; only then can you fully appreciate my original definition.

No really. Go see for yourself. There's no notation in that proof you won't know if you've done high school mathematics.




z2000 wrote:
ILPPendant wrote:Oh dear, I got overloaded with Uni coursework and forgot about this thread. My apologies.

AddleBoy wrote:I appreciate the translations that mirrormoon have provided, but the only reason I would read anything that is translated is that I can't understand the original language. When I read a foreign novel or watch a foreign movie, the main reason I watch them is because I want a foreign experience. The same thing goes for Fate/Stay Night. Westernizing it too much would be like having pizza available at a Chinese buffet. Why the hell would you go to a Chinese buffet to eat pizza?

I spent one hundred and twenty American dollars so I could enjoy a good story. I very much doubt you spent (presumably) a similar amount so you could enjoy reading Japanese terms mixed into English.



I did.
Actually more than that if you include Realta Nua and the shipping for both games. I felt very poor when I bought Fate, only later buying Realta Nua though.

Also, most Japanese -> English books often still use honorifics when needed. Such as Battle Royale, No honorifics except for a few pages in the middle of the story, in which a normal person would think "wtf?" as to why they suddenly use it. Not a good way to do it, but its the best I've seen really while keeping it mostly "English".

Lastly, the Liner Notes take about 10 minutes to read at the most and are easy to memorize. A person who is reading a visual novel will very often have a good reading speed and able to absorb important trivia easily. All you're doing is promoting laziness often found in youth when it comes to reading.

Anyways, as stated before, if you want to read a visual novel, you'll almost always be very familiar with common Japanese words and usages.
As for the others who don't, well they're just plain dense.

And, for the "Foreign Experience" terminology using Chinese restaurants and crap... You're practically saying you're gonna go to a Chinese buffet and you end up only eating the Mac n Cheese available for the kids unsuited to Chinese food. Or, going to a Vietnamese restaurant, ordering Pho, and eat it with forks and without adding the proper condiments into it. It's just not right.

Wait wait wait... you spent two-hundred dollars so you could read English with arbitrary Japanese interspersed for "flavour"? Hate to break this to you, but you can get that all for free at your friendly neighbourhood scanlations hub. You're also in a minority since most people buy stories for the stories, not the language they're written in.
I'm pretty sure I already said that.

You accuse me of promoting laziness in youth by advocating they be given books written exclusively in the language they understand rather than one they don't but you're encouraging laziness in translators: "Oh dear, there's no one-to-one correspondence between these two words... whatever will I do? I know, I'll leave it Japanese. It'll give the readers something to think about and keep them on their toes."
I'll thank a translator not to expect me to pay him to make me finish his job.
I think I said that too. At this rate I'll be able to compose replies simply by copying and pasting my earlier posts.


Honestly, liner notes this, liner notes that. One'd think they contained the cure for cancer... your* precious liner notes omit to mention the more complex uses of -kun and -chan (heck, much of everything); that the various sibling honourifics carry no significant meaning; and don't include an entry on yobisute or -dono (which gets really complicated). But hey, it's easy to understand so who cares if it's incomplete? It's also in Japanese and therefore above any stylistic criticism! By insisting on these notes, you're giving the reader the false impression that honourifics are somehow a very important part of speech in general rather than just a component no more or less crucial than the other (always translated) facets of linguistic politeness.

Please read my post on the Chinese food idea again. You've rehashed something I've rebutted already. Well, actually in your case it might be strangely applicable...

*This is a you plural.



Shockz wrote:Fear not, ILPPendant, for you have at least one ally on this forum...
...even if he's a n00b with only two posts to his name.

I actually think this is a good idea. While I personally prefer the Japenglish-hybrid-slang style someone mentioned that most fansubbers (and MirrorMoon) use, it's definitely not to everyone's taste (especially someone new to VNs).

Someone mentioned Ever17 earlier in this thread. Despite the (occasionally rather serious) flaws in Hirameki's translation, the parts that DID have halfway decent proofreading were a pretty good example of exactly what's being suggested here--they got across the story clearly without using terms unfamiliar to English-speaking audiences. (And then, on the other hand, we have "Naturally I knows the hacker." Christ, no wonder they went bankrupt...)

Some responses to specific translation problems that have been mentioned:

"Fuji-nee": Have Shirou just call her "Taiga". Him being comfortable with calling his teacher by her first name IMO indicates a similar level of familiarity in English as "Fuji-nee" does in Japanese. (My god, that sentence was terrible.)

"Sempai": ...I can't figure one out for this, either. English simply doesn't have a word or phrase with the same definition and connotation. This may require some creativity.

serialies is right, a Woolseyism is exactly what we're looking for here...and the very fact that that trope exists proves this can be done.

I'm glad someone agrees with me.

I mentioned Ever17. I don't care about translation mistakes in this thread because they're irrelevant to the discussion at hand. You're right though, aside from the odd hiccough, the English was solid. (Notice I didn't say "translation" in that last sentence? I shouldn't need to: a good translation is invisible. The reader shouldn't really be aware that he's reading a translation. The Japanese audio spoils that a bit but...)

I disagree on "Fuji-nee". I'd simply use Fuji. Don't forget she hates being called Taiga; Saber gets away with it because she gave her a new set of stripes with a shinai. What's more, it's normal for siblings to abbreviate each other's names. It works on several levels.
"Sempai" can be converted to Shirou with a little effort and a bit of imagination. "Tohsaka-sempai" becomes "Tohsaka" and thus Sakura had been induced into calling her "Rin" instead of "Nee-san".
Easy peasy. A bit of experience goes a long way.




zweiterversuch wrote:...
I really don't understand what is the problem here...

Yes...the translation of some works, novels and stuff is just wrong.
It leads to confusion and missunderstanding...

apparently Ipp is against this...or something like that.

but come on Ipp...I have read "Flowers of Hiroshima" ("Hiroshima no hana" maybe?) and even though I haven't read the original in japanese I would say it is a good book.
Of course, in japanese it must be a lot better but no matter how much you try to translate something into other lenguage you won't get the same impression from the people.

The lenguage dominates us; not us the lenguage.

First of all, it's language.
Secondly, ...huh? I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say here. I haven't read Flowers of Hiroshima and you haven't specified exactly what it does differently from just about every other professional book translation I've come across. (My sample stands rather low at eight, but still...)




Keeper of Gil's Vault wrote:You misunderstood me, I was just joining the rant about the "4Kids" style translations sold by the American publishers, and the majority of the consumers who purchase them despite the poor quality and strict censorship.

Certainly 4kids likes to censor references to death and whatnot but otherwise their translations are pretty damn good. If it's a 4kids dub, I usually take that as a sign that it'll at least be watchable.




I notice that no one has offered a rebuttal for my reductio ad absurdum line of argument. I've seen a lot of knee-jerk reactions but this debate is getting boring. There's no time limit to response, guys! Hop to it and come up with something that makes me think!
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Unread postby wyldfire » March 29th, 2009, 1:44 am

i don't know about u guys, but i like the sempai, sama, san etc in english too....pure otakuism, i suppose... :oops:
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Unread postby z2000 » March 29th, 2009, 3:49 am

ILPPendant wrote:Wait wait wait... you spent two-hundred dollars so you could read English with arbitrary Japanese interspersed for "flavour"? Hate to break this to you, but you can get that all for free at your friendly neighbourhood scanlations hub. You're also in a minority since most people buy stories for the stories, not the language they're written in.
I'm pretty sure I already said that.

You accuse me of promoting laziness in youth by advocating they be given books written exclusively in the language they understand rather than one they don't but you're encouraging laziness in translators: "Oh dear, there's no one-to-one correspondence between these two words... whatever will I do? I know, I'll leave it Japanese. It'll give the readers something to think about and keep them on their toes."
I'll thank a translator not to expect me to pay him to make me finish his job.
I think I said that too. At this rate I'll be able to compose replies simply by copying and pasting my earlier posts.


Honestly, liner notes this, liner notes that. One'd think they contained the cure for cancer... your* precious liner notes omit to mention the more complex uses of -kun and -chan (heck, much of everything); that the various sibling honourifics carry no significant meaning; and don't include an entry on yobisute or -dono (which gets really complicated). But hey, it's easy to understand so who cares if it's incomplete? It's also in Japanese and therefore above any stylistic criticism! By insisting on these notes, you're giving the reader the false impression that honourifics are somehow a very important part of speech in general rather than just a component no more or less crucial than the other (always translated) facets of linguistic politeness.

Please read my post on the Chinese food idea again. You've rehashed something I've rebutted already. Well, actually in your case it might be strangely applicable...

*This is a you plural.

First of all, it was sarcasm. I forget that sarcasm was damn nigh impossible to tell on the internet. Though I did almost spend $200 though.

Which is longer? Onii-chan or Brother? Onee-san or Sister? Onii-chan = 9 Characters. Brother = 7 Characters. Onee-chan = 9 Characters. Sister = 6 Characters. Yes 2-3 letters can still waste time in the long run.

Translators being lazy, they have every right to. They don't have to translate this game and let people read it in their native language. They don't have to make a patch for this story. They don't have to put up with all the fans being dicks telling them to hurry up on the translation patch. They're doing because they want to, not because you want it. And translating a story is much longer then reading one.

Lastly, try to putting "anh" "chi" and "em" into english without completely fucking up the meaning.
Anh = Older Brother, or a male that is older than you. Somewhat. MUST call your older brother by this. Nothing else.
Chi = Older Sister, or a female that is older than you. Somewhat. MUST call your older sister by this. Nothing else.
Em = Younger sibling, a child, or the female in a romantic relationship. Screw the children.
First name and last name basis is quite rare in vietnamese, and when they do say each others name, they must be incredibly close. Otherwise, it's just plain insulting.
Trust me, saying some random old guy by his first name in public is really weird. Thats what happens when you're constantly influenced by the states in a vietnamese family. You know crap about your own language unless you actually decide to learn.
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Unread postby ILPPendant » March 29th, 2009, 5:35 am

z2000 wrote:First of all, it was sarcasm. I forget that sarcasm was damn nigh impossible to tell on the internet. Though I did almost spend $200 though.

Which is longer? Onii-chan or Brother? Onee-san or Sister? Onii-chan = 9 Characters. Brother = 7 Characters. Onee-chan = 9 Characters. Sister = 6 Characters. Yes 2-3 letters can still waste time in the long run.

Translators being lazy, they have every right to. They don't have to translate this game and let people read it in their native language. They don't have to make a patch for this story. They don't have to put up with all the fans being dicks telling them to hurry up on the translation patch. They're doing because they want to, not because you want it. And translating a story is much longer then reading one.

Lastly, try to putting "anh" "chi" and "em" into english without completely fucking up the meaning.
Anh = Older Brother, or a male that is older than you. Somewhat. MUST call your older brother by this. Nothing else.
Chi = Older Sister, or a female that is older than you. Somewhat. MUST call your older sister by this. Nothing else.
Em = Younger sibling, a child, or the female in a romantic relationship. Screw the children.
First name and last name basis is quite rare in vietnamese, and when they do say each others name, they must be incredibly close. Otherwise, it's just plain insulting.
Trust me, saying some random old guy by his first name in public is really weird. Thats what happens when you're constantly influenced by the states in a vietnamese family. You know crap about your own language unless you actually decide to learn.

Impossible to detect or otherwise I should have picked up the sarcasm there; if only everyone else was being sarcastic too. One can only hope.

You wouldn't always use brother or sister for "(o)nii(-san/-chan/-sama)" or "(o)nee(-san/-chan/-sama)*. It depends on the context (though I shouldn't need to tell you that) but I'm not entirely sure where you're going with this.

*It's not unheard of to drop the suffix here, if you were wondering about all the brackets.

Yes, amateur translators working for free have the right to be lazy. They also have the right not to translate in the first place; it's hard to get lazier than that. There is such a thing as taking pride in one's work, however; make of that what you will.
No, professional translators do not have the right to be lazy since they're getting paid for it. If you hired a statistics firm to conduct a survey and they came back with "at 90% significance the null hypothesis should be rejected", provided liner notes on hypothesis testing and told you to finish the rest, would you hire them again? Why are translators somehow exempt from the same standards expected of the rest of the working world?

Those sibling honourifics are mandatory in Vietnamese... but not in English. We agree here, yes? Now, since they are mandatory one would expect siblings to use them; it's normal behaviour. Similarly in English it's normal behaviour for siblings to just use each other's names. In going from one normal behaviour to another we go from Vietnamese honourifics straight to first names in English.
So far so good. We know that addressing siblings in English by "brother" or "sister" is abnormal behaviour so this going from normal behaviour to abnormal behaviour is something we don't want. What we are translating are not words but ideas, after all. On the other hand, if we elect to leave the Vietnamese words in Vietnamese we're left with the unfortunate situation of damaging willing suspension of disbelief. Why? In the original language everything is in Vietnamese, it's clear the characters are speaking Vietnamese and that's all well and good, but on the transition to English using any Vietnamese words implies that they're speaking English interspersed with Vietnamese. Why else would we need to emphasise the two?

This all naturally applies to Japanese since they have a similar linguistic concept. It also appears to be the case with Chinese, from what I've gleaned from my occasional brushes with the language over the years. The second half of the paragraph obviously applies to translation in general.




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Unread postby radical_number6 » March 29th, 2009, 7:08 am

you wanna replace fufufu with hahaha???? u got the damn expression of the character smilling, so if they dont know what fufufu means, then they can go back to kindergarden, god damnit. white ppl. grrrrrrrrr. japanese crap will stay japanese crap. i bet guys like you like english dub like narutos. blech.
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Unread postby ILPPendant » March 29th, 2009, 11:05 am

radical_number6 wrote:you wanna replace fufufu with hahaha???? u got the damn expression of the character smilling, so if they dont know what fufufu means, then they can go back to kindergarden, god damnit. white ppl. grrrrrrrrr. japanese crap will stay japanese crap. i bet guys like you like english dub like narutos. blech.

I'd say that you're the one who belongs in kindergarten but I didn't want to imply you should be skipping grades.
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Unread postby Raven » March 30th, 2009, 8:00 pm

The English language is fine no one is argue with that. It's an easy, simple and practical language, I guess that's why it's popular.


However in some context the English language has some weakness in that it's too simple. I'm an Asian and I found English is a bit too mono-tone. Taking a little deviation from the topic at hand: for example in my language each person in a family has a specific formal tittle so when we're talking, you know exactly who we're refering too.

- Sister: is this the younger or older?
- Aunt: is this your mother older sister, or younger sister, or she's on your father side of the family?

So something like "the older brother of my father" in English can be called in a single word in my language. When talking in term of literature, this limitation is not a good thing IMO.


The reason I bring it up because the word "you" in English is exactly what I meant by mono-tone, asian-language in general always use the tittle in colloquial literature. Unless Japanese my language does not have a name-tittle construct, but we still use the tittle instead of a general purpose pronouce like you. And for that it kinda like part of a context and in a way, the charm of the writting.


For example, some people said it's hard to detect sarcasm on the internet? It's true, but the problem is not with people perception but rather the limitation of the English language to carry the sarcasm without adding something that actually compromise the intend. Trust me, I can detect sarcasm in written language if it's written in my language 90% of time, and I think it's pretty much the same thing for Japanese.




Sure, if we want clear/concise translation then an English translation to its fullest capacity is needed since it allows no compromise and ambiguitiy. But that's something you demand for scientific documents or international news. When it comes to literature though, correct translation is important but at the same time the orignial asmosphere and meaning is also of equal, if not more important. Even if you can find a "correct peer to peer" replacement in term of meaning, it doesn't mean it will have the equivalent feeling.


For example: it's usual for Japanese to refer to their brother as Onii-san/chan on a daily basic ...etc..., but honestly in all my 8 years living in the US, the only time I see people directly refer to their brother as "Bro" is in bad comic books or unatural writing. Most of the time it's just a simple you but then again, it doesn't not carry the same feeling as the original honorific.
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Unread postby z2000 » March 30th, 2009, 9:55 pm

^ this
ILPPendant wrote:Impossible to detect or otherwise I should have picked up the sarcasm there; if only everyone else was being sarcastic too. One can only hope. Of course.

You wouldn't always use brother or sister for "(o)nii(-san/-chan/-sama)" or "(o)nee(-san/-chan/-sama)*. It depends on the context (though I shouldn't need to tell you that) but I'm not entirely sure where you're going with this.
I do things haphazardly at times for no reason. So I probably wasn't too sure where I was going with that at the time either. Anyways, what I think what I was saying at the time was that translators would probably unconciously type "Brother" "Sister" "Name" or "Whatever" and later afterwards, go back and edit it. Pretty much not laziness unless it was some wierd ass use. Like randomly raping the word into some badly used pun. I believe there was a manga I read at some point where an imouto called her brother "Oni-chan" or something...

*It's not unheard of to drop the suffix here, if you were wondering about all the brackets.

Yes, amateur translators working for free have the right to be lazy. They also have the right not to translate in the first place; it's hard to get lazier than that. There is such a thing as taking pride in one's work, however; make of that what you will.
No, professional translators do not have the right to be lazy since they're getting paid for it. If you hired a statistics firm to conduct a survey and they came back with "at 90% significance the null hypothesis should be rejected", provided liner notes on hypothesis testing and told you to finish the rest, would you hire them again? Why are translators somehow exempt from the same standards expected of the rest of the working world?
Though, we're talking about a book. And I'm sure Andrew Cunningham did a form of liner notes in his translation. Though, the bastard is working for delray, so this probably doesn't apply here.

Those sibling honourifics are mandatory in Vietnamese... but not in English. We agree here, yes? Now, since they are mandatory one would expect siblings to use them; it's normal behaviour. Similarly in English it's normal behaviour for siblings to just use each other's names. In going from one normal behaviour to another we go from Vietnamese honourifics straight to first names in English.
Ah, but you see, there are some cases when siblings refer each other to their first name. Think the incestual relationships writers probably already thought up of and made books about and probably got executed. Now what? Since using first name still would be wierd. I expect another "First name nickname" thing here? Though, nicknames have always looked weird to me, so they always look out of place to me. So maybe that's why I don't accept that answer? Not sure.
So far so good. We know that addressing siblings in English by "brother" or "sister" is abnormal behaviour so this going from normal behaviour to abnormal behaviour is something we don't want. What we are translating are not words but ideas, after all. On the other hand, if we elect to leave the Vietnamese words in Vietnamese we're left with the unfortunate situation of damaging willing suspension of disbelief. Why? In the original language everything is in Vietnamese, it's clear the characters are speaking Vietnamese and that's all well and good, but on the transition to English using any Vietnamese words implies that they're speaking English interspersed with Vietnamese. Why else would we need to emphasize the two?
But, translating the ideas is the problem. That's why they leave in the basic honorifics with basic definitions and meanings to help express the ideas. Continuing to use x's words in English do seem like they're being weird talking English three fourths of the way and speaking x language one forth of the way. However, if readers are informed that some foreign words were part of the original script and is there only to express the idea. Or whatever. Hard for me to explain here. I can't explain things for shit.
This all naturally applies to Japanese since they have a similar linguistic concept. It also appears to be the case with Chinese, from what I've gleaned from my occasional brushes with the language over the years. The second half of the paragraph obviously applies to translation in general.



Set 'em up and I'll knock 'em down. As they say, with enemies like you who needs friends? But who needs friends in the first place? They always seem to be there to ruin your most important plans in the first place.


Tried saving time doing it this way. Though, I have eight hours today to waste, so why am I trying to save time? Surely, the American habit to rush things always seem to be there.
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Unread postby Raven » March 30th, 2009, 10:50 pm

^ eh, I don't get what you're trying to say though.



The only comment I would like to add to my last post is that for me:

- An English translation of a Japanese literature is a middle man to help me understand Japanese literature with an English translator. That means if there is a way for me to read and understand the original script while retaining most of the original meaning then it's the way to go. For example, I might not be able to read and understand 志貴様 but a translation of Shiki-sama gave me a perfect understanding of the original script, at least as much as Sir-Shiki or Mr. Shiki could be, and because of the former retain more of the original script, then Shiki-sama it is regardless of how much sense it make in English interm of language.


- An English translation of a Japanese literature to me, IS NOT a translation to turn Japanese literature into English literature
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Unread postby ILPPendant » March 31st, 2009, 2:41 am

*cracks knuckles*
Let's see if I can do this in under thirty minutes...

Raven wrote:However in some context the English language has some weakness in that it's too simple. I'm an Asian and I found English is a bit too mono-tone. Taking a little deviation from the topic at hand: for example in my language each person in a family has a specific formal tittle so when we're talking, you know exactly who we're refering too.

- Sister: is this the younger or older?
- Aunt: is this your mother older sister, or younger sister, or she's on your father side of the family?

So something like "the older brother of my father" in English can be called in a single word in my language. When talking in term of literature, this limitation is not a good thing IMO.

If this were a genuine limitation we (the English) would have kept more than one form of "you" like the Germans. I'm sure other European languages do it too but Germany was the first example that came to mind).

Raven wrote:The reason I bring it up because the word "you" in English is exactly what I meant by mono-tone, asian-language in general always use the tittle in colloquial literature. Unless Japanese my language does not have a name-tittle construct, but we still use the tittle instead of a general purpose pronouce like you. And for that it kinda like part of a context and in a way, the charm of the writting.

Think "you" is too 'monotonous'... got it. Let's move on. (Out of curiosity, did you perhaps want soulless, since it makes a little more sense?)

Raven wrote:For example, some people said it's hard to detect sarcasm on the internet? It's true, but the problem is not with people perception but rather the limitation of the English language to carry the sarcasm without adding something that actually compromise the intend. Trust me, I can detect sarcasm in written language if it's written in my language 90% of time, and I think it's pretty much the same thing for Japanese.

Sure, if we want clear/concise translation then an English translation to its fullest capacity is needed since it allows no compromise and ambiguitiy. But that's something you demand for scientific documents or international news. When it comes to literature though, correct translation is important but at the same time the orignial asmosphere and meaning is also of equal, if not more important. Even if you can find a "correct peer to peer" replacement in term of meaning, it doesn't mean it will have the equivalent feeling.

This, combined with your above quote, already has a response of sorts:
ILPPendant post 4 wrote:if you prioritise preserving the original meaning over something that flows then you must without exception also include pronouns, verb endings (well, verbs in general to be honest) and some particles since these are all just as important as honourifics. In fact, it's probably best if you leave everything save nouns and verb "stems" untranslated. That way you're getting the full experience the original author "intended".

You accuse English of being monotonous (well, mono-tone, but that's not an adjective) but English people might disagree; we've been writing poetry, books and plays just as long as everyone else. Just as my quote here suggests, since you dislike the English language so much since it lacks the simplistic ways of communicating meaning that are present in Japanese why should we stop at honourifics? From what you said, it's imperative that we leave "you" untranslated since otherwise the cornucopia of meanings and implications will be forever lost to us. I assume this also applies to "I", "he/she/it" and their corresponding plural forms. Since some particles have very specific meaning we should probably keep those too. Oh yes, English verbs change based on person and number... well just person really... but since there's no direct compatibility we should use Japanese verb endings. The readers are smart... they'll suss it out. Let's just chuck some explanatory notes in the readme and grab some lunch!
"Watashi will just go-masu out to grab some o-tea. Would anata like some too ka?"
That looks silly. Where did I go wrong? Was the whole premise faulty? Let's flip this around...
No, I'm not done yet. What's the Japanese for "the"? What about "a"? I put it to you that Japanese is too vague since I cannot use any articles in my speech; everything must be done implicitly. Your logic involves me putting "the" and "a" into Japanese should I ever have cause to translate some from English since there's no equivalent concept. In fact, proper article selection is a nightmare to both explain and understand. Amazingly though, Japanese translations from English get by without. Funny old world, innit?


Raven wrote:For example: it's usual for Japanese to refer to their brother as Onii-san/chan on a daily basic ...etc..., but honestly in all my 8 years living in the US, the only time I see people directly refer to their brother as "Bro" is in bad comic books or unatural writing. Most of the time it's just a simple you but then again, it doesn't not carry the same feeling as the original honorific.

Zero points for this.
ILPPendant post 7 (it's on this page) wrote:Those sibling honourifics are mandatory in Vietnamese... but not in English. We agree here, yes? Now, since they are mandatory one would expect siblings to use them; it's normal behaviour. Similarly in English it's normal behaviour for siblings to just use each other's names. In going from one normal behaviour to another we go from Vietnamese honourifics straight to first names in English.
So far so good. We know that addressing siblings in English by "brother" or "sister" is abnormal behaviour so this going from normal behaviour to abnormal behaviour is something we don't want. What we are translating are not words but ideas, after all.
...
This all naturally applies to Japanese since they have a similar linguistic concept. It also appears to be the case with Chinese, from what I've gleaned from my occasional brushes with the language over the years. The second half of the paragraph obviously applies to translation in general.

I guess I have to say this straight out: "Bro"/"Brother" is rarely if ever an acceptable translation for "aniki"/"nii-san"/"whatever combination you care to think up" when translating a piece of writing; it belongs in reference books.


Raven wrote:- An English translation of a Japanese literature is a middle man to help me understand Japanese literature with an English translator. That means if there is a way for me to read and understand the original script while retaining most of the original meaning then it's the way to go. For example, I might not be able to read and understand 志貴様 but a translation of Shiki-sama gave me a perfect understanding of the original script, at least as much as Sir-Shiki or Mr. Shiki could be, and because of the former retain more of the original script, then Shiki-sama it is regardless of how much sense it make in English interm of language.

In the context given it should be blindingly obvious that the correct translation of "sama" is "master". Sir is a title awarded and I believe it has a separate honourific of its own (not sure though) and mister is not used for people under eighteen anyway, not that it would have been applicable were he of age.
Besides, what's there exactly to understand? You know what "sama" means, but do you understand what it means? Can you intuitively appreciate why hearing it sent "shivers up [his] spine"? Can you empathise with him or are the only thoughts crossing your mind "oh... he doesn't like it because she's elevating him while demeaning herself"? Perhaps you do, but can you really say the same for most everyone else? For all your talk of feelings, your proposed "solution" provides very little.


Raven wrote:- An English translation of a Japanese literature to me, IS NOT a translation to turn Japanese literature into English literature

I would turn Japanese literature in Japanese into Japanese literature in English. I'm reading The Count of Monte Cristo right now. It never stops being French literature but somehow the translator has resisted what must be an overpowering urge to use "tu" and "vous" in place of "you" and avoided using "monsieur" and all the other trappings of French etiquette.
Do not attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by irony.
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