YKK Forum

109 Translations

Boy, so different the translations between defiler and nield.

I wish I could read japanese so I could have an inkling of where they start out from. It's interesting how one will make a translation as a question and the other as a commend.

In 109, I felt I got it more reading both side by side.

- Steven Robinson
Wednesday, September 17, 2003


Translation is definitely an art, and there are a lot of perils involved in rendering a sentence from one language to another. Many factors are involved including how long you have studied the language, how much experience you have with the language as it's *used* rather than how it exists in textbooks, and the translator's own life experiences. It's also sometimes hard to avoid adding nuances of your own to the author's material.

Japanese also can be challenging. In addition to the kanji you must decrypt, the Japanese have a habit of dropping subjects, objects and even verbs from a sentence in colloquial usage. This can make figuring out who says what to whom difficult at times. And don't get me started on when the author combines kanji to make up new words....

As you can see, I nitpick Neil's translations. And, as you can see, he nitpicks my corrections. We both learn from the process, and it leads to better translations for you.



- dDave
Thursday, September 18, 2003

Do you have a philosphy towards translation? As an observation, only guessing at the original text, it seems to me that dDave tends to try for more litteral translations, why neild seems to convert sentiment into a more comfortable english delivery.

- Steven Robinson
Saturday, September 20, 2003


I try to hold to the author's actual *meaning* as closely as possible, and then after that, to hold to the author's actual *words* as closely as possible. For about 80% of sentences, that tends to work just fine. The other 20% requires a larger or a smaller adjustment. For instance, the expression "hara ga tatsu" literally translates to "My stomach stands [up]". But the real meaning of the phrase is "I'm pissed off" or "I'm mad".

Another example is in chapter 109. Alpha says "honki de macchaouyo." Literally, it translates to "I'll wait with real feeling/intention!" or "I'll wait with seriousness!" In Japanese, it resonates with Alpha's determination beautifully. However, you can see a literal translation kills the poetry of the language in English.

Neil translated it as: "I'll wait for you as hard as I can".
Whispersnlace translated it as: "I'll wait for you as long as it takes".

I think both are fine renditions. Neil's is a little closer to the spirit of the original, but Whispersnlace's translation resonates with Alpha's phrase about Owner in chapter one. Here you can clearly see the hand of the translator at work. Both have been "flavored" by the translator's preference/instinct. In that light, both translations are incorrect to a point, but the translator is giving you a richness of experience that would have been otherwise lost.

This is where translation becomes a real art. Sometimes you must step away from the words to preserve the meaning. Edward Fitzgerald once said of his translation of the Rubiat of Omar Khayyam, "Better a live sparrow than a stuffed eagle". For the 20% of the translation where poetry is needed, I agree. For the 80% where things can be translated pretty straightforward, I prefer to use the author's words as closely as possible.



- dDave
Sunday, September 21, 2003

Hmmm. Sorry to be lurking about...

I was glancing through the posts again, and so many nice coincidences popped up. Pat Metheny's Bright Size Life, Omar Khayyam, YUA...all of these are very precious things to me.

Just wanted to say so.

And commend your work. After I watched the first OVA over and over, I "read" the manga for a long time without knowing what was being said. When I found your translations, I was thrilled.

I still am. Thank you.

- Steven E
Sunday, September 21, 2003

My philosophy of translation could probably be summed up as "literal translation is an oxymoron".

Prose cannot be translated on a word-by-word basis. It can't even be translated on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. The translator must look at the complete context of what is being said in order to properly convey it in another language.

When I translate prose, I look for several things. First, what information is being conveyed? Second, what is the implication? Finally, what is the flavor or character of the text? The exact words being used are unimportant, except as they serve the above levels of meaning.

- dn
Monday, September 22, 2003

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