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About translations in our fav games/anime/manga. What do you guys consider good or bad there?



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maryadavies

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This has been stirring around in my head since I saw that the English crew had accidently over-localized and added stuff that the JP didn't say in the KHUX announcements, as well as other flubs I've been seeing. (Guilt VS. Attack bonus, the lifeboat thing) Now I've said a thousand times, JP to English translation is more art than science (and I think Goldpanner would agree with me.).

Unfortunately, it's easy to get it wrong. Here's what I like in a good JP to ENG translation:

1. It has to make sense. I don't like machine translations, ick ack oak. Give me a real human doing it. And Engrish, get thee out of here. It has to sound natural.
2. Jokes and puns and such need to be localized in such a way that it makes sense. Sometimes you get ones that don't translate well (I read about one in Digimon Cyber Squad that was translated as "you will slip on sticks" when it was really a pun between chopsticks and a bridge, so I can understand why they changed it.). This means that no literal when literal doesn't work.
3. The meaning of what the writer meant HAS to be preserved, even if it must be localized, say to save a joke or something. This means with professional translators, they really need to work with who wrote it, or at least consult with 'em.
4. If there's no equivalent over here and it can be gotten away with (aka, it's not obvious that it's not what they say it is), I don't mind if things like food get localized to a certain extent. One fan translator for Maho Girls Pretty Cure localized a local citrus (basically a variety of mandarin orange that the JP love) as a clementine. Now I get that. I really get that. Most mandarin oranges, unless they're locally grown, are canned or they are very small over here. (aka. the canned ones that might be imported tend not to be very good.) But in the case of calling rice balls donuts..NO, just no.

As for Square games, the best shining example that I wish the KH folks would imitate is FFXIV, and if anyone here's played that, you'd know why. That just.. FLOWS. Good dubbing for the most part, and the English script works and works well. Heck, the translators even use humor in it which makes me laugh, a lot.

Now I understand translators are human and make mistakes, but, guys? What do you really want to see in your English (or native language) anime/manga/games that were translated from Japanese? What do you consider bad/awful, and what rocks?
 

maryadavies

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yep they did. I mean, with the clementine thing, that is kinda a equal exchange kinda thing. A citrus for a citrus, and something us Westerners would immediately recognize. They even LOOK similar.

But adding stuff..no, just no.
 

Blackrazor187

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yep they did. I mean, with the clementine thing, that is kinda a equal exchange kinda thing. A citrus for a citrus, and something us Westerners would immediately recognize. They even LOOK similar.

But adding stuff..no, just no.

There's alot of onigiri you could find in Japanese restaurants in my area. So it ain't an obscure rice based snack.
 

Soldier

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Amen there, tho in some areas..like in mine..there's only ONE Japanese restaurant. ONE. Plenty of Chinese, but no Japanese to speak of.

The only acceptable translation there in my mind is "rice ball". Not donut, rice ball.
But who doesn't love a good jelly filled donut? they're delicious.
 

Clue.Less

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I remember reading Fruits Basket and loving the tons of footnotes explaining references (like proverbs and food and how different characters were more or less formal) and none of the food was changed. What's the point of reading foreign literature if you're not going to learn about said foreign culture? They did change when Shigure sings old fashioned songs to put in an old-fashioned French song I had never heard about before, and it was hilarious. About the characters sounding formal, they had changed the way Yuki talked to make it sound more natural in French and then they realized halfway through the series that it was actually a major character trait and even a plot point in a way so they said so in an endnote explaining why they were backtracking.

I agree with all the points you make. Intention and core meaning are the most important. I appreciate changes when what matters in the dialogue is that the character is being funny and we need to get the humor immediately. But there's really no need to rewrite stuff like the donut thing--that feels like appropriation. French localization of anime has a history of completely rewriting stories :( Shout-out to the French localization of FF and KH though ((except in some parts of FF7R)). I can't check how faithful to the Japanese they are, but some name choices are pretty brilliant. I mentioned the dark aeons in FFX were called chimères purgatrices in French--that makes more sense than heretikku in Japanese in my opinion (since the dark aeons are used to destroy the heretic, precisely) and it is way classier than just "dark". Also "Ame-nivore" for Soul Eater is the best pun. I love it! (Soul is "âme" and the full keyblade name sounds like "omnivore")
 
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maryadavies

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I'm with Clue with the donut thing. I mean rice balls aren't sweet or sugary at all, WHY did they call'em donuts? (And donuts aren't perfectly round either like balls. That's a donut HOLE, geez loize.) I'd prefer to call a rice ball a rice ball, darnit. Keep that in. And yes, a citrus a citrus, even if you change which it is so Westerners will get it.

And that's some neat translations in French, Clue. I'd say that makes a good point on what's a good translation . Here's another good one. Okay, in FFXIV, they had a event where they had actual Go go Posing Sentai. Guess what the translators localized that as? GO GO POSING POWER RANGERS. Oh and I busted a gut on that too, it was funny, sorry I didn't save the CS's for those that don't play XIV. But the translator/localizer did his homework there XD!

[Edit] Found it!
Prepare to bust a gut! Funny as crap! Tho unforntautely that isn't the full, but enough to show what I liked about that :) It pays for a translator to do his homework and know that Sentai = Power Rangers or something like that.
[Second edit] Here's a better one(walkthrough with all CS's):
 
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It bugs the hell out of me when the English dubs become way more comedic than the originals. Even if it was originally meant to be a comedy, the new jokes often don't fit the tone at all and just feel wrong if you know what the original was like.
 

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Their job isn't to be a creative writer their job is to translate as accurate as it could possibly be and you ain't slick at all calling fans bigots if they dare to call you out for your incompentency as a translator. "Why even add social distancing when it wasn't even a line in the original anime or manga at all in Love Is War?" I miss the days of bad quality vhs tapes and also i'd trust a fansubber over a official dubber anyday.
I can't even listen to English dubbed voice acting at all anymore and i've just switched over to Japanese subs full time now.
 

maryadavies

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Yeah, keep the memes out.

Me, it depends with subs. If I saw it first with subs (Pretty Cure comes to mind) I can't always stand the dub. And yes I can tell if the dub's bad and I'd rather stick with the sub too, that happens sometimes as well. With games like KH and XIV, you kinda have to roll with it, tho XIV you do have the option to listen in JP if you want to, but I never have wanted to.(English all the way baby, and this is from a girl that only really knew 2-3 words in Japanese, and that was mostly in self defense playing XI~!) The translation/localization for the most part has been top tier; I hope one day the KH director can steal the translation team from XIV for a bits. You guys'd love them. Believe me.
 

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I'm becoming keen on dubs...thanks to fUnImAtIoN disgracing the translation and their VAs with their horrifyingly massive ego and spreading their BS far and wide, and ruining their image. Konosuba is...probably the only anime that I find funny, sub AND (surprisingly) dub. BUT EVEN THEN, I can't trust anything Funimation touches anymore tbh. Which is a shame, because I want to enjoy the anime without having to pay attention to the subtitles 24/7. It's...sometimes hard to follow.
 

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I am a translator, so this is hell for me. So I try to use original stuff when it comes to Korean and Japanese.
 

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I think I read or watched a video on this subject once.

In most cases, I think translators should try to stick to the original meaning as much as possible. For example, there's no reason to translate onigiri == donut. Just say rice ball. In your attempts to make it more relatable, you're kinda just... "washing" it over. If you don't think the audience will know what onigiri or rice balls are, then leave a footnote. Use it as a chance to teach.

But, there's also sometimes a problem when trying to translate stuff DIRECTLY. It doesn't always work. There's a perfect example of a guy who draws a series of comics about a lady who accidentally becomes an assassin. (Kanako’s life as an assassin )

Some of the jokes rely heavily on animal noises or names, which often does not match from Japanese to English (japanese = nyan, english = meow)

So when the joke still works, he keeps it as is:
9fRoHBI.jpg


But, if the original joke just doesn't translate well from Japanese to English, he makes a new joke:
dB6huGG.jpg



The problem with some localization teams is, they don't have the freedom to change the entire context of a joke like this freelance mangaka can. They also probably aren't paid enough to really put effort into thinking of something suitable that translates well and makes sense in English (or other languages)

In some cases, I give them a break if they try to make a joke work better in English so that we understand the feeling of the joke even if the joke isn't exactly the same.

But doing stuff like changing "guilt" to "attack bonus" and "ark" to "lifeboat" is some of the stupidest- ok. I'll be kind. It's really freakin' dumb. This is Kingdom Hearts. Almost every word, even repeat ones, matter. You can't just change a vocabulary word and think it's not going to be relevant??? Especially if they wrote it out in katakana (not sure if they did, but if they did, changing these words is even more egregious)
 
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