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How "liberal" is the translation?

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#26 by verifonix
2018-11-07 at 17:26
Isn't お邪魔します~ == Ojamashimasu~ == "Sorry for intruding~" or similar? Oh well translation nazis will have a field time with sometime like this I'm sure.

I'm just glad we have so many translations lately! Barely have the time to read them all.Last modified on 2018-11-07 at 17:27
#27 by steamboatwillie
2018-11-07 at 21:13
If I'm not mistaken, jama means nuisance or bother or something like that, similar to meiwaku. (Don't quote me on this, I'm still learning.) So ojamashimasu should translate to "I am/will be a bother". I'd probably personally use "thanks for having me" if that doesn't interfere with the character saying that before they leave.

And yes, I agree! More English translations means I can power through a vn much faster! Now if only there were more monmusu works...
#28 by risingchaos
2018-11-07 at 22:31
If Seinfeld can have speaking in the third person, about as mainstream English television as it gets, surely a visual novel can. While I think the rewritten dialogue successfully gets the point across nonetheless, I disagree that it needed to be changed in the first place.
#29 by dk382
2018-11-07 at 22:44
I'm a huge Seinfeld fan, and the "George is getting upset!" line has stuck with me forever. The reason it's localized isn't because third person speech doesn't exist in English fiction, it's actually specifically because it does exist in English fiction but is done to convey extremely different ideas and character traits. In Seinfeld, for example, it demonstrates very egotistical behavior. When the same linguistic concept can actually mean different things in different cultures, carrying it over 1:1 can potentially lead to mischaracterizations. In this case, the common conception I see people have of anime characters speaking in third person isn't that they're cutely childish, but mentally handicapped in some way, which is not image we want to give.

edit: And first impressions and mental associations are very powerful. Even if you know what third-person speech means in Japanese, that often isn't enough to override what association it has in English media, which is the main reason I supported this localization decision.Last modified on 2018-11-07 at 23:15
#30 by aakari
2018-11-08 at 14:53
In the end I gotta agree with #26 and #27. More translations is always better, be it liberal or literal. Neither is better than the other, and to each its own. Just a reminder that third person speech is done by professionsl companies outside the porn industry too.
#31 by lightning-rod
2018-11-08 at 19:28
Alright captain, let me remind you of something.
You guys are translating for weebs, not for normies. Many of them watch Anime or read Manga, and visual novels are more often than not seen as Anime games. They get a LOT (if not all) of the references vns throws at them, so there's no need to dumb it down for them. Have some respect for your audience.

Sure you don't believe people IRL speak or act like vn (or Anime/manga/etc) characters, do you?. They'd get made fun of or shamed if they did. Hell, weebs are already shamed and bullied for liking these kind of characters.
They behave that way for a reason. Said reason most often than not being "because it's MOE". Remove that and you remove the whole point of the character.

Also, when you guys made the decision to keep honorifics, you already "compromised" the integrity of the script since "honorifics aren't English".
If you're doing weebglish from the get-go, have the decency to go all the way and try to keep as much of the references, character quirks and whatnot as humanly possible. I'm not asking for shit like pronouns (boku, atashi etc), which can only be translated as "you". I'm asking you to NOT make shit up that wasn't in the original script. at worst, you can make a TL note explaining why X character is doing Y, but that's rarely necessary (See above).

Furthermore
I guess you didn't read euphoria then (Rika's third person quirk of speech was retained just fine there). Unless we're saying Cafe and MangaGamer did a poor job on it?
This.

Just because you're getting paid now doesn't mean you're not an amateur still.Last modified on 2018-11-08 at 19:29
#32 by warfoki
2018-11-08 at 20:21
You guys are translating for weebs, not for normies. Many of them watch Anime or read Manga, and visual novels are more often than not seen as Anime games. They get a LOT (if not all) of the references vns throws at them, so there's no need to dumb it down for them.

A few years ago, I'd have agreed. When the only options were JAST and MangaGamer, then it was true that only weebs already very much into these things would buy any VNs, because the general population didn't even know what a visual novel was. But nowadays, when a ton of VNs are on Steam, this is simply not true. Nowadays everybody even remotely interested in PC gaming knows what a VN is and I have multiple people in my very limited social circle who played Kono Oozora ni, Tsubasa o Hirogete, Neko Para Vol.0 Minazuki Neko-tachi no Nichijou!, Doki Doki Literature Club! or some other VN that got some fame in one way or another, despite never playing VNs before. Hell, finding Doki Doki Literature Club! on Steam was the gateway for weeb stuff for one of them. So when it comes to commercial translations, making said translation accessible is understandably an important factor.

They behave that way for a reason. Said reason most often than not being "because it's MOE". Remove that and you remove the whole point of the character.

If the character's speech pattern is the only defining characteristic about them, it was a badly written character anyway. Plus you can create a speech pattern or style in the target language that can communicate a similar personality than the original speech pattern, just using the tools of the target language instead of translating something alien 1:1.

Also, when you guys made the decision to keep honorifics, you already "compromised" the integrity of the script since "honorifics aren't English".

Sure, but basic honorifics are such a surface level of Japanese that even "normies" recognize at least a few. You don't need to be an avid weeb for that. So it makes sense to leave them, especially in a VN that plays out in Japan.

at worst, you can make a TL note explaining why X character is doing Y, but that's rarely necessary (See above).

That is indeed the worst option. By far. It breaks the pace and the immersion if you have to keep glancing on a glossary or a footnotes. The only acceptable place for such notes is in a raw translation as notes for the editor or in academic writing where every little nuance of the original text can matter. So overall, making shit up in the target language is abetter option, as long as it fits in the context and conveys the same message. Translation after all is essentially rewriting something in the target language.

Just because you're getting paid now doesn't mean you're not an amateur still.

I'm being pedantic here, but doing stuff for profit in a legal manner by definition makes you a professional, and not an amateur.
#33 by infernoplex
2018-11-08 at 22:09
So overall, making shit up in the target language is a better option, as long as it fits in the context and conveys the same message. Translation after all is essentially rewriting something in the target language.

You're on a slippery slope there. Just one step further, and you are gonna get people advocating to write fanfic translations of Japanese works ("because Japanese is, after all, not translatable into English 1:1, so why bother?"). Just have someone make up a story that makes sense in the context of what's going on the screen, and there you have it. A perfect fully liberal translation.

I'm being pedantic here, but doing stuff for profit in a legal manner by definition makes you a professional, and not an amateur.

The word "professional" has more than one meaning. You conveniently decided to interpret it as "paid, salaried", while that wasn't the point #31 was trying to make. You can be a paid "professional" (but still an amateur in the sense of your skills).

Anyway, what saddens me the most in this new age of VN translations is how "TL Notes" got depreciated. I used to like reading those back in the older days... namely, some older MangaGamer works and fantranslations. But nowadays, the philosophy is that "your reader is lazy, so you shouldn't leave any cultural tidbits into your work that he may not understand... and most of all, don't do TL notes because they are bothering the reader to leave the game so he can read them!". Yeah, I can see why this is the new philosophy. I understand why we are now here where we are. But I always have that lingering feeling inside me that I am losing more than I should by this depreciation of TL notes. I guess that's what's motivating me now to learn Japanese more than ever.Last modified on 2018-11-08 at 23:02
#34 by warfoki
2018-11-09 at 02:30
You're on a slippery slope there. Just one step further, and you are gonna get people advocating to write fanfic translations of Japanese works ("because Japanese is, after all, not translatable into English 1:1, so why bother?"). Just have someone make up a story that makes sense in the context of what's going on the screen, and there you have it. A perfect fully liberal translation.

In that regard translation has always been a slippery slope. A perfect translation does not exist, because you have to balance two important goals that are usually go right against each other: the need to stay close to the original text in terms of style, meaning and, to a degree, structure, while also producing a text that is seamlessly readable in the target language, that might have a complete lack of cultural or linguistic context and tools of the original language.

Here's an example to consider for you: how to translate the Hungarian phrase "kurucos virtus"?

So, virtus is easy enough, it's "virtue". Kurucos is the problem. So, for context, here's the English Wikipedia article on kuruc (the -os just makes the noun into an adjective). So, one option is to translate it as "rebellious virtues", but it's not perfect. Kuruc carries the connotations of a comradeship against impossible odds, to resist the government in order to protect one's beliefs and homeland (that's why the far right organizations today like to use the word for themselves a lot). "Rebellious" doesn't really express any of that. A kid can be rebellious without giving two shits about any of that.

An alternative would be "roguish virtues", implying a character willing to break the law to get what they want, but at the same time working with good intentions, honorably in a way. Imagine Han Solo, if you will. This is closer to the historical connotation, but it doesn't deal with the modern connotations. In today's usage the word always has a distinct far-right political subtext.

Or you can just keep the original word and say "kuruc virtues", then add a TL note. Problem is, for said TL note to worth anything, it needs to be reasonably long, so as a pop-up window it would be obnoxious. But if you leave it as a glossary entry, then you either force the reader to ignore it and just read-on with getting ANY of the meaning in the word, or to break the pace and the immersion for the sake of reading a small article.

So what's the perfect solution you ask? There is none. That's the point: there is no perfect translation, one way or the other you will make compromises. "Rebellious" is the closest to what the word originally meant, but in turn it doesn't reflect either the historical or the modern connotations coming with it. "Roguish" is the closest to how the kuruc movement is remembered in the collective memory of Hungarians for the most part, but fails to allude to the modern political use of it. "Kuruc" is meaningless to people not from the region, so the meaning comes from the TL notes, so you compromise the immersion and integrity of the target language text in order to save all of the meaning of the word. It's an unavoidable compromise no matter what you do, because a complete equivalent doesn't exist in English. You will lose SOMETHING during the process, that's not a choice. What is a choice is deciding what is okay to lose. That's why I'm saying that translating a text is recreating the text in the target language, because indeed, translation is a lot more than just looking up word meanings in a dictionary.

Much of any translation, especially literary ones deal with these problems. And mind you, this is just one phrase, one word. A longer, more complex text might have hundreds of these. You can't stop and ponder on all of them for hours, because you'll never get the translation done and as a translator you are not paid by the hour usually, but per word. So if you waste an eternity chasing after a nonexistent perfect solution, you'll end up earning less for your translation per hour than flipping burgers at McDonald's.

If you want to know, my solution would depend on context. If this is just a throwaway line to describe someone's character, I'd go with "roguish virtues". If the text is centered around the kuruc movement or the modern day political use of the word, then I'd go with the TL note route.

EDIT: Oh and I haven't even mention that even keeping the word "kuruc" might give unintended connotations for some people. In Hungary the kuruc movement has been overly glorified, especially during the communist era. The communist regime wanted to see the movement as a perfect early example of the proletariat breaking their chains and heroically rebelling against their bourgeois oppressors. As such movies, books and so on were produced to glorify them. And they were introduced in history lessons almost as a pure force for a greater good. That's how "kurucos virtus" has a Han Solo like image of a honorable rogue with a heart of gold associated with it. However, go a bit west, to regions that were the heartland of the Habsburg Empire back in the day, and you often find "kuruc" or some derivation of it as a curse word.Last modified on 2018-11-09 at 02:54
#35 by infernoplex
2018-11-09 at 03:06
...Sigh.

Yeah, that was pretty long, but I understand what you mean. And yeah... I know that translation of any language into another inevitebly leads to loss of information one way or the other. Especially so with diametrically opposed languages. I didn't say this earlier, but I am not against liberal translations. I am against overly liberal translations. I know that one needs to sacrifice something to make the translation work, but there's no need to go to extremes for that. Heck, if one needs to rewrite 1000% of the entire story to make it work, then I don't think that work should even be translated in the first place. I've seen works where the translation goes over the board and makes up total nonsense for something that's fairly simple and easy to carry over in the target language, with little to zero loss of information. Yet, to appeal to... a wider audience I guess (I'd be lynched here had I used the word "normies"), localization companies decided that they should totally butcher whatever the original works were and overly modify them to the point of unrecognizability. I'm not gonna name specifically the titles at hand, since they are not important. What is important is that there is a part of community that doesn't like to read translations of that kind and would rather look elsewhere for their otaku culture fix.

And yeah... RIP my TL notes :( Can't get over their death ;(
#36 by warfoki
2018-11-09 at 04:23
We are on the same page regarding overly liberal translations. In my opinion the key is finding a balance, both overly literal and overly liberal translations will be inevitably bad.

Also, I'm against pop-up TL notes, as they, in my opinion, compromise the integrity and immersion of the text. However, I'm perfectly fine with an in-game glossary for additional info for those who care. A nice example would be Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni - Dai Ichi Ya.
#37 by sakurakoi
2018-11-09 at 08:23
I for one am glad that NN is not met with apparent financial success with their obvious betrayal and hypocrisy. "From Fans for Fans? Let's purge all polite speech and character quirks to get *new* fans!" Always gotta love how companies can't help but blatantly lie but welp, words are cheap, actions are not~

Seriously, if NN does not do overly liberal TLs then there must be only one group who does misinterpret Liberté. In this branch of course... *glances at Case Closed and facepalms*

And yeah... RIP my TL notes :( Can't get over their death ;(
I have not bought many LNs yet but at least The Saga of Tanya the Evil (YenPress) got 'em, so there is that.
#38 by kiru
2018-11-09 at 10:08
The worst thing about translations is, that a lot of people argue about this, that really have no qualification to do so.

If you don't know at least 2 languages very well and thought about translations between them, you have no knowledge about what translations even mean in the first place.
And if you don't even know Japanese, you have no idea what makes translating Japanese challenging and why (usually translators) say certain things.


Often these arguments come from people wanting something fast and perfect for themselves only. For example, you know xyz about Japanese and its culture, so all of that should be left intact, but PLEASE, anything new should be explained to you. That's not working though. It changes for you as you get older and consume more, and it changes for everyone else as well. It's a pointless endeavor. If you are like that, you need to learn Japanese, or simply learn to accept, that a TL can not and will not cater to you personally. It's created for everyone, and that simply means, you can't assume much knowledge at all, which will always be annoying for those who know more.

Also, TL notes are the absolute worst things in existence. Just saying.
#39 by dk382
2018-11-09 at 12:12
The last thing I'll say about this.

Like, 99% of the Sanoba script is actually fairly literal. We don't always use stock translations for certain common phrases because one of our goals is to produce fully natural-sounding conversations, and there are a handful of character quirks that got localized to something we deemed to be equivalent, but by and large, we play things by the books. This is generally how I prefer it too, actually. Natural-sounding, but strongly faithful. I dislike overly liberal translations like the ones from Working Designs way back when.

Every single decision we make, we make them not thinking about who we are translating for, whether it's normies or weebs. Instead, we make them thinking about what the best way to convey what a line is trying to say in English, or the best way to convey a character's personality in English. We try to find that way to the best of our ability, and then stick with it. There are innumerable ways to translate any given concept, and we will inevitably do things that some people disagree with. But even when you disagree, please understand that we made that decision trying to convey these ideas as faithfully as possible in English. Sometimes this becomes quite challenging. We had to change quite a few of the gags in the sushi bar scene because they straight-up did not work in English, for example. But whenever doing so, we endeavor to find an alternative solution that keeps the spirit of the original as much as possible.

Anyway, that is all, and thank you for the feedback.Last modified on 2018-11-09 at 12:48
#40 by infernoplex
2018-11-09 at 12:44
Just to clarify some things.

I wasn't talking about Sanoba Witch at all in my earlier posts. I bought the VN day one (but didn't bother reading it yet as I am not in the mood for medium and longer sized titles at the moment), and would have done so regardless of the opinions on the TL, mine or someone else's (I'm still an EOP for all I'm worth). My comment was in general (as I said, I didn't even read Sanoba), not aimed at any title specifically.

That being said, I seriously doubt that Sanoba's TL is as bad as some people are claiming it to be. From a couple of few examples I have seen... no, there are no grounds to be worried too much about it. I've heard it had a fair share of typos, but what VN translation nowadays doesn't have them? It's pretty standard fare. As I said, I didn't read it yet, but I think that some people may be overreacting too much.
#41 by risingchaos
2018-11-11 at 21:51
Sanoba Witch's Day 1 release probably had less typos in it than Fureraba does even after being patched, so at least in that regard it's a step in the right direction for NekoNyan. And I think both of their releases thus far have done wonderfully in reading naturally. Though it could also be said that it isn't a localizer's job to make up for the original's stilted writing, literal purists can bite me.

Unlike George, Jimmy always refers to himself in the third person. At any rate, it is true that plenty of other notable releases both in and beyond VN space have kept a self-3P quirk in their English localizations. While that doesn't necessarily imply keeping it is strictly correct -- I don't disagree that with notion that the average English reader might not associate 3P speak with childish behavior in this case -- it does support the idea that leaving it alone probably won't alienate much of the game's audience.

Well, it's a minuscule vocal minority either way, right?

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