elwen: (thought!)

[For those of you who don't click on links unless you know what you're getting into: Ian Rogers, who works at Yahoo! Music, says "no" to DRM: "I won’t let Yahoo! invest any more money in consumer inconvenience. I will tell Yahoo! to give the money they were going to give me to build awesome media applications to Yahoo! Mail or Answers or some other deserving endeavor."

I also rather liked Phillip Lenssen's comment on Google Blogoscoped: "Maybe one day we’ll look back and laugh about all this... the dark period of the late 1990s and early 2000s, right between after cassette tapes (allowing easy remixing, sharing, recording from radio etc.) were lost and real digital music (allowing easy remixing, sharing, recording from web radio etc.) arrived."]
elwen: (reading)
This awesome article about translating the Harry Potter books was posted on [livejournal.com profile] japanese, and I wanted to share.

I can relate to a lot of the things they mentioned. Although it sounds hypocritical, I think the approach of adjusting the names is better for HP. I never thought about it before, but a lot of the names are subtly evocative of certain things, and that probably does change if you're in a language that uses different sounds. It's kind of like how they really did have to change most of the Pokémon's names, because a lot of them were onomatopoetic or punny. But of course, I would never change the names in anything I was translating.

Then there's the issue of literal translation vs. something the readers will understand, when it comes to folk songs and the like. With anime and manga, the issue probably comes up most with proverbs. I'm always amazed at how I, and a lot of other people on translation forums, apparently, can rattle off English equivalents to so many Japanese sayings. [Lately, I keep running into ja no michi wa hebi (literally: "snakes on the path of snakes", approximately), but everyone uses "set a thief to catch a thief". I don't even know what that means.]

But I'm sure glad I don't have to deal with any of the "uniquely" HP problems. This was probably my favorite line in the article:

Tom Marvolo Riddle may be an anagram of "I am Lord Voldemort"; but it's not an anagram of "Je suis Voldemort", so in France he's Tom Elvis Jedusor.


And then there's the part about the initials RAB becoming RAZ when they changed Sirius' last name to Zwartz. :o

I guess it depends on the work whether you should translate the "spirit" or the words. I usually like things to be literalist, but I was really excited to hear about the Lord of the Rings translation and how they'd "translated" names like Strider and Gollum that have meaning beyond their individual syllables. Or maybe I just like them translating the "spirit" when the work was originally in English and I know what that "spirit" is, whereas I translate Japanese literally because I don't know the language well enough to even grasp the "spirit"? I mean, I can tell that, say, Ginban Kaleidoscope, Kouga Ninpou Chou, and Scrapped Princess are all written in different tones, but I'm sure there are lots of subtleties that fly over my head. For example, I thought I was getting along fine in comprehending Scrapped Princess, and then Yuuma turned to look at the forest and I was lost for two paragraphs of what I assume was description (and hopefully not exposition).
elwen: (thought!)
I went to an awesome talk about the history of copyright yesterday. It was given by Karl Fogel, the webmaster of QuestionCopyright.org. I think pretty much everything he mentioned is also on the site, but I'll summarize the points I found really interesting, since they're somewhat scattered over the pages:

  • Copyright began as a form of censorship. Britain gave the Guild of Stationers a monopoly on printing presses so that government censors could control what was being published. When they lost their monopoly, the Guild presented Parliament with the idea that artists have a natural right in their works and can transfer this right by contract, with the goal of retaining their own exclusive rights. From the start, copyrights have been advocated by and designed to protect the publishers, not the artists.

  • Most people think copyrights are designed to protect artists from plagiarism, i.e. from losing credit, not revenue. (And groups like the RIAA work hard to reinforce this link between copyright infringement and plagiarism, since the latter carries a huge stigma, even among children.) But plagiarism isn't the problem with things like file-sharing.

    Actually, there are some crediting problems with file-sharing, such as mistagged songs, but I don't think that's really high in anyone's consciousness when they talk about the issue.

  • The vast majority of artists don't depend on their copyrights to make money. Most music artists make money by performing. Writers get advances. The royalties these people get, if they get them, are usually tiny.

In the end, I don't think there's anything immediately revolutionary in what I learned, but dispelling the link between plagiarism and infringement is probably the first step towards copyright reform. Obviously all these ideas that infringement is evil hasn't stopped file-sharing and the like, but it probably gives people a lingering guilt over the matter -- they feel like it's wrong, even though they can't quite figure out whom they're hurting. Whatever people thought about the music industry's response to file-sharing, many of them probably felt that it still had the moral high ground. And as long as the public thinks copyrights are fundamentally desirable, there's no impetus for Congress to change the current system.

I'm not a problem-solver, so I couldn't begin to say what should be done. I'm guessing most talks like the one I went to are just preaching to the choir. Even the internet may not be the best vehicle for spreading this kind of information. But it's good to know and to think about, anyway.


Sep. 18th, 2004 07:38 am
elwen: (Default)
I just finished rereading Hyperion.

Spoilers ahead, but I doubt you care. )


elwen: (Default)

March 2015



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