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.

XD

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: (*smile*)
The first volume of Tales of Phantasia comes out from Geneon this week. AnimeOnDVD appears still not to have caught the . . . slight discrepancy between their description of the show and what it's actually about.

In the hope that they fix it someday, at least when someone reviews it, this is what it currently says:

They needed a hero. . . So they built HEAT GUY J Android J was secretly built by the government as a special agent to combat crime in the oceanic city-nation of Judoh. While J initially appears to be human, the illusion quickly disappears in clouds of scorching steam when he fights. Together with his partner, Daisuke Aurora, the most dangerous criminals will soon find themselves on the run... from the underground legend known as the Heat Guy! From the director and staff that created the Escaflowne Movie comes a brand-new, action oriented cop drama!


Easily amused? Why, yes, I am.

[ETA: They've posted a review of the disc and fixed the description now.]

It's kind of like how a certain site that resembles AnimeLyrics.tv still has their song artist database all mixed up. Michiyuki (from LOVELESS) really isn't sung by Horie Yui, for example. Then again, my translation of Michiyuki is kind of broken and in need of updating (and I never did submit the artist info anyway), so I'm not going to link to it here. ^^;;

Translating song credits actually takes me some time because Japanese first names can have so many different readings. My new strategy is to Google the kanji and the furigana for surname if I can figure that out, since there are usually fewer possibilities. With luck, that gets me to a page that gives the reading of the full name. Yeah, you'd probably cringe at all the Japanese-Googling hacks I use.

Okay, now I'm just babbling randomly, so I will go away. I'll tell you why I'm so freaked out right now later, when the cause has passed.

In other news, I need a LOL-type icon. I'm sure I have some, but then I'd have to ditch something in my current collection.

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