I'm at a bit of a loss today, because I'm not sure how much of our ranting I want to translate onto Live Journal. See, yesterday umadoshi
posted a link to a friend's blog entry in which he went through the first half of volume 1 of Fruits Basket and pointed out the differences between the TokyoPop version and the original Japanese. At first we just ignored it, but then someone commented about the translation notes with some things that gave us reason to think that something was up with these notes, so we headed on over to check them out.
Since we don't have our scripts for the first half of Fruits Basket, or our own Japanese copies, it was very helpful that he provided the TokyoPop version, the line in Japanese, and his own translation of each discrepancy he felt worth mentioning. Now, it's okay for fans to compare the American version of something with the Japanese, especially when rewriters are involved, because some things do end up getting changed "to be easier for the audience to understand." It's also true that we started Fruits Basket four years ago, and we still had a little (maybe a lot of?) Japanese learning to do, plus we make mistakes. And he did bring up some things that were different enough that they were worth pointing out.
However, we question the wisdom of making such lists when your Japanese is not perfect. Not that ours is perfect of course, but to see so many instances of this guy correcting us when we weren't wrong, it was a little annoying. And by "a little" I mean like super incredibly mega frustrating hyper alpha 12. Okay, so maybe not that bad. Scratch the hyper alpha 12.
Anyway, this can cause a few problems with misleading people. For example, when you say that it's you don't know what "itterasshai" means but you know it's incorrect to translate it as "come back safe," you're misleading the fans. Fans seem to have a tendency to trust other fans more than the people involved in the publishing of the work (maybe they think our interest is only financial, so we don't care about doing it right?), so even though he said he didn't know what it means, people are going to believe him. And the fact of the matter is, "itterasshai" is a command form meaning "go and come (back)," and since you would have to have survived the trip long enough to come back in order to actually come back, "come back safe" is not entirely incorrect, if taking a minor liberty.
And so we have been ranting to each other all afternoon. We've been trying to hold ourselves back from correcting people over things that aren't so important, but when the mistake was originally supposed to be correcting us, we felt we had a right to defend ourselves, so we posted a comment explaining where he went wrong in the instances when he did. Of course, it's possible that we're wrong, but BYU has a wonderful Japanese department, and we have great trust in our teachers. He did make some valid points, and there were some things that were different because of the rewrite (most of which made us think "...so?" but some of which made us roll our eyes when we re-read volume 1 ourselves a while back), so his list isn't completely useless. But yeah. We have had chocolate and other candy, so hopefully we will be calming down soon. (Our family is trained to an extremely high sugar tolerance, so candy is more relaxing than stimulating, we think. Or relaxing in a stimulating way, like exercise.)
Today I'm thankful for fun-sized Snickers, the ability to assertively defend ourselves, Kinokuniya carrying the novels we want (now we just have to order them), Goku songs, and the awesome teachers in the BYU Japanese program.