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Alethea & Athena
The guardian of love and long sentences 
20th-Apr-2018 09:08 pm
Oh my gosh, you guys, Sailor Moon is so hard. I remember back when we started Noragami, and every day of the four(?) days it took us to do the edit, I would post saying oh my gosh it's so hard, but I'm not sure it has anything on Sailor Moon. We made it maaaaybe a seventh of the way through the edit, and that's after working alllllll day, as in it's almost nine o'clock and we stopped about fifteen minutes ago. ...But to be fair, we took maybe about half an hour to answer a Disneyland survey. I have to. I need to tell them that the quality I loved them for is vanishing away.

Anyway. The point is, I don't know who it is going around saying comedy is the hardest thing to translate, because oh my goodness these dramatic Sailor Moon scenes are the worst! So much monologuing! Aaaaaaahhhhhh!!! And then they'll say things that, when you translate them straight, they sound suuuuuper melodramatic, like almost parody-level, it's so dramatic. And I'm not sure if it's supposed to be that melodramatic! So we try to make it dramatic, but not ridiculously so, and frankly I don't know if we're succeeding or not, but I think maaaaaybe we're managing to do okay? (Incidentally, this all reminds me of the Sailor Moon musical Eien Densetsu, where they're doing a play, and one of the Three Lights actually has a line that says, "Enough of the melodrama!" ("melodrama" is in English, that's how I know; we watched those things before we really knew Japanese).)

Then there's the names of things. We spent about a million years of research on terms. We only have two translation notes so far, but each of them took more than an hour of research. It's tough. And the bitter side of me has me going, "But people are still going to think our translations are lazy because we keep the name honorifics." That's okay. We know the truth. And really, I'm not writing this post in an attempt to get praise or sympathy. It's just that wowie-zowie, that was a lot of work, and now I need to vent. And there's still so much left to do! Aaaaaaahhhh......

The really fun thing (by which I mean "we're doomed") is that next week was shaping up to be impossibly busy even if we didn't have Sailor Moon to work on. Unless In/Spectre turns out to be miraculously easy, or if we don't get materials and have to put something off. Well, life is supposed to be challenging!

Today I'm thankful for getting as much done on Sailor Moon as we did, finally opening our YumeTwins box, the super cute highlighter that came in it (now we have to figure out what we can highlight!), chances to give Disneyland feedback, and also getting a break to eat pizza.
25th-Apr-2018 05:58 am (UTC)
When I work on Sailor Moon I have to keep reminding myself that it's basically an omnibus so I should be thinking of the time it takes as two books instead of one. But even then, it feels like somehow it's sooooo dense. I guess it's just a special case no matter what. I'm sorry for all the monologues (they're easier for me to letter than sfx, at least...). And I'll tell myself to stop being personally offended when I have like 6 pages to potentially fill with translation notes and you only give me 4 notes :) (I can typically fit 3 to a page.) (I was only ever personally offended as a joke with myself, please understand.) I know you're anything but lazy!!!!

(also ugh those people and their "lazy translation" ideas, every time you mention it i get mad because they're just parroting some half-baked opinion without actually knowing anything about it. you wanna know what's a lazy translation is Viz hiring generic companies to translate books, losing so much subtlety for the adapters who have to follow up, and guess exactly which company throws out all the name-honourifics?!)
26th-Apr-2018 01:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, we do have a nasty habit of forgetting to treat it like two volumes, even though it is. We do always remember that it takes approximately forever to finish, though. But hope springs eternal, and we keep forgetting just how forever it takes.

Notes are a tricky animal. They kind of have to happen organically nowadays. There are even times when we're like, "Well, we could write a note about this," and then we'll go to write the note and be like, "...I don't know what to say about it." We just don't feel like we have the time or energy to explain the Japanese language anymore, so if it's not a cultural note, it just doesn't happen. We had a volume of Waiting for Spring and a volume of...I think it was Hanako-kun recently(?) that ended up with zero notes.

Thank you for pointing that out about Viz! For goodness sake. We're starting to think there's an attitude in the industry (not just manga, but anime and video games) that it doesn't really matter who translates it--like translators are changeable parts and the end product will turn out the same either way. We're hoping to educate people against this theory if we do a panel at AX.

The thing about name honorifics is that it's an easy thing to look at--anyone at any skill level can see whether or not they're there, so it's a quick ego boost to use it to gauge quality. The problem we have with the attitude now, though, is that there's a prominent Sailor Moon fan translator who is not only a proponent of the idea, but seems to be one of the people who started it. (We found a blog post she wrote, where she linked to another blog post of hers about how name honorifics = lazy translation, but we didn't read it because we were already distracting ourselves from work and we needed to get back to it.) And Sailor Moon is a series that we very much do not want people to write off because they "can tell" at a glance that the translations are bad.
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