November 13th, 2008


Brain workout

And Negima! never ceases to find new and exciting ways to torment translators. Athena just explained that the first day we worked on this volume (about the same period of time for each day), we translated about eighty pages, the next day we were down to fifty, then about thirty, and then five. It's not pretty. We finally managed to get through the lexicon, and then there was a lovely little bonus thing featuring the Taiwanese version of the series, which is so interesting because a Japanese person can understand it even if they don't know Chinese. And so we get to figure out how to explain all of that to people who don't know either language. And this is where things like chie-netsu come from.

Chie-netsu is a word we've seen mistranslated (and actually mistranslated ourselves, eheh) a few times, so I figure now would be a good time to explain it. See, when a translator who is unfamiliar with the term comes across it, they look it up in their dictionary and see "teething fever." "What the heck?" is the general reaction (or at least ours). I guess that's what they call the fever a baby gets when they're teething, but it actually means something much more important. (Rewriters, you might want to pay attention.) "Chie" means "wisdom" or "knowledge," and "netsu" means "fever." So a "chie-netsu" is the kind of fever you get when your brain starts to fry from thinking too hard. Or at least so our encounters with it have led us to believe, and since I've come really close to having some of them myself, I think it's a pretty valid interpretation.

I nearly got one when I was trying to figure out how to explain why it's significant that certain phrases that used English in the Japanese version were translated to Chinese words that used the same characters as the Japanese words for those English words. See how confusing that is? It's weird, because you can really feel the lines of logic reaching around inside your brain and trying to come up with some reasonable connection. And sometimes, they snap and the wheels start spinning out of control! ...Yeah.

In high school, we managed to avoid them, because our brains would shut off before we got to that point. Like, we'd be working on our calculus homework, and at some point the brain would say, "Done," and none of the homework would compute anymore. Like at all. It was really weird. But I guess one of the things we learned in college was to force our brains to work anyway, which is especially odd because we can't remember any of our classes being that hard. Although there were a few that were hard to stay awake during--maybe it was forcing ourselves to stay awake that did it?

In other news, Wheel of Fortune is constantly reminding us of the coffee cake pancakes they're having over at IHOP. Reminders would be a good thing, because with all the wheels spinning around trying to figure out how the heck we can find out what exactly ボトリュス is supposed to be (it sure ain't Japanese), we tend to forget things like how we want to go try streusel pancakes. (And incidentally, contacting people about things we promised to contact them about. Don't worry; we still have you in mind!) So anyway, I had to call Mom about a bunch of stuff, including a maple spice cake recipe we got e-mailed (mmm, maple), so I asked her if she'd take us. Unfortunately, she has very painful memories of IHOP involving the divorce (I didn't know; we were at college when it happened). We'd already considered asking Celeste, but she's weird and hates breakfast food. So now we have to figure something else out, which is going to be really really hard, because, as I've explained, our brains are kind of melting. Hopefully they'll still have the streusel pancakes when we're done with this volume of Negima!.

Today I'm thankful for brain workouts, being done with brain workouts, reminders so we don't forget to try to get to IHOP, maple spice cake recipes (I really need to remember to e-mail that to Mom...), and people who will try cooking maple spice cake for us (we really aren't adventurous chefs).