November 13th, 2009



There we were, about two minutes from finishing work for the day, when we came across a reference to look up. We had a pretty good idea where it was, so it shouldn't take too long to find it, get it put in the translation, and call it a day, right? Wrong, apparently. We spent like half an hour looking for it and we still have no idea where it is. That being the case, does anybody happen to remember when it's revealed that Kyo has a habit of staring at people from behind when he has something he wants to talk to them about? We were sure it was Kazuma who brought it up, but our research seems to indicate otherwise. Unless we missed something, which is entirely possible.

On the bright side, we made a lot of progress today, thanks in large part to coming across the "bonus manga" section, which is exactly the same as translating regular manga. It's like a breath of fresh air... Aahh... And Kyo is tormented most amusingly.

Anyway, it came to my attention that our motives behind our little manga adaptation experiment (which we are still lazily procrastinating) may seem less than pure. It's true that we've done a lot of whining about our insecurities about our work being adapted, but I assure you, we are not trying to discredit adapters in any way. It all started long, long ago (cue flashback music) when we read an interview with a senior editor at TokyoPop, and that editor was asked who her dream team would be for getting a manga published in English. That editor said it didn't really matter to her who translated the script, but there were two adaptation writers that were her favorites. And we were like, excuse me? Doesn't matter who translated it!?

See, we interpreted this to mean that it doesn't matter how much hard work or effort a translator puts in to make the translation good, because whatever those two adapters change it to will be fantastic regardless. (Though to be fair, that editor did mention us because of our copious notes. Is that really all we're good for? Research?)

Flash forward to a few weeks ago, when we read an interview with the guy working to create Shojo Berry magazine. He was talking about their staff, and he said they had one person who knows Japanese, and if they needed it, he took enough Japanese in college that he's proficient enough to translate. That again made us go "excuse me?" Good translation takes more than proficiency; we know, because we've been watching stuff on Crunchyroll.

So it's seeming more and more to us that people don't understand that translating is about more than your ability to read hiragana and look something up in a dictionary (though yes, that is the foundation of it). We also think that maybe this idea is accompanied by the idea that an adapter can fix everything. But you see, we think it's kind of like cooking. Really good chefs like to use good ingredients because if they use crappy ingredients, the food will taste worse, no matter what they do to it. So while an adapter can make a script better than it was before, it becomes a question of do you want the adapter to take a crummy or okay script and make it good enough, or do you want the adapter to take a good script and make it great?

Of course, we've never adapted someone else's translation, so we couldn't say that's how it really is, but it's how we think it should be. And so we want to perform this experiment to see if it really is how we think it should be. But we'll see if we ever get around to it.

Today I'm thankful for Steve taking us to the grocery store yesterday, getting to eat cereal for breakfast this morning, a nice break in the form of regular manga pages, finally another video game reference from Natsuki Takaya, and said reference being about how incredibly scary secret boss characters are these days (it's so true!).