June 23rd, 2011


The same old questions

Today...was a day...where stuff happened...but it wasn't necessarily interesting. There was something though. All the manga bloggers got to talking about TokyoPop because liannesentar posted on her blog a thing about why all the hate?. (That's terrible grammar, I know. But it's funner that way.)

The main thing that stood out to us, as it always does, is that there was the inevitable comment mentioning the shoddiness of TokyoPop translations. As former TokyoPop translators who had had our translations criticized by Smart People who refused to actually read them, comments like that always make us stop. We thought about commenting back to the commenter, simply asking what made the translations shoddy and if she could provide examples. That's what we really want--examples. People are always like, "I thought TP's translations were really bad... Oh, but no offense! I think your translations are really good!" and we're like, "Give us evidence!"

We always have to wonder--how do they even know the translations were bad? Okay, if the English is bad, that would make the translations bad...unless there's a character specifically using bad grammar (see above), but those are usually isolated incidents or individual characters, so anyway, if the English is bad in general, then the translation is bad, because good translation means readable English (or whatever target language). Incidentally, we were almost prevented from having a character in Negima! say "you might could" for reasons related to all of this.

But incidentally again, the person who brought the translation into question doesn't show signs of knowing Japanese. Which again makes us ask how all the non-Japanese-speaking fans know if a translation is bad. So we asked on Twitter! We asked what everybody thinks is necessary for a good translation. We got three responses. Two of them were basically accurate conveyance of the Japanese and readable English. The third one was a troll who hates name honorifics. I've said it before and I'll say it again: we see no problem with name honorifics, because nobody freaks out when somebody's translated The Three Musketeers and had characters calling each other Monsieur.

If we had all the time and money in the world, we would do a study. We'd ask people to give us examples of manga they think were translated well, and manga they think were translated poorly. And we'd get the English and Japanese versions of both and compare them!

Today I'm thankful for not taking forever to find the Latin spellings we needed (lexicons seem to be a thing of the past these days...), having a camera to bring to the photo scavenger hunt tonight, yesterday's weather report saying it will cool down tomorrow, the word "monsieur" (it's just so fun to say), and having time to watch some Tiger & Bunny.