March 9th, 2012

hercthinking

Greeeeeeek...

The subject for this entry was provided by Athena. Originally I was thinking of calling it "I put a spell on you," but then we thought it might sound like we were still talking about Harry Potter, and in fact, I have a completely different uber-geeky thing to talk about! Woohoo!

So we were expecting to have a pretty easy workday today--we edited two-thirds of our Negima! script yesterday, so we only had half as much work to do today as we did yesterday. So we expected to work about a half day, maybe have lunch a little late, because there was a spell we had to deal with, but it was just the one spell, and the rest of the volume is practically all sound effects and people shouting, "Asuna!" Instead, we ended up working a full day, and at least--at least--seventy-five percent of that time was spent working on this spell.

When we got to it the first time, we were like, "Oh, people are just reusing spells this volume; we'll just get it from the style guide." We didn't look at it too closely, because we were like, "We deal with Greek on the second run-through." Then Evangeline finished it (after like a million pages (or twenty, I don't know)) and she said it was an original spell. And we were like, "Darn it."

But we've been dealing with Negima! and its crazy language shenanigans for years now! Surely we're used to it enough to be able to get through it fairly quickly, right? Wrong! WRONG!!! *shakes fists*

We had a new system for looking up Greek spells, which turned out to be very efficient when translating Colonel Sanders's Greek spell earlier on (his was only a few words), so we used it again! And it would have been super efficient, except that it wasn't and here's why. The first thing we'd do is look at the katakana-ized Greek and figure out which word it corresponded to in the Japanese translation that was provided. Then we'd look up the English word in an online Greek dictionary (or at Wiktionary), and see if it matched. If so, voila! Greek spell spelled!

It was pretty easy with Sanders, because we were pretty sure that "melan" meant black and "mikron" meant small, so that was just a matter of confirming our suspicions. Then the grammar was pretty straightforward, so the other two words were really easy to figure out.

Evangeline, of course, is not so nice. She used long sentences with plenty of modifiers, and conjugated all nicely into (theoretically) correct Ancient Greek, along with some words that must be really archaic, because we could not find them anywhere! As far as the conjugated verbs were concerned, it wasn't a big deal, because if we could figure out the corresponding English, the online Greek dictionaries would give us a word that was close enough, and then we could take it to Wiktionary to see if we could find a matching conjugation.

But it was still problematical, because Greek and Japanese grammar are different enough that it was impossible to figure out which Greek word went with which Japanese word based on placement. Then we ended up guessing on the Greek spelling and checking at Wiktionary to see if our guess was a real Greek word that meant something in the spell.

The real problems arose when nothing we guessed gave us any results that came anywhere near the "Greek" used in the spell. We probably spent at least half an hour trying to prove that whatever the heck word Akamatsu used for "doll" was actually a word, and we never did succeed in proving that it meant anything close to "doll." In fact, we couldn't find an English translation of it anywhere! Not anywhere! But we know it's a real Greek word. Or at least, the way we spelled it, it was a real Greek word. For all we know, there's another real Greek word that means something like "doll" and is katakanized exactly the same way but actually spelled differently!

Siiiiiigh.

Needless to say, by the time we finally got through the last part of the spell, it felt like summer vacation. Then it took about twenty minutes to get through the last two and a half chapters. And now it's finished and turned in, and if that spell ever comes up again, we can just refer back to volume 36.

Today I'm thankful for finally finally finally finishing that spell, being able to confirm almost all of the Greek (there was one conjugation we're not entirely sure of, too), getting to have waffles and honey for lunch, our packages being on their way (one arrived about a minute after I typed that! (I'm thankful for that, too!)), and getting new Classic Composers CDs.