January 27th, 2013

tadah

Number one!

I forgot to mention yesterday that volume two of Missions of Love was number one on the New York Times manga bestsellers list! Number one! Woohoo! It was really good news to us, too, because...

Okay, so the internet has been really boring lately, so to alleviate the boredom, we sometimes venture back on to Twitter. Dun dun DUN!! It's usually not very bad, but this particular trip to Twitter (Friday night) first reminded us of the Kieli novels (project we got fired from; we're failures! aaaahhh!) and then mentioned influential manga artists and how most of their works haven't been translated, which wouldn't have been so bad in and of itself except that 1)we were already just reminded of a failure, and 2)it reminded us of a certain grumpy translator who also made us feel like failures when we didn't even do anything worth criticism (except for overusing the word "awesome," which...I actually have a whole rant about that which I might go into later).

But the point is, we were feeling pretty down, but we kept scrolling through our Twitter feed, because we have this odd idea that if we keep reading this thing that making us miserable long enough, eventually there will be something that makes things better. Well in this case it actually worked, because we got to Kodansha USA's tweet about Missions of Love being NUMBER ONE!!! And that made us feel much better, because it being volume two means that our volume one translation wasn't so horrible as to turn people away, and in fact might have been a factor in its rise in popularity. (We do like to flatter ourselves occasionally. But we always make sure to remind ourselves that we can't take it too seriously.)

So about that "overuse of the word awesome" thing. That comment by Mr. Grumpy Translator is something we thought about a lot, and it's what led me to the conclusion that it's important for J-E translators to be involved in the English speaking world, even if only through TV and/or the internet. Mr. Grumpy Translator lives in Japan, and based on his attitude, it seems reasonably likely that he's not (or wasn't at the time) familiar with current American slang. It's true that about twelve years ago, "awesome" wasn't used quite so much, except for people who would probably be seen as "Bill & Ted" types, but now it seems to be the positive descriptor of choice. It's important for translators to know what the popular slang is.

On the other hand, he's right that it's not a good idea to use one word (specifically one word that calls so much attention to itself) so many times in the same paragraph, and as somebody who works with words, I should be able to come up with a wider variety of them. That's a lesson we have been implementing for a while since (though actually we learned it from our Kieli failure). I also want to say (and maybe I've said it before, but I feel very strongly about it, so I want to say it again) that his assessment that you can judge a translator's skill by their non-translation writing is kind of ridiculous. That's like saying you can judge an actor's ability by their Twitter feed. Both professions involve thinking like somebody else (i.e. not yourself) and talking (writing) like that not-you person. So when I'm talking as myself, ideally it will sound a little different than when I'm writing as, say, Kyo Sohma.

...Clearly we have a lot of baggage that we haven't let go of. Eh heh.

Today I'm thankful for Missions of Love making number one on the NYT bestsellers list (thanks to all who bought it!), getting to see adorable coatis at the zoo yesterday (I almost forgot about them!), getting to talk to the ward choir director today (we might be back in business!), having ingredients for chocolate fondue, and thoughts of ice cream for dessert tonight (with lots of chocolate syrup).