April 18th, 2014


New assignment

One of these days, I want to start a thing where we translate something, and then we write a blog post that we save until the day the translation is published, then post it when everyone else has read the translation and can understand what the heck we're talking about. Or won't avoid reading the post because of spoilers. In fact, there's something about the new character that showed up in UQ Holder! that I really want to talk about, but I'd really better keep that to myself until Tuesday. Wednesday? Tuesday? When does that come out? Oh well.

Anyway, the point is, we started our new assignment today and we wanna taaaalk about iiiiiit! It's already been announced so I'm just going to say it: it's Noragami! Yay! We are enormously excited to be working on this series! Only it's kind of really intimidating, because...well, because I'm uppity, that's why. We got the official assignment the day after we watched the last episode of the Noragami anime, and I remember sitting there during the ending credits and thinking, "We would translate it sooooo much better." Then our editor comes along and says (only not really because he had no idea of the timing), "Hey, you know that series you were so arrogantly confident about? Why don't you put your money where your mouth is?" Ha, ha, ha...

And the thing is, we didn't pay that much attention to the subtitles...I'm not making us sound much nicer, am I? Well, see...it's...it's complicated. It's like...things happen in life that are frustrating, you know? Like our problems with Frozen, and the Maleficent movie and the disappointing Small World anniversary celebration, and Zeus not turning the lights on in his office in the KamiAso anime (hey, new episode tomorrow! yay! ...oh, the unreasonableness) and they're all silly little things that really wouldn't affect me at all if I wouldn't let them affect me so much. Maybe I just brood on it because I'm bored, I don't know. But the point is, they build up and make me irritable and then I get inordinately upset about different translation styles.

So when we translated the table of contents in Noragami today, I was far more worked up than I should have been to translate the title of chapter three, which has the same title as episode three of the anime. The title is "yuki no you na," and the anime translation was "snow-like." For some reason, this makes me extremely angry. Athena explains her reaction as like Cogsworth's, when the Beast let's Belle go: "...Why?" It's not even an inaccurate translation. It's really just a stylistic choice, a matter of artistic differences. What's our problem with it? "Like Snow" sounds so much nicer. On the other hand, the Japanese title specifically ends with a "na," making it an adjective, which might be why the Funimation translator went with "snow-like"--to get more of an adjectival nuance, to in some small way indicate that that title is supposed to modify some unwritten noun. So I guess I just needed to reason it out for a second to assuage my anger, but I still like "like snow" better. So that's what we're going to go with.

Anyway, Noragami is a challenge, because it has a lot of...oh my goodness, the chant Yato uses when he fights. It's classical Japanese with word play! It's ridiculous! ...Ridiculously awesome. And hard to translate. I have a feeling our second draft is going to take a lot more time than our first. But it also has references to...I want to say Shinto, but I could be wrong, and that has me even more concerned. We're looking into it.

The other thing is that Noragami has a lot of lingo, specialized terms and stuff. That's where things get really interesting, because we have to decide what to translate and what to leave in Japanese. There's a balance to these things, I think. The series is very Japanese, so I think it would be okay to leave a lot of the words that have no English equivalent in Japanese, but then there's this division between the fans of people who want everything translated and people who want as little translated as possible. It's a little scary, actually, because we want so badly to do the series justice. But I think we can do it.

Today I'm very thankful for getting assigned to translate Noragami (still super excited!), getting to listen to our Kamigami no Asobi playlist while we worked (which was a little dangerous when Anubis's and Apollo's songs came up), having a translation of the Kojiki and a book on the Man'yoshu to hopefully help us get some more background on the stuff we might need more background on, getting a little bit more caught up on Psych last night, and having a great excuse to learn more about Japanese culture.