April 22nd, 2014

mondainai

Difficulty

You know how when people post a link to an article on Facebook, and the share prompt tells them to write a comment but they don't know what to say, so they say it's "well-written"? In this case, she probably really meant it, but the link posted was specifically to a letter to the editor, written by our friend's aunt. We didn't read the letter (we started to, but it was about local matters that we had no clue about), but we were prompted to say, "Just because your relative wrote it doesn't mean it was well written." And, to prove that even we are not immune to our uppitiness, Athena added, "I've seen my translations. Just because my sister worked on it doesn't mean it's good."

Case in point: Noragami. Oh my gosh, you guys, this translation is so. hard! We've been editing today, and to give you an idea, the first draft--the one where we were like "just put something down and we'll make it work later!"--took us a day and a half to do. When we use that strategy for translating, we are usually prepared for the edit to take longer than if we were more determined on the first draft, but we did it anyway, because there were a lot of things that had us going, "...We should wait until somebody explains that." Fortunately, almost all those things got explained. Unfortunately, we were not prepared for exactly how much longer the edit was going to take.

...We sort of were. This morning, when we were talking about working, we were like, "Just don't worry about it. It's okay to take it slow--you have time on this, even if you do only make it through twelve pages of the book by the end of the day." Remember, the first draft translation only took a day and a half--we did more than a hundred pages in a day. We did make it through more than twelve pages of the book, though. I think we made it to, like, page 33. Athena thinks it was 34. (*checking* ...Oh! We made it all the way to page 36!)

Anyway, we knew it was going to take a while, because of all the in-series lingo, and it's true that we're taking extra time to give those things special attention. So far we've dealt with two specialized terms. In the meantime, we've already written a page and a half of translation notes! Whee!

And that really sounds like a lot of translation notes, but! that doesn't mean we're not translating things, we promise! Our goal is to make it so that a reader can read through the whole book without needing to look at the notes, but can gain a richer understanding of the series upon reading them. But it's also true that we did not translate the term ayakashi, so we'll see how that goes. But after doing a bunch of research (mostly a bunch of dictionaries (looking up various kanji related to the term) and Wikipedia (English and Japanese)), we decided the term is kind of like sushi. Just explain what it means and let people increase their vocabulary. Since the term is presented in a "what do you mean?" sort of way, we think that's okay. We also looked up definitions of words like phantom, ghoul, etc., and decided that nothing really fit the right way. The only word that really matched was "fairy," but since that calls to mind specific images that are decidedly not anything like the ayakashi in Noragami...well, we just decided against it.

We also took a lot of time on tangents. See, Yato has this little speech he says when he starts using a shinki (still haven't dealt with that one yet), and when we looked into it a little for the first draft, we realized that if there is any possibility for a double meaning on anything Yato says ever, there's a strong chance that both of those meanings will apply. And so whenever he says something "with meaning" (<--stage direction), we take about a million years (or forty-five minutes, which is REALLY LONG in our translation time measurements) looking up every possible meaning of the kanji involved, and reading Yahoo! Answers and blog posts about idiomatic expressions. We found out some very interesting things about the phrase "ma ga sasu," including a theory about how it originally might have come from Greek! (That theory wasn't very helpful to our cause.)

And sometimes we just get hung up on wording choices. We're like, "But it has to convey ALL of that information and that nuance AND not sound too translaty BUT also not sound trying-too-hard...y!!!" (We just had a brief exchange about whether that should have been "trying-too-hard-ish" instead, and agreed that while the latter sounds better, what we used originally works better with the joke. Incidentally, lyschan, when you said something the other day about something sounding translation-y, we did know exactly what you meant--we come across it all the time when we're fixing up our translations, and we've been calling it translaty for a couple years now.)

Basically what it all boils down to is this: we may be trying too hard, and that's exactly what we're going to have to watch for when we edit this puppy a second time.

Today I'm thankful for having fun music to help the time pass more quickly (maybe that's our problem...), having a feeling that we're doing a pretty good job on the dialogue so far I think, getting our package from Kinokuniya, having plenty of Cadbury Creme Eggs, and Page's adorable cat bed tour.