In other news, we've had a lot on our minds, including punctuation. Maybe it's because we're not actually very big readers, but we tend to punctuate our manga translations a little strangely. Or rather, we think it's perfectly normal and logical, but that comes from doing most of our reading in Japanese, while our editors, who have much more experience with English, think it's strange. We of course prefer our way, and I hesitate to complain because it really is just a personal preference thing, so this isn't a complaint--just an explanation of our punctuation preferences.
First, there's !? versus ?!. In Japanese manga, when it's not handwritten, it's always exclamation point first. Different manga artists have their own preferences, too, so when it is handwritten, it's usually !?, but sometimes ?!. Tachibana Higuchi, for example, does it the American way. But anyway, since we don't do a whole lot of reading in English (we're working on fixing that--just today we spent some time reading classic literature), we trained ourselves in the Japanese method, and we even have a very good reason for it. Take this sentence for example: "What are you doing!?"
If you say it out loud, chances are, you'll hear the raised voice (indicated by the exclamation point) before you hear the question intonation. Thus it becomes an exclamation before a question.
Next, there's the question of ellipses. In Japan, they like to use ellipses a lot. Like way a lot. We've been told multiple times to tone it down with the ellipses, and it's finally sunk in, and we've come to terms with it. It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense to use a double ellipsis every time one comes up, after all.
On the other hand, it's common practice in English to connect broken sentences (a very common occurrence in manga) with ellipses. They don't do that so much in Japan, and that tends to get us into trouble. It's probably just that we're so used to Japanese, where they don't have a problem breaking the sentence up in the middle with no punctuation whatsoever, that we think connecting sentences with ellipses makes a big mess. But we've been informed that people more used to reading in English think that it's messier not to have ellipses. I can understand this point of view, too, but then we come across another ellipsis problem: pausing.
There is a lot of pausing in shojo manga. Like way a lot. So there will be an ellipsis before a sentence when a character is hesitant, or in the middle, or at the end if they're not confident in what they said, even when there's no trailing off or continuing in the next bubble or anything. But when the ellipses are used as sentence connectors, it gets really hard to tell the difference between a sentence connector and whatever emotion the ellipsis is supposed to convey. It's especially tricky when the speaker pauses in the middle of a sentence, but it's broken off because it's in a new bubble, so you have the ellipsis there to indicate the continuation of the sentence, but then how do you know there was a pause there? Especially when I'm only allowed to use one ellipsis in a row!
I think what we need is a new punctuation mark to take the place of one of the ellipsis functions--either the sentence connector or the pause indicator. That way, everyone will know what each one means. ...Y'know, assuming they can figure out what the heck that new symbol is there for. Sigh...
Today I'm thankful for yummy strawberry banana orange juice, having a relatively easy time collecting cards in Chain of Memories, getting to work on a new title (once again not from volume one), friendly setting of guidelines, and having a little bit of leisure time today.