Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena

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Find the contradictions!

Nothing happened today! Or last night! So today, I think we'll spend a little time (hopefully only a little...) talking about something that's been on our minds a lot lately. Since we've been working on the third Negima! omnibus, and those translations are generally accepted as being, well, acceptable, we were hoping we'd be able to steal from them when we got to newspaper articles, Satomi's whole spiel about robots having emotions, lexicons, etc. This turned out not to be the case so much, and so we spent some time (not during work hours of course; we need to get this thing done!) thinking about why that might be, and what could be done to avoid such problems.

Actually, I think the thing about the long paragraph type translations can't really be helped. Even veteran translators make mistakes, and we can hardly blame anyone working on Negima! for getting tired halfway through. (Not that it's excusable, just that we can't blame them.) So there are a lot of parts, especially during explanations, where it seems like they figured out all the key words and tried to arrange them into something that makes sense. Only they didn't really succeed. I think Negima! has so much text that it's hard to keep it all straight, even as a reader, so most likely people don't really notice.

But anyway, that brings us to the first point about translating and adapting manga, and keeping it accurate. This is very important. If part of the dialogue doesn't make sense for some reason, or contradicts something in the story, there's a strong possibility that the translation is wrong. This is why it's important to remember the story as a whole, even when focusing on individual lines. (We've noticed that there seem to be a lot of instances where a line will sound great on its own, but stick it with the rest of the dialogue and nothing matches up. Or it sounds great, or it's like, "That line is fine, except that she really won't open her wound, because it's not a cut, it's broken ribs, remember?")

So, for example, there was this part where the Headmaster is explaining that the World Tree has a lot of magic power and sometimes ends up granting wishes because of the overflowing magical energy. In the first English version, it says the magic is extremely susceptible to human emotions, which is why it reacts to wishes and grants them. Then he goes on to explain that it can't grant wishes for money, power, etc. Those two ideas aren't mutually exclusive, but don't really follow the flow of what he's getting at.

What the Headmaster really said was that the magic can affect human emotions. Then he says it can't grant wishes for material things like money and power, but if a girl tells a guy she loves him, it can make him love her back (because it affects human emotions). Isn't that much better?

So the point is, if you're adapting a manga, and something doesn't really flow very well, don't assume that the manga artist is a bad writer (though sometimes that is the case). You might want to check with the translator first (but of course, not in a way that makes it sound like you think they're a failure at their job; nobody likes that).

Today I'm thankful for the Jinki:Extend DVDs having a video of a neat promotional event as one of the extras (it reminded us of one of the smaller programming rooms at Anime Expo...), the adorable otter picture on our calendar, the sad cuckoo clock event the other night not resulting in the destruction of the cuckoo clocks, getting all caught up on Uta no Prince-sama (those last two episodes were the best ones yet! I'm glad we didn't give up on it), and it only costing 25 cents to upgrade our NicoNico account.
Tags: negima, translating

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