Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena

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Soratobu Dumbo

Missions of Love volume two is out today! Go check it out! It's a super fun series!!!

That being the case, I wanted to have a little Missions of Love feature, but the main thing I wanted to talk about might be a teensy tiny bit spoilery, so I think I'll save it for a little while longer. Although we did recently read a review of volume one that had us wanting to write about Yukina's moral code, but since that reviewer seems to be in the minority, it's probably not really necessary, unless people want to read what we have to say about it.

But anyway, there are (sort of) other things going on in our lives. We're still trying to finish Layton Attorney, which of course is taking a big chunk of time, despite being on the last trial. And we finally managed to have chocolate fondue last night! It was a bit more of an adventure than we had planned, but that's what we get for not reading instructions. We thought the recipe wasn't the one we wanted; turns out it was, mostly (it was a chocolate/butterscotch fondue recipe, and we only wanted chocolate, but all we had to do was substitute chocolate chips for the butterscotch ones). And I stabbed myself with a fondue fork twice.

There was another thing I was going to post about yesterday before I knew yesterday would have events. On Sunday, we watched Dumbo in Japanese. It was a pretty interesting experience. Most of the choral numbers sounded exactly like the English versions, only the words were different. I asked Athena to turn on the English subtitles, because I figured they'd match the original English script (which they did), and then we could compare them and maybe come up with good ideas for translation. I knew the original script had good character voice and interesting turn of phrase, so if we could make parallels between the English and Japanese, we might get some good turn of phrase going the other way (from Japanese to English).

...Instead, I was shameless enough to read some of the subtitles, compare them to the spoken Japanese, and think, "I don't think I would have translated it that way." As if I'm some kind of a native Japanese speaker who knows the best way to express something in Japanese. But...but...! For example, there's the part where the ringmaster has come up with this great new idea for an act, but he gets stuck because he can't figure out what the climax should be. In the English version, Dumbo's friend Timothy (who has been overhearing the whole thing) realizes this is Dumbo's opportunity, and he says to Dumbo, "You're a climax!" The Japanese version had a much more generic, "That's where you come in!" It accurately conveys Timothy's meaning, but it doesn't have the same "that's a funny way to put it" phrasing. We've seen that kind of thing in Japanese to English translations, too--the translator is so focused on clearing away all forms of confusion that the nuance gets lost in the mix. This is just a theory, but I think it's possible that sometimes a translator subconsciously underestimates the translation audience, and doesn't think that "You're a climax!" (for which there is a phrasing we've heard multiple times in Japanese) would make sense to the viewers.

There were some parts that I think can be attributed more to the voice actors than the translation. For example, one of the elephants kept talking about how she had yet to be married, which I'm pretty sure was not in the English version (though I could be wrong; we never have been the types to memorize entire movie scripts). It was pretty funny, though, and since that particular elephant's personality was all in the performance anyway, then I guess it's okay (but we're purists, so...). The stork had some minor ad-libs that were pretty good, too.

One thing I'd like to know more about, as in I'd be interested to know how the translators/adapters/etc. made the final decisions, is the translation of "When I See an Elephant Fly." The English version is chock-full of puns, like, "I've seen a peanut stand, I've heard a rubber band," etc. But the Japanese version is just full of unusual things, like a white crow and...I don't remember anything else, but stuff like that. We know that they love puns in Japan, so the reasoning definitely didn't have anything to do with audience acceptance. But maybe there aren't that many Japanese idioms that would have fit the context? To be honest, we can't think of any off the tops of our heads, except for "hara ga tatsu," maybe, but one is hardly enough to sing a whole song with. So my question is would it really have been that impossible, or was there not enough time (deadlines), or was it a matter of laziness? (Not that we could blame them on the laziness front. We hate coming up with puns, too.)

Today I'm thankful for finally getting to have some chocolate fondue, not having destroyed the fondue despite our brief adventure, interlingual studies, having some communication in regards to the Thursday Night Activity committee meeting we're supposed to be having this week, and color-coded fondue forks.
Tags: chocolate, dumbo, language geekiness


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