It's actually been pretty different from just about anything else we've worked on. First of all, TokyoPop already released all of the Kingdom Hearts (1) manga, all of the Chain of Memories manga, and two volumes of Kingdom Hearts II. Yen Press didn't want to completely overhaul it, so our first job was to type up the scripts of the TokyoPop versions of the manga. Then we were asked to fix anything that needed fixing, for clarity, nuance, continuity, etc. In Athena's words, this is a dangerous thing to ask translators to do because everyone has their own idea of how things should have been translated. Our boss told us not to go too crazy with it, and we...tried.
We were pretty well-equipped, though, because we're able to compare everything, and believe me, a lot of comparing needed to be done. The editors at TokyoPop had already done a pretty good job of comparing scenes from the manga with scenes from the game and inserting the game dialogue where it seemed appropriate. We would change it sometimes when we felt that the manga was different enough that wordings needed to be changed to make sense. The part where we got really audacious is where we changed some lines that had been taken directly from the game (in both languages), because we felt like the game's English translation was out of character. The most notable instances of this are the Cheshire Cat and Captain Hook. We were just like, "Hook wouldn't call anyone a codfish! Peter Pan calls people codfish! Hook calls them...like, bilge rats or something."
Don't worry! We didn't just stick in bilge rat. We have about a bazillion internet tabs open for the purposes of these translations. First, we have our normal dictionary tab, then we have a tab where we can reference the game script, then (when there are Disney movie characters about) we have a tab where we can reference the script for that movie. While we do sometimes get greedy and hope there's a line we can steal straight from the movie that will apply to the situation, we usually just use the movie scripts to get a feel for the character voices. For example, referring the Peter Pan movie script reminded us that when addressing a lady, Captain Hook will say "my dear" (or sometimes "me dear").
But oh my goodness, it's so much to juggle in the brain! We also have one or two more tabs open, for thesauruses and Google searches. The really interesting thing about translating Disney characters... I just have to say, when, for example, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather showed up, at first the thought is, "Ooh, yay! They're going to be fun!" but then, like a nanosecond later, I'm terrified. Disney characters are really hard to translate, and here's why: they all have very distinct character voices that are not intuitive to us (despite having grown up with them). Take Mushu, for example. We're not even sure if we're allowed to talk like Mushu. So we have to have the Mulan movie script open to check for his talking style, making sure to get him in character without taking it overboard.
Oh my goodness, that kind of drove us crazy when we were playing Birth By Sleep: Final Mix. They had Cinderella saying "simply" way too many times. Okay, maybe not "way" too many, maybe it was only twice, but it seemed so forced. And so we were extremely nervous about how we translated the Disney characters for the manga. We think we managed to do a pretty good job, and we've gotten to a point with Pete where it's almost not even stressful.
Anyway. We're really enjoying the manga itself (despite the stress). Shiro Amano has a way of telling the story so that it feels the same, but it's really very different, so that you don't get bored if you've already played the games a few (million) times like we have. The first series and Chain of Memories felt a little rushed, but I'm not sure if that had to do with how the manga was done so much as how we dealt with that manga. Once we got to Kingdom Hearts II, we were doing more of our own translations, so that slowed down the first read-through. Amano-sensei does make a few members of Organization XIII out to be a lot sillier than in the games (some of them only a little sillier...almost all of them sillier, especially Vexen), but in a way that's still in keeping with each of their personalities. And the way he jokes about things in the game, like the way it really stuck in Sora's memory that Riku would carry whole logs. The best was when somebody asked Goofy for a potion, and the manga managed to show in two panels how he had searched through every single one of his zillions of pockets! (As someone who has made a Kingdom Hearts Goofy costume, this joke was greatly appreciated.)
So! We're really excited about it! We hope everybody likes how we did it! (Of course, Yen Press editors do change things sometimes, so it's possible our audacious dialogue-changing has been changed again (or changed back, since we gave them the TokyoPop scripts).)
Also, sorry for deliberately ignoring your hints lyschan. When we were given the project, we were told it was Super Top Secret, and when you first alluded to it, since you haven't played the games and I think the first series and Chain of Memories feel rushed and stuff, I wanted to say, "Just don't judge the whole series on the manga! The games go into the characters' emotions a lot better, and are a lot more dramatic!" Amano-sensei did add some pretty good drama in Hollow Bastion, but...you can't beat the game for the Hollow Bastion stuff. Oh man. (Except there's the one part where the two voice actors totally miss where the emphasis is supposed to go. We're so excited to hear the Japanese version, where the emphasis will probably be on the right words. That's been bugging us for ten years.)
On the other hand, it's possible you weren't alluding to that at all, and we've just been misinterpreting why in the world you would suddenly be downloading all the Kingdom Hearts wallpaper from the Comics GanGan site... But since that's the only thing we knew of that made any sense for you to be lettering and that we were working on...
Whew. I love talking about Kingdom Hearts. We have more to say, but this entry has been long enough, and now it's time for us to go play Kingdom Hearts.
Today I'm thankful for the incredible blessing of being able to work on Kingdom Hearts manga again, other people noticing that Goofy has a bajillion pockets, the super delicious cookies we had for dessert, having time to play Kingdom Hearts today, and getting to set up our iPad today.