Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena
double_dear

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37!

We got a little sulky this morning, because...okay, we love our job, but sometimes, we just like to stall before actually getting to work. Especially when we're on editing duty (which is what we were on today), even though editing is easier than translating. On the other hand, while editing is easier, I think translating itself is more fun. It's a different kind of brain stimulation, and usually when we translate something, it's the first time we've read it, so it's got more surprises and stuff. But sometimes, we translate something we read before, and then when we get to the editing phase, we're still like, "We already did this! Why are we doing it again? Whiiiiine."

Anyway, the point is, we were stalling. So we were poking around the intarwebs, and we found a review of the Kingdom Hearts Final Mix manga! Yay! So we started reading the review, and it was like, "Translation and adaptation are a stylistic thing, so which one is better is a matter of opinion, and therefore I'm not going to compare the old and new translation." That was unsatisfying but a valid point, but then she was like, "Yen Press's version read perfectly fine, so you can just decide which one you like better." Now, it probably doesn't come across this way to most people, but to us--having read both translations--it came across as, "It doesn't matter who translates anything." Which can also be worded as, "There's no such thing as translation skill." To which our response is, "Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh."

Now to be fair, obviously we're biased and overly sensitive. Of course we think Yen Press's version was better--we wrote it! And just because we thought the TokyoPop translations were bland doesn't mean they actually were. (It's also true that we changed some of the dialogue that had come straight out of the game, because we felt the game translation missed some important nuance. See: Sora's reunion with Riku in Traverse Town.) Also, our reaction would have been made more extreme by our annoyance at the fact that the reviews of all our translations tend to consist of a simple, "It reads fine."

So we were sulking. The reviewer said that what's important is the story and art, which is true, but we believe a story can be improved or...the opposite of improved, depending on how the dialogue is written, and a mediocre translation is a major disservice to the original work. (This is not to say that the TP Kingdom Hearts translation was definitively mediocre--it goes for translations in general.)

It reminds us of a joke we heard many, many years ago. We tried to find it on the internet, and it turns out there are a bunch of variations, so we'll just paraphrase, or something. Basically, there's a bunch of guys (usually in some kind of prison), and they've been together so long that they all know the same jokes. So instead of actually telling the jokes, they'll take turns shouting a number, and when everyone hears the number, they start laughing hysterically. There's a new guy who finds out about all this, and he wants to give it a try. So he shouts a number and nobody laughs. There's silence. So he turns to his friend and asks what went wrong, and (the way I remember hearing it) the friend says, "It's all in the telling."

Today I'm thankful for finishing work early today, the yummy Chex Mix we had at lunch, the super cute kitty and puppy on our calendar for July, Page not totally staying away from the cat carrier after I pushed her, and having plans to go to the circus tomorrow!
Tags: translating, whining
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