The next installment of our commemorative multi-part series is one that we've talked about a lot fairly recently, so hopefully it doesn't turn out to be too repetitive.
Kingdom Hearts II
I feel like I've told this story so many times, but here we go again. We had been assigned Kilala Princess, then found out we weren't going to get to translate it after all. We knew TokyoPop was publishing Kingdom Hearts manga, but we also knew that, again, Disney was providing translations. This assignment was a complete surprise to us, but a happy one. We think there are two factors that contributed to our getting this assignment: there aren't any Disney characters in volume one of Kingdom Hearts II, and we can translate really fast. They needed the book finished in a week, and they knew we were the translators to go to. We finished it in a day.
For anyone who may have been disinterested in Kingdom Hearts enough to not read our myriad posts about it, but for some reason is still reading this one, the manga is based on the video game series of the same name. Various worlds are being destroyed by creatures called Heartless, who prey on the hearts of each world's citizens, ultimately making their way to the heart of the world itself...and that's when the world dies. They can only be stopped by the legendary Keyblade, which has chosen a boy named Sora as its wielder. He goes from world to world, fighting the Heartless, with the help of Donald Duck and Goofy, who were sent by their king to find the Keyblade wielder. And there's a bunch of stuff involving Sora's friends, too. Kingdom Hearts II, as the "II" suggests, is the sequel, and starts out with a whole new set of characters.
Before we got to work on it, we made sure to ask if there were any special rules we needed to follow, and more specifically, if we should match the lines from the manga to the lines from the game. We were told to approach it like we would approach any other manga, so that's what we did. We did refer to our memories of how the characters talk, but we didn't go out of our way to look up any game dialogue. In fact, in the GBA version of Chain of Memories, there is an example of Axel saying "damn," and we did end up using that as justification for having him say it in our translation. Ultimately, that line got changed by the editor, which I think now is a good thing. We've always been of the opinion that just because we personally don't swear, that doesn't mean the characters in the manga we translate don't swear. But lately, we've also been of the opinion that we can be more creative with language than just using expletives, and with a series like Kingdom Hearts--a Disney series!--we definitely want to avoid swearing as much as possible.
Kingdom Hearts is unique in that we actually saw exactly how it turned out in the end. We weren't petty enough to compare the whole script to our original translation, but when something seemed really off, I have vague memories of pulling our original out once or twice to make sure it wasn't our fault. I'd say we weren't very happy with the end results, but since we got to change the script again, only using Better Translation Skills, it all worked out.
I'd say the volume got a one on the translation difficulty scale, at least at the time. Kingdom Hearts difficulty levels vary from volume to volume, and when we translated it again later, we came at it from a different perspective, so I think it was a little more difficult, and not in a purely intellectual sense. But that's a story for another time.
Favorite character...since we're treating this single TokyoPop volume as a separate project from the Yen Press assignment, we'll choose from this volume only, so it's gotta be Roxas. And Axel. Actually, despite having translated it again only a few months ago, I don't remember how much Axel was in this volume. But anyway, Roxas was so cute--way cuter than in the game, I think. The added bit about Roxas not having any money because of the Moai statue tissue box was great. (And in a recently released Kingdom Hearts wallpaper, you can see that tissue box on Roxas's desk!)
Today I'm thankful for the idea of being done with the grape harvest by this time tomorrow, getting to watch Space Brothers last night, plans to have pizza for dinner tonight, finally remembering to cancel our utilities service, and king-size Whatchamacallit.