In the meantime, let's continue our multi-part series!
This was our second assignment from Del Rey Manga, and we were happy to have it, because it was proof that they trusted us enough to give us more work. It's the story of a girl with no self-esteem and a toy who's fed up with the "don't let people know you can talk" rule, and their friendship. It was inspired by things like Secret World of Toys and Toy Story. The main toy character is supposedly a meerkat, but he looks a lot more like a mouse.
There are some interesting(?) behind-the-scenes stories about this series. For example, we had a deadline for volume four coming up, but for some reason we hadn't gotten the book yet. Anime Expo was coming up, and Kinokuniya always had a booth there, so we figured we could just pick up a copy at the convention and work on it when there wasn't any con stuff we wanted to do. We should have known that Kinokuniya wasn't going to bring such an unknown series all the way to the convention center, though, and so we were disappointed in our efforts. But we figured the physical Los Angeles location wasn't too far away, so we could probably just walk it, right?
Well, technically, yes...but it was farther than we thought. Still it was kind of fun, walking through downtown LA in our Kingdom Hearts Donald and Goofy costumes.
So we brought the book back to our hotel room and pulled out the laptop to work on it...and as we translated the cover flap, we discovered for the first time that the series was only four volumes long, and we were translating the last one. So our victory was bittersweet.
The other behind-the-scenes story involves the reason we finally started reading over and editing all of our finished translations before sending them in. We got an email from our Del Rey boss, full of questions from the letterer about things that he deemed "needed fixing." There were a lot of annoying things, for example, a sound effect that we had left as "gata gata." The letterer was at least helpful in his criticism, and suggested instead "klatta klatta." And we were like, "How in the world is 'klatta klatta' better than 'gata gata'!?" Maybe we should have just doubled the Ts and been done with it (gatta gatta). So we were more than a little aggravated at this uppity letterer telling us how to do our job. If you're so smart, why aren't you translating, huh? Huh!?
...But he also pointed out bits where we had failed to include important parts of the sentence. Like the main verb. So we had to give him a little credit. And resolve to make it harder for him to make such criticisms in the future.
There was also a tiny episode that emphasizes some of the difficulties encountered while translating. The talking toy was going off to meet somebody's grandson, but at the time, it hadn't yet been revealed that the grandchild was male. So Nicori (that's the toy's name) goes to where the grandson lives and, not knowing his name, addresses him as "mago." Maybe mago-san. I don't think it was revealed in that volume, but it didn't really matter, because fortunately, Nicori's personality was such that we could just have him shout, "Grandkid!" and it worked.
The series was really easy to translate, but we don't remember exactly how easy, so we'll give it a three as our default "I'm pretty sure it was an easy title" translation difficulty ranking. I think both of us liked the neighbor boy the best...we think his name was Midori. He's just the "good friend" type of character, and we like people like that.
Today I'm thankful for the Freschetta pizza we had for lunch, promises of expeditious invoice processing, finally finding some Wobble Tiptoes in Kingdom Hearts [chi], having more pizza Pringles, and it being time to spend time with Page.