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Alethea & Athena
Review Rednesday...sort of 
12th-Aug-2015 05:33 pm
It's Wednesday, and that means it's time for a review! ...Or it would be, if anything we translated had come out this week. We're all caught up on all our translations that have been released! So we don't have any reviews today. Or rather, we actually have a bunch of yet-to-be-posted reviews, but none of them are relevant. In fact, we should write a new one today (just turned in My Little Monster 11!), but again, not yet relevant.

So instead, we'll do a different kind of review! Viz's new version of Maid Sama! hit bookstore shelves recently, and people have been reviewing it. We haven't read it because we don't have time (or the money to spend on that kind of thing), but badtzphoto was kind enough to post a comparison on her journal...and hopefully she won't be too upset if we steal it. She knows the code to post them in side-by-side columns, but I do not, so you'll just have to scroll up and down (or hop on over to her journal to look at the side-by-side comparison).

Here's what the two different translations look like on page one.

1) Great work today!
2) H-hey, I warned you the parfait was gonna fall, didn't I?!
3) Huh?! You wanted that much movement?!
4) Well don't go wasting natural resources just for effect!!
5) Lookie, lookie, Miss President! I tied it in a knot!
6) The cherry stem, that is.
7) Do I look like I care?!

1) Thanks, everyone!
2) I ... I told you I'd drop the parfait!
3) What?! That's all you wanted?
4) What a waste of time!
5) Hey, look at my cherry stem!
6) I tied it in a knot.
7) Nobody cares!
Note: Edited to reflect the adapter's comments on punctuation.

With just that to go on, I would definitely agree that the Viz translation is better. It's less clunky, flows a little better, not too wordy...and I think those are just three different ways of saying almost the same thing. But the differences on some of the lines (most notably line 4) had us wondering what on earth the Japanese said to create those differences. We said as much to Badtz, and she wondered the same thing, so she scanned page one of the Japanese version for our reference.

So here's how we would translate it, with detailed explanations. Of course, now that we've seen two other translations, they are going to affect our translation, but I want to say that's a good thing because it shows we're willing to acknowledge other's good choices? We'll see. Anyway.

1) Aaand cut. Good work, everyone! That's a wrap!
I think this is how we had it when it showed up in the volumes of Maid Sama! we translated. We grew up around Hollywood, watching cartoons that constantly make fun of Hollywood, so we like to pretend we know how people talk in Hollywood. The "and cut" comes from an aside which either wasn't included in the comparison (maybe it was the same in both of them), or the editors of both versions decided to leave out. But anyway, "that's a wrap" is something we seem to remember hearing whenever they were doing a filming or photo shoot on the TV shows and cartoons we like. The Japanese was "otsukare-sama deshita!", which is a ritual expression meaning roughly, "I'm sure you're all tired after having worked all day!" and can be translated a myriad of different ways. The sentiment is "we're done now, thanks!", so we go with "that's a wrap," because we think it makes us sound smart and like we know how people do things "in the biz."

...Or we were going to go with that until we noticed another aside that seems to have not made the cut into either of the final translated volumes. The fact that both asides were missing indicates that Viz's translation was done similarly to how we did the Negima! omnibuses: they based it off of the TokyoPop one but changed the lines they felt needed changing.

2) I...I told you I would drop the parfait! (Alt: See? I told you I would drop the parfait!)
We liked the Viz version, but for some reason felt like it would be ever so slightly better without a contraction. The alternate version is because Misaki's attitude doesn't really work for stuttering in English, but we hate to remove stutters unnecessarily. Another alternative would be "Ugh! I told...", because stutters often get translated to grunts and other similar noises when a script goes from text-only to voiced, even in Japanese (we play a lot of Japanese video games).

3) What!? You wanted< it to be "dynamic"!?
In this case the TP version was more accurate. The Viz translation might have come from the "are kurai," which literally means "that much," but "kurai" usually has the connotation of "only that much." In this case, it doesn't--it means "you wanted that extent of movement?", as in "you wanted to go that far?" But we felt like "that much movement" sounds a little funny, and doesn't give the reader a sense of what the director was going for (as indicated by the fact that two out of two people who compared the translations like Viz's version better). So we went with "dynamic" because that sounds like the kinds of things we heard when watching America's Next Top Model that's what the movement is for: to make the picture look dynamic. (Dynamic means something to do with movement, right? If we were doing this professionally, we'd look it up.)

4) That's no reason to waste resources!!
Once again, TP's translation was more accurate. A more literal translation would be "don't waste resources for something like that!" My first thought was to make it "waste food," but then she probably would have used a word for food. Misaki is conscientious about money, and the parfait is what the cafe uses to earn money--a resource. Our main guess as to how the Viz translation ended up as "waste time" is that maybe they have an adaptation writer going over the TP version and adapting it with limited knowledge of the Japanese, which I think they've done before. (That also negates the theory that "that's all you wanted" came from the Japanese, so the clues don't all necessarily fit together.)

For the rest of it, just go with the Viz version. It's important to switch the order of clauses sometimes because Japanese word order doesn't work the same as in English. (Although we did just turn in a My Little Monster translation with a line or two that have similar constructions to the TP version, because the first part was in a speech bubble and the second part was outside the speech bubble as an aside. But we do talk like that in English sometimes. Splitting sentences, I mean.)

One minor change to the last bit: we'd definitely keep at least one exclamation point on Misaki's "Nobody cares!", because she's way too worked up to speak with periods.

And there you have it. It's fun to do these sometimes, but there's no way we could do it with the whole series. We would never have that much time.

Today I'm thankful for managing to finish our My Little Monster translation today, getting to watch lots of Freakazoid! last night, Badtz scanning that Maid Sama! page, amusing intellectual exercises, and not being dead after yesterday's workout (Core 2; I didn't think planking could be that hard).
12th-Aug-2015 11:27 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's me being stubborn/loyal to my first impression, but I liked the TP translation in the comparison Badtz posted, because I felt like it had more personality. (also just from reading the two last night, I got the feeling that TP's translation was a better understanding of lines 3-4, and Viz's by comparison sounded vague like it didn't know what it was talking about, which is a little concerning...) Dynamic's a good word to use (I was thinking of it myself, haha!) to convey the too-translatey "that much movement."

I do agree about switching the cherry stem word placement, that's awkward in TP's version. But I prefer the "Lookie, lookie, Miss President!" because ugh stupid annoying Usui is important(?) to establish; just "Hey" sounds like he could be talking to anyone (or no one, or himself). I also kinda like "Do I look like I care?!" even though it's longer because it sounds more exasperated. (maybe the lettering could convey her feelings in the Viz version, though? TP's lettering was not my favourite, however much I'll defend some of their translation choices.)

Since I do have the TP volume right here, I'll add that they included "All right, cut!" before the bubble and "Tee hee!" for the てっしゅー(???)

Edited at 2015-08-13 02:27 am (UTC)
12th-Aug-2015 11:38 pm (UTC)
Haha, yeah, now that you mention it, I'm starting to like the TokyoPop one better, too. (Line 2, specifically.) Am I too easily swayed!? Of course, in the end, we always like our version better.

And actually, I was thinking about the caring line before you commented! I think the "do I look like I care" version is also a closer translation, and since there aren't really space constraints, why not use it, am I right? (You would know better than me, of course.) I think the reason I wanted to stay away from the lookie line is that I'm not in love with "Miss President" as his regular way to address her, so I avoided the whole question by leaving it out. Maybe Prez, or Miss Prez. I don't know. If I had to do it professionally, I might end up with Miss President after all. Hrrm.

And thanks for the addition about the asides! (Tesshuu means "withdraw," so "that's a wrap." Chances are the translator either read it too fast or just had no idea what it meant. At least, that's why we would have made that mistake. But if we had no idea, we would have tried a little harder...I think.)

Edit: I just can't stop thinking about this topic! I think it was very astute of you to notice that the Viz version seemed more like it didn't know what it was talking about, because once we compared it to the Japanese, it definitely seemed that way. And yay dynamic! Great minds think alike!

Edited at 2015-08-13 02:40 am (UTC)
12th-Aug-2015 11:59 pm (UTC)
I had no idea what to make of "tesshuu" on my own (tee hee didn't seem quite right but...). And that is why I'm not a professional translator :) Or an example of why.

"Do I look like I care" could actually even fit better than "Nobody cares" because it's made up of short words that can be split up onto multiple lines without hyphenating, and would fit tidily into the space between the little burst-mark and the flower tone. (however, TP's letterer split it "Do/I look like/I care?!" and placed it entirely below the burst-mark, losing the impact of that and looking awkward in the space and arrrg why?!)
13th-Aug-2015 12:40 am (UTC)
(Repetition of something I just said in my comment to the Twins: the last line in the VIZ version is "Nobody cares!", not "Nobody cares.", which I think is a significant difference. That said, I like "Do I look like I care?!"--it's very Misaki. ^_^)
14th-Aug-2015 02:04 am (UTC)
It's nice that we all have different talents. XD

Ooh, that's a good point! Also a good thing to remember when translating, so thanks for the tip!
13th-Aug-2015 01:38 am (UTC)
both TP and Viz version has "All right, cut!" so I didn't type them out. Also I was careless about the punctuation as well. Sorry.

Edited at 2015-08-13 04:40 am (UTC)
14th-Aug-2015 02:04 am (UTC)
We thought that might be the case with the "cut" line. No worries; the important stuff was included.
13th-Aug-2015 12:36 am (UTC)
Ooh! I can actually weigh in usefully on this, since I'm rewriting the VIZ version. It's been several months since I did this volume, obviously, so I went back to see what I had to work with. (Although I'm not sure enough that it'd be okay to simply share what the translation was to go ahead and do so. >.>)

So as added data points:

-- I've never read the Tokyopop version, so there was zero thought about deliberately not having any lines sound too similar. Also, it is a new translation. That makes it extra interesting for me to see these posts! ^_^

-- The "Okay, cut!" is definitely in the VIZ version.

-- Because I'm really picky about my punctuation and emphasis, I just want to note that the final line in the VIZ version is "Nobody cares!", not "Nobody cares."

-- In line 3, what the translation gave me was "action", and since the page opens with "Okay, cut!", I was thinking more along the lines of "Lights, camera, action!" than "movement".

-- Line 4...for some reason, there was nothing in the translation about resources (or any indication of what was being wasted). (Also, the final version is "What a waste of time!", not "What a waste of time?!" The interrobang would make no sense there. *picky*)

Between those two lines, what I extrapolated was that Misaki meant "You dragged me/us here to do some stupidly short scene [from the 'action'], and totally wasted my/our time." So...yeah. :/

The good news is that I think/hope that page was unusual re: that kind of confusion--for the most part I've found the translations for this series very clear.

Yay for translation comparisons! ^_^ I enjoy this stuff so much. (Except for the part where I misinterpreted something, obviously, because that always sucks. >.<)

[ETA after reading your comments with Lys above: I went with Takumi calling Misaki "President" for the first volume or so, and then chopping it down to "Prez" when they got to know each other a bit.]

Edited at 2015-08-13 03:37 am (UTC)
13th-Aug-2015 01:50 am (UTC)
Thank you for weighing in :)
As I replied to Lys above, I was careless about punctuation when typing and obmitted "Okay, cut!" or "All right, cut!" from both versions. And I'm sorry about the mistakes.
I wasn't trying to be nitpicking Viz version vs TP one at all. In fact, I did say in my post that "Comparing Viz and TP versions, TP version for the first 2 volumes is a bit rough and at times unnatural", which implies that I find Viz version more natural.
I picked the first page because it has minimal text.
13th-Aug-2015 02:08 am (UTC)
I wasn't trying to be nitpicking Viz version vs TP one at all.

Oh, gosh, no. I didn't think you were. ^_^ And choosing an early page also makes sense because it presumably requires less context than a later one.

I just wanted to note the emphasis/punctuation because I'm so fussy about them personally, not because I expect everyone else to be that focused on them. No worries!
13th-Aug-2015 09:44 am (UTC)
Oooh, I thought you might be doing the adaptation! (based entirely on comments about your adapting some super-text-heavy series recently.)

It's good to hear that the two unclear/confused lines seem like a rare occurrence. I know that adaptors have to work with what they've got. (I also know you do ask questions to clarify things when you can, too. but maybe this wasn't obviously unclear or worth checking into at the time (sometimes you have to prioritize your battles and I know the script is looooong), or maybe you don't have the option to check things with this translator/editor.) What it comes down to is I wish Viz would hire a real person to translate and not the mysterious JN Productions responsible for several of their series—not that just any Real Person would automatically make for a better translation, but it'd be nice to know the same person translated each volume and will stand by their work.
14th-Aug-2015 11:13 pm (UTC)
So much text. SO MUCH. *shivers* And such tiny balloons. I weep for the letterer.

I find Seven Seas is a rarity in terms of how much back-and-forth there is between the people working on a title, so what I tend to wind up doing is putting a lot of notes/questions in my files for other publishers and trusting the editors to take care of it. (Which they do. ^^)

Yeah, sometimes I also wish I knew if it was always the same person translating. JN Productions has done nearly everything I've adapted for VIZ.
14th-Aug-2015 02:20 am (UTC)
And you didn't think to suggest us as translators? D:

Seriously, though, when we realized they were going to get someone else to deal with Maid Sama!, we were like, "They can keep it." We don't have time for that nonsense.

Thanks for the insight and clarification!

I guess the problem here was with identifying the topic; if it had been more clear that the parfait was the topic all along, maybe it would have worked out better. The translation really does make a difference.

As for Miss President, the part I left out of my comment was when I asked Athena, "Isn't there, like, a special honorific that we call the president?" "Yeah, it's Mr. President." So that's why I concluded that we'd probably go with Miss President after all, even though it sounds odd. We ditched "Princess" in favor of "Your Highness" as a translation for hime-sama long ago. But Prez by itself for an abbreviation works well.

Edited at 2015-08-14 05:22 am (UTC)
14th-Aug-2015 11:18 pm (UTC)
AFAIK the translator is usually assigned before I get put on a project (although now that I'm typing that, I'm not 100% sure if it's exactly that, or that my usual editor at VIZ clearly likes working with JN Productions, as they translate basically everything I've adapted for her).

This series is so much work. It breaks my brain. O_O And I'd completely forgotten you guys worked on it for Tokyopop--until I got this assignment, I knew basically nothing about it other the bare-bones premise and that part of it had been released before.

And yeah--as far as I can recall, I had no idea that the parfait was what was under discussion. :/ It just struck me as a weird little conversation that didn't make much sense, which seems to be true so often for little between-chapter scenes and such, where the author's just playing, that I didn't think much of the randomness. -_-
15th-Aug-2015 04:26 pm (UTC)
Sounds to us like your editor likes to use an agency and let them find a translator for her, perhaps because she hasn't yet found a translator she can trust. She could probably benefit from somebody telling her where all the good translators are. Maybe she'd also like some advice on where to find good letterers. XD

"It just struck me as a weird little conversation that didn't make much sense, which seems to be true so often for little between-chapter scenes and such"

Maybe we've just worked on really different titles most of the time, because it's been our experience that not making sense is the exception rather than the rule. There have been a couple of things like that in recent memory that had us scratching our heads, but we managed to make sense of most of them in the end (the My Little Monster ones tend to have some connection to something that will happen in the story later). There was one in Noragami that completely baffled us, but a Google search indicated that it baffled the Japanese fans, too, so we didn't feel so bad about it.

Anyway, now that we think of it, since there was some discussion about dialects a little while ago, we're curious as to how you dealt with Hentiger Tora.
13th-Aug-2015 01:36 am (UTC)
Thanks for this post :)
14th-Aug-2015 02:24 am (UTC)
We're glad you liked it! We love to do this kind of thing! As you know, we don't have time or money to read the Viz version, and we don't own the TokyoPop version, so if you want us to do it again, that'd be great! ...But we'd need to rely on you for the text.
14th-Aug-2015 02:34 am (UTC)
Oh, Thanks for the offer. Next time I'll scan the versions instead of typing text now that I know my scanner works. I only have Japanese tankobon 1-4, though.
14th-Aug-2015 04:35 pm (UTC)
Well, from six on, we'll have access to our own scripts, but it's true that won't necessarily have the relevant information... Hmm...

Correction: From six through volume nine and a half. (Not to say there's a 9.5, but that we got halfway through volume ten before TokyoPop shut down.)

Edited at 2015-08-14 07:36 pm (UTC)
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