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Alethea & Athena
Duly noted 
15th-Sep-2015 05:18 pm
Oh my gosh you guys, Noragami is SO HARD! It took us more than an hour to get past the table of contents. The table of contents! But there's actually kind of a story there. See, one of the chapter titles makes mention of a certain kind of weapon, so we looked it up and found out what it was and we figured out the double meaning (because there's always a double meaning) and worked that in, and then we realized wait a minute, that's not the same kanji they're using in the the dictionaries. Why would the chapter title use this kanji instead?

So we Googled it with the kanji from the book and found out of COURSE it's a reference to something in the Kojiki (an ancient mythological history of Japan). So then we had to figure out where exactly in the Kojiki it was so we could get the context so we could find out the significance of using that particular reference to the Kojiki. Fortunately, we have an English translation of the Kojiki with notes, a modern Japanese translation of the Kojiki, and the internet. So with their forces combined we were able to find that part without too much difficulty, and of course it turned out to really have something to do with what happens in the chapter. Or maybe only kind of? We're still not exactly sure what's going on with that; we were going to do more research when we got to that part. But we didn't get to that part, because that's in the second chapter of the book, and we only made it through the first one (and a little of the way through the second one, but not to the part in question).

But we are learning some pretty neat stuff about Japanese mythology! Maybe one day we'll actually have the free time to read the (modern Japanese translation of the) Kojiki.

Anyway, speaking of notes, I was going to write a post about those today. As I mentioned yesterday, we read two really positive Noragami reviews, which had us pretty excited. And they both mentioned, as usual, the notes! But this time we weren't too upset about it, because they talked about them as an added bonus, and not as a necessity. Not only that, but they talked like it was a really neat added bonus! So we thought, "Yay, people like us! ...Oh snap, we have to keep it up." I started to panic, like, "Please tell me our Stray Stories notes were funny!" I don't think humor was the main highlight of the notes, but I guess it's something we personally look for as a criteria for quality entertainment. And the reality is, while we want the notes to be funny (but maybe not too funny, if it would detract from the informativeness), we mostly just want them to be engaging.

So we pulled up our file for Stray Stories notes...and they were kind of boring. Not really boring, but kind of. Just like, "This means this. This refers to this thing." And we thought, "We were tired when we wrote these notes." Which is true. Very, very true. And then we thought, "We're sorry fans! We were just tired!" But at least Stray Stories itself is hi-larious.

And then we kind of went overboard with the silliness when writing a note today, to compensate. You could also read those notes and think, "They were tired when they wrote those notes." And you would be right. (Actually we're not especially tired today. We're just tired in general lately, and we haven't taken our vacation yet.)

Speaking of the overly silly notes, I'm worried that we may have gone against our own policy, so now I'm asking for opinions. Our policy is to do our best not to slow the readers down with confusing things. So here's the question: would it be more confusing to come across an English word that you likely don't know the meaning of, or to come across a word that you do know the meaning of, but in almost every context refers to something that is not the thing being named?

For those of you who have read Noragami, when a shinki points their two fingers to draw a borderline, they call it a hoko. They've used it before and we just kind of worked around it, but it's becoming less work-around-able. So the question is should we translate it literally and go with spear (as in, "I was threatened with a spear," accompanied by a picture of someone brandishing two fingers), or should we go with a fancy English word that works pretty well as a translation, but is still likely to make most readers go, "...What?" Either way, we figure people are going to go, "...What?", and either way, we're going to write a note about it. So the question is which one would have a lesser degree of "...What?"? In other words, which would take you out of the story less? (I would like to add that the fancy English word will surely have a more interesting note to go with it.)

Okay, I think I'm done rambling now.

Today I'm thankful for another fun day working on Noragami, getting a good amount of rain, getting to read two really positive Noragami reviews, the awesome UPS guys who actually come to our door, and getting to watch two fun episodes of Sailor Moon last night.
16th-Sep-2015 12:28 am (UTC)
I've found your translation notes consistently interesting and engaging and fun since long before Noragami. If you need more encouragement I'll let you know what I think of the Stray Stories notes when I get to them (soon now!), but I bet they're great too :)

Ooooh, fancy English words... hmmm. I had to know more so I skimmed ahead until I found the kanji used for hoko (which may or may not be the specific line you're talking about here, since I was trying not to look too close and spoil myself, but/and wasn't really sure what I should be looking for in the first place). Google translate came back with pike (obviously not the fish) and some synonyms and now I'm reading about weapons on Wikipedia. First I thought that spear might give more the sense of a thrown weapon (which is different from the movement when a shinki makes a borderline), but that association might just be my own ignorance: I'm hardly a weapons expert. But I'm also soooooo curious what the fancy word is... Well, I think that if, as you describe it, the line of text has a picture of the "weapon" accompanying it, it should be clear to readers what's being referred to in either case. ...Oh, but if you're thinking of using the word as a long-term translation whenever hoko is mentioned and not just for this one line, I don't know if I like outright calling it a spear when it's someone's hand/fingers. That sounds more like someone is choosing to speak metaphorically. Ah, but is that the sense it has whenever it's used in Japanese too...?

Well, you just sort it out and I'll sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour! :D (sorry, joking but I do sympathize, since this one topic gave me plenty to go back and forth on and I'm sure you have to consider all this and more, and for multiple notes!!)
16th-Sep-2015 04:49 pm (UTC)
Aww, we weren't fishing for validation, but we always appreciate it! (And I realize that it probably sounded like fishing for validation, too, so maybe we were a little...) Thanks!!

The first thing we get in the first dictionary we usually check is "halberd". But spear is what we already used in volume two, possibly because of research laziness, but also because we think "spear" is going to be a more easily recognized term than "pike" or anything else more specific (an opinion most likely formed from years of playing fantasy video games, where spears tend to be used for thrusting, and the occasional slashing, more than throwing).

Hoko (or hokosaki) tends to be used metaphorically pretty frequently in Japanese, but hoko-related weapons not so much in English, which is part of why we wanted to use a different English word.

Anyway, hoko is being used more and more. In fact, it came up a few more times in this volume, and the context of those uses will help us decide ultimately what we go with.
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