And I just wanted to make a little mini-rant to say that look, just because a translation does or does not use Japanese name honorifics does not in any way indicate quality whatsoever, period.
And now we move on to Review Rednesdays. I think, in honor of our having recently finished translating a volume of Chaika: The Coffin Princess, we'll go ahead and post a review of that! ...After I check Amazon to remind myself which volume came out last week. ...Volume two, okay! Spoiler warning: mild.
Chaika: The Coffin Princess, volume 2
Just for a bit of perspective, we're writing this post two days after finding out we won a trip to Japan, we have about a million things going on all at once, and working on Chaika was our desperate attempt to stay focused on one thing so as not to have a total meltdown. That being the case, we both have a hard time mentally holding on to more than one topic at a time, so a lot of this volume kind of went in one ear and out the other, so to speak. I mean, it's not like we were listening to it, but in one eye and out the other sounds weird, and there was some audio involved, as Athena read out the dialogue and we discussed possible translations. But the point is, there was very little retention.
There was a lot of fighting in this volume. The manga artist said that in the comments at the very beginning, and we were very excited about that. Not because we like fighting, but because we like fight scenes--they're easy to translate. And one of the main goals of working so frantically on Chaika was to knock something off of our to-do list so we could feel like we had some time to breathe for a second. Chaika did not disappoint, and we managed to finish it in two days! Woohoo!
So, what with all the fighting, there was some important story stuff going on, I think? Athena thinks it was mostly foreshadowing, because they're like, "Oh, Chaika! You don't really know who she is! You shouldn't hang out with her anymore!" And they didn't give any reasons. But anyway, Toru and Chaika got the "important thing." We already knew it was a hand, because it was in the first episode of the anime, so that was kind of a bummer, but at least we still get to speculate about what it all means!
For example, if Abarth is so sure he killed Chaika, does that mean the coffin has Chaika's body in it, and she really is some kind of a ghost/zombie hybrid?
Speaking of such things, the original author made an interesting comment at the end of the book. He talks about how young Toru and Akari don't quite match the characters in the novels, so he has fun figuring out how they grew from who they were then to who they are when the story begins. It reminded me of when we saw the first two Tinker Bell movies, and how we made up stories about how Tinkerbell went from who she is in those movies to who she is in Disney's Peter Pan, like about how Terence either died a horrible death or ran off with one of her friends. Then they introduced Tinkerbell's "sister," so it pretty much writes itself.
Anyway, back to Chaika. I don't think I ever talked about our method for dealing with her speech pattern. We were too lazy to do any real research (bad translators!), but I thought maybe that's okay, since her original language is fictional, and there's no telling what kind of habits would carry over into the standard language of that world. So our general method is to make sure she almost never conjugates verbs. The reasoning for this is that when you're learning a language and you look things up in the dictionary, they give you the unconjugated verb. The main exception for this is when she says a common phrase, like you would learn from a beginner's phrase book--things like "I'm sorry," "thank you," and "I don't know." (Although, we have had her say, "I thank," which we think is adorable. Hopefully we're not the only ones.)
After that, I tend to resort to... Okay, so soon after we turned in volume one of Chaika, we saw the episode of "Murder, She Wrote" where David Ogden Stiers (Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast) plays a Russian policeman. His accent made me very happy for some reason, and since Chaika is a Russian word, I figure it's okay to take some inspiration for her imperfect English from a TV Russian accent (phrases like, "is good," for example). So when we're editing a Chaika translation, and we come across a line of hers that doesn't quite sound the way we want it (either it's too good English or it's just like, "What?"), then I'll think back to that Russian policeman and try to imagine how he would say it. And there you have it!
Let's see, what else...? The part where Gillet was trying to get the hand from Toru and Vivi was all, "He's never going to tell you!" and Toru was like, "It's in the coffin," was great. Vivi is one of those characters who's annoying in a "she's supposed to be annoying" way, so it's great when she's wrong.
I seem to remember something happening during editing today that had me thinking, "Oh, I could write about that, too!" but I forgot what it was. Maybe it was just me remembering to talk about Chaika's speech pattern. Oh well.
Well, that was fun. I especially liked the little tangent about Tinker Bell movies.
Today I'm thankful for more fun reviews that help cheer us up, suddenly having a Japan Trip Plan B, finishing our rough draft of Your Lie in April very quickly, our manga arriving today, and inspiration from various sources.