Hi all, I’m PlumJucie, the translator of Okitegami. I’ll start off by saying that I have NOT read any of NiSiO iSiN’s other works. I just haven’t had time yet. I also have not watched the live-action adaptation of Okitegami. Here in this blog post, I’m just going to address some of the questions people have had, and also some of my own thoughts while reading it.
Thank you all for reading my translations. It has been a joy translating this series. If you have any more questions, I will try my best to answer them in the comments.
Special thanks to MOE for first bringing it up to me way back when I first started translating back in 2015. (He was the typesetter for the first half!)
Special thanks to THE SICKEST RINGO MAIN NA for always bearing with me and my barrage of incomprehensible questions about Japanese grammar. <3
Special thanks to Studio Momotsuki for the cute fanart at the end! Check out their Twitter or Instagram! They go to conventions, too! (You might meet me at their booth one day, hahaha.)
And thank you to the Mangastream team for working on this and hosting it!
Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a year since the last blog post. Sorry about that folks. We still love ya all.
The last year's just been pretty rough, schedule changes and personal matters have had their toll on us and the amount of energy and time we had left over for scanlators-to-fans communication was subsequently pretty limited. However, things are beginning to easen up again, so here we are, back.
Didn't just come back, either. We've listened to all the great feedback you've been providing and worked on this elaborate project behind the scenes to hopefully start getting rid of all the bad ads, the unfortunate by-product of keeping us up and running. Check this page for all the info on that.
Along with that stuff, we have also implemented our very own discussion software, coded from scratch by our awesome admin. So if you've been a frequent participant in discussions on our site, make sure to get an account or use the social sign in and you're good to go. Obviously, all this stuff is new, so if you come across any bugs, please just report them here and we'll take care of it asap.
What else is there? Oh right. A public service announcement: Nothing changes, you don't have to become a "supporter" to keep reading manga here, and that'll never change. So please don't stress. This is just for those who want to donate on a regular basis.
If you do however generously decide to become a supporter, chances are we can get rid of ads completely in the future. We're also brain-storming a few additional perks. One of them, my favorite, is to put together a "translator magazine" of sorts, with articles and opinion pieces by our staff, elaborate translation notes, reviews, that sort of thing, maybe even with some public participation and a Q&A corner - that sound like something you'd be interested in? I'll pay special attention to the posters saying "yes" who have a certain badge next to their names. ;)
Anyway, that's all we had to say for now. There was a lot of new code added, so please bear with us if anything breaks, we'll try and take care of it asap. <3
Edit: To comment on this blog, click on the title.
Hey there, Anon here. In the comments many of you ask us how we learned Japanese. I decided to write a short blog series about how I, personally, learned the language since you all seem to be really interested in how the process can go - there's plenty of other paths than my own, naturally. Today we'll be covering reasons for learning the language and setting appropriate goals. This series will be written from the point of view of a self-learner. I will cover classroom learning in another post later in this series.
Goals & Motivation
So you've decided to learn Japanese, great. Many of you are most likely not sure how to embark on this enormous task. One common mistake is not setting any short, mid, and long term goals. How motivated are you really, how much time are you willing to invest on a daily/weekly basis and what would you like to achieve? This could be reading manga, watching anime, reading novels, playing Karuta, communicating with your significant other or friends, traveling, acquiring linguistic knowledge, having fun, and the list goes on and on. There are two different kinds of motivation I will talk about: the intrinsically and the extrinsically driven.
This is the kind of motivation that comes from within. It is usually something you like doing. Some examples of this would be:
These are things you wouldn't procrastinate on, you'd do them without a second thought because you enjoy it, find it interesting, challenging, thrilling, etc... Having intrinsically driven motivation is going to be very beneficial in the long run. Learning a language is not all fun and games though, not everything will be that enjoyable. What is fun in learning a language is also very different from person to person. You should try to find things in the language learning process that are fun to you.
Extrinsic motivation usually comes from an outside source. You might not always like it, it could feel more like a chore. Some examples of this would be:
Extrinsically driven motivation doesn't always last very long, and it can be hard to then motivate yourself to keep going. It's not always a bad thing, however. There's also not always a very clear distinction between the two. Sometimes people just aren't driven internally (yet) and need a little push to get started. Over time this might develop some intrinsic motivation, but that is not always the case.
Use it or lose it
Keeping yourself motivated is in my opinion the hardest task when it comes to learning a language, even more so for a difficult language like Japanese (for native English speakers at least). It's more comparable to an ultramarathon than a sprint... or even an exhausting jog, for that matter.
The most important factor in successfully learning a language is the frequency you engage with the language. You don't always have to be actively studying it; just using the language like reading and speaking the language could be enough depending on your current level in your target language. You'd ideally want to use it every day, even if it's only 20 minutes a day. 20 minutes every day would yield better results in the long term than one long 2-3 hour study session during the weekend.
I've often heard the excuse from people that they simply can't find the time to study every day. I'd say this is bullshit for 99.95% of all of you out there. There is so much dead time during the day. You could be reviewing vocabulary while you drop the kids off at the pool, read a page of a study book while you're waiting in line, think in the language or review a grammar point while taking public transportation to work or school, etc... It's not that you can't find the time, you make it so you have time for it if this is truly important to you.
Setting short, mid, and long term goals
More often than not you will have a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. You will like certain parts of the language learning process, but you might absolutely despise some of it as well. To make sure that you'll still be on this journey a year from now we will need some planning. You'll want the learning process to be as rewarding as possible and make the process itself fun whenever you can. This could for example be done by including your favorite manga, anime, or drama series in your studies.
Long term goals
These are some examples of the kind of goals you might like to achieve near the end of your studies (although you never ever finish learning a language, there's always something you didn't know yet). These are harder to quantify, and wouldn't make very good short or mid term goals:
You'll want to set your mid and short term goals with these in mind, as those will have to contribute to achieving your long term goals.
Mid term goals
These are the goals you might want to achieve in the next couple months to a year. Examples of these could be:
These goals are harder to complete in a short amount of time, but easier to quantify compared to the long term goals. Every couple months I would review these and update when needed. They are the foundation for my short term goals.
Not all of these goals would be very fun to achieve, but they could lead to rewarding results. You'll eventually see progress towards your long term goals and that will drive you to work even harder.
Short term goals
These are the goals you'd like to achieve in the next week-month. Some examples are:
You want something that you can measure, something that you can tick off in a to-do list. That will help you to stay on track and improve in the long term. Every Sunday I'd sit down and write down my goals for the next week. I'd keep track of what I did every day and would check the weekly goals I had completed that day. A week could look something like the following:
Notice how each one of these is measurable. For vocabulary I would be using a Spaced Repetition system like Anki or Memrise and review the words that were scheduled for the day.
My study time would vary from 20 minutes a day to a couple hours, depending on how I was feeling that day. The key thing was to do something every day, without breaking the streak. I would not always meet my weekly goals, but that would motivate me to work harder the following week.
I wouldn't be too ambitious with your weekly goals at first. If you're a novice language learner you will need time to adapt to a daily study schedule and need more time to do some of activities listed above. Heck, you'll need time to figure out how long the activities listed above will take you in the first place. I'd set one or two goals for myself and try to complete them. Once you get more comfortable with the study schedule you can try and add more to it.
Without putting a study plan together it will be very hard for you to stay on track. You don't have to do it the exact same way as I did, but at least have some understanding and record of your long, mid, and short term goals. What you study is also less important than the fact that you're actually studying and putting in the time and effort.
Next time I will be talking about input and output in language learning. Good luck with your studies!
Hey there manga fans! Turk here with my first ever blog post as I prepare to ring in my 1 year anniversary translating at MS. Took me long enough. Anyway, today I thought I'd delve into the exciting and wondrous world of Japanese personal pronouns! This is something that came up in a translation I worked on recently and I thought I could shed some additional light on it in the blog where I have more space. Sound boring enough for you? Well, bear with me for a minute here.
First of all, for those of you who may not know, what is a personal pronoun? Well, in English, you know them as "I", "you", "he", "she", "it", etc. But today, we're going to talk about "I". In English, when you refer to yourself as the subject of a sentence, you ALWAYS use this word, no matter what. For example: "I kicked the ball." "I want ice cream." "I have a pen. I have an app-"...yeah you get the idea. It's also worth noting that gender doesn't come into play when you're speaking in the 1st person at all. Boy or girl, it's still just "I". In the English language, we only have gender-specific pronouns when we're using the 3rd person. And furthermore, in English, every sentence needs a subject. That's actually NOT the case in Japanese, but that's a topic for a whole other blog post.
On that note, let's look at the Japanese side of things. Unfortunately, things aren't quite as simple. There are different 1st person pronouns that are used in different regional dialects, by different genders, and in different social settings. Some of them could get you in a lot of trouble if used when talking to your boss, for example. It's really amazing how much the Japanese language can change depending on the relative social standings of the people in the conversation. Even Japanese people struggle with honorific speech, referred to as keigo (once again, a topic for another post...)
So now that we've established that there are many 1st person pronouns, let's look at some of them, starting with some common ones:
-私 (watashi): Relatively formal (you can use it when talking to superiors) and usable by both men and women.
-僕 (boku): Informal. Most commonly used by boys as it gives off a childish vibe. You may hear it used by girls who are boyish in nature, however (especially in anime and other media). One example of this is Diane from Seven Deadly Sins.
-俺 (ore): This one is very informal and you'll almost never hear it used by women (but once again, anime does break those rules... in fact, another 7DS character, Jericho, likes using "ore" to evoke a tougher image of herself.) The reason being is it sounds very "macho" and is usually used by men to assert their masculinity/dominance. It's used most commonly by men in social settings, although you'll hear grade school boys who want to sound tough use it as well. You should never use this one when talking with someone who has authority over you. As some of you probably know, almost all shounen manga protagonists use "ore" as well. Take our beloved Luffy, for example: "kaizokuou ni ore wa naru!" ("I'm gonna be king of the pirates!") The future pirate king has to be manly and tough, right?
From my experience, those are the most widely used in spoken Japanese by quite a large margin. Now let's check out some other ones:
-あたし (atashi): A derivative of "watashi", but this is an extra-feminine version. Only women and very flamboyant men will use this one. Characters like Nami in One Piece favor this pronoun.
-儂 (washi): This one is used by old men, at least in media. It's kind of a stereotype, but living in southwestern Japan I've definitely heard it used by old folks from time to time. Anyway, using this one just makes you sound like a grandpa. Which is quite fitting, since it's used by Ryo-san in Kochikame, which, until its conclusion a couple weeks ago, one might say was the grandfather of Weekly Shounen Jump manga. It was serialized for an astounding 40 years! More on this below.
-わたくし (watakushi): Also another way to read "watashi". This one is pretty much as formal and polite as it gets. Consider using this if you ever find yourself talking to the Emperor. Or maybe if you were a butler serving his master or something.
-内 (uchi): You might hear this one if you ever find yourself in Osaka or Kyoto, because it's often used in the Kansai dialect. Even then though, it's much more favored by women than men. If you're familiar with "Ore Monogatari" or "My Love Story" in English, the adorable Yamato likes to use this pronoun, although that story takes place in Tokyo if I recall correctly.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Well guess what? These are just the tip of the iceberg! And although I've tried to give you a decent enough idea of what situation each of them would be used in, there's tons of exceptions. And as I mentioned before, in many cases pronouns are skipped over entirely in the Japanese language! Anyway, I'm sure by now you're wondering what the point of all this is. Well, in the Shounen Jump author comments from issue 44 of this year, we included some extra omake chapters paying tribute to Kochikame's 40th anniversary and final chapter. You can read them here: http://mangastream.com/r/wsjac/%2316/3710/1 so check them out! In the first one authored by Kohei Horikoshi of "My Hero Academia", Ryo-san is talking to All Might and Deku. Well, remember Ryo-san's favorite pronoun? It's "washi"! So as a little extra touch for the title of this short, Horikoshi decided to switch out the "boku" in "Boku no Hero Academia" with "washi". Furthermore, the full title of Kochikame is "Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kouen-mae Hashutsujo", so he slapped a piece of that on the end as well to create "Washi no Hero Academia-mae Hashutsujo". If you were to translate that, it would come out as something like: "My Police Station in front of the Hero Academia".
Unfortunately, there's really no way to accurately convey this in English, but I tried my best to come up with something. Since "washi" has that old geezer stereotype, I decided to go with "mah" in place of "my", since "mah" kinda makes you think of some old dude with no teeth yelling at kids like: "get off mah lawn!" But even so, the joke probably would have still been lost on a lot of people who couldn't read the Japanese, so I also left an accompanying TL note, and now I'm here writing this long-winded blog post. It really makes you realize how much more expressive of a language Japanese can be than English in some areas, and how disappointing it is that there are some aspects of it that just can't be carried over to English no matter how hard we translators try. In some cases, being willing to invoke a little creative license can be the key that separates a bland and awkward sounding word-for-word translation from a more natural-sounding one that conveys the same nuances as the Japanese. We've covered that issue in past blog posts as well!
Anyway, for those of you who stuck it out all the way to the end, I really appreciate it, and I hope you all learned something! I'll see you all on disqus, the forums, reddit, or maybe in the blog again someday! Until next time!
We're often asked how we manage to release so many projects every week, and it seems to be often wrongly assumed that we simply have a big team - we don't. Let me tell you a little about the secret to our productivity: it's all about our fine-tuned workflow!
We only work on series we love, but that doesn't mean we only love what we work on. There are other great series out there that, in a perfect world, we could potentially pick up, but our plate's pretty full right now as it is. We only have so many members and so much time. Of the 10 weekly series we carry, 7 are from one single magazine (update: with HxH on hxhiatus, it's only 6 :( ). We get those in raw format every Thursday - all at once. Pretty much all of us either go to university or have a proper job; we outgrew our nerdy high school selves 5-10 years ago. We're nerdy adults now. Busy, nerdy adults.
But how do we really do it then? Having almost all of it fall on 1 day is the main reason, really. What doesn't fall on that day comes in on the weekend, when most of us are free anyway. When you know weeks and months in advance when you need to be around to enjoy your hobby, it's pretty doable. Some of us have arranged their classes and seminars so that Thursdays are free, others go to work a few hours later or come home a few hours earlier. Some of us work from their home offices, and are their own bosses, so even taking all of Thursday off is possible. It's a combination of being able to predict when you're going to be needed, communication about it and then the willingness to make real-life arrangements work out for it. It's manageable because we keep it limited to a few busy days of the week. Of course, the key to all of that theory actually working is having an amazing team of very reliable people who make time no matter what, week after week.
The process itself is then pretty straightforward. Let's look at Thursdays - we get our seven series, sometimes eight (every 4th week we get a ~45 page Boruto chapter on top of it all now) and make them available to our translators, most of which have one series to work on. There is one that carries three (update: two now, damn you Togashi ruining my point - yay after-the-fact-edit humor though) on his shoulders alone. But he's a vampire who doesn't sleep at night, so there's some special advantages there. For our Shokugeki no Soma translator though, for instance, raws come in around midnight his time and he's a financial analyst - so he needs his beauty sleep, of course. That, incidentally, is the reason why we take longer to release that one than the rest; it's only completed after he's back from work the next day (update: which is why we switched to another translator, who, no worries, is also a big fan).
While the translators' quills are scratching away, the cleaners get started on their magic. Sadly, WSJ is printed on 100-fold recycled paper that wouldn't pass for toilet paper in most households, and with as little ink used as possible. Which is understandable, considering their weekly circulation is in the millions and magazines are typically thrown away after reading anyway, but yeah, doesn't make it any easier for us. So, the cleaners do their thing, and ideally start cleaning pages that require redraws, so we can start on those as soon as possible, too.
Redrawing is necessary all those times you have text not inside bubbles or on a white / black background, but actually placed on top of art. It wouldn't even be all that bad, if Japanese wasn't written top-down and right to left... so it's impossible to just cover it with English text, and we often spend the longest time removing that text and then applying the Photoshop tools and drawing skills we have at our disposal to make it appear like there was never any Japanese text there to begin with. That is, literally re-drawing the image behind the text. It does help though, of course, if that page is already typeset and you only have to redraw the bits that are still visible from beneath that.
We prioritize cleaning and redraws for series based on two factors: ease of translation/cleaning and personal preference. Bleach is done first because it's usually got less text than your average ingredients label. It's usually light on redraws, too. We've got a few huge OP/HxH fans on the staff, and the TLers tend to finish those quickly as well, so those are done next.
So, to summarize:
Receive scans -> simultaneously start translating and cleaning -> prioritize cleaning the pages requiring redraws -> prioritize cleaning the series that are translated sooner -> use translations to typeset pages -> finalize redraws with the English text on them while the non-redraw pages are being typeset.
Oh and the other important thing; we've been working with a group channel similar to IRC for a while now, so all our translators share their dedicated channel and whenever anything comes up they have trouble translating with, they can always buzz the others and get some advice or ideas. It's really useful both in terms of speeding up finding solutions for problematic lines but also in the actual final quality we produce because there's so much input by all our people.
We don't really have any particularly strict internal hierarchies, everything is pretty horizontal. For translations, though, we have some translators who "rank" higher in that they either have more years of experience with Japanese or their fields of study in university are actually useful (take voxanimus for instance, who took Japanese at the graduate level and is a linguistics major, pretty ideal for translating if you ask me). These guys and gals are there to provide help with complex structures or even TL check entire chapters. The difference, by the way, between TL checking and proofreading is that a TL checker looks at both the translation and the original text and often rewrites lines entirely or finds possible misinterpretations and whatnot. Nevertheless, although voxanimus is the main TL checker, we also get his One Piece translations TL checked by eucalyptus - nobody is above or beyond checks and quality controls. (Update: Incidentally, eucalyptus recently took over OP from vox 2 weeks ago while she's completely free from university duties). We just really try hard to get everything as correct as possible. Ego is just not an issue within our ranks.
Not that we don't proofread and quality check as well. Every redraw is double-checked, and so is the typesetting. The releases on a whole are read by a bunch of people, our staff has some pretty intense fans for these series after all. We spend hours discussing arcs, plotlines, characters and whatnot in the chat. So whenever we find something off or that could still be improved afterwards, it's also brought up and the page is updated. Plus, we do read your comments, a lot more than you might think. Partly to make sure we don't miss any mistakes that you all do us the favor of pointing out, or to answer questions when they may arise. Mostly because we like hearing what you all have to say. Really.
So yeah, basically the process is repeated throughout the day, with some people coming and others going. And now to get to the actual point why I even bothered to write this all up; We'd love some extra hands!
Are you interested in joining our team? You can not only help us improve the quality further, release faster and lighten the workload on our team but also join a super cool club of really hardcore fans (and, surprisingly, pretty fun people) - we do have a lot of fun, otherwise we wouldn't bother coming back week after week, and we're willing to teach you all you need to know to be of use. We went out of our way and prepared a forum entirely dedicated to showing you the ropes, no matter which position you're interested in. As of now, not all sections are completed, but you can find out all about the status and positions we need to fill right over here.
A few (rather important) new characters and epithets were introduced in this week's chapter. We ended up going back and forth a few times with the romanization of their names, and there appears to be a bit of confusion among you all as well, so I thought I'd just come forward and clear the air.
Let's talk about Sanji's older sister. Her name in katakana is レイジュ. This is pronounced "Ray-joo." The standard romanization for this name would be "Reiju." Initially, I wasn't too much of a fan of this spelling, as I felt it didn't look appropriately "feminine." She herself is clearly quite feminine, and her charms/flirtyness are a part of her character. At first, then, I didn't (and still don't) feel that the word "Reiju" looked like the kind of name a character like that should have. Her name is very close to the word "Rouge," a relatively common name for similar "sexy possibly villanous woman" archetype characters. (Anyone ever played Sonic Adventure 2?) I therefore decided that Reige would be a better romanization; it maintains the pronunciation while fitting more with the image of the character.
However, after thinking about it a bit more, I realized it was more important to preserve the commonality in the patterning of the Vinsmoke children's names. As many of you probably already know, the Vinsmoke siblings introduced so far all have a number at the beginning of their names. Additionally, with the introduction of Yonji and Reige/Reiju, we can perhaps guess that the pattern is "number + j + vowel." The "Reige" spelling goes against this patterning, and makes it seem like Reiju is somehow unique or different than her siblings, a conclusion I would rather avoid readers jumping to. So I ended up switching the name back. This happened pretty soon after the chapter was released, within about 10 minutes.
Next, let's talk about name ordering. This was basically just my mistake. For those who aren't aware, Japanese names are traditionally written with one's surname or "last" name first. Obama Barack, Smith Will, etc. In certain series (Haikyu, BNHA, TG) we reverse the ordering because it can be confusing for readers to identify which is a character's first name and which isn't, especially when they are referred to by both. However, there's a strong existing precedent for NOT swapping names in One Piece, because "Luffy D. Monkey" just sounds weird. We've gotten used to the other ordering, and the rest of the names should follow suit. I forgot about that this week. My apologies. The name ordering is now fixed; it took me a bit longer than I'd like to get around to having it switched, however.
Finally, while we're talking about ordering, I'd like to offer my thoughts on the epithets of the two newly-introduced Vinsmoke siblings. People seem to be preferring an ordering that has the color come first, followed by the noun. That is, "Green Winch," not "Winch Green." Unfortunately, the latter ordering is the one given in the raws. Additionally, the epithet is not written in kanji or hiragana like a regular name; it literally is "Winchu Guriin" in katakana. with the information we have at the moment, I don't feel that that's enough to assume that it's an actual name and should therefore be reordered, especially given what I just mentioned about not reordering names in One Piece. People have also pointed to Sanji's name as an example of a "switched" ordering, but the two aren't exactly comparable. The reason Sanji's epithet, "Black Leg," is written in that order is because it is fundamentally different from his other siblings (so far, at least). As I mentioned earlier, "Winch Green" and "Poison Pink" are written in katakana. "Black Leg" is written in Kanji, and it's often written in the Japanese text after Sanji's own name, similar to how "Pirate Hunter" comes after Zoro's, or "Straw Hat" after Luffy's. Adjective ordering in Japanese dictates that these epithets be placed in FRONT of the names they describe. That's why you get "Straw Hat Luffy" not "Luffy the Straw Hat." As far as we can tell in this chapter, "Winch Green" and "Poison Pink" do not follow this pattern. Reiju refers to herself just as "the Poison Pink," not "Reiju the Poison Pink" or "Poison Pink Reiju." Of course, this information may change as we learn more about these characters, but at the moment, given the information we do have, I don't think we can assume that the ordering of the epithets of the two Vinsmoke siblings should be switched.
Thanks as always for your support.
Just got a quick info regarding Hunter x Hunter for you today. The series takes about 2-3 times as long to translate as One Piece (the 2nd longest series in our weekly line-up), but at the same time, for many of us on the team, it's their favorite.
We have various systems of proofreading set up for all our series, ranging from simply reading through it while typesetting (putting the text into the bubbles) and making sure there aren't any typos to having a 2nd translator attached to a series who reads both, the raws and the primary translation fully - making sure no meaning is lost and often offering alternative phrasing options to the primary translator.
In the case of Hunter x Hunter, we have our most veteran translator working on the series, whose translations we generally only look through for typos and such and who makes those lightning-fast releases possible in the first place by staying up well into the early morning hours every week for us all. However, HxH is not an easy series to translate by any means. Not only is it extremely text-heavy, but often also worded very ambiguously, with complex grammar and vocabulary; especially so in the current arc where Togashi is throwing one complex scenario into the mix after another, along with dictionary-styled explanations for them all — leaving us feeling like Gon.
But as I mentioned above, it IS the staff's darling, so we go through extra lengths for it. We have several translators going through the chapters bubble by bubble, offering alternative readings. (For better understanding; Japanese often doesn't clarify who is talking to who or about who as pronouns tend to be omitted and/or unclear.) Given the length of the chapters and people involved, our goal is to have an updated, final, as-close-to-perfect-as-possible chapter that we're all very happy with by the following week. Thus, we highly recommend that you all re-read the previous week's chapter now before reading the current one.
For 350, we did the update already ~24h ago, about 2 days before the new chapter coming in, and we'll definitely try to do those updates asap, but generally speaking, re-reading it on Thursdays is your safest best. Let me know in the comments if you'd like facebook updates on that progress. To give you an idea, we updated 1-2 bubbles on about half the pages. While I wouldn't say that any of the changes affect the overall understanding of the chapter, most of them do contribute a lot to helping the dialog make more sense than previously. For instance, we changed the assumed speaker on 1-2 occasions, changed the implied (groups of) people in some other bubbles and improved the overall flow in everything else. In short: It's definitely worth re-reading, especially if you want to be sure that you have the most complete understanding of what happened.
Finally, I just wanted to state - those complex, difficult and often rambling bubbles are most definitely INTENDED to be difficult to understand, they're meant to look long and complex, and we aren't fans of removing that aspect in the translation by just summarizing what it says. We're meant to feel like this and enjoy it.
Literal vs. Liberal
Pt. 2 - Profanity
Heya Heya, it's DzyDzyDino again.
It's been a little while since my last update, and for that I apologize. In between getting perpetually sick and being really busy with other projects, I just had problems finding the time! But I'm back to pick up where I left off!
Last time, I wrote a bit about Literal vs. Liberal translations. Since then, it's something I've been even more aware of than usual while translating and reading.
One area where Literal vs. Liberal really raises some questions is profanity.
First, let's talk shit.
Shit. shit. shit.
What is shit? A "profane" word for fecal matter? A vulgar expletive? A casual word among perhaps younger and more "rowdy" people for "stuff"?
I'm taking a shit.
Look at this shit everywhere.
You're in deep shit now.
Are you shitting me?
I don't give a shit.
This list can go on and on, and although in some cases, maybe it literally is referring to fecal matter, not always.
So the japanese dictionary equivalent for shit, くそ (kuso) doesn't fit in all these (or nearly any) situations. "Kuso" really just is a more vulgar term for feces that can be used as an expletive.
The pure English concept of profanity though doesn't exist the same way in Japanese. You can be profane and vulgar without using "kuso." You can be profane just by how you talk and who you're talking to.
I keep bringing up "kuso" for a few reasons. One, because that's the one people tend to know and is easily / readily available to look up online. Two, because, frankly, that's just about where the direct translations stop.
English can be a very colorful language, and when it comes to profanity, you could paint Picasso. Cockramming assmunching fuckmongering bitchfaced dickhole of a douche pirate.
I've heard colorful Japanese insults thrown around, too, around drunk and rowdy Japanese folk, but the word "kuso" was not involved among them. Calling people things like "Toxic Waste" and "Scattered Trash" and stuff like that. Ugly stupid octopus. etc.
If I was translating a serious Yakuza manga, and some tough gangster who'd seen some shit was really pissed off at someone... if he stood up, slammed his fist down on the table and said "Vanish! You foolish octopus!", what we'd have is a problem to communicate. Unless he was talking to the comic relief in the series, a magical disappearing cephalopod, this is the time for something like "Get the fuck out of my face, you... umm... douche pirate."
You get the picture.
I keep coming back to "kuso" also because that's really the only direct profanity translation there is. There's nothing for fuck. Fuck? A vulgar way to describe two people having sex? It's a lot more than that. I won't list the options here.
When translating vulgarity in manga, usually you take a look at the character and how the phrase compares to their regular speech. Is what they're saying way more forward than what they'd usually say? Or are they the kind of character that usually speaks pretty loose/brash to begin with?
Apart from expletives, name-calling is also a pretty common place for profanity.
In japanese, name calling usually starts with "kono!!" (with what comes after it implied possibly) or "Kono ______!!!" now. If we were being super literal (and I have seen plenty of bad scanlations/translations that have done this), we would translate "kono" to the literal "this!!!"
このやろう！！ Kono yarou!! Yarou literally being a guy, dude, whatever. But depending on context can be very vulgar. How vulgar? It depends on the situation. If you're shouting angrily at someone and say this, it'd come across as "You motherfucker!!" or "You bastard!" or whatever else, depending on how you say it and who you are and who they are. But of course, if we're being super literal, we'd go "THIS GUY!!"
What are we? Guidos? "Ayyye! This guy!! This guy right 'ere? Can you believe this guy?" No. No we are not.
殺す コロス ぶっ殺す ぶっ殺してやる
Here's some manga favorites. The kanji in above is for korosu or "to kill." If we're being super-duper literal with no concept of Japanese language whatsoever, we'd type that into google translate and see it pops up as "to kill" and be like "To kill!!"
Kill is a strong word, and without getting into who would / wouldn't say this and too far out of subject, the most usual context would be "I'm gonna kill you" "I'll kill you." But again, it's so context based, it's not going to be translated as that in every situation.
It's a pretty heated thing to say and sometimes they'll inflect even more "passion" into it with that little bu- prefix which kind of adds strength into the following verb. (like the internet favorite, Kake meaning to cover with, or to put on (top of). Adding a Bu- for emphasis leaves you with something for another discussion entirely.)
But so what, someone struggling for their life, enraged and out of control saying bukkorosu!! We translate as "I'm REALLY going to kill you!!" or even better, "I'm going to kill you" ... IN BOLD? Come on. No. Context, people.
"I'm gonna fucking kill you!" at the very least. "You're fucking dead."
It really depends. And again, it might not always be profane. It really depends so much on context.
Profanity is not as cut and dry as it is in English. There are not simply "bad words" you don't say. If we're going there, there's whole manners of speech you shouldn't use, and there's a proper way to conduct yourself, and anything going against those would be "profane" in some way, depending on context.
We read a lot of your comments and many of you feel profanity in manga feels inappropriate or doesn't seem like what a certain character would say. For the most part, we try not to use profanity unless it actually adds something to the scene or character.
If a character who normally speaks in a rather tame tone suddenly starts speaking in a manner way more, well, vulgar than he normally speaks and is popping off at people, profanity is an excellent way to illustrate that.
If we had to, could we leave the profanity out? Sure. Some translators choose not to use any. Some translators have a vision of an anime/manga world that's, well... PG as opposed to PG-13/R. It's always a choice, always up for discussion, and apart from straight mistranslations, there's always room for debate.
In the end, it all comes down to interpretation, the translator/scanlation group, and choices.
We know you trust us to bring you a quality, meaningful scanlation every week and appreciate your readership. We love the series we translate and make every choice with as much information and intent as possible. As translators, we try to convey all the meaning we found when reading the original Japanese raws into English.
I had a lot more to say and a lot more examples, but this went on way longer than I expected already. Perhaps I'll revisit this topic at a future date, as I know it's one that's constantly being addressed.
Until then, from me and the crew here at mangastream, thanks as always for your readership and we hope to continue to bring you timely scanlations of the highest quality we can muster for the forseeable future!
Peace out, bitches.