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Somewhere in Translation: 05

It's been a little while, been a bit busy with some new projects and also took over translating on a few more of our series. 

As usual, I'll just be picking out and addressing little things that can't quite get conveyed properly in the translations of our chapters, or things I find neat and I hope you might find neat as well. Onwards!

Most recently, Akame Ga Kill had a kind of epic moment for me... like one of those moments where someone in the movie says the title of the movie. Like at the end of Chinatown, "Forget it, Jake... it's Chinatown." Or "Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club". "7.62mm Full Metal Jacket" etc. etc. Sometimes it's gimmicky, other times it sheds new light on the title and is really cool.

Akame Ga Kill (アカメが斬る) had that moment for me, and the translation of the title had a lot to do with it and why it doesn't quite come across. First of all, there's the "Kill" part of the title, which is written as 斬る(KIRU) for to cut/slice or kill by slicing/slashing. This is played on further because of Akame's Teigu, Murasame, which kills anyone it cuts or slashes, means cutting and killing are one and the same. And since they are pronounced the same, they decided to stylize the actual spelling of the title, calling it Akame Ga Kill instead of Akame Ga Kiru. This may be common knowledge already, I'm not sure.

The title usually gets translated to something like "Akame Kills" or something like that, but this is where the vagueness of Japanese also steps in a bit. The title is open to so much interpretation, and you're left wondering a bit of Akame Kills What? Without anything else attached, there's also some other further out interpretations and connotations attached, but I'm starting to get off topic here.

Japanese is often very context-specific, with sentences leaving out many important parts and having you interpret it via context instead. So this title is vague and we just go along assuming it to mean Kill Akame. But then in the most recent chapter, Akame tells Tatsumi that if she should become possessed by Murasame, that she wants Tatsumi to kill her. Tatsumi then responds by saying, "Fine, but then if Incursio takes me over and I go out of control, I want you, Akame, to be the one to kill me."

This whole "Akame, you will be the one to kill (me)" is conveyed with the line "Akame Ga Kill" and suddenly brings a whole bunch of different connotations to the title. Instead of seeing the title as "Akame Kills", I started to see it as "Akame Is/Will Be the One Who Kills" and if this current arc is the climax, then maybe the title is coming from a wish by her sister for Akame to be the one to kill her? Starting to read into it now, but that's the cool part and totally what the whole point is. By leaving things vague like that, any time any new bits of context come in, suddenly new possible interpretations spring up.

This is probably one of the hardest and also most fun parts of translating. Often the author will write some super vague line of dialog on one page. You read it, you don't really fully understand what it means or what it pertains to, but as you read on and context fills in, it clicks in and makes sense.

It's kind of like watching a movie where you see a clip of the conclusion first. You've seen events. You don't know their context, why people are doing what they're doing, but you have some vague ideas that are floating in your head. As you watch the movie, the blanks fill in and then it all makes sense.

Wow. I kind of went on for a while there. I had a bunch more examples and things I wanted to bring up, but I'll save them for next time! I guess that means you'll be hearing a bit more from me over the next few weeks!

Until then, thanks as always for following us and reading our scanlations! Till next time, byebye!!

 

-dzydzydino

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