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Author Topic: Translation stuff  (Read 474 times)

Offline 13thMuse

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Translation stuff
« on: 2016-01-18 02:10:41 »
It's sad that this section has no posts yet, so I wanted to talk about my new hobby; translating from Japanese to English (cause I'm a huge nerd :P ). I'm working on the Kyoukai no Kanata and Hyouka light novels right now, but I occasionally do songs and I want to try a drama CD. I'm not the best at it or anything--there are a lot of online dictionaries involved--but I've been studying Japanese for 4 years now and I have to practice somehow.

Does anyone else do this? Is there something you desperately want translated? Let's talk about it here~

Offline tormaid

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #1 on: 2016-01-18 04:03:28 »
I very much support this idea. My interest is mostly in anime translation, but I've started getting into manga as well. If you need technical advice on stuff like typesetting manga or subtitling software, hit me up~


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« Last Edit: 2016-01-18 04:05:02 by tormaid »

Offline 13thMuse

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #2 on: 2016-01-20 21:36:48 »
I got a request on my blog to translate the series Boukyaku Tantei by Nisio Isin (the first book is Okitegami Kyouko no Bibouroku). I don't think I can take on another book series right now, but I wanted to mention it here--it seems like Kyoukai no Kanata mixed with Hyouka, by the creator of Monogatari. I'm looking forward to the drama now.

Offline GentlemanDefiant

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #3 on: 2016-01-27 20:05:09 »
Are you ready to Duwang Sub JoJo part 4 yet?

Offline tormaid

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #4 on: 2016-01-28 13:31:58 »
Are you ready to Duwang Sub JoJo part 4 yet?

My body is so ready.

Offline tormaid

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #5 on: 2016-03-08 01:53:27 »
Here's a translation of the Bokumachi ED I did for fun. This is a really cool song, but it's pretty morbid. I might do the whole thing at some point, but I'll leave this here for now.

Edit: I had to upload the video to the server directly because fucking YouTube doesn't believe in fair use.

Some thoughts on this translation:
  • I omitted "kanata e" from "So you waited for me," which I honestly wasn't sure about the meaning of, but it seemed superfluous. Perhaps that was a mistake.
  • I also omitted "ichiban" ("most," or in this case "deepest")  from "like a deep wound" because it really is superfluous and hurt the flow of the line, IMO
  • I took the liberty of tying together "your laughter" with "sekai no uta" (lit: the song of the world, which I liberally translated as "this world's anthem") because their proximity and the structure of the lines suggested to me that they are part of the same sentence


Translating songs, if you've never tried it, is a largely interpretive process. Much, much more so than conversation. Normal grammar is thrown out the window, so you have to connect words and phrases in a manner that "feels right," but still makes sense.

What do you guys think, though? Would you have done anything different here? Do you have any interesting experiences translating Japanese songs?
« Last Edit: 2016-03-09 00:56:28 by tormaid »

Offline tormaid

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #6 on: 2016-09-05 13:33:44 »
Saw this on MAL:

A manga translation contest with prizes, including a grand prize of a plane ticket to Japan! Submission is free, and the deadline isn't until February of next year.

Offline tormaid

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #7 on: 2017-02-03 13:19:02 »
Saw this on MAL:

A manga translation contest with prizes, including a grand prize of a plane ticket to Japan! Submission is free, and the deadline isn't until February of next year.

Well, my submission for Zutto Dokushin de iru Tumori? didn't even make the finalists, which is a little frustrating, as some of those finalist submissions were pretty bad. I do strongly recommend reading the winner's entry, and especially the comments by the panelists, if you are at all interested in translation, as they really show the level of nuance expected out of a professional translation. If you are interested, I have also attached my own submission bellow. You can still view the raw manga for free at the link above, if you want to see the original Japanese lines.

Offline 13thMuse

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #8 on: 2017-02-06 02:50:47 »
Thanks for adding that; I am really interested in seeing what they're looking for in professional-level translations. I see a lot of mistakes or things that are difficult to understand in published work, so it makes it seem like the bar isn't set very high for quality, but I guess their priorities are on things like accurately conveying nuance and less on feeling natural.

Offline tormaid

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #9 on: 2017-05-06 22:27:03 »
I translated the Sagrada Reset PV a bit ago and I thought I'd post it here since I know everybody doesn't use Facebook. I highly encourage all of you to check this show out, it's really been fantastic so far.





My next project is translating all of the Full Metal Panic IV - A Very Merry Christmas audio dramas. I imagine several of you will be quite interested in that, so keep your eyes peeled!
« Last Edit: 2017-05-06 22:30:10 by tormaid »

Offline sarawr

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #10 on: 2017-05-10 18:11:35 »
edit: dear Haruhi lol I forgot how much I use parentheses... gonna work on that eventually

SO I'M ACTUALLY REALLY REALLY INTERESTED IN THE WHOLE TOPIC OF TRANSLATION AND ALL ITS FINERIES (localization, transliteration, etc) but I can't contribute much to the discussion -cries-

Came here because I think I want to sing Ubiquitous dB (no, I haven't seen the SAO movie yet but I want to ;__;) during our next karaoke night (in Japanese unless I find a fanmade English version before then) and I found the Japanese lyrics but I noticed that this is a song with transliterations of a bunch of English words inserted in (what I assume is) proper (song*) Japanese. This isn't the only song like that, of course, but I never thought to talk about these songs until now haha

As someone who only speaks English fluently, it feels weird to sing the Japanese transliterations of these English words, but sometimes (often, actually) the transliteration's syllables don't match up with the English syllables (often because of the weaker syllables for English consonant sounds since the only true ending consonant in Japanese is n) and so singing the English word straight-up is not an option unless you're okay with the rhythm of the melody sounding weird. For example, in Ubiquitous dB, the singer uses every syllable in "boryuumu", "geeji", and "dairekuto" ("volume", "gauge", and "direct"); another example I keep remembering is that in Akatsuki no Kuruma from Gundam SEED, every syllable in "rizumu" ("rhythm") is used.

Thoughts on singing the individual English words themselves instead of English words transliterated into Japanese when the transliterations are the ones in the official lyrics? Does it depend on the rhythm? What about the songwriter? What about the singer (e.g. would it be different for a monolingual Japanese singer vs a monolingual English singer [like me lol I'm sure y'all who know Japanese cringed at my Japanese pronunciations] vs a bilingual Japanese-English singer)?

Turning the transliterated English back into English would mean that the song would be more bilingual than it already is :P I've recently developed a bigger appreciation for bilingual works that mix languages together. Also, the way I see it is that this is borderline code-switching. Code-switching to me would mean using words as they are in their original languages. So having the Japanese transliterations of English words to me looks like it's code-switching but for a monolingual speaker, which feels really odd. What about you guys?

* because I know we've discussed how Japanese in songs can sometimes be super fun for even native/fluent Japanese speakers to understand lol and see tormaid's post from March 2016 above

Also, here: full romaji for Ubiquitous dB on left from link above, and on the right I've replaced all the transliterated words I could find with their English equivalents (bolded); many are singable without breaking the singing rhythm (notably "decibel"); correct me if I mistook actual Japanese for transliterated English; English translation is in the link above and I didn't put it here because of space
(click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: 2017-05-10 18:24:51 by sarawr »

Offline tormaid

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #11 on: 2017-05-10 22:13:41 »
Thoughts on singing the individual English words themselves instead of English words transliterated into Japanese when the transliterations are the ones in the official lyrics? Does it depend on the rhythm? What about the songwriter? What about the singer (e.g. would it be different for a monolingual Japanese singer vs a monolingual English singer [like me lol I'm sure y'all who know Japanese cringed at my Japanese pronunciations] vs a bilingual Japanese-English singer)?

My thoughts are pretty simple: music is just a bunch of sounds that go well together. Therefore, changing those sounds isn't faithful to the musicality of the original. Japanese music relies heavily on rhyme and those rhymes are created using the eccentricities of katakana English. Example:

ka-na-shī me-mo-rī
                mem-o-ry

The tempo of the Japanese is uniform because all Japanese sounds are single syllables, so it will almost never sound the same if you try to use the (American) English pronunciation. I think that some people use the English spelling of loaner words when they write out song lyrics because sometimes it is not clear to the reader what the source word actually is. It's just a lot easier on our eyes. In my opinion, though, it is not how you should strive to sing Japanese songs.
« Last Edit: 2017-05-14 01:16:04 by tormaid »

Offline sarawr

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #12 on: 2017-05-11 14:00:29 »
o: I hadn't really considered the musical part of lyrics, just the language/communicative and rhythmic parts haha

Also didn't think of transliterations as loanwords, hmm...

Offline tormaid

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Re: Translation stuff
« Reply #13 on: 2017-05-11 23:12:10 »
Also didn't think of transliterations as loanwords, hmm...

Yeah, not all, but many katakana-ized words in songs are just loan words that are used frequently in normal speech.

Edit: I think this trend towards more loaner words is bad, but there's very little anyone can do to stop it.
« Last Edit: 2017-05-12 14:46:30 by tormaid »