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Alan45
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:04 pm Reply with quote
Well, back in the early 1050s one of the local farm wives where I lived called her sister "Titty" or occasionally "Tits". It was years later when I figured out why the adults all found this so funny. However I wouldn't suggest that the fact that those nicknames were used back then as a basis to suggest they should be used now.
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Sakagami Tomoyo



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:52 pm Reply with quote
jymmy wrote:
But as I've explained, "Big Sis" is almost totally inaccurate. It's too casual and does not denote respect. It's also not old-fashioned or affected and doesn't fit with Kuroko's general character.

For what it's worth, I don't like using "big sis" for it either, but I find it less problematic than "sissy". I also don't think the old-fashioned aspect is the most vital thing about it.

jymmy wrote:
Nor would or did I. I explained how I came to be familiar with the term and posited that it's similar to how a contemporary Japanese reader/viewer could recognise it from drama or literature.

I dunno, it fits into the framework of modes of address in modern usage well enough without the context of period fiction. Onee-chan, onee-san, onee-sama; the former two being in common modern use and used for people other than one's literal older sister, and the latter being a natural progression.

jymmy wrote:
Sakagami Tomoyo wrote:
I don't like adding use of a character's name where it wasn't

Except where it makes the translation flow and make more sense, right?

Maybe. I've seen enough instances where using the character's name or not is relevant that it can ultimately make things make less sense. Still mostly possible to adjust other bits of the translation to kind of work, but overall potentially messy enough that I'd rather not add the name to begin with.
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nargun



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:57 am Reply with quote
There are two basic facets with Kuroko and translation.
a: choice of "oneesama" rather than some other sister-label.
Kuroko -- like everyone else in her school except Mikoto -- is an ojousama. "oneesama" marks this; if she'd been a shitamachi tough girl bruiser it'd be "aneki".

b: use of a sister-label per se to mark Kuroko's [desired/believed-to-exist] intimate relationship with Mikoto.

a: is not the problem. Kuroko's ojousamaness is well marked by lots of nicely-translatable elements of her character; there's no specific need to mark her ojousamaness with special translation on this particular language quirk. Whatever works for "aneki" will work for "oneesama", and we can leave the rest of the ojousama to the rest of her character marking and move on to b.

But B is a problem, in two ways:
+ the whole sisterly-intimacy thing is a cultural referent to material we don't have in english; we can make shift with that, but...
+ in all english cultures I'm familiar with, people refer to and address their older sisters by name, just like they do everybody else

So the correct translation for the marking we're drawing on turns out to not actually be marked; the distinctions we're trying to draw collapse together.

So we're sunk, and we need to invent something else. This will inescapably sound artificial, because, in english, it is.

[me? If I have to think about it, I'd have probably gone with a library of variations on "dear" and "sister". Used a lot less than Kuroko uses "oneesama", because the nature of japanese is that Kuroko uses oneesama as basically a pronoun, and things work differently in english. But I'm not actually a translator, am I? My japanese is too poor and my knowledge of the broader literature traditions in english and japanese close to zero.]

... what did unusually-close-friends in english-language between-the-wars girls-boarding-school books call each other? I'm sure that sort of thing cropped up from time to time, but I've never read 'em, so I can't say. "Sissy" actually doesn't sound unreasonable in that situation, now that I think about it.
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Sakagami Tomoyo



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:48 am Reply with quote
Speaking of ojousama schools and onee-sama, if memory serves the DVD subtitles for Maria-sama ga Miteru used "dear sister".
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leafy sea dragon



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:44 am Reply with quote
nargun wrote:
... what did unusually-close-friends in english-language between-the-wars girls-boarding-school books call each other? I'm sure that sort of thing cropped up from time to time, but I've never read 'em, so I can't say. "Sissy" actually doesn't sound unreasonable in that situation, now that I think about it.


I'm not big on literature from that time period either, but people who are close to each other, in the Anglosphere, most commonly refer to each other by their given names, something that hasn't changed in at least a century. It's true now, and it was true during the brief period between World Wars I and II. (Men are more likely to refer to each other by derogatory nicknames whereas women almost always use given names, but even between men, use of bare given names is more common.)

It really is a big change from Japanese culture, where to maintain an air of politeness, you refer to even people you're close to by titles like these. Any English-speaker who actually talks like this would probably be viewed by other people as exceedingly strange, socially awkward, and maybe even condescending to everyone around them.

The way I see it, if they really are that close, referring to each other by their names would be what I'd use. The purpose of a translation is to get the meaning across, and if it can't fulfill that purpose, then you pick whatever's closest. (Or use translator's notes, but personally, they tend to clutter the screen.) There's no such thing as a perfect translation. You're always making compromises and approximations, or at least changing the connotations ever so slightly. The only people who think there are perfect translations are people who have never translated anything before.

(Sometimes, western media dubbed into Japanese add in honorifics or replace people's names with titles like these, so I don't see anything wrong with the reverse.)
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:29 pm Reply with quote
@leafy sea dragon

Men in predominately male settings, athletics, the military, school very frequently call each other by their family name. In a hierarchical situation, only the leaders would get titles, everyone else just the bare family name. In English boarding schools before and between the world wars this was formalized to the point that the third "Smith" in the school would be called "Smith Tertius". It may still be that way.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on the bit about smoothness of translation. As I noted above, I don't think things should be smoothed out so that it removes different cultural references. I'd rather accept some awkwardness if it means I man learn something. Further, since most anime goes only to the fan base, there is a lot that doesn't need to be smoothed out.
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Top Gun



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:02 am Reply with quote
Alan45 wrote:
I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on the bit about smoothness of translation. As I noted above, I don't think things should be smoothed out so that it removes different cultural references. I'd rather accept some awkwardness if it means I man learn something. Further, since most anime goes only to the fan base, there is a lot that doesn't need to be smoothed out.

But the problem with that, at least from my perspective, is that nothing yanks me out of the viewing experience faster than having it made abundantly clear that I'm watching a deliberately-constructed fictional product, and one that's been translated from another language no less. I think the fundamental goal that any good creator strives for is to make their fictional characters seem like living, breathing people to the reader or viewer. (Let's ignore for now the odd meta-narrative work that intends the exact opposite, although those can certainly be fun too!) And that's something that holds true whether your story is set in our own world, or some crazy fantasy universe full of giant robots or talking school uniforms or who knows what else. Those random bits of awkwardly-literal dialog translations, or really forced attempts at matching a certain difficult lip-flap on the dub side of things, are the mental equivalent of a big flashing neon sign: "THESE PEOPLE AREN'T REAL!" At the end of the day, a native Japanese viewer doesn't face those immersion issues, because the way the characters speak is the way they themselves would. If there are steps a skilled translator can take (and there usually are) in the writing process to replicate that experience and eliminate unintentional taps on the fourth wall, shouldn't they be encouraged to do so?

I mean, I'm not against learning something from what I watch in the least, and that's pretty much inevitable anyway when consuming media from a different culture. But when I'm watching something, I want my internal monologue focused on the work itself, not keeping up a steady stream of, "This work was originally in Japanese, and there's a bit of dialog that obviously made way more sense in Japanese but sounds really awkward in English, and hey isn't that funny." I mean, that's just a real drag, right?
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Cptn_Taylor



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:21 am Reply with quote
Top Gun wrote:


[cut]

If there are steps a skilled translator can take (and there usually are) in the writing process to replicate that experience and eliminate unintentional taps on the fourth wall, shouldn't they be encouraged to do so?



Sure but the big big problem is most anime fans want a cultural lesson. In my opinion if someone wants a cultural lesson on Japan then go to a Japanese cultural center. Buy Japanese books about music, art, history etc... But do not pretend that anime is some kind of cultural lesson. It is not (it is not in Japan and it shouldn't be in the localised version either). It is an entertainment product and when it's localised for western audiences I expect to be entertained (and not taken out of the immersion) because a full page of translator notes appear on screen making it impossible to follow the story. Interrupting every couple of seconds is idiotic in the extreme. If translator notes are necessary put them on print with the dvd/blu-ray or in a folder on the damn disc as extras to be viewed after the episode. But not while you're watching the damn show.
A translation is not a mathematical operation. Languages are fuzzy, full of subtilities and you can never ever translated mechanically. Otherwise you end up with stupid like translations a la google translate. The relation of the western viewer to the localised edition of an anime has to be the same (as far as possible) to that of a japanese viewer watching the original anime. This has to be the gold standard, and unfortunately just like Tokyopop destroyed whatever quality there was in the localised manga industry, most home video companies that deal with anime prefer to cater to the stupid notion of a mechanically made translation. So they can say to the stupid fans "see, it's a perfect translation". But don't be worried if it doesn't make sense in english, if people don't talk like that, if the grammar is incorrent etc... Just tiny irrelevant details.

Steven Foster dubs are reviled on this forum almost unanimously, yet he does what a good translator is supposed to do. That is to capture the essence of the japanese dialog and find an acceptable english equivalent.
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leafy sea dragon



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:51 am Reply with quote
Alan45 wrote:
@leafy sea dragon

Men in predominately male settings, athletics, the military, school very frequently call each other by their family name. In a hierarchical situation, only the leaders would get titles, everyone else just the bare family name. In English boarding schools before and between the world wars this was formalized to the point that the third "Smith" in the school would be called "Smith Tertius". It may still be that way.


Do they still do that? Well, I can understand for the military, as that's a very formal environment, but the other settings I would never have guessed. I've never seen an instance of a school where students call each other by family name either, considering even in-universe in South Park, the other students consider it unusual that Eric Cartman goes by his family name, and I don't think the fact that the school is gender-mixed is related to that.

I had a couple of teachers in the past who'd insist on using our family names for roll call. In both instances, the entire class found it incredibly annoying, We had a high Korean population, so most classes had multiple Kims and Lees, and we had a high Hispanic population too so there were often multiple Mendozas, multiple Hernandezes, and multiple Rodriguezes. (Of course, my high school averaged about 110 students per class at its peak, so it was bound to happen.)

Cptn_Taylor wrote:
Sure but the big big problem is most anime fans want a cultural lesson. In my opinion if someone wants a cultural lesson on Japan then go to a Japanese cultural center. Buy Japanese books about music, art, history etc... But do not pretend that anime is some kind of cultural lesson. It is not (it is not in Japan and it shouldn't be in the localised version either). It is an entertainment product and when it's localised for western audiences I expect to be entertained (and not taken out of the immersion) because a full page of translator notes appear on screen making it impossible to follow the story.


I agree with you completely. Something I don't fully understand is the idea that you learn about Japanese culture and its language through anime. I would figure it's the equivalent of a Japanese person trying to learn about American culture and the English language watching animated sitcoms like The Simpsons and Rick & Morty: They may be quite entertaining, but they do not represent normal life. Wasn't there that one character in Genshiken who was a walking parody of the concept, a westerner who tried to learn Japanese and Japanese culture through anime but came across as extremely odd and her dialogue forced?

It makes me think of how people used to watch Hong Kong kung fu films and treat them as cultural lessons on Hong Kong and China (even if unintentionally), then assume all Asians know martial arts. (And some people still have that assumption.)

I don't know how much it holds true nowadays, but I remember during my high school and college years, the anime fans that I knew mostly thought that Japan is anime heaven--a place where everyone is as big a fan as they are, collectible shops line every street, and tsunderes are real. It became a problem whenever my school would get exchange students from Japan: Any anime fans in the class would immediately assume he or she was an anime fan when they rarely were.
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peno



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:18 pm Reply with quote
Cptn_Taylor wrote:
Steven Foster dubs are reviled on this forum almost unanimously, yet he does what a good translator is supposed to do. That is to capture the essence of the japanese dialog and find an acceptable english equivalent.

Actually, Steven Foster's approach on Ghost Stories dub was almost unanimously praised. Something I will never understand, since I consider that one of the biggest insults to the original material in history of anime dubs. Even worse than most of 4Kids and Fox Kids-style dubs. Actually, the only thing I consider comparable with this insult is 4Kids' One Piece dub. That was similar joke and insult to the original material. Other than that, I don't think even 4Kids, Fox Kids, Nelvana and similar companies ever took that much liberty and I still don't like most of their dubs, but I still don't hate them, like I do with Ghost Stories dub.

leafy sea dragon wrote:

It makes me think of how people used to watch Hong Kong kung fu films and treat them as cultural lessons on Hong Kong and China (even if unintentionally), then assume all Asians know martial arts. (And some people still have that assumption.)

Not all Asians, but all Chinese people, or at least all Hong Kong people. Assumption that is quite often mimicked in anime, BTW, when most of Hong Kong or Chinese characters do non-Japanese martial arts. On a similar note, a lot of people also consider Japanese people to be Karate Masters, no matter how nonsensical that may be to us anime fans. But people, especially from my generation, who grew with Karate Kid series, hardly get rid of this. So, even from anime you can learn something, in this case, you can learn that not all Japanese are skilled in Karate Very Happy
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leafy sea dragon



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:33 pm Reply with quote
peno wrote:
Actually, Steven Foster's approach on Ghost Stories dub was almost unanimously praised. Something I will never understand, since I consider that one of the biggest insults to the original material in history of anime dubs. Even worse than most of 4Kids and Fox Kids-style dubs. Actually, the only thing I consider comparable with this insult is 4Kids' One Piece dub. That was similar joke and insult to the original material. Other than that, I don't think even 4Kids, Fox Kids, Nelvana and similar companies ever took that much liberty and I still don't like most of their dubs, but I still don't hate them, like I do with Ghost Stories dub.


I take it you're no fan of Kung Pow! Enter the Fist or What's Up, Tiger Lily?

leafy sea dragon wrote:

It makes me think of how people used to watch Hong Kong kung fu films and treat them as cultural lessons on Hong Kong and China (even if unintentionally), then assume all Asians know martial arts. (And some people still have that assumption.)

Not all Asians, but all Chinese people, or at least all Hong Kong people. Assumption that is quite often mimicked in anime, BTW, when most of Hong Kong or Chinese characters do non-Japanese martial arts. On a similar note, a lot of people also consider Japanese people to be Karate Masters, no matter how nonsensical that may be to us anime fans. But people, especially from my generation, who grew with Karate Kid series, hardly get rid of this. So, even from anime you can learn something, in this case, you can learn that not all Japanese are skilled in Karate Very Happy[/quote]

Well, considering the whole "Are you Chinese or Japanese?" question that always comes up, your typical outsider can't really tell apart which country an Asian person is from (and Margaret Cho makes fun of this from time to time). So these people apply the stereotype to ALL east Asian people, it seems. Now even the dark-skinned southeast Asians get that assumption, due to the surge in popularity Muay Thai got when MMA competitions got sizable spectatorship (as well as Tony Jaa's international fame in movies like Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong).
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Stuart Smith



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:56 pm Reply with quote
peno wrote:
Actually, Steven Foster's approach on Ghost Stories dub was almost unanimously praised. Something I will never understand, since I consider that one of the biggest insults to the original material in history of anime dubs. Even worse than most of 4Kids and Fox Kids-style dubs. Actually, the only thing I consider comparable with this insult is 4Kids' One Piece dub. That was similar joke and insult to the original material. Other than that, I don't think even 4Kids, Fox Kids, Nelvana and similar companies ever took that much liberty and I still don't like most of their dubs, but I still don't hate them, like I do with Ghost Stories dub.


The same could be said about Shin-chan. What both shows have in common are they are both heavily rooted in Japanese culture, and unfortunately came out in a time where gag dubs were acceptable by the casual fan who didn't care about Japanese culture. It's even more disheartening when you realize those two were two of the most popular anime of all time in Japan and the licensors didn't even try to market them properly here.

I don't follow the dub scene much, but I think gag dubs as a whole have phased out of practice for non kid-oriented series as the industry has grown and matured.

-Stuart Smith
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peno



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:04 pm Reply with quote
Even for kids anime, these things aren't acceptable now, Stuart. Yo-Kai Watch or even current Pokémon dubs being good examples, while not being accurate, they are still pretty faithful, only using their own gags to replace jokes in original, that may be too hard to understand by western audience, but still trying to use something that is at least closely similar. And we even have things like Cardfight Vanguard, Puzzle and Dragons Cross or Monster Hunter Stories, which, while kids anime, still got almost literal dubs.

leafy sea dragon wrote:

I take it you're no fan of Kung Pow! Enter the Fist or What's Up, Tiger Lily?

Never saw the latter and despite it being Woody Allan, whose movies I enjoy otherwise, probably never will. And while I can't really fully approve of how the creators of Kung Pow treated the original material, I still consider it interesting parody of bad dub. Too bad some dub creators still can't take a lesson from it Laughing
BTW, I quite enjoyed Power Rangers (at least some series), even though I knew, even back when I first saw it, it also reused materials from Japanese show, but then again, that wasn't really a dub, not even meant to be a dub. On the other hand, that one wasn't remade with the intent to be a parody, even though it ended to be that way, sometime Laughing But that still doesn't mean things like this are OK.
Still, I probably am more harsh on Ghost Stories, because I saw and really liked the original, which was interesting child horror, featuring Japanese legends and done in a way children could learn these legends. The dub totally took that away and not only disrespected the original work, but also these legends (which are also included in other anime, BTW) and so, also disrespected Japanese culture as a whole. I must admit I never saw Shin-Chan dub, Stuart mentioned, but yeah, that's another good example of that.
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:09 pm Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
Quote:
Do they still do that?


Damn if I know, it has been a long time since I was anywhere near a high school. Back then I encountered it in gym class, high school club and earlier in playground sports. I also found last name usage in scouts.

While at least some teachers may have used first names, I don't remember that. Unlike your experience there were no duplicate last names (and a lot of duplicate first names). I don't remember being in a class over 32 students until I entered college. Our ethnic mix was UK and German which had been there since before the Revolution, later additions were mostly Italian of a couple generations. Immigrants were a mix of Polish, Check, Yugoslavian, and Hungarian. Also at least one of the Baltic countries was represented, Latvia, I think. This made for a really odd mix of names.

As you noted, the military and semi military organizations such as police and firefighters have the use of last names formalized. It occurred to me after my prior post that in less formal situations, use of last names serves the same function as those stupid nicknames you mentioned. It avoids the appearance of intimacy. It also assists association with people that are not necessarily friends.
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leafy sea dragon



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:37 pm Reply with quote
peno wrote:
Never saw the latter and despite it being Woody Allan, whose movies I enjoy otherwise, probably never will. And while I can't really fully approve of how the creators of Kung Pow treated the original material, I still consider it interesting parody of bad dub. Too bad some dub creators still can't take a lesson from it Laughing


Heh, all right then. My mom had seen Tiger and Crane Fist before and recognized it when I saw Kung Pow!, and it annoyed her with how much they fiddled around with it. For the record, it was not simply dubbed over: They rearranged scenes, shot new scenes, added characters into it (most notably Steve Oedekirk himself playing the protagonist, The Chosen One, as well as the cow and the French aliens), appropriated the original actors into new scenes (such as the intermission), added and removed objects from the background (such as a general store with a rack full of red items now having cans of Pringles), and put in short singing sequences.

To this day, I find it very amusing as to the extent they did it with. (For the record, they absolutely got clearance to do it, and the people still alive who were originally involved in Tiger and Crane Fist knew they'd do this to the movie.) That being said, I do enjoy gag dubs, especially if they mess with the visuals too. I quite enjoyed the second season of Plastic Cow's Duel Masters more so than the first for this reason. (The reason for that gag dub was more borne out of necessity than preference though--when you assigned Plastic Cow, a company that had ONLY done surreal sitcoms prior, and not give them a translation, this is what you'll get.)

Alan45 wrote:

While at least some teachers may have used first names, I don't remember that. Unlike your experience there were no duplicate last names (and a lot of duplicate first names). I don't remember being in a class over 32 students until I entered college. Our ethnic mix was UK and German which had been there since before the Revolution, later additions were mostly Italian of a couple generations. Immigrants were a mix of Polish, Check, Yugoslavian, and Hungarian. Also at least one of the Baltic countries was represented, Latvia, I think. This made for a really odd mix of names.

As you noted, the military and semi military organizations such as police and firefighters have the use of last names formalized. It occurred to me after my prior post that in less formal situations, use of last names serves the same function as those stupid nicknames you mentioned. It avoids the appearance of intimacy. It also assists association with people that are not necessarily friends.


Interesting. I didn't know schools used family names if it wasn't the top-of-the-line posh prep schools or whatnot. I figured family names where given names would do would be used to sound fancy and/or classy.

Certainly, that adherence to family name by default doesn't hold true anymore, if you've received as much junk mail and spam e-mail as I have that addresses you by given name. And I know the reason why they do so is to make the letters feel more personal and close, and some people really like that.

That you brought up intimacy gave me a thought though: It may come down to how intimate the intended atmosphere is supposed to be. To my knowledge, people in Japan are expected to be rather distant from each other, whereas here in 21st-century United States, people are by comparison much closer and desire to be close together.
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