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Haterater



Joined: 30 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:17 am Reply with quote
Good points. If he's saying this constantly, then "friend" would work the best, as that would have a better natural flow.
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Chagen46



Joined: 27 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:40 am Reply with quote
If only Nakama debates on TvTropes were this quick and civil.
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:42 am Reply with quote
I like to keep it simple.

If the characters are Japanese, don't include honorifics unless they are essential for the story. There are certain nuances and situations where they are integral, like when a girl starts calling a boy "X-kun" instead of "X-san" to indicate how she is more comfortable around him. Other than those, Japanese honorifics are not needed nor wanted. Most of the time, "X-dono" can be translated into "Sir X" with no intent lost.

If they're not Japanese, don't include honorifics at all, except appropriate ones that are in the language that the characters are speaking (e.g. using señor if the speaker is supposedly speaking in Spanish is perfectly fine).

Even Japanese-specific humour can be translated, like what gg did with Joshiraku. For a show that initially was widely considered to be untranslatable with all those puns and Japanese-specific references, the translation was still very funny.

An English translation of a Japanese work isn't aimed at a Japanese audience, it is aimed at a English-speaking audience, one who will have at least some people in it who can't speak a word of Japanese. I hate it when translators presume that their audience already knows what "kawaii" means, to use one example. The translation should be simple, clear and easy to follow, with a minimum of Japanese. I should only have to pause the episode (or wait till the end) to read a translation note about a term, joke or reference that was truly too difficult to get across in the subtitles or dub itself. If it could have been easily translated then that's what should have happened.

One final note. I don't want white-washing and I hate most localisations. I just want plain understandable English.

K.I.S.S..


Last edited by dtm42 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
Posts: 1989
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:20 am Reply with quote
Saturn wrote:
Paint Tool SAI is a really amazing program, but for screen-tone effects I'd say that Comic Studio/Manga Studio is better (it also has great easy-to-use tools for creating panels). SAI is incredible for the amount of control it provides over linework though!


Agreed. I had Manga Studio once (until I was forced to upgrade less than a year after paying bucko bucks for the program, making the program useless due to the specs changing) and it was REALLY great for making "manga-out-of-the-book"-like images. But... yeah. I can't afford it again. I want it so badly, but I can't afford it again. I'm also afraid of losing it again. So for now, SAI is my baby.

agila61 wrote:
So, basically, as long as everyone reads "fu fu fu" its as "hu hu hu" or "heh heh heh" instead of reading it a "fu fu fu", then its perfectly natural.

Ara, ara.


Sono toori desu.
Well, not really. Just saying that it's a bit more complicated than it looks.

Haterater wrote:
From what you said of "nakama", I think soul mate would make a good translation. But I think those other words of friend and ally and the rest still make a good fit. Easily see a best friend cover up for a friend of a crime and similar situations. Don't really need a fancy word for that.


"Soul mate" messes up the meaning completely. "Friend" is better, but...

Fencedude5609 wrote:
"Friends" works for 90% of the uses of "Nakama".


To get the general meaning--yes. To understand the importance--no. I'm not saying it's a bad way of translating it, especially when it isn't important in the story. But even in cases where "friends" would be the best possible English translation of the word, sometimes, it's just far deeper than that. And while things might make sense by just keeping it as "friend" (hence why most translators leave it at that), I argue that, in some cases, leaving it as "friend" with no background behind the impact of the term in its original context is simplifying it more than it should be simplified. Why is it that One Piece is so popular over here in Japan, despite it being extremely cliche as a shounen series? "Because it has a good presence of nakama" seems to be the most popular answer between my Japanese friends here. People in the West can see the friendship in the series, too, no doubt. But our conception is different because we value things so differently. I think understanding the values and reasoning behind it can help one enjoy it more, or at least justify some of the things they don't understand about it.


Last edited by Juno016 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:35 am Reply with quote
You're making it sound like Westerners never die for their friends. You're making it sound like Westerners don't have friendships as strong as the Japanese do. However, that's simply not true.

A lot of what nakama covers is what we Westerners consider close friendship to be. Someone you implicitly trust, someone whom you can confide in, someone who has your back, someone who would go to the ends of the Earth to help you.

The term "friend" can cover a person barely closer than an acquaintance to a person whom you'd die for without a second thought. While translating nakama as "friend" doesn't automatically get across the depth, it isn't wrong either. If I see Luffy pissed off that Nami is getting hurt and he yells "Don't hurt my friend", I know he isn't talking about someone he vaguely knows from his knitting class or neighbourhood watch group. The audience can tell how close a friendship is just by what context the term "friend" is used in.

You've got to stop assuming that such obvious meanings are untranslatable. Of course, you've probably heard this hundreds of times before and you still so it so nothing I say is going to change your mind.
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Juno016



Joined: 09 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:53 am Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:

An English translation of a Japanese work isn't aimed at a Japanese audience, it is aimed at a English-speaking audience, one who will have at least some people in it who can't speak a word of Japanese. I hate it when translators presume that their audience already knows what "kawaii" means, to use one example. The translation should be simple, clear and easy to follow, with a minimum of Japanese. I should only have to pause the episode (or wait till the end) to read a translation note about a term, joke or reference that was truly too difficult to get across in the subtitles or dub itself. If it could have been easily translated then that's what should have happened.


I think this brings up the heart of the issue we are all arguing about: the audience. If 55% of the audience wants fluid English and doesn't care about the Japanese side of things, should the company ignore the wishes of the other 45%? I mean, that's simplifying it, considering there are also new audiences to take into account, as well as the intentions of the manga and a hoard of other aspects to consider... but really. There are enough fans of the "Japanese" side of things now that they shouldn't simply be ignored, even if they just want Japanese in their manga for the sake of being "cool." They're still part of the audience. Of course, encouraging them to use words like "kawaii" and "-chan" wrong or... in public... isn't necessarily the best way to go about it, but there are still ways to allow manga to be as much of a teaching device for those who want to learn, bit by bit, as it is entertainment. I mean, can anyone here deny that they learned anything about Japan from manga? Is there seriously anyone here who hasn't noticed anything intricately Japanese about the media form? If this wasn't something to consider, then we might as well just go back to reading all our manga left-to-right again.

dtm42 wrote:
You're making it sound like Westerners never die for their friends. You're making it sound like Westerners don't have friendships as strong as the Japanese do. However, that's simply not true.

A lot of what nakama covers is what we Westerners consider close friendship to be. Someone you implicitly trust, someone whom you can confide in, someone who has your back, someone who would go to the ends of the Earth to help you.

The term "friend" can cover a person barely closer than an acquaintance to a person whom you'd die for without a second thought. While translating nakama as "friend" doesn't automatically get across the depth, it isn't wrong either. If I see Luffy pissed off that Nami is getting hurt and he yells "Don't hurt my friend", I know he isn't talking about someone he vaguely knows from his knitting class or neighbourhood watch group. The audience can tell how close a friendship is just by what context the term "friend" is used in.

You've got to stop assuming that such obvious meanings are untranslatable. Of course, you've probably heard this hundreds of times before and you still so it so nothing I say is going to change your mind.


Sorry. That wasn't my intent. I'm not saying that it's not something we can't begin to feel when reading/watching something about "nakama" in a manga/anime. One Piece is, indeed, good with this. But Luffy's way of going about making "friends" is unusual to us. It's hardly believable to most of us that anyone would go up to anyone else, ask them to be their "friend," and then proceed to risk their life from that point on for this person they met only a few days ago. In the West, friendship is something you make and THEN develop. In Japan, however, you develop the concept of "nakama," cherish it, and THEN you make people your "nakama." Development after that is also crucial, but by considering this, Luffy is no longer just a strong idiot who does admirable things we find hard to believe is possible in reality--he carries the meaning of "nakama" with him, as all Japanese people [are expected to] do, and proceeds to give meaning to something the Japanese audience can understand, allowing them to care for and find the reality in Luffy's way of going about things.

It's all a matter of perspective. It's not like just leaving the word as "nakama" with a little translation note will automatically convert the Western audience into fans of "nakama" everywhere. And thus, it isn't really considered that important yet. It has yet to be done professionally yet because it's not that important at this point in time. However, it's a possibility for the future that can give something important to an audience that does care about it.
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Haterater



Joined: 30 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:24 am Reply with quote
I don't think "soul mate" messes up the meaning completely, especially since you're trying to say "nakama" is a much "stronger" word than alternates like "friend". I see soul mate being that "stronger" word with how soul mates bond and will do for each other. The word doesn't necessarily mean the "romantic" variety.
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Tuor_of_Gondolin



Joined: 20 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:44 am Reply with quote
Well, I think "soul mate" is too strong a term. Much too strong. IMO, a person only meets a couple of people in his life, if any, that qualify as soul mates. To be a soul mate implies a very high level of intimacy -- your connection is basically *spiritual* in its depth, something that might even transcend time, space, even death. From my less than perfect understanding of "nakama", I don't think that's the case.

As far as I can tell, the idea of nakama is like a combination of crewmate and close friend... perhaps a crewmate on a very tight-knit ship, which is exactly how I regard the Straw Hat Pirates.

In the case of One Piece, I really *do not care* about the whole "nakama" concept. I'm not interested in it and it's not why I watch it. I don't watch One Piece to learn more about Japanese cultural concepts or ideals. Now, if I was watching a slice of life show set in an explicitly Japanese culture, that would be different, because if I'm watching it, it means that I *do* want to learn about things like "nakama" and how it relates to Japanese culture, and I wouldn't mind Japanese honorifics for the same reason.

When the envirnoment is not explicitly Japanese, I often find intrusions of Japanese cultural necessities to be annoying or incongruous. For example, in TTGL, there is an episode where Yoko decides to become a teacher. So she heads off and ends up at an elementary school. And what sort of uniforms do the kids there where? *Japanese* elementary school uniforms, complete with those crazy hard-hat things. Really? After centuries of living underground, with basically no cultural heritage left anywhere, they immediately reinstate the Japanese school system, complete with naming conventions and subject matter? Just... wow. Yes, it was incongruous, though I suppose it might have been done that way as a sort of joke.

So, yeah, the honorifics are acceptable if the environment calls for it. But if the environment does not, then they should be abandoned without hesitation.
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Fencedude5609



Joined: 09 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:53 am Reply with quote
Tuor_of_Gondolin wrote:
When the envirnoment is not explicitly Japanese, I often find intrusions of Japanese cultural necessities to be annoying or incongruous. For example, in TTGL, there is an episode where Yoko decides to become a teacher. So she heads off and ends up at an elementary school. And what sort of uniforms do the kids there where? *Japanese* elementary school uniforms, complete with those crazy hard-hat things. Really? After centuries of living underground, with basically no cultural heritage left anywhere, they immediately reinstate the Japanese school system, complete with naming conventions and subject matter? Just... wow. Yes, it was incongruous, though I suppose it might have been done that way as a sort of joke.


How dare the Japanese use Japanese cultural cues in their Japanese cartoons!
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Tuor_of_Gondolin



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:04 am Reply with quote
Fencedude5609 wrote:
Tuor_of_Gondolin wrote:
When the envirnoment is not explicitly Japanese, I often find intrusions of Japanese cultural necessities to be annoying or incongruous. For example, in TTGL, there is an episode where Yoko decides to become a teacher. So she heads off and ends up at an elementary school. And what sort of uniforms do the kids there where? *Japanese* elementary school uniforms, complete with those crazy hard-hat things. Really? After centuries of living underground, with basically no cultural heritage left anywhere, they immediately reinstate the Japanese school system, complete with naming conventions and subject matter? Just... wow. Yes, it was incongruous, though I suppose it might have been done that way as a sort of joke.


How dare the Japanese use Japanese cultural cues in their Japanese cartoons!

They can do whatever they want. My comment was that it was incongruous that *any* current societal institution, from any culture, would show up whole cloth like that. It would have made just as little sense if an American or Russian or French elementary school sprang up just a few years after humans returned from centuries underground. Underground, in holes, scraping by with barely enough to eat.

It was just as wierd as in the original Star Trek where there was an episode where they came across a planet that had Nazis, or another one with the American Flag (complete with the Declaration of Independence), or the like. I know why they did it, but it was still hard to swallow.
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maaya



Joined: 14 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:12 am Reply with quote
Sorry, but actually ... "nakama" is not really a stronger word than "tomodachi" (friend). Emotionally speaking, it's more the other way round. "tomodachi" is used for someone who really is your friend. While nakama can be your work colleagues, somebody with the same hobby or, generally speaking, someone who shares something, some kind of characteristic with you (which can be "friendship", but not necessarily). Sometimes a nakama is your friend (or vice-versa), and sometimes it's just an acquaintance. Somebody who belongs to the same group, people who belong together in one way or other.
Which is also why the term works well in One Piece. They are a group of pirates. A crew. And maybe that would be the most fitting translation. "You're part of our crew", "We're a crew" or something. A crew can be like family for some, and certainly is for the One Piece characters.

Imho there's really not much of a deeply philosophical concept to "nakama". And it definitely does not mean "soul mate".
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RyanSaotome



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:19 am Reply with quote
Tuor_of_Gondolin wrote:
Fencedude5609 wrote:
Tuor_of_Gondolin wrote:
When the envirnoment is not explicitly Japanese, I often find intrusions of Japanese cultural necessities to be annoying or incongruous. For example, in TTGL, there is an episode where Yoko decides to become a teacher. So she heads off and ends up at an elementary school. And what sort of uniforms do the kids there where? *Japanese* elementary school uniforms, complete with those crazy hard-hat things. Really? After centuries of living underground, with basically no cultural heritage left anywhere, they immediately reinstate the Japanese school system, complete with naming conventions and subject matter? Just... wow. Yes, it was incongruous, though I suppose it might have been done that way as a sort of joke.


How dare the Japanese use Japanese cultural cues in their Japanese cartoons!

They can do whatever they want. My comment was that it was incongruous that *any* current societal institution, from any culture, would show up whole cloth like that. It would have made just as little sense if an American or Russian or French elementary school sprang up just a few years after humans returned from centuries underground. Underground, in holes, scraping by with barely enough to eat.


And in any American made production, it would have been American culture that popped up. Why would you expect a Japanese production made for Japanese to not have Japanese culture? The Japanese school system is more familiar to those its made for, and they understand it as what a school is.
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poonk



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:40 am Reply with quote
maaya wrote:
Sorry, but actually ... "nakama" is not really a stronger word than "tomodachi" (friend). Emotionally speaking, it's more the other way round. "tomodachi" is used for someone who really is your friend. While nakama can be your work colleagues, somebody with the same hobby or, generally speaking, someone who shares something, some kind of characteristic with you (which can be "friendship", but not necessarily). Sometimes a nakama is your friend (or vice-versa), and sometimes it's just an acquaintance. Somebody who belongs to the same group, people who belong together in one way or other.
I agree; I always got the impression that nakama is kinda synonymous with "comrade," as in someone with whom you have a common cause. Whenever I've heard the term (basically when watching subbed anime or probably more likely subbed J-dramas) this definition seems to match the general spirit of it, even if it's not specifically the exact word that's used in the translation. Having said all that though, if I ever saw a translation that went something like, "We are nakama," I'd wonder why they didn't substitute "colleagues" or "comrades" for better dialogue flow.

As for my 2 cents on honorifics, etc.: Since a majority of what I consume (primarily manga & dramas) is in a Japanese setting, I like to see honorifics maintained as a shorthand for the often-changing relationships between characters. I like how when someone switches from calling someone by their surname+honorific to their first name it has great significance. How the heck would you convey that smoothly in English with the same impact? And to be honest, I also feel that if you consume a lot of Japanese pop culture and yet you can't be arsed to learn a few extremely generic terms like the honorifics then I have no patience for you. It's really not that hard and I would sort of wonder why you were interested in foreign media at all if you were so resistant to learning something new.

(Also just realized I used a British phrase, "can't be arsed," even though I'm born & bred in Wisconsin; kind of unintentionally reinforced my point regarding integrating other cultures' words/phrases into one's vocabulary. It's not intentional, you just sorta pick it up through context & repetition.)
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fuuma_monou



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:56 am Reply with quote
poonk wrote:
Having said all that though, if I ever saw a translation that went something like, "We are nakama," I'd wonder why they didn't substitute "colleagues" or "comrades" for better dialogue flow.


"Colleagues" probably works best in a business or academic environment. "Comrades" is obviously for communists (to those of us still living the Cold War). Probably the first time I ever heard "nakama" was in the Voltes V theme song, albeit I didn't have English subtitles or Japanese language knowledge at the time, so I think "team mate" would be another good translation.
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poonk



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:05 am Reply with quote
fuuma_monou wrote:
"Comrades" is obviously for communists (to those of us still living the Cold War).
I'm pretty sure my dad's VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) correspondence uses the term "comrade" and they're U.S. vets! Laughing I thought the term has been adapted enough here in the U.S. that its definition was more generic (a la its origin, camaraderie) and not specifically linked to its specific Soviet origin. Or is it just me?

Edit: Now researching its actual origin and it's rather interesting. Oh shite, not more learning about foreign stuff!


Last edited by poonk on Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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