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Joined: 16 Aug 2008
Posts: 3717
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:42 am Reply with quote
But English is as diverse and limitless as any language, and there's always a way to translate any concept. We are all human beings, and language is the canvas where we paint and scrawl our ideas and thoughts and emotions.

English is diverse and limitless precisely because it always evolves and incorporates new and foreign words, not by trying to define something it has no definition or original concept of.

I mean it's ironic, people who most adamant against incorporating foreign words (not necessarily Brian) and ignoring what makes English unique or in fact English is its inherent "mutt-ness"

When it comes to translation, my rule of thumb is: respect the universe it takes place in. That means Japanese honorfics IF takes place in Japan or among Japanese characters, and likewise Spanish honorifics, Italian honorifics, Chinese honorifics, Korean honorifics, etc. in their respective in-universe settings.

And if there simply is no word to transmit the idea, then import it with a translation note. Again, a very English concept.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:44 am Reply with quote
You silly Americans. Thanksgiving is in October! Laughing

Anyways, I'm thankful for the anime industry being the way it is. I don't care what anyone else says, but every season brings lots of new shows to be watched and enjoyed. There's always something to help brighten up my day by keeping me entertained.

I'm also thankful I live in Canada and so have easy access to whatever the States get (besides streaming). No costly importing for me Smile

I'm all for keeping honorifics, in print at least. They can sound kind of awkward in a dub but they do convey meanings that wouldn't come across otherwise.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:01 am Reply with quote
Evolving relationship dynamics, respect, age differences, subtle nuances of tone; all of these can be conveyed by honorifics, and lost when they're taken away.

That's a manga fully entrenched in Japanese culture, and the way the characters react to one another and their social standing - "sempai" and everything - is rather important to the context of the story. Characters with Japanese names in a Japanese school navigating the rigid social stratus of standard Japanese life. Plus, the whole crux of the plot revolves around the differences in Japanese social classes; it's a pretty important piece of the story, so using honorifics makes absolute sense.

Still, in Japanese also, the "evolving relationship dynamics, respect, age differences, subtle nuances of tone" etc. aren't conveyed exclusively through honorifics ("subtle nuances of tone" naturally are expressed through said "tone" rather than honorifics). The form of the verbs, vocabulary, sentence structure, and obviously the overall attitude and context are all part of it as well, I think much more so than the honorifics alone, which often are simply used out of habit. And a translation can express and convey these things without relying on honorifics. Of course, since mangas and animes just love to include the symbolic "drop the honorific / switch from last name to first name" scene, keeping them makes things easier.
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Location: Kissimmee, Florida, USA
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:06 am Reply with quote

Well there is this classic piece of Southern US social interaction from my early childhood:

My Grandmother was a seamstress. She did custom dress work for many people in my home town in Southeastern Oklahoma.

I recall one specific conversation between her and her best friend of 40 + years. While discussing the dress work my grandmother called her friend "Mrs. Simpkins" and was referred to in kind as "Mrs. Cottingame". Once the dress and money changed hands the two ladies smiled and went back to "Fleeta" and "Elga", their given names.

As a 9 year old kid I just accepted that sort of thing as normal. The shifting of tone and method of address when discussing business vs other topics.

So, no the Japanese have just taken that sort of thing to heart. It isn't that "Honorifics" are an alien concept without parallel in English culture. Far from it.

Mark Gosdin
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:16 am Reply with quote
Well according to an interview the VP of animation at Viz did with Toonami Faitful, their pleased with how Neon Alley is doing so apparently there's some kind of audience for it (me included I guess since I wanted to see the T&B dub that badly). Though I do agree they need some kind of addition to the linear option and thankfully they've said that's a priority. Guess we'll see how that goes

On the note note of the whole translating honorifics thing, I also agree that it more or less depends on the setting. I'd take for example how Viz chose to leave honorifics in Rurouni Kenshin when they normally don't bother to for their series. It was a very distinctly japanese setting, and historical japanese at that, so in that kind of case not leaving in honorifics would probably be worse than trying to find an alternative.

For a purely fantasy setting though? There's really no need for them whatsoever and a good translator should be able to find some kind of way to make it work without using japanese as a crutch. It's part of the reason why I still can't take scanlations that seriously since their notorious for that.

I admit I used to be one of those people who'd cringe if subtitles or manga didn't include honorifics but eventually I got to the point where I realized that unless it's the above circumstance where the series is too distinctly japanese, it generally doesn't make a difference whether or not their left in.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:42 am Reply with quote
Well, for series set in Japanese setting, the rule should be leaving honorific in print (God bless translation notes), but that doesn't work well in series set anywhere else. Especially in works set in Western setting, where authors usually use them for their own and reader's convenience.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:47 am Reply with quote
Totally agree. I shudder at the thought of reading Victorian Romance Emma or the Earl Cain series with honorifics, but I do like them in series set in Japan, be they historical setting series like House of Five Leaves, or more modern set series like Nodame Cantabile.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:58 am Reply with quote
Neon Alley sounds like it may have worked as a linear channel on TV, a decade ago. It's just too constricting for 2012, where I can record anything any everything I want and skip all of the commercials at my leisure. I can pause live TV to go to the bathroom or make a sandwich, then resume and skip at least one set of commercials. I have control,
and I don't appreciate that control being taken away just to watch too few anime that are dub-only.

I commonly see Paint Tool SAI on pixiv artist profiles, many of those make doujinshi and h-manga as well.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:32 am Reply with quote
I prefer to have honorifics in subtitles not just for the Japanese culture flavor, but also to avoid confusion. Some translators thinks it's a smart idea to just put the first names (which can cause confusion if I haven't memorized the character's first and last names).

In dubs though, it won't sound natural and could really ruin the experience. It reminds me of the joke fandubs in Youtube.
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Angel M Cazares

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:23 am Reply with quote
On the question on Neon Alley, I agree with the changes than Brian would make to improve it. But, unlikely him, I do not wish well on the current Neon Alley (dis)service because I do not think that poor executed ideas should be rewarded with our money.

On the saving deals question, I do not have plans to buy discounted anime. First, because I like to buy releases when they first come out; I feel this helps more the distributors. And second, I took a look at TRSI discount sets, and the only worthy things I saw were K-On!! (season 2) and the three Durarara!! DVD sets.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:31 am Reply with quote
configspace wrote:

And if there simply is no word to transmit the idea, then import it with a translation note. Again, a very English concept.

Only for Kurt Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace and Terry Pratchett.* In most practices, especially for visual mediums, it's more than fairly tedious.**

For translating suffixes, I liked what Tenchi Muyo! did, changing "chan" to "Little" and "Sama"/"Domo" to "Lord"***Still, this exchange always stuck out in my mind:

Wasu: "No, call me Little Washu!"
Ayeka {thought}: "How can I call you 'Little' when you're 20,000 years old!?"

The idea still makes some sense, mostly because she has the body of a ten year old but there are some problems.

*Master of footnoting english fiction.
** Case in point, more or less.
*** They also changed them from suffixes to pre-modifiers which is a nice mirroring of English translation. "This is you and this is how I think of you" Japanese vs "This is how I think of you, yeah, you" English. Almost confrontational, I suppose but I have gotten to the point where I consider Japanese sufffixes to be the polite way to be rude.+,++

+Example from Best Student Cuncil
Rino Rando: I'm Rino Rando
Ayumu Oumu: Then I'll call you Rino. I'm Ayumu Oume.
Rino: Then I'll call you Ayu-chan.
Ayu-chan: ...ok.

++ Isn't this really annoying? Translaters, take footnote...
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:35 am Reply with quote
I'd rather have honorifics since I understand them, and any Americanizing of it generally comes off as forced and not telling the relationships effectively.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:43 am Reply with quote
With translating honorifics in manga, I tend to agree with most in that I'm fine with them in specifically Japanese settings, but in most situations their presense or removal doesn't add or take away anything from the story at large. I'm even ok with leaving some words that really don't have a good English equivalent, such as sempai/kouhei.

What DOES bug me in manga translation is not translating terms that DO have a proper English translation - you cannot honestly tell me that "Big Sister/Brother" doesn't get the same point across as "Onii-chan)." You can't tell me that "fu fu fu" means something different or deeper than "ha ha ha." I'm pretty damn sure that substituting "cute" for "kawaii" will work just fine. Ok, the last one, I've only seen once, but the others are common in some publishers (*coughSevenSeascough*) and to me it reeks less of preserving cultural nuance and more of flat-out laziness in the name of appeasing a vocal minority.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:56 am Reply with quote
WEIRD TANGENT: Omitting the honorifics in translations always strikes me as WAY less egregious than the thing that some translators do where they have a character who always goes by their last name in the Japanese text go by their first name in the translation. As if addressing people by their last name is a uniquely Japanese thing?

(I'm thinking of Honey & Clover, where EVERYBODY calls someone by his surname "Morita" in the Japanese but in English everyone calls him his first name "Shinobu"-- this happens to a number of different characters in this series too!)

I've never actually seen anyone complain about this before, for all the hubbabaloo I see about honorifics, which I think is a much smaller deal.

@Brainchild: Tokyopop's old Marmalade Boy translation had a lot of random Japanese vocab thrown around too! The notes claimed that they were trying to replicate the slang use of random English words in the Japanese version, but it was kind of bizarro when a character would randomly yell "SUGOI!!" or "BAKA"...
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:05 pm Reply with quote
I definitely lean towards leaving the honourifics in, unless a non-awkward means of translating them is possible. For example, translating "-sama" as "lady" or "lord" I feel is fairly accurate; however, it doesn't work in a modern setting. And I'm also in agreement that it would be awkward to see the honourifics in a setting where characters are most definitely not speaking actually Japanese.

I also agree with Myaow about Honey & Clover, I hate how they switched which name the characters use. Especially with Mayama since there are two characters with the given name Takumi. The worst of course is the fact that the subtitles in the anime do this as well, even though you can hear damn well that characters are using the family name, not the given.
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