Translation accuracy seriously lacking

Posted in

#1 by bestkatalyn
2021-04-18 at 11:54
< report >For some reason it wasn't as apparent the first time I read this, but when I re-read it recently I was struck by how many asspulls are littered throughout. For more complicated terms the translation seems to hit the nail on the head, but it falls apart ridiculously easy when it comes to simple everyday terms.

If I take the time to write every single thing down I can give countless examples of this, but easy and omnipresent examples are words like "bitch", "fuck", "asshole" when the characters haven't said anything resembling something like that.
I would understand the "artistic liberty" of doing this when Bey addresses a character, but when Ren says "ano onna" and they translate it with "that bitch" instead of simply "that woman", it's simply bad and infuriating (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Who should I blame for this? The english language and culture for being littered with such words in the first place and japanese almost completely lacking them? Or the translators thinking that english speakers would "appreciate" offensive language out of context? And offensive words are just part of the whole meaning approximation issue. Simple expression and retorts are replaced by something entirely different throughout the script.
Well, I am no native english speaker and no, I don't appreciate it one bit.Last modified on 2021-04-18 at 12:08
#2 by zakamutt
2021-04-18 at 12:15
< report >lol learn japanese, "onna" is often rude when used like this

I also shrug at your wider point, being rude, as well as typical reactions, takes different shapes in different languages and you're likely to not have understood (but might of course be coincidentally correct)Last modified on 2021-04-18 at 12:17
#3 by vninfohata
2021-04-18 at 12:22
< report >There are problems peppered throughout the Dies Irae translation but none of those you mentioned. You simply haven't consumed enough Japanese to get the nuances of such utterances.
#4 by bestkatalyn
2021-04-18 at 13:09
< report >#2, #3 Let me ask a rhetorical question. What makes a translation good?
The only objective good answer to that is the translation that reproduces the source material and its meaning as close to perfect as possible and not merely what the readers of different cultures want to hear in that context.

With that being said, as one example that can be extended easily to others, "ano onna" is not rude per default. It CAN be rude depending on the context, but it's never purely derogatory in the same way as "bitch". And in most contexts present here it denotes unfriendliness, like when Ren speaks about Kei. It's not the highest level of purposeful rudeness.
Don't forget that japanese does have a dedicated word for "bitch" that can be used as such. If the author wanted such meaning, he would have used that word.

#3 And it's not even a subtle difference. You don't know how much japanese I consumed so far, but either way it doesn't have to be much to comprehend that those words are simply not in the same verbal plain
¯\_(ツ)_/¯Last modified on 2021-04-18 at 13:21
#5 by funnerific
2021-04-18 at 13:23
< report >OP, your obsession with literalism blinds you to nuances and intended meanings. And I don't know whether you use MTL or you just don't have the lingusitic sense, but it's not as simple as "Japanese has the word ビッチ therefore it's only valid to write bitch when it appears, and in no other scenario" — assuming, of course, that's the "dedicated word" you had in mind.Last modified on 2021-04-18 at 13:24
#6 by zakamutt
2021-04-18 at 13:25
< report >ビッチ means slut not bitch btw lol
#7 by ecchihieronymus
2021-04-18 at 13:26
< report >#6

Yomichan gives both as possible meanings. Don't know if you're trolling/sarcastic, though.Last modified on 2021-04-18 at 13:27
#8 by funnerific
2021-04-18 at 13:34
< report >#7 link
#9 by bestkatalyn
2021-04-18 at 13:41
< report >#5 I agree with that in general, but not completely and certainly not in the context here. Ren is often rude, but not to anyone 24/7 and at maximum levels of derogatory.

For example, when they were fooling around at the club, you can't possibly be serious and think he would use on his friends the same words he would use to insult his enemies. You don't even need to know japanese to realise something is very wrong with the intended meaning behind the translation in such situation.

And above all, does it make you feel good when you see the main characters using complete derogatory words to address to their friends in a "joking" manner? I know it's part of the western "street culture", but I would never have such bad taste.
#10 by paragonias
2021-04-18 at 18:44
< report >#9
Just because referring to friends jokingly in a derogetory manner isn't your cup of tea, doesn't mean it doesn't or shouldn't exist. Guess what? I have reffered to my friends, albeit seldomly, as "bloody bastards", "dicks" or "assholes" etc. before, they did the same to me and no-one took any offense to it.

Some people like to see characters use expletives exactly because they're words you hear on the street every day. And Ren is most definitely a street kid, so it fits his character.

As for "ano onna " is easily one of the best situations where you can translate that as "that bitch". The cases where "ano onna" is used in a non-derogatory manner is rare.

Lemme teach you a liittle something:
If you want to refer to a woman using "ano" in a polite form you'd at least use "ano josei".

Really, just be glad you can read this VN in a language you seem to understand a little more than Japanese, because I have to agree with #2 and #5, your half-knowledge of anything Japanese, in addition to you not being a native English speaker is the main cause of why you have your little rant here.
You just don't "get" the nuances in either language.

Take that as an opportunity to actually study both languages more intensely.
#11 by bestkatalyn
2021-04-18 at 20:09
< report >#10 I'm guessing that's exactly why they do it, since I am pretty sure the translators weren't that dumb.
Namely, since the english speaking market is full of people that get off to using immensely vulgar words even towards their friends. To think that there are people that consider that actually "cool" brings a bad taste to my mouth.
And it's a sickening feeling to have USA "street culture" forced down your throat.
Then what effect those words are supposed to have when you use them exactly the same on those you hate?

Like how Ren complains that Kei was glaring at him all the time. If the words in the english translation would be accurate, then it would be no wonder at all. If someone were to use those words to me when I am little more than a stranger, I would probably beat them up.

Regardless, that's not what they were saying at all in the original text.
It makes you completely misread the personality of the characters if you suddenly were to consider them way more vulgar.
Luckily I was not completely in the dark about it. And those were just the parts I was able to understand by their voice, but there are probably a whole lot of other parts that were modified and I have no way of knowing which.

After a point of too much "artistic liberty" you aren't reading the original script anymore, but something resembling fan-fiction. I don't mind a change of expressions, some are impossible to translate, but what was changed here were simple words in a simple context.Last modified on 2021-04-18 at 20:19
#12 by bestkatalyn
2021-04-18 at 20:20
< report >#10 BTW, in most contexts that I have seen "ano josei" is a fancier, more respectful way of speaking about a woman. But that doesn't mean "ano onna" is vulgar. It is used as a neutral or somewhat unfriendly way of addressing someone. It doesn't have to be either 0 or 100, there are several subtle levels that we need between "respectful" and "bitch".

Another example, I think something like "joudan o ittero", spoken in a quiet tone, which should roughly mean "don't joke around" or perhaps "such a joke" was actually translated as "fuck you"...........
Sorry but in what parallel universe is that normal or ok? I am not deranged enough to believe that -_-

But don't think for a second that these are the only instances where the translation is off the deep end, there are MANY.Last modified on 2021-04-18 at 21:55
#13 by fallenguru
2021-04-19 at 12:58
< report >Do you really not grasp the difference between contemptuous, rude, and vulgar?

"Ano onna" certainly tends to have the connotation that the speaker has a low opinion of that person, but on the face of it it is neutral. Whether it does, depends on the intonation, context. Just because it is used contemptuously, it need not be rude, that largely depends on who's present. Most importantly, it wouldn't be out of character for someone of impeccable upper middle class upbringing. It isn't vulgar.
"Bitch" doesn't have a use outside of 'female dog' that is anything but vulgar, especially used by men. Maybe gangbangers, trailer trash, and the like, use that casually, IDK.

I'm not saying "bitch" can never be the right translation for "ano onna", but if a translation uses this kind of language routinely without much more provocation, that says a lot about the environment the translator grew up in. The same goes for people who think it's normal to talk like that.
#14 by mutsuki
2021-04-19 at 14:30
< report >#12, "joudan wo ittero" is more like "yeah yeah talk shit while you still can" in context. "fuck you" doesn't seem too bad. however "fuck you" can be taken so many different ways that without context and experience you can't even try to guess what "fuck you" that is.
#15 by bestkatalyn
2021-04-19 at 16:31
< report >#13 Thank you, it's good to see some people feel the same way. I was half-expecting everyone to unilaterally gang on me saying how they enjoy this kind of language and "it captures the feel". Since of course, the arguments that it's actually "accurate" translation and that "I should consume more japanese to understand" were BS no matter how I looked at it.

#14 Above all, english language has a lot of words and possible meaning variations at the disposal of a proficient translator, since it's spoken by so many people. So it's not only irritating and in-accurate, but also incredibly lazy to see "fuck", "bitch" and "asshole" thrown around as the same translations for widely different expressions and contexts, in this very translation script.

BTW, I see this exact thing also routinely done in anime subtitles these days. After a point it may become so ubiquitous that people actually consider it correct and acceptable. It's a relief I learned much of the common spoken japanese back when translations were actually good, so I won't fall for the BS.

Reply

You must be logged in to reply to this thread.