Regarding Romanization

Posted in

#1 by travtownley
2021-09-18 at 02:23
< report >Hello, VNDB. I'm sure there has been at least one romanization edit war (recent: c85105.13) in the VNDB (too bad I can't search by keywords in the recent changes so there's no way I can search changes for "official romanization" reason).

Here's the deal. As it says, the edit wars basically come down to a debate of prescriptivism vs descriptivism. The prescriptivist stance is that language should always follow the rules. If it doesn't, then it should be changed to fit the rules. The descriptivist stance is that the rules should follow the language. If language doesn't follow the rules, then the rules should be changed to fit the language.

Example: 東京 (とうきょう) The prescriptivist stance romanizes it as Toukyou according to the rules, so this is what we must do, clean and simple. Meanwhile the descriptivist stance says "Look, nobody calls it Toukyou but Tokyo. Change the rules and not the language, please."

VNDB has discussed this a lot of times that it follows the prescriptivist stance: romanization must always follow d5#1 and other romanization types and any official source is of no consequences and are ignored. Sure, language is so messy that not everything is going to fit into a clean set of rules. However, in VNDB, you have to accept things as the rules wish them to be, not as they are.

Example: Toosaka Rin. There will be users who will go "Wait, what? Why are they calling her that?" when they see the character's name in the database. Sure, Toosaka Rin isn't hard to figure out, but it still looks weird to people used to seeing her called Tohsaka Rin in most places outside of VNDB.

And before someone says that VNDB doesn't care about casual users, let's just say that having a clean set of romanization rules is more important to ensure Japanese speakers can map tags back to hiragana easily.

The following arguments are disregarded:

• Wikipedia using Rin Tohsaka as per their policies saying that conventional or commonly accepted romanizations are preferred over their own system,
• Pixiv (EN) translating 遠坂凛 as Rin Tohsaka,
• Google autocorrecting Toosaka Rin to Tohsaka Rin.

If we were to look to the outside world, this means ANIDB is given more credibility than Wikipedia because of its rules (which we use). Speaking of the Google, using uncommon names delists VNDB and such (e.g. ANIDB, MAL, etc.) from the search results, which can mean problem in bringing new users to the site. But again, this is not a concern, as database rules are far more preferred than any of the outside world stuff (Wikipedia, Google, etc.).

Too good we can always use the alias field to give descriptivists a room (e.g. Toosaka Rin's aliases) while keeping the true name use d5#1's romanization.

TL;DR My proposal: changing the correct romanization (d5#1) to the "more" commonly used or official one...
Choice 0: (do nothing)
Choice A: a ban-able offense (warn user first then block if repeated, if d5#1 were the strictest possible)
Choice B: frowned (only message the user)

So, thoughts? I'd rather refrain from polling unless it is absolutely necessary. And no, I didn't include "accept what Google did and move to Tohsaka" choice because of the reasons above.
#2 by eacil
2021-09-18 at 02:48
< report >I hope you noticed but we don't use Toukyou, meaning, according to your reasoning, that vndb is not entirely "prescriptivist". I thought you were gonna use that to point out inconsistency and why we should use Tohsaka, but you didn't, which is kinda weird.
So, about that: Tokyo follows the beautification rule, meaning that we don't use Toukyou because it is considered having a direct English word to map to: Tokyo.

Also, Tohsaka Rin is in the alias field so users can find her like you are aware.

What matters is that the main romanization is consistent and that we don't have to put up with the many "absurdities" of developers and publishers. It's not even about favoring Japanese speakers, it's about being sure than the common user doesn't have to navigate a sea of different systems and be sure that 凍京 will map consistently to Tokyo and not Toukyou, Tokyo, Tōkyō, Tohkyoh, T0ky0, etc. from one title to the other.
Iirc ExH and do that, they prioritize the official transcription for names. I must tell you, it's ugly and an absolute pain in the ass to have to follow the will of people who can't even properly transcribe their own name on touiter. It's also a waste of time to have to dig websites to find which transcription system they are using.
Edit: I was probably wrong because use Tōsaka Rin (but the db looks very inconsistent) and ExH, much worse, Rin Tosaka.Last modified on 2021-09-18 at 08:17
#3 by beliar
2021-09-18 at 14:35
< report >
TL;DR My proposal: changing the correct romanization (d5#1) to the "more" commonly used or official one...
Hahahahahahah... Are you for realz? You couldn't have provided a worse "proposal" if you have tried. With half a dozen different romanization systems, plus the fucked up way Japanese companies might choose to wield the romaji without any knowledge how to do it, this would result in a database becoming a wild west of inconsistent romanizations.

This is the purpose of the database - to be a consistent source of data. And the only way we will be consistent is if we set our own internal standards not beholden to the outside interference. I can assure you, your proposal will not ever be considered by us.
#4 by travtownley
2021-09-18 at 17:46
< report >#2 For names of real-life places, let's just not to interfere with them, as it applies to VN names and characters AFAIK (there's more, not limited to the duo).

#3 I'm afraid you are correct, my friend. This means that Choice A is chosen. But for toleration threshold (how many number of offenses before ban drops)... Only moderators and the Site's staff know.

Oh yeah, I forgot, the Aliases field. The Name (romaji) field must always stick with d5#1 while the alias field can be "flooded" (lack of a better term) with what the "outside interference" wants, in order to provide access to them, A.K.A. the "Passport System" (please note that this is not what the Japanese government uses for official names on passports but our own passport system).

Example: Toono Shiki. The Name (romaji) field must stick with this (i.e. とおの しき -> Toono Shiki). Attempting to tamper with that Name (romaji) field, repeatedly, will result in an action from the VNDB's staff. On the other side, the Aliases field, with the passport system, can be filled with other types of romanization (i.e. Tohno Shiki) to provide access to those who are used to the latter. With this, rest assured that the aliases field can safely become a "passport of accessibility" to satisfy both parties while still being able to enforce d5#1 on the Name (romaji) field.Last modified on 2021-09-18 at 17:57
#5 by beliar
2021-09-18 at 17:59
< report >Just to note, but flooding the alias section with every romanization possible will also be frowned upon. It's okay to use Tohno Shiki alias for Toono Shiki, because it's a well known romanization used in the fan-translation and other sources. However, there is no reason to add Tōno Shiki or Tono Shiki variants. See Naiohoras' revertion of your edit: c85105.19.
#6 by gvbn
2021-09-18 at 20:57
< report >Tokyo is the established spelling in English, to the point where even puns get written as such, e.g. Tokyo Necro is 凍京 (toukyou, "frozen capital") instead of 東京 (toukyou, "east capital")

Osaka is the established spelling in English, yet somehow it becomes Oosaka on vndb
Oosaka Crisis ~Kanrakugai Kaihatsu Project~
Oosaka Awaking

Kyoto is the established spelling in English, yet on vndb it's such a shitshow that it doesn't stay consistent even within the same series
Yamamura Misa Suspense: Kyoto Hana no Misshitsu Satsujin Jiken
Yamamura Misa Suspense: Kyoto Zaitech Satsujin Jiken
Yamamura Misa Suspense: Kyouto Anba Sansou Satsujin Jiken
Yamamura Misa Suspense: Kyouto Ryuu no Tera Satsujin Jiken
#7 by beliar
2021-09-18 at 21:30
< report >
Osaka is the established spelling in English, yet somehow it becomes Oosaka on vndb
Kyoto is the established spelling in English, yet on vndb it's such a shitshow that it doesn't stay consistent even within the same series
And yet you harp at us, instead of going and fixing the inconsistencies. it's not like you are a registered editor or anything... Oh, wait... Sugoi aniki...

Tokyo is the established spelling in English, to the point where even puns get written as such
And puns are always hard to translate. You are just being anal by mentioning that example.Last modified on 2021-09-18 at 21:39


You must be logged in to reply to this thread.