Letters to a Young Translator, Part III: 翻訳者に大切な事

Table of Contents

Part III: 翻訳者に大切な事

Dear X,

Greetings in haste. I was surprised to see how quickly you responded to my last letter, and I was gratified to see that you were putting many, many thoughts on paper. This is wonderful — you are beginning to develop, no doubt, a sense of your place as a translator, and by some of the often-pointed questions you ask I see that you are beginning to come to your own conclusions about the validity of what you are doing and saying — and also what I am doing and saying. Since you have asked these questions of me, though, let us spend some time talking about the issues they raise.

You did not like the implication of my go analogy, did you? I am not surprised. Why shouldn’t, after all, a translation strive to be better than the piece it is translating? Why should the translation team not strive to “win” every single time, with every single opportunity it gets? These are worthy questions, and it is clear to me that your motivation in asking these questions is because you want your translations to be well-regarded by your audience. That is by no means an ignoble goal — after all, as you yourself state many times over, it seems strange to create a translation that nobody else reads.

Perhaps, then, we should first talk about what “winning” and “losing” mean. We both accept, I am hoping, that at some point there exists no concrete way to measure a translation against the original work. Certainly, one could create some kind of weighting system based on, say, the number of typographical errors present in each work, or along similar lines. But at the core, these systems — while they certainly help, often greatly, in your task of making sure that your translation has as few egregious errors as possible — they do not help us at all in our task of gauging whether a translation lives up to the standards — high or low as they might be — that the original work sets. But we may as well start there, as the case of spelling and typographical errors is a simple one; it does not offer up the significantly thornier issues that we begin to encounter when we speak of “entirely rewriting” a translation, reordering segments and chapters (which some professional translators are known to do — Jay Rubin’s excellent translation of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami does just that, for instance), or even cutting out segments that existed in the original altogether.

So, is it necessary to try to duplicate misspellings and typographical errors? Here, our duty is clear: if those misspellings were intentional, by all means yes. But if not, then you should consider the following before proceeding:

  • Is the misspelling even a misspelling? I have often seen translators who claim that words were misspelled, or kanji were mistyped, when the reality of the situation was quite different. You must avoid this at all costs; therefore, if you find what seems to you to be a misspelling or a typographical error as you are translating, then unless you are 100% sure that it is a misspelling or typographical error that you have found, then it would behoove you to seek counsel from other, preferably more experienced, translators.
  • If the word is misspelled, then why? Again, ask yourself if there is any possible way this misspelling could have been intentional. Was the author trying to make some kind of pun? Was he attempting to emphasize a certain character’s level of learning (or lack thereof)? Is there any dialect or regional aphorism that the author was utilizing here? Finally, is your knowledge base sturdy enough that you can definitively answer all of these questions?
  • Is this a known misspelling? This question is probably unanswerable in most cases, unless the piece you are translating is sufficiently well-known (unlikely) or unless you have direct access to the original writers (even more unlikely). If one of the above conditions is met, though, your job becomes much easier. There is a line in the doujin visual novel 月姫 that has a very famous typographical error that turns a は into a を; thus rendering a line that should have gone something to the point of “you are the murderer” into something to the point of “you going the murderer” (omission of ‘to be’ intentional) when translated literally. This line, in fact, has even been parodied in an episode of the anime ぱにぽにだっしゅ! to, no-doubt, hilarious effect. In any case, this would be a case in which our role is clear-cut: don’t try to model that misspelling in translation. It would be fair, and even fun, to provide a translator’s note about that line, explaining that there was such a misspellling in the original. On the other hand, even a casual player of Final Fantasy IV is probably quite aware that the line “you spoony bard” does not appear in any way, shape, or form in the original Japanese. The phrase was, at the time, a product of Nintendo censorship and Ted Wollesley’s own quirks. However, it has since then taken a life of its own, and has found its way into every authorized translation of the work into English since. And can you blame it?
  • What exactly is being translated, anyway? As we both well know, most people will write IM’s differently than they would write formal letters. It also goes without saying that a minor typographical error that would be acceptable in an introductory-level college composition course would be entirely unacceptable in a UN resolution or an opinion by the Supreme Court. In other words, there are some situations in which it is most honest to model the misspellings you find, and others in which it is entirely unacceptable. If you ever find yourself in the rather-unenviable position of having to translate a ream of internet forum posts, you may well decide to model every misspelling you find — and I would applaud you for it. But clearly, in most formal or production writing — and visual novel scripts are certainly productions, if not necessarily formal — unintentional misspellings should not be modeled at all.
  • Is it “winning” against the original to correct a misspelling, though? I would argue that it is most definitely not. It is most certainly a tangible improvement in production value when you correct an unintentional misspelling — but at the same time, you have made no significant change in the various meanings that the original piece conveys. For that matter, should your correction of a misspelling cause a significant change as above, you should be on your guard, and be doubly careful that you did not miss something that the author did deliberately. In all cases of formal writing, going from “teh” to “the” will not make any change in the original meaning of a sentence. However, it is possible — if vanishingly — that going from “an” to “and” might cause some significant change in a sentence, depending on how said sentence is structured. This is when you should be worried; this is when you should double- and triple-check your accuracy.

How about たん, ちゃん, さん, 様, 先生, and all those other honorifics that we have come to know and love? What do we do about those, and how — if at all — do we localize these? This one is an ambiguous issue, as there are indeed official localizations of pieces that include every single honorific intact (many localized manga on the bookshelves of your local bookstore do this), and there are likewise official localizations of pieces that strip every single honorific out (all known localizations of Haruki Murakami’s work do this). I have certainly done translations that fall on both ends of the spectrum — and below I present a rough algorithm (if it can even be called that) that I use when deciding what to do with these fascinating articles of Japanese grammar and culture:

  • Start out by assuming that you will strip all the honorifics out. I am well aware that, in the end, you might go the opposite way — but by doing things this way, by assuming that you are going to be taking the harder of the two paths, you force yourself to think longer and harder about each decision you are making. Additionally, it strikes me that it is impossible for a translator to see what a piece would have read like without honorifics if he has not actually attempted to translate the piece without them. So try it! Try your hardest to model the implicated relationships that the honorifics function to indicate. And if you find yourself in an untenable situation, then you’ve just proven to yourself that either (a) you do not have the skill to translate the target piece properly without honorifics, or (b) the honorifics carry some meaning to them that cannot be modeled accurately, and absolutely cannot be done without. You may at this point wish to seek consensus.
  • For pieces that utilize high school as their primary setting, there is precedent. Indeed, most pieces of this kind — from To Heart to 天使のいなに12月 to True Tears to Kanon to … you get the point — heavily feature the use of honorifics to model changing relationships between individuals. For instance, when a girl stops referring to the protagonist as くん and starts referring to him by さん or even without honorific at all, that crystallizes the relationship between the two characters as that of lovers. It is relatively difficult to capture this transition in English, as in Western culture we all generally refer to each other by first name, even when we might not know each other that well. Jay Rubin, in his translation of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, makes a valiant attempt to model this without using honorifics by having Midori, a girl that the protagonist meets in college, refer to him by his last name alone at first (where the original had a くん at the end). This does not strike me as the best choice in the world, as in Western culture we usually refer to people we dislike solely by last name. Additionally, it seems even more distant for Midori to call the protagonist “Mr. Watanabe”, although the くん at the end can cary that meaning. I honestly do not know what the best solution would have been in this case, as I have immense respect for Mr. Rubin’s work, and I do not think he would have made this decision without due reason. But my gut tells me that I would probably have used honorifics throughout the piece if I were the one translating it.
  • What is the focus of the piece? There are many storylines in which the developing relationships between the characters may be secondary to the rest of the plot. In the case of the doujin visual novels Narcissu and 常世の星空, the characters are indeed strong and interesting, but the focuses are arguably elsewhere — in Narcissu there is the overhanging pall of terminal illness, and in 常世の星空 the relationship between Kouya and Mikoto — while very interesting — has less to do with the way the piece reads than the internal thought processes and ethical frameworks of Kouya himself. This was why, for me, the decision to not use honorifics in these two pieces was an easy one. On the other hand, in the case of the doujin visual novel 夏の日のレザナンス or the commercial ADV 月は東に日は西に 〜Operation Sanctuary〜 the relationships between character are the main — and sole, as some people might put it — points of the pieces. It also helps that both visual novels utilize school as their primary (in the case of はにはに, only) setting. This is why it became relatively easy for me to decide to use honorifics when translating those two pieces.
  • End by asking whether the audience will accept the use of honorifics. In the case of manga, where the target audience is very well-defined, the answer is more than likely yes. In the case of more “serious” literature, as in the case of Kenzaburo Oe or Haruki Murakami, the answer will more than likely be no. As a budding translator of visual novels, you are more than likely quite aware of the fact that our target audience — for better or for worse — seems to overlap more with the demographic that corresponds to manga readers than the demographic that corresponds to readers of “serious” literature. However, you are not allowed to use this as a crutch! The answer to the question I posed — will the target audience accept the use of honorifics — is only useful to you if the answer is “no”, in which case your decision and your conscience are both largely clear. If the answer is “yes”, that does not give you a free hand to use all the honorifics you want, whenever you want. On the contrary, I ask you to show all possible moderation in this case — to assume, as I indicated in the first bullet of my algorithm, that the answer is “no” to begin with and to work from there. That way, if you decide at the end of the day that you must use honorifics — and there are so many valid reasons to do so! — then you have a very good reason that you can, if necessary, publicly disclaim.

So are we “winning” or “losing” by choosing to keep or leave out honorifics? While we are certainly on somewhat more dangerous grounds than we were with the case of misspellings, I still maintain that no, this is still more of a sideways move if a move at all. To begin with, the English language has no honorific system in the sense that the Japanese language does, just as the Japanese language has none of the complicated temporal relationship tenses that the English language has. In a vacuum, it makes little sense to simply take cultural and grammatical constructs that do not apply across languages and stick them into one’s translation, hoping that the audience will “get it”. However, I am well aware that we are not in a vacuum, and that sometimes it is inevitable that we will need to resort to the use of honorifics. Just make sure that you have a very good reason — articulated and written out — if and when you make that decision. It strikes me that with honorifics, it is possible to “lose” if one is not careful, but not to “win”. The best you can possibly hope for is some kind of tie, and even that is not certain. So tread carefully, and let us leave it at that.

Now let us turn our attention to aphorisms and set phrases. We are beginning now to tread into the realm of alterations where the potential exists to significantly alter the intended meaning of sentences being translated if the translator is not careful, and where concrete rules become scarce as the daylight star on a heavily-overcast day. Not to say that the sun does not exist on such days — certainly, it exists, and we do not freeze to death thanks to its warmth — but we cannot see it with our own two eyes. Guiding principles at this level quickly become much like that — they must be felt rather than seen or strictly documented. Therefore, let us go through a series of examples, and perhaps they will help you in coming to your own conclusions about what you should do.

  • 一石二鳥: This is the simplest case, where the aphorism in question is directly translatable — this is, after all, “one stone two birds”, and in direct translation “to kill two birds with one stone”. This is almost invariably the only correct translation for this phrase, as it not only depicts the “literal” truth of the words, it also translates the meaning behind the words quite well. You would be blessed if all your translations went this way. However, note also that there are aphorisms like 一挙両全 (’one means two ends’) and 一挙両得 (’one means two profits’) that essentially mean the same as “to kill two birds with one stone” — but depending on context, it may or may not be appropriate to translate these phrases as such. We will get to some cases where it is not appropriate in a later bullet point.
  • J’ai bien d’autres chats à fouetter: Here we have a French aphorism that, literally translated, means “I have so many other cats to whip”. The first thing you might think is wait, to whip?! followed by oh, this probably means something along the lines of “I’ve got other things to do”. And you’d be correct on both counts — this phrase indeed means “I’ve got other things to do” or “There are other things on my mind”, and I’m not quite sure why anyone would whip a poor cat to begin with. We do have a set phrase in English that means something a lot like it: “I’ve got other fish to fry”. But is it appropriate to use that phrase? Yes, and no, and depending on the piece, mainly yes or mainly no. When used in isolation by a character, without any other reference to cats or whips or the Marquis de Sade, then in all likelihood, yes, you could get away with using “I’ve got other fish to fry”. But in the case of a piece like L’Œuvre du Sixième Jour by Marie Noël (which I have translated into English here), the phrase pops up in the middle of a canine account of the Creation. Suddenly, the reasoning behind the use of “cat” becomes obvious, and even laugh-out-loud funny, and just as suddenly you have become charged with finding some alternative phrasing that keeps the word “cat” in there somehow. Your options here are (a) to translate the phrase “literally”, and include a long translator’s note about it, (b) to find or create some analogous phrase that uses cats, and leaves it at that, or (c) to find and create some analogous phrase that uses cats, and include a long translator’s note about it. All three of the above are equally valid options, but I would encourage you to try (b) or (c) before having to resort to (a). What should draw your attention is that there is no (d) simply use the phrase “I’ve got other fish to fry”. That is because that option, in a sea of equally valid options, is probably the least valid for the reasons outlined above. I must hasten to admit that I originally ended up with the unwieldy “I have other cats to chase” — which I realize was not necessarily the best possible choice. But it was a good choice, and I had (and still have!) a clear justification for it, even after I’d come up with a localization that I like a lot better.
  • 虫の息, 虫の声: In a certain visual novel, there comes a point where the protagonist asks his childhood friend how she made out on the national board exams — and she replies that her national rank was the year in which the 大化の改新 (the Taika Reformation) occurred, multiplied by 10. Our intrepid hero immediately recites the mnemonic 虫の息 (むしのいき, or 641), which happens to be completely wrong; the correct schoolyard mnemonic for the Taika Reformation is 虫の声 (むしのこえ, or 645). In other words, she wasn’t 6410th place, but 6450th. Ba-dum-bum, thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all night. Laughing (or wincing) aside, this provides an interesting challenge for the translator — how best to localize this? Obviously, one cannot just leave these mnemonics as-is — for the audience, they have no context at all, and one can hardly expect that most of your readers will be so well-versed in Japanese history. It is equally dissatisfying to simply leave a long translator’s note and walk away — for then we have destroyed the (bad) humor that is integral to the scene. So, then, what to do? The way I originally translated this was (brace yourself) by using l33tspeak. Yes, you heard me right. 6rass 4nt 1nhales and 6rass 4nt 5peaks, to be exact. Along with, of course, a translator’s note explaining what this nonsense was all about. If I had to do it again, though, I am not sure that I would have gone with that route; instead, I think I might have found a mnemonic that resonates more with the target audience, and done number manipulations to match. One might, for instance, take the rhyme “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”, having the protagonist misquote it as “In 1419, Columbus sailed the ocean green”. Then, by having the girl say that it was the year that Columbus went on his voyage, plus 5000, we have essentially duplicated the bad joke for anyone who was educated in the public school system of the United States of America. It is not an exact duplication by any means, and there are some senses in which our original translation is “better” — after all, it does match up more closely to the original Japanese, and it doesn’t make all the sense in the world that Japanese schoolchildren would learn about dates important to the history of the United States of America. But the original translation is already “losing”, so to speak, and my feeling is that this kind of localization would improve its position somewhat. And of course, the addition of a translator’s note remains a fine idea.
  • 直死の魔眼: This is a term made famous by TYPE-MOON’s seminal visual novel, 月姫. It is also one of many neologisms that Nasu Kinoko employs in his writing, for the supposed purpose of extensive immersion in the world inside Nasu Kinoko’s head. It is not up to me to say whether or not he succeeds — obviously, to many people, he does — but I will point this term out because it is typical of the kind of writing that this writer employs. Literally, this is something like “direct death magical eyeball” — and this is why there are some who translate it as “Mystic Eyes of Death Perception”. However, there also exists a pun in that first compound — 直死 is read as ちょくし, which also happens to be the reading for the words 勅使, 勅旨, and 直視. The first two both mean something along the lines of “imperial messenger, imperial order, imperial will”. It is possible that there is something of that meaning in the phrase, as the power of 直死の魔眼 is indeed incredibly commanding. But on a more basic level, the pun with 直視 — which means “to look at something directly, to look something straight in the eye” — is obvious, and that should definitely be modeled. To be fair, a phrase like “Mystic Eyes of Death Perception” does that, in a way — there is a pun with “Depth Perception” there. But this is tenuous, and we have taken a short, 5-character phrase and turned it into a 22-character one. While the number of syllables in each — 6 as opposed to 8 — does not differ much, in written and spoken terms “Mystic Eyes of Death Perception” seems to me to be somewhat unwieldy. I must stress that I still find this a good, serviceable translation — it is just not the one that I would choose. Rather, taking all of the above into account, I would go with a phrase like, perhaps, “Dead Center Sight” — which certainly models the 直死/直視 pun better than “death perception/depth perception” does. I freely admit that this translation has problems of its own, but my conscience is also clear when I say that I find this to ring more true to me than any other translation of this phrase that I’ve seen.

Do we even have to ask the “are we winning or losing” question anymore? I should hope not. I hope that it is becoming apparent to you that there is no way that a translator — no matter how gifted — can “win” against the original meanings and subtleties of any piece in its original language. We can most certainly “lose” — the cases and examples I have presented to you thus far are only the tip of the iceberg of dangers, and for that matter all it takes is a strictly “literal” translation to ensure that you have lost before you have even begun. And I promise that we will continue to talk about some of the more (and less) common pitfalls on other days. But for now, I can stand by this: that I struggle with the realization that there is no such thing as a perfect translation every day — and that I find a certain kind of joy in the knowledge that what I seek is so far beyond my grasp. This discipline is only worth it for the journey, for the things that you learn about the spaces between words and the spaces within your own heart as you travel along. While for each production process there will be a definite beginning and a definite end, for you the path flows on forever, and it should have no ending. Not while there is still the will to translate within you.

We should at this point make one thing clear — when I speak of “winning” and “losing”, I am not speaking of production value at all. While it is unlikely that a translation that has low production value will strive to be true to the original at all times, it is indeed possible. While it is unlikely that a translation that has high production value will deviate from the original in significant ways, it is indeed possible (see Working Designs). No, what I am concerned about is the integrity of the translation, and through it the integrity of the translator — not the coordinator, not the editors, not the QC staff, not the release engineers — the translator. I am interested in you and you alone, as you struggle with the bridge between two languages, and not in anyone else on your team. They are your concern, and they are not mine.

What do I mean by this? Simply that it takes a certain kind of hubris to state that you can make the original piece better, that you can “win” against it. I do not doubt that there are bad writers in Japanese — indeed, there will be unaccomplished writers no matter what language it is that you choose to translate. If you were the assigned editor for one of these writers, if you had full sanction to correct their errors, if it was your job to suggest improvements that the writers could follow up on, then by all means it would be your place to try to better the writers’ pieces — in close cooperation with the writers themselves, of course. But we occupy a different place. Like it or not, a single cease-and-desist letter can take away all the fruits of our labors on a project. We occupy a gray zone of both legality and ethical authority, in this respect; while we can debate on the ethical validity of international copyright law as it stands, there exists no doubt that currently, according to international copyright law, what we do is illegal. Likewise, while it is entirely possible that the translator who is working on a piece might be a much better writer than the original author, there is little to no ethical justification to give the translator a free hand in reshaping the piece as he wishes — unless the original author agrees. This is why I maintain that there is no “winning” to talk about here; for most part, we will not have such significant contact with the original creators such that they can know of and approve of (or shoot down) our changes.

This, of course, raises another argument: if what we are doing is illegal anyway, then why not go all out? Why not adapt things as we see fit, the (admittedly-unknown) wishes of the original creators be damned? My response to this is that it seems to me that this attitude is one that has lost a great deal of integrity, legal status aside. It is entirely possible to have a translation that has a great deal of integrity that is also completely illegal; William Tyndale’s unsanctioned English translation of the Holy Bible is thought to be one such case. True, he burned at the stake for it in 1535. But it does not change the fact that the Tyndale Bible is to this day thought to be a very solid translation of those scriptures. And it does not change the fact that in 1539, there arose an authorized English translation of the Bible that was largely based on Tyndale’s work and that was distributed to every parish in the land. Indeed, that version of the bible we call the King James Version is largely based off Tyndale’s work.

But William Tyndale never tried to “improve” the Bible. He knew that it was not his place. He had integrity on his side, even though all the forces of legality were arrayed against him.

While the things we translate do not claim to be “true” or “holy”, I implore you to take heed of this warning: it is not our place to make “improvements” based on our understanding of the original language (or lack thereof) and to declare that we’ve “won”. When we do that, or when we complain that the original author obviously did not care about his work, or when we point at misspellings that are not misspellings as evidence that the piece we are translating was an unloved stepchild of a distracted mind, then we have lost all integrity as translators.

And when we have lost that, we have lost everything. What discerning mind, then, could read our works and not doubt the sincerity of our efforts? How could we defend the changes we have made in our translations if we are simultaneously denigrating the original work? How are we any better than the much-reviled Carl Macek, who once took three different anime series, amalgamated them into one, and called the badly-dubbed result Robotech?

And this is what I mean when I say we have no right to “win” or “lose”. We tread a dangerous path, and tipping too much in any one direction — be it toward attempting to duplicate every single Japanese grammatical structure there is in English and filling your resultant translation with translator’s notes for every single word on the page, or be it toward writing your own script based loosely on the concepts found in the original and calling it a faithful translation of the original — has all the potential of leading us into disaster. This is not to say that we are not allowed to radically alter a piece — just that grounds for doing so are much rarer than you might think, and that you should have a very exact justification for why you are doing what you are doing when you do it. Let the original writing be your guide. Most of all, listen — listen closely, more closely than anyone before has listened — to the voices of the piece. Spend time with the piece, nurture it, take it with you to work or play, keep it in your head, let it sing, and listen, and listen, and listen. This again leads me to point out how intimately you must know the original language for such a condition to be true — for even the best translators will be forced to leave something inimitable to the piece out as they translate. For the time that you have it, the piece your translating is your charge; it deserves your love and your advocacy. If you do not speak up for the piece, then no one can. And if you cannot find it in you to defend the piece with all your heart, even given its flaws, then I implore you to find that love within you, to nurture it, and to give it voice.

That’s right. When you translate, you should translate for yourself, for the sake of the piece, and for no other person. The more internal your reasons are, the better; ignore the target audience, ignore the naysayers, ignore those who would “support” you, and most of all ignore the little voice in the back of your head that whispers “I can do better” to you. You do not know that. None of us do. Only translate, for your own reasons, and when those reasons are no longer valid, then declare your work done and walk away — release or no release. Did I not say it before? No one can help you. Unless you can ask yourself, in the still of night, when all seems lost, whether you must translate and reply with a clear “I must” that finds its source in no other place than your own heart, then it is much better that you do other things that interest you more. This hobby will only drain you of all the energy you have otherwise. And I have no problem conceding the fact that there are far more interesting hobbies out there, should one be inclined to do them.

With that, I must leave you for now. I have a large project that will come due in the following two weeks, and I must dedicate my energies to that. But know that I have all the love and respect in the world for you as you labor in the darkness, alongside me, toward a prize that cannot ever be attained by any mortal mind, and that I look forward to conversing with you in the future. Until then, I remain

Faithfully yours,

Seung Park
Lead Translator


Haeleth @ June 4th, 2006 | 5:33 pm

“In 1493 Columbus sailed the deep blue sea” is how I’ve always remembered it… :P

Seung Park @ June 4th, 2006 | 5:48 pm

Hmm. So to match the above, perhaps something like «in 1488, Columbus sailed the Bering Strait»?

krzyhikaki @ June 4th, 2006 | 6:35 pm

i like the way you compared the bible there. Integrity and legality indeed. :)

these are really good reads, and very informative… maybe a fan base’ll pop up soon :D keep it up!

Haeleth @ June 5th, 2006 | 6:20 am

On second thoughts, “In 1497, (deep breath) John Cabot beat Columbus to the American mainland thereby proving once more that England is better than Spain!!!!111eleven”.

I think.

krzyhikaki @ June 5th, 2006 | 8:10 pm

that last “eleven” part is kinda… suspicious >:D

and every english-speaking person (and more) knows that England > Spain, obviously ^_^

Seung Park @ June 5th, 2006 | 9:30 pm

You’re all wrong. Obviously, it’s “In 1492, Haado Gei sailed the ocean WHOOOOOOOO~!”

great123 @ June 6th, 2006 | 4:49 am

Previously, my assumption was that “winning” or “losing” is about whether you could tell a better story than the original author. But. It appears to be much more than that. Kudos to another nice article about the process of translation, it was an interesting read (with dictionary at hand occasionally).

Haeleth @ June 6th, 2006 | 6:45 am

Why would Haado Gei be using the Julian calendar?  


…or something. :P

Fate データベース @ December 7th, 2006 | 6:45 pm

コミケでTYPE-MOONとNitro+のコラボ小説「Fate/Zero」が発売! …

2006/11  TYPE-MOONは、12月29日〜31日に東京ビックサイトで……

Dmitri Poguliayev @ September 7th, 2007 | 3:38 am

Yes! The most of these words is true.

For example, how can you translate the phrase “А мне всё до лампочки!”? Autotranslation tool will print it as “I have it all to a lightblub!”… But the real meaning is “I don’t care!”.

Or the “mistypes” like “Ага, щазз. Только валенки зашнурую.”? Every language is having a lot of hidden word’s meanings - it have the direct connection with the culture and history of the country itself. American english is the same here. You can’t fully understand the phrases without knowing the culture itself. The suggestive factor can be helpful, but in the most cases it makes the work a little bit raw. :/

And, the last words: it is you who desires to do (or not to do) the translations. You’re doing it for yourself. The result of it is not the goddamn fame - the result is YOUR advancement in YOUR OWN eyes. If you can’t, then you must stop and think. It’s your decision to “fit the job” (but, it’s NOT a job - it’s a hobby and nobody should command you what to do) or not.

Thank you for your existence, insani.org.

–Dmitri Poguliayev, little translator from Russia.

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