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Author Topic: Random translation questions  (Read 8848 times)

DarknessSavior

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Random translation questions
« on: May 09, 2012, 09:30:05 pm »
Ever since I've started translating things, there's always been a few things that would bug me when I see them, so I'm hoping someone here could enlighten me a bit.

1) There are TONS and TONS of words in Japanese that basically mean "ghost" or "demon" or "monster". How do I differentiate between the different ones?

Examples: お化け、化け物、悪魔、妖魔、精霊、幽霊、怪物、怪獣、鬼魅、etc.

In particular, the most common of them, 妖魔.

2) A typical RPG item, 円月輪. I've seen this translated as "Full Moon" (which is indeed implied by the kanji, "Full Moon Ring"). But if you check the Japanese wikipedia page for "Chakram", it says that a typical name for that is 円月輪.

That's all for now, I'll post more as they come.

Thanks,

~DS
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EarlJ

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 02:27:52 am »
Well, it might not be that helpful to point out, but for 1... English also has a surplus of similar words:
Ghost, phantom, specter, wraith, phantasm, poltergeist, shade, spirit, apparition, revenant...

Generally, I think most English-speakers would use 'ghost' when talking about see-through nonphysical undead, and others would be used just for variety or when going into the technical detail of "Well a this does this, and a this has these characteristics..." and so on. But for most purposes it's enough to say 'ghost'. Maybe there's something similar going on in other languages...?

Looking at this wiki page, I imagine a lot of those might be translated simply as 'ghost'. I guess it's like Eskimos and snow... folks just like their mythology and folklore.


I noticed 鬼靈 being used in one game, and was disappointed with Google's 'ghost' translation. The enemy was a giant floating eyeless bleeding head. I was hoping for something with a little more zazz.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 02:36:11 am by EarlJ »

BRPXQZME

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2012, 03:03:10 am »
2) A typical RPG item, 円月輪. I've seen this translated as "Full Moon" (which is indeed implied by the kanji, "Full Moon Ring"). But if you check the Japanese wikipedia page for "Chakram", it says that a typical name for that is 円月輪.
It usually means chakram.
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Paul Jensen

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2012, 10:06:18 am »
Examples: お化け、化け物、悪魔、妖魔、精霊、幽霊、怪物、怪獣、鬼魅、etc.

This is just off the top of my head, but here goes:

お化け = any weird or scary creature
化け物 = something that has changed into a twisted version of its former self, usually anthropomorphic
悪魔 = a being with supernatural powers and cruel intentions; a tyrant
妖魔 = an お化け with playful intentions (maybe?)
精霊 = the spirit of a dead person; a respectful term
幽霊 = same as above but with scary connotations
怪物 = a beast
怪獣 = a monster like you'd see in the movies, like Godzilla or King King
鬼魅 = a demon; kinda like an 悪魔 in training?

OK, I lied. I used 広辞苑 for a couple of these. :-)

Also, like EarlJ mentioned, these are pretty much synonyms, so you can probably use your own discretion when you translate them.

HTH
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Ryusui

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 04:15:55 pm »
悪魔, 精霊, and 幽霊 all have rather straight-up English equivalents: "demon/devil," "spirit," and "ghost." Others are a bit harder to pin down. Both 化け物 and 怪物 can mean "monster," with the former having a more folkloric sense; 怪獣 is frequently rendered in English as straight-up "Kaiju," since (as Paul Jensen notes) it's usually used specifically for giant movie monsters, and 妖魔 - well, that's an odd one. It's basically two different kanji for "supernatural" jammed up against each other: 妖 suggests something more along the lines of "enchanted" (like 妖精, "fairy"); not necessarily good, mind, while 魔 suggests something more like "occult" (魔法, "magic," and of course 悪魔 as described above); not necessarily evil, either. Shin Megami Tensei and Claymore both throw up their hands and use "Yo(u)ma" in translations; it's safe to say there's no direct English translation, but there's nothing stopping you from finding a halfway-suitable term and making it fit - or simply coining a neologism (or...archaeologism?).
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Eien Ni Hen

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2012, 01:14:28 am »
In the same vein, I've always wondered what the difference is between 魔界 and 地獄. I suspect 魔界 is the more like a spirit world and 地獄 more like the Christian hell, but I'm not sure, and I've never gotten a straight answer. Any thoughts?
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Ryusui

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2012, 02:04:55 am »
I'd concur. 魔界 is simply the realm of demons; 地獄 is a place of imprisonment and punishment.
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DarknessSavior

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2012, 02:20:03 am »
Well, one of the problems comes from something in Seiken Densetsu 2. A spear is called 妖魔のやり. My first instinct was "Ghost's Spear", but when I see 妖魔 I picture monsters of the week from Sailor Moon and other random demons/monsters. And I'm against simply rendering a Japanese term in romaji.

"Demon's Spear" wouldn't be taking too much liberty there, would it?

It usually means chakram.
Well, the problem with that is one of the earlier boomerang weapons is チャクラム, then that one. \o.O/

~DS
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BRPXQZME

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2012, 11:53:26 am »
So where’s the problem? ;P
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Ryusui

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2012, 04:14:09 pm »
He means there's a チャクラム and an 円月輪 in the game, and he's not sure how to translate the latter in the presence of the former.
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BRPXQZME

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 04:25:14 pm »
I can read, thank you. There is still no problem that I can see. All the answers already lie in this thread; you just gotta use your noggin.
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DarknessSavior

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2012, 04:29:41 pm »
I assume you're referring to using "Full Moon" instead of Chakram for the second one? That's what I was already doing, but I wasn't sure if it was the right move.

~DS
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BRPXQZME

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2012, 08:53:15 pm »
*sigh* you guys are way, way, way smarter than this. What sad times are these when passing ruffians force explanations of rhetorical questions and concise answers from the elderly! There is a pestilence upon this land; nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design renditions are under considerable economic stress.

Okay, the way you solve this problem is the same way you solve the ghost problem. You just have to find another way of representing it, whether it be finding some synonym (Wikipedia lists some, not that I’ve ever heard those words ever), changing it up a bit to say or imply what it means (“ring blade”, like Tira’s weapon from the Soul series), pretend it’s a name or that because it’s a different language you should use that term instead. The various translations of FF4 have this down as “Engetsu”, “FullMoon”, “Full Moon”, and “Moonring Blade”.
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DarknessSavior

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2012, 05:28:15 pm »
Okay, new question.

What does  つつ mean when it's after a verb stem? Like 起こりつつあった。

あざす、

~DS
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danke

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2012, 06:58:57 pm »
According to my dictionary, it means "while" or "though".

BRPXQZME

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2012, 07:23:34 pm »
つつ is like ながら, but more literary (i.e. best avoided in conversational language). You can both to indicate that two actions are happening at the same time. You can also use both to indicate something contradictory (like when ‘while’ means ‘but’), but for つつ this is better avoided. Finally, the use you have here is a conjugated form of つつある, which indicates the continuation of an action or state.

So 起こりつつあった would be translated “kept happening” under normal circumstances.
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DarknessSavior

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2012, 07:43:53 pm »
According to my dictionary, it means "while" or "though".
My dictionary says that too, but dictionaries aren't good at explaining grammar points. So I figured I'd ask someone who may have experience with it.

~DS
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BRPXQZME

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2012, 10:29:30 pm »
When it comes to grammar, sometimes I take the term and add 文法 to my search query.

In addition, I have eiwa+waei and kokugo dictionaries as well as a thesaurus, all of which explain grammatical terms to some extent (the ones packaged with Mac OS X that I mention from time to time). Unless you run into dialects. Then (without a buddy to ask, anyway) you’re just screwed.
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DarknessSavior

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2012, 10:54:46 pm »
つつ is like ながら, but more literary (i.e. best avoided in conversational language). You can both to indicate that two actions are happening at the same time. You can also use both to indicate something contradictory (like when ‘while’ means ‘but’), but for つつ this is better avoided. Finally, the use you have here is a conjugated form of つつある, which indicates the continuation of an action or state.

So 起こりつつあった would be translated “kept happening” under normal circumstances.
Thanks. I hadn't noticed you posted an answer. T_T;

I actually had done that, but I didn't quite understand it in Japanese. For some reason it just didn't click that it meant "something was going on". I'm really tired from a super long day. >_<

Thanks again.

~DS
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Garoth Moulinoski

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Re: Random translation questions
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2012, 08:22:00 am »
So... "Although it had occured..." would be one translation?
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