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Author Topic: Translating an insult  (Read 2097 times)

enigmaopoeia

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Translating an insult
« on: October 25, 2014, 10:47:01 pm »
The translator I work with is currently stuck on understanding the context of this insult 「能面野郎」. It literally translates as "Noh mask" and "rascal", but we don't get the concept. For context, this is what one guy says about another guy whom he hates.

I want to think it could mean something along the lines of being "two-faced", but I want to double check before I use that as an translation.

Thanks in advance!

Seihen

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Re: Translating an insult
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2014, 05:34:30 am »
I dunno, it was always my impression that when you describe someone as 能面, it was more-so emphasizing the fact that the person doesn't show any emotion (a mask never changes, and generally masks are in a very generic expression). Though 能面野郎 has a lot of hits on Google (blogs and twitter, mostly), I couldn't find any specific explanation of the term, so I can't tell you for sure if there's a special meaning to it.

My gut instinct, though, would be that they're calling the person "An emotionless bastard." If you're gonna talk about backstabbing, Japanese has plenty of more colorful terms. =D

Scio

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Re: Translating an insult
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2014, 07:55:22 am »
It probably means "Two-faced bastard" in this context. A Noh Mask usually has a "conniving face" expression (think Gin from the anime Bleach or Soujiro from Rurouni Kenshin), but they also have the quality of changing expression just by tilting the mask a little.

enigmaopoeia

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Re: Translating an insult
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2014, 02:09:49 pm »
Thank you, Seihen and Scio, I think "two-faced bastard" would be the best translation here.