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Author Topic: Written in Japanese, Set in China?  (Read 2794 times)


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Written in Japanese, Set in China?
« on: January 25, 2012, 09:42:29 pm »
Juushin Enbu/Hero Tales is set in a fantasy expy of China, and because of that, I'm pulling my hair out trying to figure out WTF to do about people's names.

By sound alone, the character names seem Japanese (しょうかく、けいろ、りんめい、こよう, etc), so I'd just assumed they were. When I delved a little deeper, I realized that the majority of them are either:

Corrupted Chinese
For example, there's an antagonist who goes by 史明. The furigana is しめい, a Japanese name. It's eventually revealed that his real/full name is 萬詳史明, pronounced ばんしょうしめい; since ばんしょう is apparently never written like that in Japanese, I decided to toss it into a Chinese translator. The result was 'Wan Xian Shi Ming', which is also what the English version translates it as. So if しめい is a corruption, then why don't I just translate it as such?
I was hoping to be consistent with the dub, and the dub itself is inconsistent. While it does call 萬詳史明 'Wan Xian Shi Ming', it also translates 史明 as 'Shimei', and maintains the corrupted spelling/pronunciation of pretty much every other character name. (麟盟詔韓/Lín méng zhào hán is still Rinmei Shoukan, 岱燈獅麗/Dài dēng shī lì is Taitou Shirei, etc.)
So, it seems like I either have the option of writing these names the 'canon' way and changing  萬詳史明 to Bansho Shimei for consistency, or changing the majority of the names to reflect the setting.


Basically, any type of help I could get with either of thse issues would be really appreciated.  :banghead:


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Re: Written in Japanese, Set in China?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 11:51:13 pm »
If it helps any, I was the translator for the official anime release (although I didn't write the dub, just the subs/the script the dub was based off of). The naming stuff was a huge issue for me too, and in the end a bunch of weird compromises had to be made for various reasons, some beyond my control  :-\

Personally I'd go with changing the sword's name - in fact I was constantly scared to death I'd spell the Chinese name wrong someday since it was so different from all the other names.


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Re: Written in Japanese, Set in China?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 01:19:39 am »
When I come across fake Chinese like this (it pops up here and there; I’m surprised to have run into as much as I have, to be honest), I usually tend to just romanize the Japanese—while shaking my head, of course, since the effect is basically lost to something so silly. Fact is, except for a handful of better-known modern Chinese readings (ロン for 龍, フー for 虎, and ワン for 王 probably accounts for most of them), a lot of examples of these basically assume the pickled on'yomi pronunciations, even when the author probably knows better. So most of the euphony in it ends up being in the Japanese anyway.
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Re: Written in Japanese, Set in China?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2012, 03:52:42 pm »
Thanks for the replies. =)

I think I'll take both of your advice, keeping the slightly 'off' pronunciations for most names so that it gels a little better with the official English stuff.
As for that pesky 萬詳史明, how I'll deal with it will probably depend on whether the game's story is closer to that of the anime or the original manga. There's some pretty huge differences between them, especially considering his origins and eventual fate.

In both versions, Shimei's revealed to be a sentient sword. In the anime, the main antagonist has known all along, and says something along the lines of (heavily paraphrased):
"That body's just a corpse, animated by the spirit of the sword 萬詳史明."
He ends up wielding Shimei, along with another magic sword, 賢嘉爛舞/けんからんぷ。Since that sword was given a descriptive name (The Sword of Rule), I'll likely given Shimei's true form a similar name, something like 'All-Seeing Sword', 'Thousand Eyes Sword', etc.
In the manga, Shimei himself reveals his full name, but it's more in the way that a person would:
"I'm the thing you called Shimei, 萬詳史明."
If it plays out more like that, I'll likely keep the 'Shimei' part, and make the rest some kind of title.

Of course, the game might decide to play thing's completely differently, in which case I'll just have to see what feels most appropriate.  ;D

Edited to Add: This question's a tad off-topic, but at what stage does Translation Checking usually come in? I'm asking because with my other project, I've got two separate files: one for the direct translation of what's being said, and one for the 'smoothed out' version (what I'd like to be the text in the patch). Would it be better to show my potential TLC the direct version before I modify it, just the modified version, or both?
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 04:18:13 pm by Pencil »


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Re: Written in Japanese, Set in China?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 06:59:12 pm »
I would make sure you don't make the mistake of making every character capitalized and it's own word. In the case of names, most have two characters. So the sword, for instance, would likely be Wanxian Shiming. Or Perhaps Wanxian Shi Ming. Either of which looks better than Wan Xian Shi Ming.

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