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Author Topic: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...  (Read 17066 times)

cccmar

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #80 on: July 12, 2016, 09:19:37 am »
Latin and Slavic languages beg to differ.

And Finno-Ugric languages, and Albanian, and Basque, and Irish, and Greek... so yeah, many European languages are not Germanic at all. More people speak Romance languages natively than Germanic languages, as a matter of fact.

Kallisto

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #81 on: July 13, 2016, 02:31:20 am »
Oh I think there was a bit of a misunderstanding. I should have said there is certain languages in Europe that are similar in the way it is spoken, and written.

GHANMI

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #82 on: July 13, 2016, 05:21:12 am »
I hope consensus here is literal translations are bad.
To me there must be a middle ground between transmiting the meaning and being literal.

It depends on which liberties the translator takes.

"Literal translations" from Japanese would result in stuff like Breath of Fire 2. A lot of what's called "literal translations" nowadays actually does fill in the blanks left by Japanese grammar, with appropriate context, moved around clauses, appropriate cultural equivalents for expressions, and the personal interpretation of the translator, or it wouldn't be readable.

But the reason why it's called "literal" is that somehow it's perceived to be inferior for not being as extensively rewritten as some SNES-era localizations. Nowadays, some go as far as saying Protectobor-tier rewrites and censorship are also a requirement for any proper translation.

More on point, I don't think preserving in a translation the "Fernandito" nickname for some Telenovela's "Fernando" is an inherently bad thing, and so I wouldn't be peeved in a translation by "Nobunaga-sama" or "Mitsuhide-dono" or "Fumi-chan" if it's a very Japanese setting.

Grammatically-correct literal translations in the sense they don't have the translator assume the role of a co-writer more than what's absolutely needed, aren't an inherently bad approach, and do have their audience. The opposite approach isn't without its faults (just look at the Dai Gyakuten Saiban situation).

Viewer

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #83 on: July 15, 2016, 08:02:52 pm »
It depends on which liberties the translator takes.

"Literal translations" from Japanese would result in stuff like Breath of Fire 2. A lot of what's called "literal translations" nowadays actually does fill in the blanks left by Japanese grammar, with appropriate context, moved around clauses, appropriate cultural equivalents for expressions, and the personal interpretation of the translator, or it wouldn't be readable.

But the reason why it's called "literal" is that somehow it's perceived to be inferior for not being as extensively rewritten as some SNES-era localizations. Nowadays, some go as far as saying Protectobor-tier rewrites and censorship are also a requirement for any proper translation.

More on point, I don't think preserving in a translation the "Fernandito" nickname for some Telenovela's "Fernando" is an inherently bad thing, and so I wouldn't be peeved in a translation by "Nobunaga-sama" or "Mitsuhide-dono" or "Fumi-chan" if it's a very Japanese setting.

Grammatically-correct literal translations in the sense they don't have the translator assume the role of a co-writer more than what's absolutely needed, aren't an inherently bad approach, and do have their audience. The opposite approach isn't without its faults (just look at the Dai Gyakuten Saiban situation).

"Lord Nobunga", "Sir Mitsuhide", "Ms/Mrs/Madam/Lady Fumi", not to mention the dialog around it which helps shape the character's relationship with each other and the world. Simply slapping a bunch of translators notes at the beginning of a piece to define the meaning is ultimately lazy, in my opinion.

I assume you mean "Probotector", the modifying of the Contra/Gryzor series in Europe to change the characters into robots? This was only done because if it had not, the games could not be released in that region due to laws against depiction of violence towards human characters. The setting remains the same or slightly different, and there are minor graphical edits, but the gameplay itself does not change.

GHANMI

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #84 on: July 16, 2016, 10:46:42 am »
"Lord Nobunga", "Sir Mitsuhide", "Ms/Mrs/Madam/Lady Fumi", not to mention the dialog around it which helps shape the character's relationship with each other and the world. Simply slapping a bunch of translators notes at the beginning of a piece to define the meaning is ultimately lazy, in my opinion.

I assume you mean "Probotector", the modifying of the Contra/Gryzor series in Europe to change the characters into robots? This was only done because if it had not, the games could not be released in that region due to laws against depiction of violence towards human characters. The setting remains the same or slightly different, and there are minor graphical edits, but the gameplay itself does not change.

I don't see lots of reasons why what would work for translations from other languages shouldn't work for Japanese. You don't see much people saying Sultan instead of Emperor, Vizir instead of Prime Minister, Khan instead of Commander, is unacceptable in translations and only the (ironically) literal translation of the title/honorific is acceptable. As long as it's done in moderation and where it's appropriate to do so (and not stuff like Elizabeth-sama in something about England) it shouldn't cause allergic reactions, the way Japanese characters in the backgrounds do for 4Kids.

And... I think you're defending Contra's European localization here? Well, to each his opinions,  but that's not exactly an example of a stellar translation. That game's whole setting and story got changed and not for the better, the graphical changes and censorship covered everything save for background stage art and robotic enemies.
That game was even more censored than what NoA's censors mandated, and the supposed German "Europe-wide" laws "mandating Protectobor-like localizations" supposedly seemingly didn't mind Castlevania games and countless Amiga games with copious amounts of gore and dismemberment... so I don't buy the "it's impossible to release otherwise" excuse (even in Germany).
As for the "gameplay got preserved so whatever butchering happens to everything else it's the same" excuse? I don't think it's very rewarding to play a game with missing text or cutscenes supposed to reward the player, and in the light of the localization policies in Europe shifting away from censorship, I guess neither players (who began importing uncensored releases), critics or companies saw much positive points in it. In fact, one of the earliest translations here were retranslations of Konami's Cybernator and a Twinbee platformer, both missing most of their text yet you wouldn't find many agreeing with you they're superior or recommended versions.

Bregalad

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #85 on: July 16, 2016, 12:33:09 pm »
I don't see lots of reasons why what would work for translations from other languages shouldn't work for Japanese. You don't see much people saying Sultan instead of Emperor, Vizir instead of Prime Minister, Khan instead of Commander, is unacceptable in translations and only the (ironically) literal translation of the title/honorific is acceptable. As long as it's done in moderation and where it's appropriate to do so (and not stuff like Elizabeth-sama in something about England) it shouldn't cause allergic reactions, the way Japanese characters in the backgrounds do for 4Kids.
Chrono Trigger does not take place in japan but in a fantasy world, so your argument falls apart.

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That game's whole setting and story got changed and not for the better,
Who even cares of the story for a game like Contra, seriously ? Are you seriously telling me you'll be playing a game of this genre for its story ?

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That game was even more censored than what NoA's censors mandated,
The north American release of Contra wasn't any tiny bit censored, unless I'm mistaken.

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Castlevania games and countless Amiga games with copious amounts of gore and dismembermen
Castlevania games do not display violence against humans being but against mostly undead monsters, and the european version just copied the American censorship where applicable. Germany probably relaxed their laws eventually.

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I don't think it's very rewarding to play a game with missing text or cutscenes supposed to reward the playe
There is no missing text or cutscenes, in the original Contra there is almost zero text and custcenes exept the "game over" title.

You seem to be mentioning the scenes added to the Japanese release, which was made after the US release. Those are also not present in the original arcade game. They were never meant to be there, they were just added for the Japanese FC version and only that version.

Speaking about that, I wonder whether the original arcade Contra was allowed to be released in Germany censored, uncensored, or not released at all.

EDIT : Here is a longplay of the original, arcade Contra game, on which the NES game is based. The arcade came with no manual obviously (except perhaps a manual for installing the board in a cabinet and how use switches, things like that). Please tell me where you see any story in this game.

EDIT2 : This is pure speculation, but my guess is that Contra's difficulties to be released in Germany was not only about violence, but because of the omnipresent of the red falcon symbol, which looks incredibly similar to the reichsadler.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 01:03:51 pm by Bregalad »

Ghost-Tank

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #86 on: July 16, 2016, 05:42:19 pm »
I've noticed that Old English seems closer to Proto-Germanic than Old High German.

Also, K is for Knife Ball.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016, 07:20:01 pm by Ghost-Tank »

Midna

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #87 on: July 16, 2016, 06:50:32 pm »
I believe the arcade version of Contra was released unedited as "Gryzor".

KillerBob

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #88 on: July 31, 2016, 12:14:42 pm »
There is no missing text or cutscenes, in the original Contra there is almost zero text and custcenes exept the "game over" title.

You seem to be mentioning the scenes added to the Japanese release, which was made after the US release. Those are also not present in the original arcade game. They were never meant to be there, they were just added for the Japanese FC version and only that version.
Where did you get this info from? The Famicom version took advantage of the technology of Konami's VRC2 chip. The only reason for the cut content in the overseas versions is because Nintendo's NES licensing program only allowed North America and Europe distribution to include first-party hardware in its cartridges. Konami handled the manufacturing of their own games in Japan. Similar downgrades had to be made for Salamander/Life Force and Akumajou Densetsu/Castlevania III. And Gradius II was simply not released outside Japan. All of these games used different custom made ships by Konami.

The original Arcade game and Famicom/NES game is two different beasts, it wasn't just a simple conversion. They were made by two different teams. Don't know how detailed the plot/objective was for the Japanese Arcade version but while Red Falcon is the name of the terrorist organization in the Arcade and Famicom Contra, the NES localization made it the name of the alien leader.

Plot summary of the FC and NES versions:

Japan
In the year 2631, a meteor crash-lands in the Galuga Archipelago. Two years later, the area is seized by a terrorist organization named Red Falcon that seeks world domination. 2 soldiers, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, are deployed to neutralize the terrorist threat. During the mission, it is revealed that the enemy is harboring alien entities, likely originating from the meteor. The soldiers eventually stop the terrorists and eliminate the aliens.

EDIT: Was looking into the Japanese manual backstory and my posted summary of it is wrong. It's clear right from the start that the Red Falcon organization are alien invaders, there's not even an attempt by either the manual or game to make that a surprise. Thank you, incorrect wiki article.  :P

North America
Rather than in the future, the game takes place in then-present-day 1987, where an alien race, led by an entity termed Red Falcon, has infested a Mayan village and is planning universal domination. These aliens likely originated from what was presumed to be regular space debris that crashed near the region 30 years prior. 2 soldiers, Bill “Mad Dog” and Lance “Scorpion” are sent to destroy the alien threat. Eventually, the aliens are destroyed, resulting in the entire universe being saved.

Europe
Also set in 2633, the plot of Probotector sees a future where science thrives. Top secret scientists discover that a malicious alien entity, Red Falcon, has set up a fortress in the fictional Galga Islands and intends to extinguish the human race. Sent to eliminate the aliens are 2 specialized robots, RD008 and RCO11 (replacing Bill and Lance). The robots ultimately stop the alien threat, saving the entire universe (same as the North American release).
« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 06:17:06 pm by KillerBob »

Bregalad

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #89 on: July 31, 2016, 12:35:27 pm »
Well, all you said is correct, but I'd add that for the US and EU release, the story is purely from the manual and not from the game itself, so it only half counts. Again, in such an arcade-style role, the story plays pretty much no role in the game.

You are correct that the japanese version was not released after the US version, but both were released simultaneously, in February 1988. My previous statement is wrong. However, what I wanted to emphasis, is that the US version was not made after the japanese version, and as thus is not a "stripped down" version of the japanese release, but instead a different version.

I didn't know about differences between Salamander JP version, I'll have to check this out !

PS : I do not see any meaningful differences between Salamander and Life Force, except the title screen and how the HUD is organized on the screen.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 12:55:57 pm by Bregalad »

KillerBob

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #90 on: July 31, 2016, 01:30:09 pm »
Well, all you said is correct, but I'd add that for the US and EU release, the story is purely from the manual and not from the game itself, so it only half counts. Again, in such an arcade-style role, the story plays pretty much no role in the game.

You are correct that the japanese version was not released after the US version, but both were released simultaneously, in February 1988. My previous statement is wrong. However, what I wanted to emphasis, is that the US version was not made after the japanese version, and as thus is not a "stripped down" version of the japanese release, but instead a different version.
Ah, now I see what you meant. And yes I agree, the story is just decoration for a game like this. But as a kid the simple manual stories could greatly enhance the experience no matter how silly they were. The presentation leave a lot to be desired in game localization from back then. Almost every game got dumbed down, the only great thing with Nintendo of America was their quality control. A lot of bug fixes were made before the games were brought over to us, but that was also due to the extended development time many games received.

I didn't know about differences between Salamander JP version, I'll have to check this out !

PS : I do not see any meaningful differences between Salamander and Life Force, except the title screen and how the HUD is organized on the screen.
The differences in Salamander are nice but miniscule, a fancier title screen and staff roll with different endings. The biggest plus IMO is the Gradius-like power meter. You're also able to equip three options instead of two. It is apparently using Konami's VRC3 ship. To me the differences are so minor that I'm actually unsure if not a regular Nintendo MMC could have handled it? But I'm not that knowledgeable about it.

EDIT: After a quick playthrough of Life Force, I noticed that the stars in the background on stage 5 aren't animated like they are in Salamander. Might be more of these subtle differences in graphic...
« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 03:34:00 pm by KillerBob »

Reiska

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Re: Message for translators: Please no NOT use -san / -sama / etc...
« Reply #91 on: August 10, 2016, 05:43:16 am »
It's like Final Fantasy X German controversy redux, where some people complained from the German translation being too accurate to the Japanese script to the point it doesn't match the very liberally-translated English audio (by the same translation branch credited for Squall and Zidane's drastic mood changes between the PAL/JP versions and the US/UK version)

Not to dig up an old topic, but I'm curious and genuinely unaware: in what way were Squall and Zidane's personalities altered in translation?