Archive for May, 2012


Tenets of Translation

May 23, 2012

Was mulling over different methods and means of translation practices during the past few days since I’ve been playing through Kamidori Alchemy Meister (an excellent game by all accounts, and even has a fan translation for those of us not studying moon) and thought I’d scribble down some thoughts I’ve had. Here’s the three tenets I will explain – I) Verbose translations are good, II) Language dictionaries are nothing but thesauruses, and III) Kanji is just as visual as it is literal.

I. Verbose translations are good

Especially when it comes to video game translation, when you have sometimes a *very* limited byte-space to insert translations into, you don’t have the opportunity to explicitly state every subtext implied in the original text. This is saddening, but an unfortunately reality. In an interview with old-school RPG localizer Tim Woolsey, he stated that during FF6, one technique he used to cut down on byte-space is he closed his eyes and tried to visually imagine what it was the characters were trying to say, and typed it out in the least-verbose way possible in English. Having recently played FF6 in Japanese, I can say that his translation is not only remarkably accurate (save some monster names and skill names, but that’s a separate issue), but it reads very well in English to boot.
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Self-interested BS (Gaming rant)

May 22, 2012

I’m not dead, not that anyone cares anyway. I graduated and got my BS in Japanese Language and Literature, joy for me, and I’m taking the JLPT (N1) this December, huzzah, huzzah. As far as manga translations go, meh. I don’t have the patience to photoshop images myself and nobody else seems to care so I think I’ll just say fuck that for now. There’s a shit-load, literally, a shit-load of games I’m interested in translating, but finding a team for such a project is an impossibility so I gave up on that, too.

I’m more interested in the Denyuuden light novels and, strangely enough, I began translation on Towa wo Tabi Suru Mono (He Who Travels Eternity), the Lost Odyssey novel by Shigematsu Kiyoshi, which is essentially a collection of short stories similar to the Thousand Years of Dreams sequences from the game (also written by Shigematsu), most of which are original for the novel. It’s quite good and excellent translation practice – I’ve done maybe 40-50 pages of it so far, but I’m terrified to release it publicly for fear of Microsoft or whoever the fuck owns the copyright on it shoving a lawsuit down my throat. Maybe it’ll show up as a torrent if I ever finish it, or maybe it’ll even be published, but given the shitty reception the game got, if anything happens expect the former. Such is the way of this thankless bullshit I call a hobby.

Speaking of BS, and I don’t mean my degree, I decided to rant in word vomit form about video games. If you don’t mind lots of cursing and my terrible opinions you can read what I wrote here.

[Click here to take the pills mommy gives you.]

Maybe I’ll see some of you around.