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Translation comparison discussion

Any non-technical Umineko-related stuff.
Всё что угодно на около-Umineko-подобные нетехнические темы.
Knox
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Translation comparison discussion

Post by Knox » 19 Aug 2016, 09:27

This thread is for discussing comparisons of our translation to other translations, or how they could be combined, or suggestions for improving translations in general. Please keep specific error reports about our translation to the Typos thread, as there is already a place for them.

We received some questions about this text in our translation FAQ:
Upon analysis of the changes, we would say that MG has a strong editing team that makes good decisions, but we think that their translation checking was not as thorough as it could have been. Many errors that we identified in the original WH are still present in the MG translation, although many have also been fixed.
Before addressing this — I'd like to point out that nobody is perfect, and our edit almost certainly contains some errors as well (although, of course, we do not know of them, or we would have fixed them :D). The quoted comment is not intended as a criticism, merely an honest statement of how what we see from our biased viewpoint affects our decision making.

The line between what is an error and what is a subjective edit is blurry (although there are certainly things that fall clearly on one side or the other). This means that our edit is a messy mix of the two kinds of changes, and there is no comprehensive list of specifically and only "errors". Unfortunately, that limits what we can do here to examples, and to be in any way comprehensive would take a huge amount of time that we simply don't have.

We will provide examples though, for the interest of those who asked for them.

1: Lambdadelta: closer to certainty
[+] Spoiler
この宇宙最強で絶対の魔女である大ラムダデルタ卿が、
I, the great Lady Lambdadelta, the Witch of Certainty and the strongest in the universe,
あんたの絶望的な勝率を、ほんのちょっぴりだけ絶対に近付けてやるわ。
UP: will bring your hopeless chances of winning just a teensy bit closer to certainty.
MG: will associate myself just a tiny bit with you and your hopeless chances at winning.

絶対に is normally an adverb meaning "certainly/absolutely" (strangely omitted from the WH/MG translation), but in this case 絶対 is used as a noun, and 絶対に means "to certainty". The WH/MG translation seems to interpret the verb 近付ける as if it can mark what you go towards with を, and invents the "you and" part to make some sense of it all.
2: Kinzo: Bible reference
[+] Spoiler
叩けば扉は開かれると誰が教えた!
UP: Who taught you that doors shall be opened unto you if you knock?!
MG: Who told you the door would be opened if you but knocked?!
その馬鹿者は磔にしたぞッ!!
UP: They crucified that imbecile!!
MG: I'll crucify the imbecile!!

This is supposed to refer to Jesus. Matthew 7:7c.
It's far from Kinzo's only religious reference — he mentions the apostles and other things.
した can sometimes mean "will" instead of being a past tense, but I don't believe it's the case here.
It's a bit curious that Ryu uses した instead of された here though, I'll give them that.
3: Wrong type of family conference
[+] Spoiler
……右代宮家の親族会議は、資産やその運用などについて厳しく問われる、
UP: ......The Ushiromiya family conferences are said to have involved harsh questioning from Ushiromiya Kinzo over how his fortune would be put to use,
MG: ...At the Ushiromiya family conference, the inheritance and how it would be distributed were rigorously discussed,

It says 資産 (fortune) not 遺産 (inheritance). It's talking about the family conferences as they used to exist, when Kinzo was there, not the ones of recent years between the siblings.
4: Gaap's venomous clothes
[+] Spoiler
毒々しく、禍々しい装束に身を包んだ、文字通りに悪魔的な女が、
UP: The literally devilish woman, wrapped in a gaudy, ominous costume,
MG: The literally devilish woman, wrapped in a venomous, ominous costume,

毒々しい has three senses, the first two being:
1) venomous, vicious, poisonous 激しい憎悪を特徴とする (marked by deep ill will)
2) showy, jazzy, flashy, gaudy, sporty (特に衣服について使用される)人目を引くよう見せること特徴とする ((used especially of clothes) marked by conspicuous display)

Despite the word containing the "poison" kanji, it seems fairly obvious to me that we are talking about the clothing sense here. Gaap's clothes certainly draw the eye.
5: Kasumi blames Ushiromiya Ange for running away from the house of Sumadera
[+] Spoiler
".........Every time you talk about me, it's always with reference to Mom. ...Am I really that much like my mother?"
"Yes, you are. ...............That impertinent gaze. Your mouth and nose are the same too."
"......Unrestrained and irresponsible.

……歴史と伝統ある須磨寺家の重みなど何も考えず、自分勝手に家を飛び出したわ。 お陰で私の人生はずっと、その尻拭い…!」
UP: ......She thought nothing of the long history and tradition of the Sumadera family, and selfishly flew out of the house. My entire life has been wiping up the messes she left behind...!
MG: ...You thought nothing of the long history and tradition of the Sumadera family...and selfishly flew out of the house. Thanks to that, my entire life has been devoted to cleaning up your mess...!"

It is Sumadera Kyrie she's complaining about. Kyrie left the Sumadera family to join the Ushiromiya family at her expense. Ange did nothing of the sort. The only reason Kasumi is mad at Ange is as a proxy to get revenge on what Kyrie did to her.
6: Super-paper
[+] Spoiler
パーよりはるかに凄い超パーだったら、チョキにだって勝てるでしょ?!つまりこのラムダデルタ卿は、超パーってわけ!

UP: but if it was the way more awesome super‐paper, which is as thick as wood, it could even beat scissors, right?! In other words, I, Lady Lambdadelta, am super‐paper, and super‐thick!
MG: if I was a sheet of super-paper, which is way more awesome than normal paper, I could beat even scissors, right?! Bascially, I, Lady Lambdadelta, am super-paper!

Still not sure that we hit on the perfect translation here, but WH/MG seem to miss entirely that パー in Japanese, in addition to meaning "paper", also means "idiot". So this is a pun, where super-paper also carries the meaning of super-idiot. This is totally lost in WH/MG. It's not supposed to be something that's just totally random, but one of those jokes like the later one where Lambda says that pretty much all blondes are morons.

Knox
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Re: Translation comparison discussion

Post by Knox » 19 Aug 2016, 19:47

We are, as ever, willing to share our edit of the WH translation with MG/WH, but expect it to be unlikely that they would want it. MG is a business, and we would be surprised if they were willing to spend endless time going through other scripts and fixing translation errors instead of getting on with other things, notably including Chiru.

If we hear differently, we'll gladly help, of course.

jcdenton
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Re: Translation comparison discussion

Post by jcdenton » 21 Sep 2016, 13:13

I understand and like alot of the changes but what I don't understand is changing Battler's "It's all useless" to "It's no good", I thought "Zenzen Dame da" translated to "It's useless"?

Knox
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Re: Translation comparison discussion

Post by Knox » 21 Sep 2016, 17:59

Basically, it comes down to the difference between "dame" and "muda". "Useless" is more suited to "muda", and there are situations where using it for "dame" just doesn't work as well. After we replaced this catchphrase, all the places that felt awkward, like "useless" had subtly the wrong meaning for the situation, just went away. "No good" includes the meaning of "useless", so this translation fit in a lot more circumstances.

There are two other things that influenced our decision with this catchphrase:
  • The Yen Press mangas use "it's no good, no good at all"
  • From Episode 6 onward, the Witch Hunt Chiru translation seems to avoid translating "dame" as "useless" except where its hands were cuffed by its established convention. For instance, there are lines like:
    「……これでは駄目デス」 "......This won't be any GOOD."
    「しかし、駄目でした…。 "But it was no use...
    一度送ったことがあるが、さっぱり駄目でした。 I sent one in once, but it was absolutely no good.
    駄目、頭が、……割れる……。 No good...my head's...getting split open......
(That last one is a good example of when "useless" just doesn't fit as well.)

Since the point of the edit was to produce a translation that made consistent and correct decisions from the start, and wasn't shackled by old conventions made during Umineko's release period (when Witch Hunt both had incomplete information and were less skilled as translators), we felt it was time to make the change.

I think Steam stuck with it, though.

DasMeister
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Re: Translation comparison discussion

Post by DasMeister » 24 Jan 2018, 19:12

Is there any particular reason for the changes in this part of the EP1 Tea Party?
https://imgur.com/aUzfwhN
https://imgur.com/a/CRCQt

It's a bit too excessive compared to the old translation in my opinion, and it makes Battler sound like this famous movie scene.

Knox
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Re: Translation comparison discussion

Post by Knox » 25 Jan 2018, 23:46

I knew it would be Samuel L. Jackson :D

I agree that this should be revisited. It is excessive, and as you pointed out the use of "motherfucking" is especially too far. I'm afraid there is one later Beato scene that also suffers. Mistakes happen and this was one. Thanks for pointing it out politely.

There is a justifiable reason -- which not everyone will agree with -- for not leaving it as it was (note: this is not a defense of the current wording). The original translation featured lines like "I won't forgive you, I'll never forgive you!!", "I won't forgive, I won't forgive, I definitely won't forgive you!!", using essentially the same translation countless times in a row. Although many people have gotten used to Japanese translations that work this way and will see no problem with it, our edit specifically aims to get away from that style of ultra-literal translation. Natural English tends to use variations instead of simply repeating itself like this, and there are many available ("unforgivable", "that's it", "you'll pay for...", etc.)

Also, while Japanese doesn't really use swear words, it does express intensity through words like "zettai ni", the use of vowel modifications like "yurusanee" instead of "yurusanai", suffixes like "yagaru" and "shite yaru", and pronouns like "temee", all of which are used constantly here. Battler is extremely pissed off and it shows in his choice of language.

In short, the current translation is the result of rejecting literal translation and trying to use the range of wording that natural English allows to reflect Battler's tone, but unfortunately taking it way too far and ending up on ridiculously excessive swear words instead. We won't be going back to an ultra-literal translation, but it should be possible to find a middle ground, including significantly reducing the swearing here.

If you find more sections where the translation goes too far, please post. There's plenty of time left to change things.

DasMeister
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Re: Translation comparison discussion

Post by DasMeister » 26 Jan 2018, 19:08

Knox wrote:
25 Jan 2018, 23:46
I knew it would be Samuel L. Jackson :D

I agree that this should be revisited. It is excessive, and as you pointed out the use of "motherfucking" is especially too far. I'm afraid there is one later Beato scene that also suffers. Mistakes happen and this was one. Thanks for pointing it out politely.

Thanks for your quick response. Are you talking about the scene in EP2 where Shannon defends herself against Beatrice? Considering the true nature of that scene, I don't think there are any issues in its translation.

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Re: Translation comparison discussion

Post by Knox » 26 Jan 2018, 23:33

DasMeister wrote:
26 Jan 2018, 19:08
Knox wrote:
25 Jan 2018, 23:46
I knew it would be Samuel L. Jackson :D

I agree that this should be revisited. It is excessive, and as you pointed out the use of "motherfucking" is especially too far. I'm afraid there is one later Beato scene that also suffers. Mistakes happen and this was one. Thanks for pointing it out politely.

Thanks for your quick response. Are you talking about the scene in EP2 where Shannon defends herself against Beatrice? Considering the true nature of that scene, I don't think there are any issues in its translation.
No, the one I was referring to is in EP4 when
[+] Spoiler
Beato is acting drunk and cutting loose when she makes the phone call to Battler. Again the translation was intended to reflect this but the same thing could have been done without so much profanity.

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Re: Translation comparison discussion

Post by tjuhola3 » 17 May 2018, 14:21

I actually have a question on regarding episode 5's ???
[+] Spoiler
When Erika has her meltdown, instead of her repeating word "It can't" isn't she suppose to repeat the word "Impossible"?

Knox
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Re: Translation comparison discussion

Post by Knox » 17 May 2018, 16:40

tjuhola3 wrote:
17 May 2018, 14:21
I actually have a question on regarding episode 5's ???
[+] Spoiler
When Erika has her meltdown, instead of her repeating word "It can't" isn't she suppose to repeat the word "Impossible"?
[+] Spoiler
Literally speaking, what Erika is saying (不可, fuka) is closer to "impossible" than "it can't", yes. The main reason we went for "it can't" is that it matches the voicing of fuka's two syllables better and something felt awkward about repeating "impossible" over and over -- it's a more clunky word than 不可. What do you think, is a change to "impossible" worth it?

Side note: in the original Witch Hunt translation, the 不可不可不可... was translated as one word "impossible" appearing one letter at a time, instead of being repeated. They probably had to do that -- the script asked for each 不可 to appear quickly, and a long word like "impossible" would have taken too long to appear. Our circumstances are different -- we have to deal with voice and we have less demanding script requirements -- so we changed it to a repetition instead.

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