Okay, let’s get some more Yui work done! I’m not gonna be here as long as I was last time; it’s 1 PM now, and I have eikaiwa to teach at 6:30. I’m gonna aim for, oh… half the Reika route, maybe?

By the way, I’ve come up with a potential solution to the “kotonoha” problem. If you recall, it’s part of the game’s title, and it shows up twice within the game’s text, so you know it’s gonna be important. The problem is that English doesn’t have a word with even remotely similar connotations to “kotonoha.” The translators of Kotoamu (still humanity’s greatest achievement) used “expression” for it, and that just barely worked because that game was all about language and communication. Here, that’s not the case.

However, going to watch Suzume no Tojimari (the new Shinkai film; unlike the other two I’ve seen, it didn’t do anything to leave a bad taste in my mouth) gave me an idea. If I abandon the letter of the Japanese and focus solely on producing a title that fits the game thematically, I could potentially render “kotonoha” as “homecoming.” The screenshots from my last post, I hope, showed how important of a theme that is in this game. Even better, the word “homecoming” implies a return after a long time: the subject has grown since he or she was last home. And that fits perfectly with the other major theme of this game: maturity. I’ve run this idea by Lonesome, and he likes it, too. If I can’t come up with something better that’s more faithful to the Japanese, I think this is what I’ll go with.

Anyway, let’s get into it, shall we?

Here we have a humbling reminder about wasei eigo. In my first draft, I had just mindlessly put “cool beauty” in row 4136. But as Lonesome pointed out, that’s not really a thing we say in English, so it needed to change. Sure, people will get what you mean, but it’s not natural. It’s like “skinship.”

Here it is. This is my single favorite line in this entire translation. Remember how I was talking about that in my first post? Behold. Row 4181. Isn’t it beautiful?

It’s as I’ve said before: these short, innocuous, “easy” lines are the trickiest ones of all, but they’re also the ones that truly bring out a translator’s ingenuity. This unassuming “desu yo ne” is deceptively difficult to convey elegantly and concisely, especially when used humorously like it is here. Another example of this is in Gotoubun, in the episode where they all dress up as Yotsuba to avoid being marked tardy for the test. When Fuutarou tries to do the same, the teacher grabs him and says, “You think I’m an idiot or something?” Fuutarou responds with this “desu yo ne,” and I have yet to see a translation of that line that fully satisfies me. The closest I can get is “Yeah, saw this coming,” but even that doesn’t feel right. And it definitely doesn’t fit Matsuoka’s weirdly emphatic delivery.

Actually, lemme get rid of that stutter. It clutters up the line too much, and it doesn’t really do anything the “yeah” doesn’t already achieve.

Okay, here I was clearly just taking the piss because I knew I’d be coming back through to edit it later. I’ll likely change 4194 to something more normal. But this sort of “memer spirit,” as Lonesome and I like to call it, is something I would argue is an essential quality for a translator. That sort of moxie and creativity goes a long way in coming up with imaginative renditions of a line. If you don’t have the energy to play with the text, you won’t be able to really nail down the truly expressive lines, the ones that need to stick in players’ heads.

I’ve just changed it to “She’s visibly shocked by my answer.” I don’t know, though… I kinda like the “shooketh” line. Can I keep it?

You’ll notice that fragment of a note I left myself, bemoaning my removal of “ohime-sama dakko” in the translation. Originally, the line said “take,” not “carry.”

My thoughts on this have apparently changed since I first wrote that line. Yes, “ohime-sama dakko” has a lot of connotations that romance stories always have a field day with, but here, they aren’t important. The verb used in Japanese here is “tsurete iku.” This is the word you use for, well, taking someone somewhere – even if you’re just showing them the way and having them walk alongside you. The “ohime-sama dakko” is here to clarify that he carried her. And they couldn’t use a different verb, like “motte iku” or “hakobu,” since those are more closely associated with inanimate objects, which Reika obviously isn’t. So “ohime-sama dakko” isn’t particularly meant to evoke the romantic images it usually does. It’s just a utilitarian choice here.

I reflected this in editing by changing “take” to “carry,” as I said before. It’s not in the screenshot, but before this, she was lying on the floor. There’s really only one natural way to pick someone up off the ground like that, so just “carry” is enough to convey how Hirotake did it.

Heh heh. Another line I’m unduly proud of. There was an even better one just above this, but the context is a bit too spoilery to post here.

There’s a lot to talk about in this one. Row 4685 contains a slight workaround to circumvent the problem of counters in Japanese – here Hirotake is assuming “zashiki-warashi” doesn’t count for the “nin” counter. Since English doesn’t have a counter system, I massaged the text a little bit. Nothing too special; all in a day’s work for a translator.

I also quite like the use of a period instead of a question mark in 4687. Nice little way of expressing his dumbfoundedness.

And then in 4693, “ichi nuketa” is an expression for when you finish laying down all your cards in a card game, like Old Maid. It’s a very silly and childish thing to say here, which I tried reflecting with something equally childish. English doesn’t really have an expression used in the same context (which is funny, considering how many figures of speech it has that do come from card games), so I had to change it. I think the closest thing would be “Uno,” but that doesn’t quite fit.

Just a couple little things here: the rendering of the katakana “ohayou gozaimasu” in 4794 and the circumvention of “tereru” in 4803. That’s a very tricky word, since none of its closest equivalents sound natural, so you frequently have to write around it.

Hi. I’m back. It’s been two seconds for you, but a thousand rows for me. There wasn’t much screenshottable stuff in the Reika route. Mostly just examples of things I’ve already discussed, or content too spoilery to post. As you can see, I’m in her H scene now. Here I’d like to highlight “delicate woodland creature” for “shoudoubutsu.” It’s a neat little translation I like to use, and I think it’s a good tool for any translator to add to their toolbox.

In my last post, I showed you an example of a Japanese metaphor I kept (the pigeon-peashooter one), but here’s one that absolutely needs to change. I’d wager most English-speaking readers would find it off-putting to hear someone’s whimper in an H scene be described as “the voice of a mosquito.”

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: these simple greetings and stock phrases that don’t exist in English can be some of the hardest things to translate, as you can see by the little note I left during my original translation pass. What you see here is the edited version; my original take was so unspeakably bad that I’ll not ever let it see the light of day. I’m still not happy with what I have here, but it gets the job done.

I’ve moved on from this and am now at the climax of the route. I got to the first “kotonoha” of the game and… yeah, I think I can make “homecoming” work. I can’t show you because of spoilers, but I think I’ve got something here – and fuck, I’ve finished the Reika route. I’ve still got a little time before eikaiwa… I’ll do Reika’s bonus H scene and call it a day.

Aaaaand yup. I’m done. It’s hard to screenshot the Reika route because it approaches the truth of this game far more than the Yui route does. There were several parts I wanted to show you, but couldn’t because of spoilers. That doesn’t bode well for the true route, which I’ll be tackling next time… but we’ll see. Knowing me, I’ll probably finish it in one sitting, so look forward to part four of this series. See you then!

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