Ladies and germs, it is time to finish Yui. I’m starting this session bright and early on a Friday morning (don’t worry, I’m taking today off work), so I do believe I shall be able to get through the entire true route today. Let’s get to it.
This right here is the beginning of the true route, identical to the beginning of the common route. After row 2647, you’re presented with a choice. Pick the same thing Hirotake did in the common route, and you get the bad ending. Pick the other one, and you go into the true route proper.
This scene is a flashback to Hirotake’s childhood. As you can see, his and Yui’s dialogue here is written mostly in hiragana, where they would otherwise use kanji. This is an orthographical representation of their childishness, since if they were to write their lines out, they probably wouldn’t know hardly any of the kanji they’d need yet. For example, the first-graders I teach still don’t even know katakana, I don’t think.
This is a common practice for representing children’s dialogue and narration in Japanese fiction, and ordinarily I’d pay it no mind, but in this game, maturity is a major theme, so I felt a need to draw attention to it. The first step I took was to keep Hirotake’s dialogue very simple, while using vocabulary that a child would gravitate towards (see “grown-up” and “big kids”). However, this didn’t feel like enough for me, so as you can see here, I intend to render the child lines in a different font, if Pangolin can make that happen for me. I haven’t decided exactly what font yet, but something that looks childish. Comic Sans, maybe?
I’m pointing this out because I want to advertise the power of typography in translation, when it’s available to you as a tool. Irregular orthography (unexpected katakana or old-style hiragana usage, for instance) can potentially be translated using a different font or color, should that make sense. In fansubbing, it may even be a good idea to switch fonts for different dialects.
I’m not the only one who does it. While Yen Press isn’t terribly good at producing translations by any stretch of the imagination, they do recognize this as a tool: they use alternate fonts in Date A Live and Nanatsuma (or at least the ebooks) to great effect. Nanatsuma, by the way, is one of their few decent translations, and it’s a good series to boot, so by all means check it out.
This rather long conversation with Grampa has… a bit of a recurring pattern. He’ll say something, the gang will ask him a question, and he’ll respond with “that’s right” before continuing. You can see that in three places here: rows 8263, 8272, and 8276. Though I axed that second one in the translation because I felt it was getting pretty egregious. Oh, you know what? Changing that “children” in 8276 to “youngsters.” One sec…
Anyway, this kind of repetition gets stale fast in English, so unless it serves some sort of greater purpose (which I didn’t feel in this instance), it’s often a good idea to do some editing, hence why I threw out the “sou sa” in 8272. And even with the instances I do keep, I try to vary them up considerably.
Fuck this word. It’s one of those words that can mean two completely opposite things. On one hand, it can mean “wedge,” as in a triangular tool you drive into something to split it apart, as it does here. On the other hand, it can also mean “tie” or “bond.” And I think it’s obvious from this screenshot that the double meaning is intentional. The problem is, this wedge actually shows up in an image. It is indeed a small, triangular piece of wood. So I have no choice but to use “wedge” here and throw out the metaphorical meaning.
I came up with a lukewarm solution to this problem in 8404, but that’s a spoiler line, so I can’t show it to you. I’m not fully satisfied with-
Wait. Wait wait wait. What if I change those first two instances – 8393 and 8395 – to linchpin? That… That could help. That could help a lot! Holy shit, I’m gonna try it!
Yeah, I’m liking this a lot better now. By using both “linchpin” and “wedge” here, I’m equating the two, so now either one can work when this term shows up again later in the text. They’re both pretty uncommon words, so the reader is sure to recall this scene when they come up again.
Incidentally, I think I’ve come up with a working title for the game. Just like how I rendered “Sen no Hatou, Tsukisome no Kouki” as “Senmomo: A Billowing Bladestorm, A Persica Princess,” I think I’ll render “Yui no Kotonoha” as “Yui no Kotonoha: A Tale of Homecoming.” Might need some workshopping, but I think I’ve hit on something here.
Nothing too mind-blowing here. Just want to call attention to the non-obvious rendering of Tarou’s lines here. A straight rendering of 7407 as “Well, that’s good” and 7409 as “The human world isn’t all good things, you know?” would have felt rather flat and wouldn’t have put Tarou’s personality to good use. They’re not unnatural or incorrect English, to be fair, but there’s not any life to such bland renderings. It’s all well and good to remove blatant Japanese-isms from a translation – that’s how you avoid translationese like “it can’t be helped” – but you need to keep in mind the effect a lack of English-isms can have on a text as well. Just as the original authors bring the source text to life with the idiosyncrasies of their own language, it falls upon the translator to enrich the target text with those of theirs.
This is hardly the first example of this I’ve shown you, but I don’t think I’ve ever stated it this directly. Take this as an indication of how you can make a translation come alive while still staying true to the original sense.
Ah, another staple. Except “sekinin wo toru” occurs a whole lot more often in Japanese than “take responsibility” does in English, and it carries a different cultural weight. As you can see here, I opted for a more natural expression, one that I was evidently very proud of. And yeah, I think I still am. Only two lines in this screenshot because holy shit is this scene spoilerific.
Well, I’ve now gotten past the big emotional moment, and now I’m at the H scene, but I think I’m gonna break for lunch. Gotta make sure I get to that family diner I love before it fills up.
And I’m back. God, that place’s omelet rice is to die for. If you ever find yourself out in Kochi Prefecture, hit me up and I’ll point you to some good-ass food. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, but you don’t mind, right?
And this morning, I had an egg, ham cutlet, and yakisoba sandwich from Lawson. That was really good. And after that omelet rice, I got me a custard taiyaki… Even in the sticks, there’s some real great stuff to eat.
What’s that? Yui? Oh, right. I finished the H scene and the true route. For… certain reasons, the back half of the true route is very, very hard to screenshot, even more so than the Reika route, which is why I bring you this little thing from the lead-in to Yui’s bonus H scene. It’s another example of how a slight change in the order of lines can make a world of difference. In row 8547, y’boy’s sipping some tea. I think you’ll all agree I did the translation some major favors by swapping 8548 and 8549.
But yeah, now that I’ve finished Yui’s bonus H scene, I’m… done. Wow. That was faster than I expected. I hope you enjoyed this little series of posts, and I hope you’re looking forward to the release of the game. Actually, considering how short it is, I might just give it another pass or two while I wait for Pangolin to work his magic… If I find anything worth noting, I’ll be sure to post about it.
If you’d like to share your thoughts, then by all means, leave a comment here. Or, you can find me in the Operation Bellflower Discord server. If you want to see even more of my writings, I post a lot of long-winded rambling about the light novels I read over on /r/lightnovels, so go ahead and check that out if you’re curious. Other than that, you can expect to see me in the weekly translation status threads on both subreddits. See you later!