✔️ Questions about specific words or sentences
✔️ Questions about the translation process
❌ Rude things (especially about other translators)
❌ Overly personal questions
What do you mean about not wanting to be a "fandom translator"?
I get the impression there are people who get into translating specifically because they want to service a particular fandom or community. I don't think there's anything wrong with that being a starting motivation, but I also think if you want to keep translating in the long term, even if you plan on staying amateur, you have to learn to love translating itself more than just the specific piece of media or community you're doing it for. Partially because I think translation has a certain degree of responsibility that means you have to detach yourself from fandom biases at times (especially if you want to improve your skills), but mostly because I think that kind of thing is not good for your mental health. Translation's a lot of work, a lot of pressure, and a lot of responsibility, and it's not something you can sustain if you're doing this to please others more than you get any enjoyment out of it.
Another thing is that while I think translators should understand that they have responsibility as sources of information that people will reference, it's also not good for a fan translator to think of themself as some kind of voice of the community or creator of one standard. Translation doesn't work that way, and I don't think anyone should think that's what translation is about. Your take on something is still your own interpretation; you may be better informed than the average fan, and it's good for you to make use of that information, but that doesn't mean you have to be a community leader or anything. And on the flip side, I don't think people reading translation should get the idea that someone's translation is some kind of absolute word.
Digimon is where I got started with translation because it was something with a lot of material to work with, as well as something I liked (and still like) a lot. But fundamentally speaking, I translate because I like translating, and I'll pick up things related to obscure video games or 30-year-old shoujo manga if I so please. So when I do translate for Digimon, my intention is to put out what I can to the best of my ability and let others do what they will with it. That's part of the reason for the naming of The DigiLab, because I think of it as providing helpful information more than I want to be an influencer. If anything, I think it would be better to have more people translating for Digimon, considering how little support we get from official outlets...😅
Which one is harder to translate for, Digimon or Saint Tail?
They're challenging in different ways. Saint Tail had a lot of abstract symbolism, metaphors, and wordplay all over the place, and its subplots are rarely ever stated in explicit words, so I had to be very precise about checking for recurring wording, phrases with double meanings, and other things that would get lost if I wasn't careful. Kind of like being in a university literary analysis class for almost every single line in the series 😅 But the good thing is that there's about four or five specific consistent themes that everything constantly ties back into, so if you can figure those out, the rest is simply about being cautious and precise about keeping the translation in line with it. It certainly put my skills and experience as a translator to the test, but the series is overall very consistent and cohesive, making it solid material to work with.
For Digimon, on one hand, the plot points and themes it's trying to get across are generally more explicit; it's still obtuse, but you definitely won't get subplots that are primarily communicated via abstract metaphor. The part where things get tricky is the fact that we're dealing with characters with an extremely high level of complexity, extensive backgrounds, and tons of situational nuance (especially in Adventure and Adventure 02-related works). On top of that, the franchise is still ongoing, and it loves to be self-referential...and it would be one thing if it were mostly referencing famous plot points or scenes, but no, it's often things like "some one-off moment in this one episode that was never mentioned again".
I think Digimon has a reputation for being contradictory, but from what I've seen, it's actually more consistent than you'd think at first. But that's a blessing and a curse, because it means I have to remember too many things just in case it becomes important later. And you get things like LAST EVOLUTION Kizuna retroactively making the difference between "destiny" and "fate" plot-important when it had been a non-issue beforehand, or the recent THE BEGINNING relying heavily on a bit of background lore that had mostly only been in side material up until then. (Let's just say I'm going to have my work cut out for me this summer...)
Of course, the challenge is part of the fun. I wouldn't be translating so many Digimon things and even branding websites after them if I didn't genuinely enjoy it (I don't want to be seen as a "fandom translator" or anything, so the high percentage of Digimon content is really just because I like it that much). But while I posted some of my Saint Tail notes with minor touch-ups because doing so was easy, I'll probably never put up my Digimon notes because they're way too messy to be presentable, and...well, I'll be honest, because I'm pretty sure someone out there will see my thought process and accuse me of trying to force my personal interpretations on others. Believe me, I'm trying to keep any potential deviations and speculation to a minimum. It's just that with translation, and especially with Digimon, you're inevitably going to get to a point where you have no choice 💦
Hello. Something I've begun to notice when watching anime is that, it often feels like the word 親友 comes up a lot when it feels like there's some kind of romantic subtext, especially between two female characters. I've started to wonder if the word has been used as kind of a euphemism, for when the creators can't just put romantic implications right on the surface. But I don't have anything to go on except my own hunches and interpretations. Do you think there's something to this, or is it just wishful thinking?
By itself, the word doesn't have any romantic implications per se, so just because you see the word 親友 doesn't necessarily mean there's some subtext that's being swept under the rug. The easiest way to think about it is that it's analogous to the phrase "being close with someone" in English.
However, as with pretty much everything, context is very important! Even in English, there's things like the difference between "I love you (because you're my one and only soulmate)" and "I love you (because you just did me a huge favor and I'm saying this because I appreciate you being a lifesaver)". So if you see someone describing a friend as their 親友, it may be in the sense that they want to distinguish it from the other words they could have used to call them a friend, such as 友達 (a "friend" in the sense that it's someone you enjoy hanging out with on a daily basis), 仲間 (a "friend" in that you're in the same boat regarding something or are like-minded), 知り合い (a "friend" in that you're just generally acquainted but may not know each other that closely), and so on and so forth. In contrast, while the word 恋人 technically means "a subject of romantic interest", it could easily refer to someone you have a crush on because they're attractive but don't actually know that well.
For someone to be a 親友, it has to be someone you have a meaningful emotional connection with, as in the kind of person you'd be willing to sit down and have a real heart-to-heart talk with. So it probably crops up in romantic or romantically-loaded situations a lot because that's also the kind of relationship lovers or potential lovers should ideally have. (Think in the sense that a lot of advice about romantic relationships will say that your partner should also be your friend.) I can definitely imagine a creator not wanting to call a relationship explicitly romantic and thus going for 親友 because that's how they can invoke emotional closeness without being firm about it, but I also don't think it would be that unusual to see a couple describing each other as 親友 in a situation where they want to make clear "we're not just dating out of attraction, we truly understand each other." So whether the usage is euphemistic or whether it's just saying how it is would depend on context.
Hi, for the digimon survive translation, do you have the Japanese lyrics as well for it?
They've never been released officially, so this is the best I've been able to get: https://twitter.com/kazakazarinn/status/1566894383835668480
Uh,i am making a project on onscure digimon topics,and i felt like it would be great if i can use your materials. I will credit you and give the links,don't worry. It just that,i want to inform you because it doesn’t feel great taking it as it is. Thanks! And look foward for the product!
Would you consider translating the website profiles for The Beginning?
I'm actually considering doing a pet project right now where I translate the human character profiles from Digimon websites and submitting them to Wikimon or something; I noticed they have them for the Digimon and not the human characters, but the website profiles often have interesting info that you wouldn't normally find in fan summaries. I don't know much about wiki markup, though (I'm decent with HTML and CSS so I understand the theory but anything to do with nested templates confuses me), so I'd definitely need to get someone's help.
what's the italian(?) at the beginning of izumi's character song?
I have no idea! It's clearly Italian because the first word is obviously "vento" ("wind"), but past that I can't make heads or tails of it; the Japanese accent is just too thick. It's not in the official lyrics, either, so I have nothing to work with. If any Italian speakers would happen to know, I'd appreciate any help!
As I know that you are helping with the translation process for Danball Senki novels, can I ask that what is the process of the Danball Senki W Novel vol 2 now?
What was the most interesting thing you've learned in the process of translating prose novels?
Probably practice in getting around Japanese novel format aspects such as changing tenses between past and present (English normally uses past tense uniformly for fiction), the fact dialogue lines are kept on the same line with the speaker being stated only right after, the fact dialogue and internal thoughts aren't always distinctly separated out, etc. These are all things I'd encountered myself as a reader without worrying too much about it, but being faced with the task of restructuring it so it'd be readable to English speakers and not confusing was a very different experience. I feel like I've definitely improved a lot in handling this between the Kizuna novel (the first one I ever tried) and the Ex-Aid one (the most recent one), but I've got a long way to go.
For something more specific, I realized very intimately how much Ex-Aid likes to reference existing memes in Japanese gaming culture and how much it demands familiarity with it to be able to translate for it.
what's your opinion on digimon official subs in general?
The quality varies a lot from series to series. Personally, I think the Crunchyroll subs for recent series (Adventure: and Ghost Game) are very good. In particular, I really like some of the translation choices Ghost Game makes for things like "saikyou" (lit. "strongest", translated as "champion") and "kansuto" (lit. "stat cap", translated as "integer overflow"). The Xros Wars and Appmon subs on Crunchyroll also seem to be very good.
Despite my complaint about Adventure tri. leaving "jikochuu" untranslated, I think the subs are good for the most part. They're a little vaguely phrased, but I think that was probably inevitable; Japanese is a "high-context" language that normally requires translators to rely heavily on context to fill things in, but Adventure tri.'s context itself is often vaguely written (and sometimes even contradictory) even in Japanese, and I don't think there's much that could have been done otherwise. At least, I don't remember seeing any lines in the subs that made me feel they were semantically mistranslated. On the other hand, LAST EVOLUTION Kizuna's subs are awful; they might look like they read okay on first glance, but there's misheard lines and lines mistranslated to mean the opposite of what they're supposed to, and I don't think the translator was familiar enough with Adventure (or Adventure 02) to pick up on the references they were making. To make things worse, the official subs for the new Adventure 02 movie's first trailer shows signs of the same kind of sloppiness (it translates "gate" as "door" even though "gate" is an important story and lore term in Adventure 02), so I'm already not optimistic.
From what I saw of the Adventure subs on Crunchyroll, I think they're very well-done; a lot of thought seems to have been put into the jokes, wordplay, and things like Tentomon's Kansai dialect. The (current version of the) Adventure 02 subs on Crunchyroll are more of a mixed bag; they seem to be a re-edited version of the really awful one that used to be on there a long time ago, and there's a lot of remnants of the old version that don't seem to have been addressed (personally, I think it would have been better to just redo the entire thing from scratch instead of trying to salvage the old one). The inconsistent terminology was smoothed out and some of the lines have really good and punchy translations, but there are still some lines that feel shaky, don't have enough attention to character voice, or are even still mistranslated. I think the best comparison would be the Cyber Sleuth/Hacker's Memory localization, which also flips between really well-translated lines and really conspicuously bad ones.
To put it briefly, I think they're generally definitely better than the infamously disastrous Tamers subs that used to be on Hulu, but there's still a lot that needs to be improved. Of course, this is all just my personal opinion.
I remember watching tri. back in 2016 when the second part was released and there was a peak of Mimi fans on some spaces using the word "jikochuu" untranslated. I found this peculiar because the BR-PT subs translated the term to "egoísta" (selfish) instead. And then, the same word had already appeared in a digimon material before -- MenAS -- as a joke-mon for Tentomon's Armor Evolution. I noticed you translated the names of all those jokes, so I'm curious about that choice.
Personally, I dislike the fact Adventure tri.'s official English subs left the word untranslated. There's no good reason for it, and, with the exception of very rare cases, leaving a word untranslated like this usually leads to more problems than not.
The word "jikochuu" (自己中) used in Part 2 is an abbreviation of the word "jikochuushin" (自己中心), meaning "self-centered" or "egocentric", and is a slang word often used by younger people. It's distinguished from the word "wagamama" (わがまま), which was used for Mimi back in Adventure, in that "wagamama" is selfishness along the lines of being "spoiled" or "needy" and can occasionally have cute or endearing connotations, but "jikochuu" implies making everything about oneself and having no consideration for others, meaning its connotations are basically entirely negative. I dislike the fact it was left untranslated in the official English subs because they make it sound like it's some kind of unique or quirky term, but it's actually just normal slang and there's no need to give it this kind of special treatment. At best, it's distracting, and at worst, misleading. I think the Brazilian Portuguese subs (and potentially other language subs) definitely made a better call in translating it.
I'm guessing the English translation's rationale was that the word had to believably be one Mimi wouldn't know due to it not being "standard" language, and I think the original intended implication was that she wasn't familiar with the slang word because she was living in the United States for a time. I say "I think" because while the series has other "Mimi misusing Japanese" references, as you pointed out, "jikochuu" was already enough of a recognizable slang word to be used in a 02 drama CD from 2001 (it ranked in the top ten for the 2000 Neologism/Buzzword Award), so Mimi would actually be quite likely to know it. In my experience translating things like interviews and other official material, while translating Digimon and especially Adventure-related things usually requires drawing from older series in order to fill in proper context, Adventure tri.-related text will range from vaguely mismatching to sometimes even directly contradicting things from the original series, so the only thing you can do at such times is try to work with what you have.
Either way, I think "jikochuu" in this context could have easily been translated as something like "self-centered" or "self-absorbed"; it has a nuance of being slightly idiomatic, and it's actually what "jikochuu" literally means ("jiko" means "oneself", and "chuu" is "center" or "within", so if you want to argue that "self-centered" sounds too self-explanatory, you could say the exact same thing about "jikochuu" too). Alternatively, something like "egocentric", which is recognizable English but used somewhat uncommonly in vernacular, would probably be fine...but really, I think there's a number of possible solutions one could come up with instead of leaving untranslated and making it come off like some kind of high-level term with unfathomable nuance...
For Armor Evolution to the Unknown, I translated all of the joke Digimon names because making sure the audience knew what they meant (or could enjoy the puns) was more important than keeping the names intact. Normally I don't change Digimon names, but these were all obvious joke names, so semantics seemed more important for this case. I went with "Selfishmon" because he immediately proceeds to make everything about itself, so the nuances were obvious already. (That, and "Selfishmon" has a bit more of punch to it as a name than something like "SelfCenteredmon", don't you think?)
hi, I just wanted to ask more about the reasoning behind "pocket garden" in Distorted Happiness
The word is 箱庭 (hakoniwa), and I recommend looking it up on image search to see what that is. The literal translation would be "miniature garden", but I didn't want to use that phrase because without context, it wouldn't bring up the right image. Not that I think the image of Thorn gardening small flowers wouldn't be nice or whatever, but that's not the reason the word 箱庭 is used in the song.
The reason Thorn calls Mobius a "miniature garden" is that a miniature garden is an artificially cultivated space in a small, sealed-off area, so whatever I used needed to capture that. Like a miniature garden, Mobius consists of things that are seemingly natural but are deliberately tweaked to "grow" a certain way, and is maintained as a small, isolated paradise away from the rest of the world (reality). I initially considered breaking 箱庭 into its kanji components (a technique I use often when the components are closer to the intended nuance than the dictionary word) and going with "garden in a box", but I eventually settled on "pocket garden" because I felt that captured everything I needed. The correlation with "pocket universe" invokes the idea of a whole world condensed into a small, sealed-off area, and the impossibility of a garden fitting into a "pocket" invokes the idea of a paradise being artificially shrunken down and sealed away. Thorn uses the word in the sense of "I don't care if this is a false, fragile paradise, I still want it to last forever," so I wanted to emphasize that.
Does the Fourze novel not have a timeline?
They only started including them in the Gaim one. Every one after that one so far seems to have one, the only exceptions being the Zangetsu one (because most of it would be redundant with the Gaim one anyway) and the Zi-O one (because I don't know if making a chronological timeline for it would even be possible).
but why "Chronos" tho
I'm aware "Cronus" is official, but I started off translating for Digimon, and the first thing you learn when you translate for Digimon is that it's best to casually disregard whatever Toei and Bandai gives you for official romanizations. I'm sure Rider fans already know the infamous "Gord Drive" by now, but either way, unless you want your head to hurt, official romanizations are best taken as a "mild suggestion" and no more than that. There are certain things like "Para-DX" I'll acknowledge, but if I see an official romanization and feel that the downsides outweigh the benefits, I'll ignore it.
Traditionally speaking, Cronus and Chronos are actually distinct gods. This wouldn't be the first time they were conflated, and it was especially common during the Renaissance, but fundamentally speaking, they're both primarily known for different things. The problem is that "Cronus" is mostly known for being the father of Zeus, eating his kids, and getting defeated by his own son. That might be somewhat relevant to Masamune, but while I know ironic names are common in Rider, I have a hard time believing Kuroto would want his "ultimate warrior" to be associated with something like that.
On the flip side, the arguments for "Chronos" are much more compelling. On top of all of his motifs centering around the concept of time (and the Pause function being originally intended as the key technique for fighting Gamedeus), there's also the parallelism with Kamen Rider "Chron"icle; the word "chronicle" itself comes from the same root word, being about "recording events in the order of time they occurred, so "Chronos" is thus able to manipulate said time. Chronos comes from using the Kamen Rider Chronicle Gashat to transform, and he's also meant to be the ultimate representative player of Kamen Rider Chronicle, so the parallel naming is important. I also check Japanese fan resources (for the sake of seeing if there are references or other things I need to pay attention to) and all of the ones I've found bring up only the god of time and not Zeus's dad, so it's obvious which of the two is more strongly invoked for the target audience.
I decided to go with this just because casually ignoring official romanizations when they don't look helpful is my policy in general, like I've been doing with Digimon for years. This is just my personal assumption, but since Cronus and Chronos are both クロノス in Japanese, if you look up クロノス on search engines, you'll get more results about the former (because he's more famous), and that's very likely to be the only real reason the official romanization went with that. This kind of thing is very common when it comes to official romanizations, so that's why I prefer to take them with a grain of salt.
since you said you were interested in certain rider novels but not others which are you interested in? just curious
Ones I have high interest in: Ex-Aid, OOO, Drive, Zangetsu
Ones I'm tentatively interested in: Blade, Ghost, W, Decade, Zi-O
Ones I can't say anything about because I haven't seen the series yet, but maybe that'll change in the future: Kuuga, Kabuto, Den-O, Wizard
Basically no plans to do unless something major changes: Agito, Ryuki, 555, Hibiki, Kiva, any Rider thing outside the Kodansha Character Bunko series
Like I said before, I'm mainly giving priority to the ones that have tighter relationships with their respective series or explain certain things better in them, so all of the ones I've firmly decided against are the ones that are complete AU stories. Also, it just happens to depend on how much I personally like the actual novel itself (which is not necessarily the same question as how much I like the series it's based off).
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