* (1/2) Hi! I’m just curious so I decided to ask: I was wondering how big (or small) does your team’s proofreader/editor change with your (or all TLrs of MS) translations. IIRC you mentioned sometimes your TLs were changed or some were even omitted (like your notes). Sometimes I read different interpretations/translations of the dialogues from other fans (as well as other MS projects like TG) with explanations. I heard that MS is more liberal when it comes to their TLs (or so they say?)
* (2/2) But I’m really grateful with your team’s work. You’re doing the community, the fans great favor of delivering us our favorite manga series for free. I’m just really curious with the process, especially the perspective of the translators (since Japanese is a very context based language). Thank you for reading! (English isn’t my native tongue so I may not express it properly. Sorry. ^^)
Hey - It really depends a lot on the week, the chapter, what I “originally wrote” and if that seemed weird to the proofer, or not. If I’m really unhappy about an edit the proofer makes, I’ll usually salt and ask for it to be changed. (Tbh in the past I used to argue a lot about the Bleach proofing changes when I was on Bleach, and I almost got kicked off the team for that HAHA but yeah we’ve been through a lot of ups and downs.)
People always say MS is more “liberal” like it’s a dirty word. I don’t even know if “liberal” should be the correct terminology to describe translation style. In my opinion, taking unwarranted liberties with the translation and making shit up is not what a translator should do. However, translating everything word for word is just as egregious. It loses out on the nuance of the text, loses out on the way a character is portrayed, and loses out on how emotions are conveyed in the new language, if everything is translated word for word to the original text. It sounds unnatural, and it’s a lazy and unskillful way for a translator to do their work. People get so sanctimonious when translating and they say the do the translation literally, but too literal a translation and that just shows a shallow understanding of the base language they are translating from in my opinion.
Like if I were translating French and I had written “and my ass is made of chicken”, I’m sure that’s really hilarious but it’s only going to be fully appreciated by the people who understand that it’s the french way of calling out someone on a lie - sure, it will make them feel great that they got the “in joke” and understood what the “original text” was, but the “English” way of saying it would be something more like “yeah and pigs are flying”. There is also a Japanese saying that can be translated to ‘a man like fresh split bamboo’. Do you want the Japanese in a translation note, and for the translator to ask the readers to go and google it? If people want to learn a language by reading literally translated text, they are better off actually opening a text book and learning the language rather than getting a language boner every time a Japanese translation satisfies their ego that they understand the original text or whatever.
See here in Haikyuu 241, “chance truly does, favour the prepared mind” is the common english phrase.
The FA version is an attempt at a word-for-word literal translation of the Japanese raws. If you wanted to know how this universally very common phrase is said in Japanese, you should go and pick up a textbook and start studying Japanese. If you liked the FA version because you could learn what the Japanese for it is,.. you should… go and pick up a textbook and start studying Japanese. A professional translation should not sound so awkward and janky imo.
I used to be more of a “literal” translator, but I guess I’ve slowly shifted my style a bit. The reasons for this is twofold.
One is undeniably a little bit related to the proofing - too literal, and I know it’ll definitely get changed, so I try to make it sound better in English (like natural English) in the first place so I can ensure it’s correct and that it won’t get changed into something that has a chance of being incorrect/compromising the nuance and feel of the sentence.
Secondly, I have come to realise that it’s a waste of Japanese ability to translate everything word for word. It’s also important to be able to capture the nuance of a sentence, make sure it doesn’t sound janky or unnatural in english, and make the experience of reading a chapter immersive - as immersive as it would have been if people were able to read the original text. I want to have style when translating - if I wanted to get a literal translation, I’d just shove the whole thing into google translate.
Some things that the proofer will edit, is for example, if you remember last week there was the sentence “cool as a pillow”. Now, that phrase is not really in my vernacular. Maybe the proofer honestly says it, or maybe he just wanted to spice things up a bit, I’m not sure. I am not a big fan of the phrase he used, and I understand that people want to know what the Japanese text actually said in this circumstance. I originally did only write “calm” in the text file.
However, stuff like this part here in 243 this week:
He says “nice game” in the original, but I felt like if he spoke English, he would say ‘good game’ as that is a more common phrase in natural sounding english than ‘nice game’. The word ‘nice’, as in ‘naisu!’ is something that has found it’s way into the Japanese language, and used a bit differently in certain cases to what is natural in English. You also know the phrase ‘gg’ gamers use? ;D That’s also why I felt this would be more common, if you hc that these guys do know gaming terminology to some extent (if they were English speakers).
If you want to compare some bubbles between MS and FA scans (tbh I’m not a fan of the FA translations as they are rn, I miss the casanova translator :( but I went through their scan for you
My translation: It sounds more natural to me that when speaking to a friend, you’d make the language flow with the use of the word “over” and so forth.
FA version - missing the word “over”, but nbd.
My translation: In Japanese, using the person’s name could easily just mean “you”, but I thought I’d include the ‘Daichi’ here. I wanted to convey the nuance and flow of the sentences so it reads well in English too. I don’t feel that I sacrificed the original Japanese meanings, and I did my best to maintain the natural conversational tone and flow. I used “came to our match” to clarify, in the original Japanese it just says “Tashiro-san and Kurokawa-kun came!” which lacks a marker indicating where they “came to” - it’s very obvious by context and sounds natural in Japanese, but sounds unnatural in English to just end a sentence like that.
FA Translation - You can see that they clarified by saying “tashiro and kurokawa are here” instead of “came to the match” which works too. Different choice of working, works too.
Again, same deal.
These aren’t the proofer’s doing, these are my choices for what I think sounds most natural and smooth in English.
As for the other discrepancies, like Lazyshima vs Tiredshima, as I’ve talked about last week… well, I don’t like to say this because think it’s in bad taste for me as a translator to badmouth other translations and call them out on their mistakes for no real reason (and I honestly can’t be bothered) but those are FA’s mistakes, to put bluntly. Same for “past students” vs “old boys”, the raws say “old boys”. I was actually tossing between OB and Alumni, but I think the use of the word “old boys” as a direct translation doesn’t lose out when it’s sounded in english - as in it doesn’t sound super weird or janky since ‘old boys’ is a thing in English too - so I just left it as is, direct from the raws.
If you see the display board page this week with all the school’s names - there are discrepancies there too between the two versions, because there is more than one way to read the Kanji. There are many alternatives per place name. That page probably took me the longest to translate, because I spent a long time considering each of the different readings, and choosing what was the most common and likely reading and gave a lot of thought into it - I hope that pays off, and if there is clarification on the readings in hiragana in future chapters, I hope I could give people the right reading the first time, despite how insignificant that board is.
Another example you can see discrepancies is the chapter title for this week:
sorezore no shosen, and FA has put “the other first matches” or something like that but ‘sorezore’ doesn’t really mean ‘the other’, it means ‘each/respectively’. Nothing in the word ‘sorezore’ could mean ‘other’. Not in the dictionaries, and not colloqually/contextually. Furthermore, even based off context, I think this chapter focuses on not only fukurodani and nekoma’s first matches, but also the wrapping up of karasuno’s first match and some insight into their match - so I wouldn’t translate the title as ‘other’. I would say this was a mistranslation. but I’m going to leave it there now because this could go on forever and I don’t want to just trash FA’s translations.
To wrap it up - there’s no real way to definitely explain to what extent a translation is liberal, or literal, or which is better, etc. I can tell you too liberal is bad, too literal is also bad. I try to not to be google translation simulator 2.0 - so I do my best to make sentences flow and convey the nuance for an immersive and authentic reading experience (yes, newsflash, you can have an wholesome, different authentic reading experience without having the sentence being word for word translated from the Japanese to please the ego of people who want to feel like they know Japanese without actually putting in the hours and effort to consult a textbook) .If the proofer changes too much, I will do my best to ask it to be changed. FA goes too literal in my opinion, but their translation has the bare bones and there is a demographic that do enjoy that particular style. However, because I’ve read the raws, I can tell you it’s not like the literal translators don’t have their liberal moments when the inspiration hits. It’s not really fair to ask a translator to explain exactly how literal/liberal their translations are - it’s honestly best to just learn the language yourself, get fluent, and judge for yourself. I know a good translation when I see one, as well as the fact that I can see laziness and mistakes when I see one - but it’s a bit difficult to exhaustively explain.
Anyway, sorry this got so long. This is why it took me a while to reply, because I had to think of a response and set aside the time to write it! But I’m grateful for your interest and appreciate your support. Thank you, I hope you keep an eye on all the translations and enjoy the story.