Over-localization


  • Premium Member

    @shiroi-hane

    I read between 1 to 3 books a week. From trashy to high fantasy/ science books.
    Who knows where i read it. I don't know if it was a novel from JNC or another publisher.


  • Premium Member

    @dtta
    Still doesn’t feel right to me... but meh, everyone has their own preferences.



  • @guspaz IS has a definite case where over localisation has taken away at least one point where in the original Ichika sees his sister come in and says Chifuyu-nee instantly giving away their relationship, the translated version misses that but still says the class now knows their relationship.
    Also taking away the japanese honorifics often takes away many subtle changes going on in the story not just little jokes.
    For me part of appreciating another cultures art is having access to translations that don't diminish the differences.


  • Premium Member

    And some think the localisation is bad in LN.

    You never saw the german Game of Thrones.

    Jon Snow is here Jon Schnee (yep a literal translation). And this happens with every Person, Place, etc.

    This would not be so bad if the books would not be translated without this. Yeah there it is still Jon Snow. But as far as I recall this was also in Sweden the case.



  • @saskir it's the same in Spanish, all the bastards have their last names translated.


  • Premium Member

    Like and unlike many others I prefer under localization. Well not in the sense that, if it's easily translated and doesn't sound off I don't want it translated, as someone already mentioned, but that I consider the following over localization.

    When it comes to honorifics. I highly doubt people interested in and that are reading LNs don't at least know about Japanese using honorific whether or not they know all the meanings. Since typically there is no good way to translate them it just sounds off, they should just be left as is and if the reader needs more, they can look it up.
    I have actually found myself reverse translating Shield Hero 'Mr. Naofumi' and 'little Naofumi' as I'm reading.

    As for titles like Sensei while there may be something considered as a direct translation, typically people don't just call their teacher 'Teacher' in English speaking countries. It just sounds bad. Can probably get away with it if referring to a doctor I suppose.
    This always made me cringe when watching Dubs, GTO really comes to mind.

    For things like siblings calling to each other I think they shouldn't be attempted to be translated, as they usually also include some kind of honorific. If they are some sort of nick name like mentioned earlier 'Nii' - > 'Bro' while it may get the point across that they aren't specifically saying 'brother' it doesn't necessarily carry the same connotation.
    Not to mention most don't call their older siblings 'big brother/sister' in English speaking countries except maybe when really young.

    On a side note:
    I remember the first time I watched an anime that had the "girl call me 'Oni-chan' fetish" and was just translated literally to him wanting her to call him 'big brother'. Of course I didn't know of this fetish at the time and completely confused the hell out of me as to why he'd want some girl to refer to him as just 'big brother' and to top it off not even being siblings. (Green Green - don't remember which fansub group).

    For the imperial/metric debate it really doesn't matter to me all that much, as there is a true direct conversion with no ambiguous meanings or for it to sound weird. While I am more accustomed to imperial I don't expect the translation company to go that far in to converting units and can do a rough estimate in my head anyways. If I want a precise measurement I just look it up. While I know metric is the standard in Japan, if it is converted I don't really think about it and it doesn't bother me.
    If they do put both though( 'It's 1 meter or about 3 feet') I usually ending up pausing slightly and wonder. But that's it.


  • Premium Member

    I prefer my steak slightly under-localized, but for god's sake, at least translate sentence structure to something that makes sense in English. I will just straight up not buy a novel if it keeps Japanese sentence structure to the detriment of the reading experience. For example, there's no need to translate 「A子ならもう学校に行ったよ」 as ”If it's A, she's left for school already” or ”As for A, she's left for school already” every time. Argh. I just skipped Archdemon's Dilemma because of this.

    Also, I prefer metric because I'm not from the US.


  • Premium Member

    @nosgoroth said in Over-localization:

    For example, there's no need to translate 「A子ならもう学校に行ったよ」 as ”If it's A, she's left for school already” or ”As for A, she's left for school already” every time.

    Ok then what would be a better way to say that? I do not see anything wrong here with the English.

    As for how I feel about localization, I rather it be consistent. Like if you translate manga to comic keep it as comic. Though I do prefer the use of English words over japanese words with some exceptions like I don't mind having kun, Chan, San etc. Or names, not just names of characters but stuff like tsundere. I would rather have "all according to PLAN" but I do not mind if you say comic or you say manga as long as you stick with one.


  • Premium Member

    @drone205

    It's not incorrect, yes, but you could (and, I think, should) use “A already left for school if you're looking for her”, or “A? She's left for school already” or “A's on her way to school by now, you know” or any other similar construct that conveys the same meaning but that's not just simply translating words directly without thinking about natural flow. You can also take the chance to work on character voice like this.


  • Premium Member

    @nosgoroth I feel like for repetive use of a certain kind of phrase should be more against the japanese author and editors and not the translators. Also repetition is not a bad thing, in fact I have a bit of a gripe with this kind of thing on how teachers tell you not to use the same word twice.



  • I personally am in the 'under-translated' preference group, which is why even when I own the official version, I usually prefer the fan-translated version.

    There are a few areas especially that I consider this important and as a few examples:

    • Local references such as local legends, local games, etc.: There are a few ways to do this, but two methods I like are:
      ** Some translators put the meaning in footnotes
      ** Some translators put the original text in footnotes
      ** Both of those methods allow you to understand what is actually happening, which is sometimes very important for later interactions as otherwise you start getting either translations that don't quite make sense or translations where as the story progresses, it starts warping from a translation to a rewrite.
      ** Another method I've seen is where the original meaning is part of the text along with the translated version, but this can feel odd if done poorly.
    • Words that have a very key meaning behind them. (For example, names and chants and wordplay)
      ** As someone who does a lot of very odd tricks with my stories, it is somewhat sad when wordplay is lost through translation. This has a bit to do with local references at times and often has the same methods of dealing with them, but...
      ** Take a four square spell as an example or even a simpler four character square spell.
      *** With a 'Four Character' 'Square' Spell, the key to the spell is that you can read it in any direction and it will have a meaning. In other words, reading it from up to down, down to up, left to right, right to left, and even diagonally all have different meanings and ALL of the meanings apply at once. This is basically impossible to translate into English because English does not use words as characters.
    • Riddles and puzzles
      ** Sometimes puzzles rely heavily on wording in order to solve. Clues are sometimes scattered throughout the text leading up to a puzzle that requires understanding of the words involved. This is basically impossible to translate properly because if you made a special note of all the key points, you basically gave the answer away, but if you don't, the puzzle can become impossible to solve.
      ** Sometimes the puzzle is based on the appearance of a character: Take SAO as an example. There was an unsolvable puzzle (you had to brute force it) because the puzzle relied on the appearance of the character and that meant to solve it properly, you needed to know the original text.
      ** Sometimes the puzzle relies on pronunciation. Take this joke as an example:
      *** A group four, comprising of English, French, Spanish, and German speaking individuals, watched a performer. Noticing that the group could not see the performer, the performer found a platform and stood upon it. Calling out to the four, the performer asked "Can you see me now?"
      ***The four responded politely:
      ***"Yes"
      ***"Oui"
      ***"Sí"
      ***"Ja"
      **And of course, some puzzles and riddles rely on a variety of wording, character appearance, and pronunciation.
      ** These sorts of puzzles are effectively impossible to localize properly.

    @drone205 I think the repetition is bad is more of a modern concept. Quite a few older literary works used repetition heavily. Sometimes as a result of how the work was passed on, but sometimes in order to convey a certain mood/concept/etc.

    But as to what some people are saying, yeah, the proper noun translation that some translators do (Looking at P*k*m*n and 4k*** in particular) is a bit annoying. There are some cases where the author wants it to be translated, but otherwise... You wouldn't talk about Rasputin and give him an American name. You /usually/ wouldn't go: Oh, let's localize Ghengis Khan into Ruler. Could you imagine the confusion if you started naming like Alric, Harold, Ghenghis, etc. into Ruler? "So comparing Ruler's rule to Ruler's...." Yeah.... That is going to go well...


  • Translators

    @drone205 said in Over-localization:

    I feel like for repetive use of a certain kind of phrase should be more against the japanese author and editors and not the translators.

    This is an interesting issue, because as always, some of it comes back to how exactly you think a translation should function. A lot of Japanese texts include more repetition than would be considered acceptable in English, but it doesn't seem to bother Japanese readers. So here's the question as the translator: do you slavishly follow the repetition because this seems to be more "faithful" to the original? Or do you take what is a smooth reading experience in the original (in a language where such repetition is not considered jarring) and try to make it a smooth reading experience in the target language, which involves reducing the repetition because of reader reaction to that particular feature of the language? Similarly, is it always necessary to translate a given word in the same way? Or is it acceptable to translate the same word in slightly different ways depending on the nuance and context?

    While I agree that it's possible to get too dogmatic about anything, I think there's a difference between repetition and redundancy, and if I'm reading a book in English and see the same word for the twenty-fourth time, my eyes start to glaze over.



  • @kevin-s said in Over-localization:

    @drone205 said in Over-localization:

    I feel like for repetive use of a certain kind of phrase should be more against the japanese author and editors and not the translators.

    This is an interesting issue, because as always, some of it comes back to how exactly you think a translation should function. A lot of Japanese texts include more repetition than would be considered acceptable in English, but it doesn't seem to bother Japanese readers. So here's the question as the translator: do you slavishly follow the repetition because this seems to be more "faithful" to the original? Or do you take what is a smooth reading experience in the original (in a language where such repetition is not considered jarring) and try to make it a smooth reading experience in the target language, which involves reducing the repetition because of reader reaction to that particular feature of the language? Similarly, is it always necessary to translate a given word in the same way? Or is it acceptable to translate the same word in slightly different ways depending on the nuance and context?

    While I agree that it's possible to get too dogmatic about anything, I think there's a difference between repetition and redundancy, and if I'm reading a book in English and see the same word for the twenty-fourth time, my eyes start to glaze over.

    An interesting take on that as well is that as I said before, not everyone thinks repetition is a bad thing, including older literary works. I mean, you used you, repetition, and, etc. multiple times in that post.

    I think that translators have a lot of things to consider. What sort of translation makes sense for a specific work? It isn't a one size fits all. There are some methods that might work on a larger set of works, but in the end, translation is really more of an artform if done properly.



  • when I keep reading the translate novel I feel frustrate with the translators, because they would not keep the translated novel close to the original. Keeping the translated work close to the original and try to make the reader see the culture of literature works is what make the most books interesting. over-localization of the work would make the reader who's love for the culture that work original came feels as if the translator throw the mud on their faces. A good example is; you're an American and someone call you a Canadian (apologize if people who take offense to this racist like example), or you call football as rugby, this declaring it would make you fell anger if that person love of what they originally is. My point is that people who love the culture where the book/novel come from would prefer the translator to keep everything close to the original as much as possible like the fan translation where these people love the japanese culture and keep the naming and quoting the same as it is.



  • @Piyarad-Supinee I agree, although I think that your last sentence makes it sound like fan translations are mostly/only Japanese texts.

    I definitely don't care what the original language or culture is - I want it to stay true to the original one way or another.

    If I wanted a rewrite, I can easily do it myself. I want a translation, not a rewrite. I can't translate some things due to how I translate (I'm trying to learn how to translate properly). I'm basically double converting from the original to my native to English (Think of it like using google to translate Japanese to Old English (The dead language, not Shakespearean), then to English). That is why I rely on translations to give me the proper translation.



  • yes I also prefer the novel to stay the as the original as much as possible like the naming, the addressing to an person, or the quote that they have I just read In other works with smartphone today and the naming of a cat character has change from Nyantaro to Mitten which sound more westernize than Japaneses since this IS a japanese novel.



  • @sinnoaria I see, thanks for your hard work.


  • Member

    My gosh again with the Nyantaro? Both Steiner and Sam have explained why an untranslated name would not make sense to English readers. This has been brought up so many times.



  • It might not make sense in terms of meaning, but it doesn't necessarily mean it wouldn't make sense as a name.

    There are two issues there.

    And it isn't just Nyantaro.

    Take Spear from another series (not JNC) as an example. That got translated even though it was an English name.

    One issue is that it is a name, a Proper Noun (yes, I capitalized that on purpose).

    It might be made of words, but it is still a name. Now, there are times when the author themselves want a name to be localized, but other than that, names should really not be localized. The meaning might not make sense, but it is still a name. The meaning can be explained if necessary.

    Take my username as an example. How would you translate it? Without Air? Evil Song? Evil Air? Without Song? Negated Air? Negated Song? Those are just a few possible meanings and all the meanings are important. Sora of Shiro is probably the closest you'll get if you translated my username to Japanese, as an example, due to the ways you can combine the names for different meanings. And that is because those names can be used to have multiple meanings. If you tried to translate my name to English, you'd end up with something like Without Evil Negation of Aerial Song. Completely different meaning no matter how you translated it.

    Then you have the usage of the name later in the story that relies on the name and you have to figure out a way to change the story to make the translation make sense.

    So yes, it is an issue to translate a name. Over-localization has plenty of different issues that are involved. Translating a name is one of those issues. Within Translating a name are even more issues relating to translation vs localization.


  • Staff

    @sinnoaria said in Over-localization:

    Take my username as an example. How would you translate it?

    Does your username have literary significance on the JNC forums beyond the fact that it's your chosen name? No? Then there's no need to translate it. The cat's name "Nyantaro" has a contextual meaning beyond "it's a random name," this specific name was chosen to make a specific point. That's why there's value in translating it to convey that.


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