Over-localization



  • @flarecde said in Over-localization:

    I don't see an issue with asking "why A and not B." It's a valid question from the purist point of view, and anyone making the argument should have an answer.

    That's not what's happening though, they're saying "I'm outraged about A, because I heard about it from someone else, but I don't care about B since it never came to my attention." Specifically in reference to the "he's Japanese therefore" argument.


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    As I've said before, translation is an art. It isn't something that is easy to do and the same method won't always work in every situation. I just don't agree at all with over-doing the localization (in the case of some companies, the localization is redone to the point of being past even a rewrite. The localized version basically told a completely different story using the same characters and scenes. Think the Unabridged series (which at least is done that way on purpose with the intent of poking fun at the actual series and not meant as a translation)). There are companies that try to please both sides with their translations using methods to give the 'best of both worlds', but those are becoming rarer (it is a lot of extra work to try to make a compromise that will appease both sides). That is why I try to provide extra support for companies that at least try.

    There were even a few companies that were so bad that I preferred to just get a machine translation because the machine translation was better.

    And just in case it isn't clear, I don't expect either group of non-buyers to be a significant part of the population, but it is still worth considering even if it is a few hundred USD worth of difference. Those that won't buy because of over-localization vs those that won't buy because of under-localization. At present time, neither group is going to be especially large, but they do exist and the exact ratio of the ones that matter (those who would buy) will change depending on series.

    And part of why I think it matters is because at least some are ones that, if they disagree with the translation, would rather buy the raws and read the raws slowly while looking up words that they don't know. Might not matter for the author or original publishers, but it does mean lost sales for the translated version.

    So, once again, it goes back to which side will contribute more to sales. People who would buy the raws instead of the localization, people who would buy raws and the localization, people who would only buy a heavily localized version... These are all potential buyers. While there is the option of going, 'we don't mind losing these sales', that is still something that should be decided upon.

    @novurdim said in Over-localization:

    It's not a slippery slope, there's no justification for Touya suddenly thinking and behaving like a typical american.

    At the same time forgetting about balance and thinking that changing a character any way you want is okay just to make things more familiar or because you personally think it's funny is exactly what a slippery slope is, Garfield is simply the most glaring example which could be noticed even by those who don't know japanese and have never read the original.

    Not to mention that changing a deliberately typical impersonal name to a straightforward famous reference is a horrible decision in itself.

    This. I can accept Mr. Mittens as a choice even if I don't agree with localizing names because it at least the spirit of the intent is the same. My concerns are still the same with losing things later as a result of the new name though. (Note: concern, not strict disagreement).

    @myskaros said in Over-localization:

    @flarecde said in Over-localization:

    I don't see an issue with asking "why A and not B." It's a valid question from the purist point of view, and anyone making the argument should have an answer.

    That's not what's happening though, they're saying "I'm outraged about A, because I heard about it from someone else, but I don't care about B since it never came to my attention." Specifically in reference to the "he's Japanese therefore" argument.

    I think the problem is that with over-localization, you get some things that really just stick out as localization. Sometimes it is simply accepted because there is no real other way to translate it (with a few exceptions), but there are times where it just sticks out.

    Once the translation feels off, that is when it becomes an issue. Changing a character's personality through the choice of text, as an example. Or straight up censorship (looking at a certain company here) and cutting of inconvenient parts.

    Also annoying are unnecessary changes (such as converting a word that is already in English to another word in English (or changing things like bonjour into hello for a French character (or at least someone who wants to appear French) that speaks French)).

    I can't name the exact references right now (I'd have to go through my entire archive one by one due to my inability to remember names (I can remember words, but not names)), but these are things I've seen before.


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    @farmerdad there is something called over-translation or over-localization, and honestly people hate it. also to be honest one thing that makes fan-translation still more popular than licensed material with the audience is because sometimes "professionally" hired translator just don't have the sense to keep the over localization at bay.



  • @shyevsa said in Secret Organization Vol. 1 Discussion!:

    there is something called over-translation or over-localization, and honestly people hate it.

    The problem is that everyone has a different line. What is considered "over-translation" to you might not be to someone else, or you might point to a certain aspect and say "over-translation!" while someone else might instead point to a different aspect and say "under-translation!"

    Basically, you can't please everyone. The fact that this book is selling so well shows that it at least pleases enough people to be financially successful, regardless of the localized end product. It's perfectly fine to not like the style - not every book is for every person - but I somehow doubt that the "over-localization" is responsible for a significant amount of sales or lost sales.


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    @myskaros I am generalizing thing tho. so its not about this particular title. and there is people that hate the translation but still willing to support.
    I am one of those that like to stick to the original as much as possible, and just filling the blank myself if I find something that I don't feel right. because in the end I read it for myself.

    end point, yeah I agree that you can't please everyone.
    at least sometimes j-novel translator do reach to reader for advice not like the "big" name "professional" that just bulldoze thing.


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    I'd rather something be over-localized than under-localized. I don't understand Japanese, so translators that like to leave in tons of Japanese terms/phrases/quirks in their texts are just obnoxious and ruin the flow. This is far more of a problem in fan translations than professional translations.


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    Imo, underlocalization is much better than overlocalization. I read japanese light novels to read japanese light novels, not some american young adult book with american toilet jokes collection (Hi, Devil is a Part-timer!). And there are wonderful inventions to help with unknown terms: footnotes and google.



  • @wellwisher said in Over-localization:

    I read japanese light novels to read japanese light novels

    Then learn Japanese.

    A book that's not set in Japan should not come with a secret requirement to be familiar with Japanese jokes and sentence structure, nor should a reader have to Google things constantly. Light novels are also not research papers; breaking someone's reading flow because they have to go check a footnote in order to understand what was just said is not a good practice.


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    @myskaros Err, Secret Organisation (where this post was initially written) is set in Japan.
    Let's clarify first that I'm not arguing about leaving things as they are in japanese. I even agree that speech quirks are garbage and need to be purged. Heck, even removal of honourifics is sometimes for the better.
    I am telling thatif we leave the "sweet spot" (and yes, I know said spot is different for everyone), I'd prefer translation to be on a side without unnecessary changes.
    We don't mirror manga anymore, despite it being quite confusing for new people.
    Footnotes are not specific to research papers, lots and lots of fiction books have it.

    Then learn Japanese.

    Good idea. JP books are cheaper, too.



  • @wellwisher said in Over-localization:

    (where this post was initially written)

    The Secret Org topic was drifting further from being about Secret Org and more just general talk so I moved several comments, that did not relate directly to Secret Org



  • @wellwisher said in Over-localization:

    I am telling thatif we leave the "sweet spot" (and yes, I know said spot is different for everyone), I'd prefer translation to be on a side without unnecessary changes.

    I can agree with this.



  • I'm just going to throw in my own two cents. Mr/Ms sounds so unnatural that it makes me cringe every time I see it. English high school kids or friends wouldn't call each other "Mr/Ms" every time they talk to each other, So I think that should be dropped entirely and translators should just use their names and that's it. Readers can fill in the rest while reading if they know which Japanese honorific to use/even want honorifics.

    Everything else is fine and if there's a part that could be better in the reader's opinion, they can read it in their head how they want it worded.


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    my $.02:

    there are elements of Japanese culture that I enjoy being in the gestalt of LN (and anime, and manga) including but not limited to (and if they were completely removed would detract from the art):

    • Honorifics
    • activities that Japanese students do at school/dates/ living that are different than American (clubs, festivals, typical dates, vending machines, karaoke, meals etc)
    • religion (or the lack thereof)/religious practices/holidays
    • food (whats for breakfast etc)

    how some of these things get localized (translated) requires nuance, and for the most part JNC translators have done a pretty good job (Loki-dear in Magicmaster still feels weird, but I've seen honorifics handled much worse)
    in general I prefer less localization over more, and had to look up what "Oyasuminasai" meant as it became a plot point in Lazy DM, but I'm glad it wasn't localized to "nighty-nite" )



  • @jon-mitchell said in Over-localization:

    Honorifics

    You're dead to me now.


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    @wellwisher said in Over-localization:

    Good idea. JP books are cheaper, too.

    Not always:

    Bookworm Part 1 Vol 1 Kindle Japanese $8.75 vs English $6.86.


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    @myskaros

    I guess we have to agree to disagree- "sempai/kohai, -san, -sama" etc. it's difficult to translate and still carry the same "weight" - there's a line and not everyone agrees where it is and how it's handled

    Mr./Ms. can be "-San"
    but calling a classmate "senior" or "junior' as part of their name - sounds stilted and weird, but if once in a while I call my mentor/upperclassman "sempai" it seems ok


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    @godsgoldenpubes The problem with dropping honorifics is that, in many cases, use or non-use can imply anything from a belittling insult to excess familiarity. English doesn't have direct equivalents that show the "subtle differences" in formality as concisely, but yes, you have to learn that separately from the text.

    The Irregular at Magic High School has lots of examples of poor localization, especially with honorifics, in the print edition. When they convert all metric measurements to feet and inches... as if English speakers haven't heard of "meters"... it's especially cringe-worthy!



  • @jon-mitchell My eternal rebuttal is that in any other language, there are millions of books that somehow don't have anything like a magical honorific to tell you how characters are related to each other, yet no one's voiced any complaints yet. It's not impossible to translate, it just requires effort in both the writer and the reader.


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    @myskaros
    Tolstoy threw me for a loop the fist time I read it (as a translation from Russian) “why is everyone referencing that guy by his last name? Wait, that’s not his last name, it’s his dad’s fist name with ‘0vich’ added! Why don’t they just call him ‘Peter?”


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    In regards to honorifics, I think it would depend on how often it is being mentioned of its usage by the character in their monologues or how it's emphasized by the other characters to use x honorific, etc.

    I do appreciate that most of the translated ones I read here so far kept those intact.

    Also, with localization in general, the only type of over-localization that would annoy me so much is completely changing the location of the story (see Ace Attorney / Gyakuten Saiban )