Difference in translation between different publishing companies


  • Premium Member

    Hi All,

    This is just my personal observation and don't mean to offend anyone or so but please do hear me out. I have been reading various LNs being published by J-Novel club and Yen On for past few months. I actually started with Yen On with LN "The Devil is a part timer" and stumbled upon J-Novel with LN "How a Realist Hero rebuilt the kingdom". One thing I noticed is that translation style varies a lot between these 2 publishers. I can only speak for these 2 publishers because I have read several books from them only and I can say that I prefer J-Novel club's translation over Yen On even though Yen On was the first publishing company I bought my first LN from.

    By varying translation I don't mean it in a negative way as in if words or sentences were mistranslated but what I actually mean is that Yen On translation sometimes seems dragged.

    For e.g.:
    J-Novel Translation - "The sun was hot and shining brightly"
    Yen On Translation - "The sun was shining audaciously with heat trying to beat them to submission"

    As can be see from above example they both convey the same meaning but translation from Yen On feels a bit like reading an essay and sometimes it may convey the wrong meaning. They don't do this often but when they do it seems a bit frustrating. I don't know if the Novel is written in such a way or if translator thought it would be cool to put it like that.

    I am not complaining because both of these companies have good selection that I am a fan of but it's just something that's been bugging me for quite some time and I needed to speak it out.

    I also would like to know if you have noticed differences like these in publishers or is it just me.

    Thank you for listening to me whine about it.


  • Premium Member

    It's less of a publisher thing and more of a translator/editor thing. YP and JNC might very well have different overall editorial standards, but the example you gave seems more like a personal style rather than a company policy.


  • Premium Member

    As mentioned above, the particular translator and editor(s) are more relevant than the publisher, likely the style of the original book too. There's a wide range of styles and types of prose even among JNC books.


  • Premium Member

    For those examples, unless you also had the original transcript for them as well, it's hard to use them as an example. We don't know if they were written with the exact same words in Japanese.

    Also, the thing about translating is that it is interpretation, meaning that it is how the person that reads it in Japanese conveys the same meaning in English. There are many ways to translate one sentence in Japanese to English, and a lot of the time context matters.

    When I watched Your Name, I didn't agree with some of the subs for it, as I interpreted those lines differently to the person who did the subs. But it doesn't make the subs any more or less wrong as long as it's getting the correct meaning across.

    EDIT: also after re-reading the 2 examples, they don't feel like the same meaning to me. The first seems like just a normal clear day and hot when standing in the sun, where as the second example seems like it is more in the middle of summer and very hot, maybe in a heat wave.

    The more description you get, the more you can draw from the text.


  • Premium Member

    Different English novelists could have written either of those depending on the intended effect. The Yen On version might appear in a more whimsical novel by Pratchett, Adams or Japser Fforde while the JNC version is a simpler phrase that anyone might use.

    Without the context for the Yen On version (and without understanding Japanese) I have no idea whether the translation matches the spirit of the original novel.


  • Premium Member

    @smiley_101 said in Difference in translation between different publishing companies:

    J-Novel Translation - "The sun was hot and shining brightly"
    Yen On Translation - "The sun was shining audaciously with heat trying to beat them to submission"

    I think Yen-On's translations tend to be more towards the Show, don't Tell ideology (which is usually considered preferable for writers). This is especially true with your examples; one is a literal 'this is how it is' (tell), while the other is more of a 'this is how it feels' (closer to show). That said, unless they were translating the exact same novel, it isn't necessarily an accurate comparison due to the differences in the Japanese text and intent. For example, I'll sometimes tell on purpose if I feel it is necessary to bring up a specific mood. Other times, I'll make sure to show because it is necessary for the mood.

    Personally, I prefer the Yen-On translations. Not so much due to how they translate, but what they attempt to do with their translations.

    And I kind of find it somewhat ironic, your stated reasoning for not liking Yen On.


  • Premium Member

    I think the only consistent difference I found between them is that Yen Press is more prone to localize metric units to imperial ones.

    Other than that, the source material is probably the largest factor in how the material is translated, especially considering that some of the translators like Kevin Steinbach and Emily Balistrieri work for both companies.


  • Premium Member

    @jaquobus said in Difference in translation between different publishing companies:

    I think the only consistent difference I found between them is that Yen Press is more prone to localize metric units to imperial ones.

    One of my biggest pet peeves with translations... I really wish they didn't do that!


  • Premium Member

    Don't forget that other annoying Americanization where they use "freshman" and "sophomore" instead of just using the school year.