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Thread: Yomigana vs. Written text

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    Translator 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member
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    Yomigana vs. Written text

    Hi guys,
    I'm just about to start off on some translating, so I thought I'd ask a question that's been bugging me for a while...
    I was just wondering what people normally do when there's something written down in kanji/katakana and then something completely different written in the furigana beside it... Bad explanation I know, but for instance, when there's like a move or something, or they're referring to a place or person they often do that.
    like, サスケ (with あいつ beside it) 威風堂堂 (with フード beside it) and things like that. Which do you put into English? just the "fu-do"? or do you put a star and add the meaning of the kanji in a footnote? or ... ? just wondering what's normally done, because if there's some kind of standard that everyone adheres to in that kind of situation then I'd be interested to know.
    Oh, and... do you also translate the little handwritten comments as well? Just wondering...
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    Last Boss ♪~( ̄。 ̄) 有名人 / Yuumeijin / Celebrity njt's Avatar
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    Re: Translating standards...

    you could try to cover both meanings with the translation. A good example of what you mentioned happen just last chapter in Naruto, here's what Nihongaeri translated as....

    気まぐれで救い、気まぐれで殺す。言い放つその表情には一点の曇りも無く…時は冷たく、友(サスケ)を変えていた。
    Sparing a life at a whim and taking a life at a whim. As he says so, Sasuke's expression leaves no room for doubt... Time has turned the heart of a friend ice-cold.

    where (sasuke) represents what was in hiragana above it.

    Generally the furigana has the same meaning as the word it's over, so it's pretty easy to convert over and or left out.

    as for the handwritten comments, that's up to you. But generally people like to see those too. .
    Serizawa: But it's really heartwarming to see such good guys - perhaps not as good as we wanted, translation-wise, but their hearts are already grade A
    If you see a mistake in my translations, let me know! Thanks Click a frog to see my Resume!!

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    Re: Translating standards...

    That makes sense!  Thankyou!
    Also, I was wondering what you do with ダジャレ...
    I just finished Ueki no Housoku volume 11, and ダジャレ played a big part in it because one of the characters had the power to make ダジャレ into reality... And he also spoke in 5 syllables-7 syllables-5 syllables like Haiku...
    How would you go about translating something like that??
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    Re: Translating standards...

    Quote Originally Posted by flunko
    That makes sense! Thankyou!
    Also, I was wondering what you do with ダジャレ...
    I just finished Ueki no Housoku volume 11, and ダジャレ played a big part in it because one of the characters had the power to make ダジャレ into reality... And he also spoke in 5 syllables-7 syllables-5 syllables like Haiku...
    How would you go about translating something like that??
    ummmm well those are tough, you want to keep the pun while still making it understandable to the audience... I'd say if possible try to get it as close to the Japanese as possible (seeing as the pun becomes reality, if you went to try and translate it to a joke that english speakers would understand then chances are the pictures wouldn't make sense....) but I'd say it'd be something quite difficult... you could always post what you translated and we could look it over...

    also for the haiku, that would make your english translation even more difficult seeing as you'd need to capture the poetic type rythm to it... So really, all i can really say is try translating it the best you can, then let us check it out and offer suggestions if we can do any better .
    Serizawa: But it's really heartwarming to see such good guys - perhaps not as good as we wanted, translation-wise, but their hearts are already grade A
    If you see a mistake in my translations, let me know! Thanks Click a frog to see my Resume!!

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    Re: Translating standards...

    Quote Originally Posted by flunko
    I just finished Ueki no Housoku volume 11, and ダジャレ played a big part in it because one of the characters had the power to make ダジャレ into reality... And he also spoke in 5 syllables-7 syllables-5 syllables like Haiku...
    How would you go about translating something like that??
    You get yourself a nice little 38 caliber six shooter, place a single round in it, open your mouth wide, introduce the cute little gun barrel into your mouth, pull the trigger, and hope the afterlife grants you the wisdom to translate that which cannot be translated.

    On a more serious note, as a rule of thumb I always give furigana precedence, the reason being simple: it's what the characters are supposedly saying out loud. So, say, should they make an animé episode where that particular line comes up, there won't be any inconsistency.

    At least that's my reasoning, anyway.

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    Yomigana vs. Written text

    Every now and again when I read manga in the original Japanese, I'll notice that what's written out and the provided yomigana are different. I was wondering how manga translators would deal with this? An example of what I'm referring to would be like in the FMA series, where Hoenheim refers to Father as フラスコの中の小人, but the yomigana is ホームンクルス. Is there any viable way to retain this double meaning without sounding awkward in English? Otherwise, would the translation default to the yomigana, since that's what's actually being said? It's an interesting play on the written form in Japanese, but I'm not really sure how to go about preserving such in translation, if it's even possible.

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    Re: Yomigana vs. Written text

    Interesting. You're the first person I see who calls furigana yomigana.

    As for your question, it depends on the situation. But mostly I would go with the furigana on the side. After all, that is the way the word(s) was originally intended to be read.
    Also, I personally think that in most of the cases, the meaning within within the kanji themselves in such cases aren't as important.

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    Re: Yomigana vs. Written text

    I generally agree on the point that the main text meaning is usually not important. At least not to the overall plot of the story. However, on rare occasion, it seems that it provides an insight into the person who's speaking. An insight we're privileged to exclusively because it is written. Would it be something to pass off as lost in translation?

    Thank you for your input. =)

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    Re: Yomigana vs. Written text

    Yes, there are always exceptions.
    Do you have an example for a case where it gives insight into a person? I'm curious.

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    Re: Yomigana vs. Written text

    The once I cited above. The フラスコの中の小人 text made sense when the being was actually a small creature inside a flask. The yomigana ホームンクルス is associated from the beginning as what the creature is being called. However, even after the creature transcends said flask, a character continues to call him as the dwarf in a flask, almost as if he were being diminutive.

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    Re: Yomigana vs. Written text

    Interesting. I personally don't know since I no longer follow FMA.
    But the literal meaning in that specific case isn't all that important right? Since the reader can tell it's a small creature creature inside a flask by just looking at the drawing.

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    Re: Yomigana vs. Written text

    It isn't important at all when the literal meaning is what it actually is (so that even if it isn't translated, the reader can simply see that it is what the literal meaning says it is). It's the continued choice of using the literal meaning once it isn't such (dwarf in a flask is no longer a dwarf nor in a flask) that's interesting. It's not detrimental to the story, but it is a small nuance. Although I suppose to a certain extent, I answered my own thoughts on this specific case (if you interpret it as being diminutive, simply translate that through).

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    Re: Yomigana vs. Written text

    What is this 'Yomigana'?Am i missing out something while learning japanese?
    I heard Furigana but not Yomigana?I am confused

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    Re: Yomigana vs. Written text

    Yomigana is basically the same as furigana. The major difference is that furigana is exclusively the kana written beside kanji whereas yomigana includes both furigana and kana that is written at standard size that provides reading for kanji.

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    Re: Yomigana vs. Written text

    I always give priority to the furigana/yomigana. Furigana indicates how the words are meant to be read and what the characters are actually saying. When necessary, I just add a note to explain the meaning of the kanji. (I do that a lot)

    I think It'd be almost impossibile to retain the "double meaning" you have in the japanese version in a translation without sounding awkward.

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