Discussion Translation Pet Peeves

Discussion in 'Novel General' started by MoJo, Oct 14, 2021.

  1. MoJo

    MoJo Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone every seen ProZD's video of official subs vs fansubs?
    Here's a link if you curious (warning he does curse a bit in the video):


    Basically, this is my first pet peeve with novel translations in a nutshell. That paragraph of weebiness that translators put mid-chapter to justify not translating a word and leaving in foreign words cause god forbid you translate nakama as friend and lose something in translation. Just translate it all. With the exception of names, it seems silly not to.

    Secondly, my second pet peeve is translators that don't know how to use footnotes for translation clarifications. It ruins the immersions into the story.

    Third, is when translators add completely unrelated to translation comments (editors too) in the middle of the story. They have a discussion on the story or their opinion on the characters action, in the middle of the chapter. Add a paragraph at the end as a translators comment, stop ruining the reading experience, you are not Deadpool, it's not clever or cute when you do it, stop breaking the fourth wall.

    Any one have any translation pet peeves. Would it stop you from reading a story?
     
  2. Aop

    Aop [Great Destroyer of Filth] [Dao of Cleanliness]

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    I... really hate the use of suffixes like kun/chan/senpai/kouhai/sama/whatever when used in english. It really bothers me when I hear them in english in a 100% english sentence. It always (to me) felt like a half ass translation when it happens.

    But no. It doesn't stop me. Because then I wouldn't play games I love like Persona 4 or Yakuza: Like a Dragon. I handle it like any other working adult, by being ded inside and ignoring it while grinding my teeth.
     
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  3. aegis062

    aegis062 Chaotic Demon Emperor

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    Apart from the ones you mention I hate when they put the website's web address into every paragraph or 2.

    I hate when they make no effort into correcting he, him, his, she, her, hers, when we all know it clearly know that's a man/woman.

    I definitely hate it when a translator gives up on a translation 1000ch+ in or when they go on a hiatus and don't fking tell anyone.
    Hey I can't translate anything for personal reasons ect ect. <------- simple
     
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  4. Xian Piete

    Xian Piete Author of many mediocre stories

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    Yes, all of these. It seems to mostly happen with Japanese translators but a few Korean translators do this as well. I wish it would stop. I avoid all JP stories now out of habit. Complete your translations, please, if you feel that you need to add a few words to make sure we know that onii-chan is different from little brother, go ahead and interpret.
     
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  5. MoJo

    MoJo Well-Known Member

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    @Aop Yes leaving in suffixes falls into my first pet peeve of not fully translating and leaving in foreign words. So +1 in agreement.
    @ aegis062 I agree it's never nice to get ghosted, especially when you've been committed to reading the same story for month or even years. Most readers understand that real life comes first, especially in the past few years where stuff has hit the fan.

    As an extension of that, I dislike when a group/translator drops a novel but doesn't just make an announcement it's dropped. Common courtesy in the Novel Update community is to wait THREE months of inactivity before another translator can take the project. Everyone is just left in limbo. This means a four separate translators can tie up a novel for a whole year just by translating ONE chapter each every three months. Which can be skipped if the prior translator just makes a simple announcement that it's up for grabs because they stopped translating it.

    @ Xian Piete I actually find Chinese novels, especially the ones with female leads in historical back courtyard dramas one of the worst offenders. The translator just leaves in all the Chinese words for male-cousin, female cousin, maternal cousin, paternal cousin, mother not related by blood, concubine born half sibling. I even saw a translator make a damn GLOSSARY for the dozens of words she left in. Bitch, why are you even translating it when every other word is left in pinyin!?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
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  6. Kemm

    Kemm Custom title

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    My main pet peeve is blind-idiot translating, by which I mean translating without adapting to the context at hand.

    This tends to happen more often in fantasy novels, where specific terms (either common fantasy jargon or made-up terms) get translated with a different meaning (an usual example is the term for "magical displacement", which gets almost always translated as the oncology term "metasthasis"), but it can be seen in many other places, even in titles (all those R-18 novels that mention "insult"? nope, that's not it). It also happens with terms that get partially translated (e.g. the japanese term "kiyoubinbou" means "Jack-of-all-trades", but it's composed by the words "dexterity" and "poor", under the assumption that such a guy is capable of many things but not on the level to make a living out of them, which leads a lot, and I mean A LOT, of people to render it as "poor dexterity", which gets even worse in game-like scenarios with a DEX attribute).
     
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  7. MourningMoon

    MourningMoon Well-Known Member

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    Theres a novel I've been reading that I really enjoy, but the translator has translated "onii-san" into "Mr. brother"...who in the English world ever refers to a sibling like that?

    In otherwords the translation in this case is TOO direct.
     
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  8. IceLight303

    IceLight303 Well-Known Member

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    I don't really have any pet peeve, so long as it's edited MTL or a person translating it.
     
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  9. MoJo

    MoJo Well-Known Member

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    @Kemm
    That definitely come up more often when your reading a MTL translation. I surprising don't have a problem with MTL. It just takes some creative license and an ability to intelligently intuit the meaning of a sentence when the machine translates a word as nonsense. I remember I once MTL'd a Chinese novel that kept using Obama in a sentence and was trying to figure how the F that came about in a wuxia?
     
  10. CardOne4All

    CardOne4All Well-Known Member

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    @MoJo and @Aop I dont think that leaving suffixes in is bad thing (or means that the TL is lazy) since they are an easy way to distinguish the characters relationship status (friend/teacher/lovers/master) that wouldn't be possible in the english language, but I agree that some of them are fucking useless like: danna-sama (just write husband) or hime-sama or XYZ-sensei (why dont they just tl Mr.XYZ). I think the translator needs to know when they are needed and when they aren't (the japanese term), maybe the could use the jp term to distinguish between two type of thing like a martial arts teacher (with sensei) or the homeroom teacher (ms./mr.bing).
     
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  11. Guan Zhong

    Guan Zhong Well-Known Member

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    And the dumb argument that comes after it about how i'M pResRVing thE FlaVOr oF tHe oRiGInaL. I really want someone who subscribes to this theory to tell me what meaning is preserved by writing "fei" instead of translating it as "consort". If you want to preserve the flavor of the original then write 妃. 妃 is a word, fei is a transcription of the sound of the word. There's literally no semantic meaning in it. The only people who could find any "flavor" in pinyin (or romaji) are people who don't need it translated in the first place. But the average reader can't even pronounce pinyin, let alone know what it means. So whatever flavor you think might be in there is locked away from them.

    I have some more specific, detailed pet peeves:

    1. Ever see in a CN novel people say "This..." It's because the Chinese word is literally "this" 這, but they are halting in their speech, they are not actually saying "this". They are saying "Uhh..." or "Er.."
    2. Translating 銅 as copper when it clearly should be bronze, such as "copper mirror" or "copper hammer". Because 銅 literally means copper, but if you write copper in English you are implying it is pure copper, not an alloy. But the Chinese word is often used for any alloy composed predominantly of copper. But 銅鏡 is bronze mirror. Any google image search will show you that. Likewise, 銅錘 is bronze hammer. A war hammer with a pure copper head would deform on impact since copper is soft. In fact, copper mallets exist today for use when you don't want to damage the surface of something you are hitting, or to avoid sparks.
    3. Translating 聖 as "saint" when it has nothing to do with holiness. Ex. Sword Saint or Zither Saint. In these cases it is referring to someone who is highly skilled at something. Not just highly skilled, but the most highly skilled, the best. Peerless, nonpareil, a paragon. The grandest of grand masters. Not a "saint" (or a sage, which this word is most commonly used as when talking about a wise and virtuous person such as Confucius). So it should be Paragon of the Sword or Sword Master/Maestro, etc. There's no religion meaning there in that context. 聖 is also not a synonym for "god".
    4. Autopilot Translating. Plugging in the same translation every time you see a given word without discretion. This is why everyone in CN novels "seem" to be doing something and everything is "extremely" whatever, etc. Just because the text says 竟然 doesn't mean you have to write "actually" every time.
    5. A subset of Autopilot Translating is following the punctuation or paragraphing or the original text to the letter, even when it conflicts with common English usage. In Chinese it is common to see the end of a line of dialogue get a period/fullstop, then the attribution telling you who is speakingm followed by another period. Giving you a sentence fragment at the end. Ex. (“He’s asking for help or reinforcement.” An ancestor replied.) Ugh. It should be: "He's asking for help or reinforcement," an ancestor replied.
    6. Same as #5, following the original uncritically, but this time it's when one person is talking but it's split over multiple paragraphs and the quotation marks are not omitted correctly at the end of the paragraph to indicate the same person is continuing to speak in the next paragraph, leading to confusion at times over who is talking (see Absolute Resonance for many examples of this).
    7. Daoist terminology either left in pinyin (ex. Taiyi for some reason is left untranslated a lot; it's easy to translate actually: Grand Monad, Grand One, Grand Unity, or swap Supreme for Grand; there, six options for you) or translated improperly so that the imagery/symbolism of the term, imagery and symbolism which is quite important to Daoism, is erased. Nascent Soul (元嬰, yuanying) for example instead of the more accurate primordial infant. 元 means primordial/primal/original/primeval, the state of the Dao before anything yet existed. "Nascent" means coming into being, which is inappropriate here since the Dao is complete already at this stage, it is this "oneness" that Daoists are trying to return to. Things fall apart once the Dao differentiates into yang and yin qi, forming the heavens and the earth, then mingles in the center to create humanity and then the myriad things, etc. "Nascent" implies incompleteness, so that's no good. 嬰 means baby or infant and it's the result of refining your golden elixir (often translated golden core), creating a you that is made of pure yang qi so that you can ascend to the heavens. The baby imagery has a long history in Daoism, predating it actually (first mention is in Zhuangzi) and is important, especially since inner alchemy requires visualization as part of its meditating refinement technique. "Nascent Soul" whitewashes all of that Daoistness away and just reads like some generic fantasy term. Although yuanying seems to be a fictional term (I have never seen it used in an actual Daoist text), the concept is real. It's usually referred to as a transcendent/immortal fetus (or embryo), or dao fetus/embryo, or yang spirit.
      Another example I saw is 北極, which means north extremity or nothern culmen (also nowadays means north pole, but that's not the meaning here), and is an asterism in Chinese astronomy, translated as "Greatnorth", which not only obliterates the original meaning and sense of the term, it's also translated wrong; you can't just swap the order of the words around at will in Chinese; you will change the meaning. Greatnorth just sounds like some generic place name on an epic fantasy map.
    I could go on, but I'll stop here.
     
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  12. Lissi

    Lissi 『Queen of Lissidom』『Holy Chibi』『Western Birdy』『⚓』

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    I've seen that video before, it's hilarious lol

    I've never actually seen fansubs, but yes.... for JP stories, I notice the suffixes and random sound effects a LOT. One reason why I don't read them. Though, I read CN novels, and tbf, the random ohs and ahs at the end of sentences in CN novels are awful too. Also pinyin everywhere... killer :blob_coughblood:

    No one needs "auntie"/"aunt" to be left as "ah yi" for flavor. :blobsalt:
     
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  13. MoJo

    MoJo Well-Known Member

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    Fansubs were a really popular way to watch anime online in the early 2000's before online streaming anime services like Crunchyroll came around. And Netflix was also a game changer. It's kind of like how pirating music was very active until streaming music like Spotify, Pandora, YouTube music became popular. So if your under a certain age it greatly reduces your chances of ever watching fansubs. They are simply not as active as in their hey day. There are some anime in Japan that is now simulcasted in both Japan and USA(and other countries) at the same time. Used to be it would be years before an anime that aired in Japan was subbed into English, if at all.
     
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  14. Saorihirai

    Saorihirai Well-Known Member

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    same I grew up on fansubs basically lol. I never watched anime legally unfortunately
     
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  15. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    There are two major problems that I see. The first of these is when words are translated instead meanings being translated. The idea behind doing so presumes that a word in one language can be perfectly matched to a word in a different language. This just isn't true and leads to tons of mistranslations. Translators should know this but it happens a lot and often to grating effect.

    The second is the related issue that translators don't seem to realize that they're translating things into English (or whatever language). What I mean by this is that English is a pretty fragile language and words and sentences have to be put together in certain ways to feel right. Word construction that doesn't make an attempt at following the rules of English just don't flow properly and kill any enjoyment in the reading process. One common example of this is stretches of dialogue Japanese novels with multiple people talking with no indication as to who's speaking. it might be semi-okay to do this in Japanese, but it's just awful in English.

    Similar to this, 神 doesn't always mean "god" and 王 doesn't always mean "king". Something like 兵王 shouldn't be translated to "soldier king"; to confer the proper feel of the original something like "super soldier" would be more appropriate. This goes back to how translating words instead of meanings is nonsensical.
     
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  16. Kemm

    Kemm Custom title

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    It's true that it comes across more often with MTL, so when I have no other choice, I steel myself for it, but when it really grates on me is when it happens with human translation.
     
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  17. Bachingchung

    Bachingchung Well-Known Member

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    I hate this when this happened, there's literally a back and forth convo from TL, ED1 & ED2 in the middle of a chapter. Sometimes they also leve these jokes like they're some freaking funny man. I forgot the others, but the one I could clearly recall is Everyone Else is a Returnee.
     
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  18. MoJo

    MoJo Well-Known Member

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    I agree, if they have something to say then just write a paragraph at the end of each chapter, this way it doesn't ruin the immersion into the story. Also, people not interested can skip reading it. It's so annoying and unnecessary.
     
  19. aegis062

    aegis062 Chaotic Demon Emperor

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    I forgot to mention when a translator hold a novel hostage. they post 1 chapter a month and unless you pay there is no extra chapters and sometimes they post 1 chapter every 2 months so that other can't pick it up and will continue to do this until someone gives them money.
     
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  20. MoJo

    MoJo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah those kind of shenanigans are the worst. I get such schadenfreude when translators like that get sniped. It's usually my queue to drop a novel. I have a several hundred novels on my reading list and ain't nobody got time for that nonsense.
     
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