[ch 0] Prologue - Not literal enough?

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[ch 0] Prologue - Not literal enough?

Postby Da~Mike » Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:09 am

Not literal enough?

I read the prolouge and discovered that there are a lot of discrepancies between it and the Japanese version of the novel. Here are some that want to point out:

First paragraph

サンタクロースをいつまで信じていたかなんてことはたわいもない世間話にもならないくらいのどうでもいいような話だが、 それでも[...]


should be translated as, I think, "The fact about until when a person believes in Santa Claus is such an insignificant topic that it can't even become the subject of any useless gossips, but if you were to [...]."

Second paragraph

The novel doesn't say "every on of my classmates," but "周囲にいた園児たち" or "classmates around me." Also, the "teacher" is in fact "サンタのコスプレをした園長先生," which is "the principal cosplaying as Santa."

Third paragraph

[...]宇宙人や未来人や幽霊や妖怪や超能力や悪の組織やそれらと戦うアニメ的特撮的マンガ的ヒーローたち[...]


should rather be "[...] alines, people from the future, ghosts, demons, espers, evil organizations, and heroes in effect-filled anime and manga who fight them [...]"

Fourth paragraph

This paragraph is actually three paragraphs in the Japanese novel. The first paragraph is from "No, [...]" to "[...] to appear." The second paragraph is from "Compared to [...]" to "[...] desirable." And the last paragraph just contains a single sentence, "I want to live in that world too!"

About the discrepancy, you translated the second paragraph as "Compared to this boring, normal life of mine, [...]." However, the Japanese version is:

俺が朝目覚めて夜眠るまでのこのフツーな世界に比べて、アニメ的特撮的マンガ的物語の中に描かれる世界の、なんと魅力的なことだろう。


which is roughly "Comparing to this ordinary world that I live in from the moment I wake up in the morning to the moment I fall asleep at night, the world portrayed as in those effect-filled anime and manga is somewhat more charming, right?"

Also, the novel says "俺もこんな世界に生まれたかった!," which is "I wanted to be born in such a world!"

Fifth paragraph

The "bowl-like prison" is actually "透明なエンドウ豆のサヤ" or "transparent bean-shaped pod." Also, the Japanese novel does not mention any "mutants" or "evil organizations." It just says "秘密組織の超能力者とサイキックパトルを繰り広げたり,[...]" or "I want to engaged in psychic battles against espers from clandestine organizations."

Cardcaptor 22:58, 6 May 2006 (PDT)

Seventh paragraph

The current translation distorts the semantics of the novel counterpart. The novel says

そいつが実は宇宙人とか未来人とかまあそんな感じで得体の知れないカなんかを持ってたりして、でもって悪い奴らなんかと戦っていたりして、俺もその闘いに巻き込まれたりすることになればいいじゃん。


or "He's actually an alien or a person from the future or something like those, that has innate inexplicable power, and he's fighting some bad guys. Wouldn't it be great if I somehow get dragged into their battle as well?" While the novel says that Kyon's getting involved is not under his control and Kyon supposes that being dragged into such situation is not a bad idea, the current translation says that he should get himself involve according to his own will.

Moreover, the novel says "メインで戦うのはそいつ。俺はフォロー役。" or "The main fighter is him. I just play the follow-up role." It doesn't say that Kyon wants to be a sidekick.

Eighth paragraph

The novel mentions two kinds of powers, テレポーテーション (teleportation) and サイコキネシス (psychokinesis), in that order, not "telekinesis" and "a psychic ability."

According the novel, Kyon does not "discover" that there are other psychics. He just generally mention that "実は他にも超能力を持っている人聞はけっこういて、そういう連中ばかりが集められているような組織も当然あって" or "in fact, there are quite a number of people who possess psychic powers, and there are definitely organizations consisting of only such people."

It is not "some sort of paranomal society" that recruits Kyon, it's "善玉の方の組織" or "the origanation on the good side" that does. Moreover, Kyon does not "protect the world against evil mutants," but he "fights against evil espers who plan to take over the world (界征服を狙う悪い超能力者と戦う)."

Ninth paragraph

There are two phrases whose meanings, I think, are heavily mistranslated. The first is "世界の物理法則がよく出来ていることに感心しつつ自噺しつつ[...]" which should sound like "While admiring how well conceived the laws of physics were and deriding myself [of his own ignorance], [...]" Kyon definitely does not express any dissatisfaction with "how normal the law of physics [are]."

The next is: "いるワケねー!.....でもちょっとはいて欲しい、みたいな最大公約数的なことを考えるくらいにまで俺も成長したのさ。" which should be translated as "I, too, have reached the point to have such a greatest-common-divisor kind of thought like 'that kind of stuffs cannot possibly exist!...... but I still want them to.'" The novel does not mention any nostalgia whatsoever.

Tenth paragraph

A word play is lost in translation. Kyon says,

中学校を卒業する頃には、俺はもうそんなガキな夢を見ることからも卒業して、この世の普通さにも慣れていた。


or "When I graduated from junior high, I also graduated from those childish dreams, and become accustomed to the commonness of the world."

The novel doesn't say anything about "[returning] to the moon." It only says "[...]人類はまだ月から向こうに到達してねーし, [...]" or "mankind has not reached anywhere beyond the mooon."

The "2-way trip from Earth to Alpha Centauri" is actually "a daytrip to Alpha Centauri" (アルファケンタウリまで日帰りで往復出).

Eleventh paragraph

The novel says "そんなことを頭の片隅でぼんやり考えながら[...]," or "While entertaining such thoughts in a nook of my brain and losing myself in them [...]" Kyon becomes a "high school student without passion" (たいした感慨もなく高校生). Normalcy is not mentioned, and the novel does not imply that any quality is taken away from Kyon when he meets Haruhi. The novel simply says "涼宮ハルヒと出会った。" or "then I met Suzumiya Haruhi."

Cardcaptor 00:23, 7 May 2006 (PDT)


Woah... That's a considerable number of discrepancies you pointed out there Cardcaptor! Just looking at the amount of sentences I'd have to go through to help verify your comments seems a bit intimidating... ^,^ I'll look into this section more thoroughly tomorrow and see what I think about this.

So far, it looks like you picked up lots of things that may have been missed in the Chinese version of the novels (which I presume were primarily used to translate Volume 01). Great stuff.


--Da~Mike 21:13, 9 May 2006 (GMT)

What may have happened

I think it has something to do with Tryptomine editing the hell out of the prologue trying to make it "more understandable to an english reader" I personally think that a more literal translation is MUCH more enjoyable. We don't need things dumbed down, and with his or her edits it just loses his charm. I'd completely agree with all the discrepancies and would recommend they be fixed back to the original meaning as Cardcaptor suggested. --Blank_Kun 06:57, 06 June 2006 (CST)


Nothing like that happened, I've checked the diff and it seems alright to me. The most Tryptomine has done here is mostly just paragraph-based and very, very minor changes to the dialogue to try to make it not as disjointed. If the translators feel there's more of a problem with the paragraphing, they are free to fix it. --velocity7 13:54, 06 June 2006 (EDT)
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the very literal translation I did

Postby coriolinus » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:34 am

I never got further in my own translation than the prologue of book 1 (the fact that making it that far took over two weeks had a lot to do with that), but what I did do was as literal as I could make it.

I don't know when I stopped believing in Santa Claus or other childish fantasies. I may never have really believed in a red-suited old man carrying presents. Even as a kindergardener, I understood that the Santa who appeared at Youchi Park's Christmas events was a fake. I think the children around me realized this as well, and that the teachers saw his costume for what it was.

The jobless old men who only seemed wise during Christmas were members of a whole class of beings. Space people and future people; ghosts, poltergeists, and evil conspiracies; these are the subjects of anime and manga and special effects films, but neither they nor the heroes to oppose them exist in the real world.

Well, I'm pretty sure I figured out the truth. There's really only one thing I didn't figure out. But from the bottom of my heart, I truly wished for some evidence of space people or future people; ghosts, poltergeists, or evil conspiracies.

Compared to the ordinary world of "wake up in the morning, sleep at night", there's something charming about the worlds inside anime, manga, and special effects films, isn't there?

I was born in this world. But that doesn't mean this is the world I want to live in. I want to live in a world where maidens are kidnapped into garangutan transparant pea pods by aliens; a world where people travel in time with raygun in hand to reform history for the better; a world in which phantoms and spectres carry out their supernatural vengeance; a world of secret conspiracies and psychic battles. I want to live in that world!

No, wait, calm down. What would I do, supposing that space aliens or anything else on that list came to raid the earth? It's not like I'm some master swordsman.

What if a person were to join my class--a person with a mysterious power. The space aliens and time travellers and so forth could all be hiding behind the scenes, just waiting to emerge and do battle with that person. I could enjoy becoming embroiled in their battle--not as the main character, but as a follower. I am a smart man for thinking up this wonderful scheme.

Or this might be interesting: what if I one day was awakened to previously latent mysterious abilities? Teleportation or psychokinesis; that sort of thing. Presumably, shortly after my powers manifested, I (and others similarly talented) would be inducted into some secret organization to wage war against would-be despots and rogue super-powered people. Maintaining the cover, of a normal world devoid of super powers and extraordinary circumstances, would of course be one of our duties.

However, reality is surprisingly strict. Somehow, no exchange students ever came to my class, and there were no UFO sightings. I loitered at any number of local haunted spots without meeting any sort of ghost or poltergeist. I stared at a pencil on my desk for two hours in desperation: it didn't move a micron. I glared at the back of the head of the girl in front of me for an entire class period: I couldn't read a single thought.

As my appreciation of the laws of nature grew, my zeal for the "UFO Specials" and "Paranormal Editions" on TV disappeared. I realized with chagrin that my desires simply weren't realistic, but at the same time, I came to appreciate the elegant construction of reality. Even so, no matter how much I grow up, I will always cherish the hope for the supernatural.

The transition from youthful dreams to the ordinary world of adulthood happened around the time I graduated from middle school. 1999 brought forth all sorts of millenial dreams, but none of them came true. In the dawn of the 21st century, humankind still sits reluctant to travel as far as our own moon; a far cry from the dream that within my lifetime, it might be a day trip to Alpha Centauri.

These were the things I was absent-mindedly musing about as I became a high school student----and that's when I met Haruhi Suzumiya.
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Postby onizuka-gto » Sun Jan 06, 2008 9:53 am

wow, necropost!

but nice to see some people are still interested in the vol.1 scripts.

just wondering though,

which one do you think is better, from a readers point of view, coriolinus?
"Please note, we have added a consequence for failure.Any contact with the chamber floor will result in an unsatisfactory mark on your official test record, followed by death. Good luck."

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Postby Smidge204 » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:04 am

1 year, 6 months, 2 days, 11 hours, 25 minutes

That *has* to be a new record for the forum.!
=Smidge=
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Postby onizuka-gto » Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:22 pm

Smidge204 wrote:1 year, 6 months, 2 days, 11 hours, 25 minutes

That *has* to be a new record for the forum.!
=Smidge=


that's not helping smidge.

:roll:
"Please note, we have added a consequence for failure.Any contact with the chamber floor will result in an unsatisfactory mark on your official test record, followed by death. Good luck."

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Postby Omio » Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:55 am

onizuka-gto wrote:wow, necropost!

but nice to see some people are still interested in the vol.1 scripts.

just wondering though,

which one do you think is better, from a readers point of view, coriolinus?


I know I wasn't invited for this, but I saay that the first, after being looked through for typoes and flow, would probably be a better solution. Accuracy is the key, not conformity to english. We can agree to english later.
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Postby Lumbargo » Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:23 pm

Well, to put it simply: You translate it, the rest of us non-Japanese speaking saps will do our damn best to edit it.
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