July 06, 2007

"Shadow of the Moon" revisions

TP is the TokyoPop translation. EW is my translation.

Chapter 39

1.  TP: "Those ones are protected by the higher-ups. There are [sic] allowed to live here. Maybe . . . ?"
      Yoko smiled wryly and shook her head. His idea made sense. But she had no particular knowledge . . . . .

      EW: "They can survive with the protection of powerful patrons."
      But of course, Youko thought, an ironic smile coming to her lips. She didn't know anything worth anything in this world.

The exchange begins with Rakushun's excited [hopeful?] reaction to Youko's statement that she is a student, which suggests he sees her student status a possible solution, except that Youko knows she doesn't possess any practical or valuable knowledge.

A literal "Maybe" is not in the original, but the sentence does end with one of those untranslatable colloquial adverbial expressions ("'n da ga naa") that Japanese use when their thoughts wander off into space mulling over the possibilities of something. Equivalents might be: "Hmm . . . ?" or "You know?" or "Don't you think . . . ?" I've added a "Don't you think?" of my own to the end of this sentence.

2.  TP: Rakushun's whiskers drooped, and he made a sad, whining noise in his throat. "People can't cross the Void Sea, Yoko."
      "But I did cross it. That's how I got here!"
      "I don't think it works both ways. I've never heard of a kaikyaku, or a sankyaku for that matter, who made the return journey."
      "But that's not fair," Yoko declared fiercely, knowing perfectly well that no one had ever promised her that her life would be fair. Nonetheless, somewhere inside her she still clung to the hope that she might someday be able to return.

The addition [in bold] is not in the original.

      EW: At the tone of Youko's voice, Rakushun's whiskers drooped. "No mortal being can cross the Kyokai, Youko."
      "But I crossed the Kyokai. That's how I got here in the first place."
      "Even if you were able to arrive here, there's no way to leave. I have never heard of a kaikyaku or sankyaku returning to his home country."
      "That can't be right." She simply could not accept that it was not possible.

3.  TP: When you go to En, you must ask for aid from the Ever-King."
      "The Ever-King?"

Although differentiating between the kingdom name and the name of the king is a bit more tricky given the lack of kanji, I think preserving proper names as actually pronounced is better that tossing out the baby with the etymological bathwater. Or perhaps I should say the phonological bathwater. Naming conventions for royalty follow a specific pattern: regardless of meaning, the chosen kanji are pronounced the same as the name of the kingdom: Kingdom of En / Royal En / Enki. I feel it is better to preserve these pronunciation patterns and define the meaning in context than to address people by the dictionary meaning of their names, which feels to me distinctively unnatural.

4.  TP: It took Yoko some effort to keep from rolling her eyes.

      EW: You've got to be kidding! Youko wanted to shout, but held her tongue.

The sentence begins with "Sonna." One translation offered by Ejirou is: "No way!" And then continues (LIT): "Youko came close to raising her voice, but managed to restrain [herself]."

5.  TP: "A taika?"
      "Aye," said the rat, drawing the characters with his delicate paw:
      "It means someone born Over There. They say it happens, but only very rarely. Taika are really people of this world, but they get born Over There by mistake."

      EW: "A taika?"
      "The fruit of the womb, it means. Born the same way as they are in that other world. It's really rare here. You have to wonder if, in fact, he's not one of us at all, but was born over there."

      LIT: Womb [kanji]. Fruit [kanji]. The manner in which [babies are] born over there. It is very rare. In fact [it is], a person from this place, and yet by mistake born over there.

My version is clumsy, and the subject and main adverb in the last sentence are translated incorrectly: "Fruit of the womb, it means. The way children are born in that other world. It's really rare here. A taika is a person from this world that is born by mistake in that other world."

6.  TP: Yoko's eyes went wide. "That happens?"
      "Aye, very rarely, but it does. That said, I'm not sure whether it's them getting born Over There that's rare or the ones that get born Over There managing to come back Here, if you follow."
      Yoko nodded.

      EW: Youko's eyes opened wide. "What are you talking about?"
      "It really is rare. Though perhaps I'm mistaken. It might be equally rare over there as well, or rare that anyone over there would return here. It's hard to know which."

      LIT: Youko's eyes opened wide. "Things like that happen?"
      "It really is rare. But even then, whether it is being born by mistake over there that is rare, or that returning here that is rare, hard to say."

I got the (same) adverbial wrong again: "It really is rare. But even then, I'd be hard-pressed to say whether it's being born by mistake over there that's rare, or just returning here that's rare."

7.  TP: "There's three famous ones – famous taika, that is. One's the Ever-King of En, like I said, another's the minister of En, and another's the minister of Tai."
      "Aye. They're sort of advisors to the king, you see. Though I heard the minister of Tai passed away not long ago. And the Peace-King of Tai's gone missing, which has sent the whole place into turmoil, as you might expect. Yes, you'd best head into En. Try your luck there."

Again, I prefer to keep names the same as they would be pronounced in Japanese (unless they are identifiably non-Japanese names). Additionally, it's important to distinguish between the Saiho and the other ministers. There actually is a "Minister-in-Chief" (which could be translated "Prime Minister," but I avoided that because of the modern implications), and the various cabinet ministers of the Rikkan. The Saiho, if anything, is more of a vice president.

8.  TP: Yoko's head swirled, in part from all the information she'd absorbed in such a short time, and in part because in a few moments she had gone from feeling she had no future to having a journey of months laid at her feet – a journey to meet a king!
      Talking to a king was probably like talking to a president or prime minister in her old world. Is it even possible? She asked herself. At the same time she wondered if her situation really was as unique as Raskushun said it was.

      EW: Youko found herself a bit overcome, partly because her brain was suddenly crammed with so much new information, and partly because all at once a whole new view of things had appeared before her.
      Going to visit the king, that was the kind of thing prime ministers and presidents did. Was it even possible? At the same time, the prospect of becoming caught up in such weighty matters left her lightheaded and confused.

The addition in the first paragraph is not in the original. I stand by my translation. But I missed an obvious object marker in the second paragraph:

      LIT: Going to visit the king--that was on a par with visiting a prime minister or president. At the same time she wondered whether that was even possible [embedded question], also came the confusion: was she getting herself involved in something so weighty [embedded question].

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# posted by Blogger Damien Sullivan
7/11/2007 3:30 PM   
Could you expand more on #3 and #7? Particularly in #3 by itself I can't tell if you think your way or their way was better; not clear to me which is the proper name, or where Ever/Glory/Naze (whatever that is) came from.