July 24, 2007

"Shadow of the Moon" revisions

TP is the TokyoPop translation. EW is my translation.

Chapter 41

1.  TP: People say it's a lot like Over There. Of course, that makes sense with the king being from Over There himself."
      "By that, you mean he's from Wa, or Kan?"
      "Where you're from--Wa.[1]"
      "So . . . That's it? You're coming with me for a little sightseeing?"
      Rakushun looked up at Yoko. "Still don't trust us, Yoko?"
      "It's just that you're too kind. It's hard to believe."
      The rat scratched at the fur on his chest and shifted the weight of the large cloth satchel swung over his back. "Well, we're floating in the same boat, as it were.[2] As you can see, I'm a beastling."
      "A what?"
      "A beastling, or half-beast--we're called hanjyu [3]. Our kind isn't favored by the king here in Kou, just as he doesn't like kaikyaku. Tell you the truth, he doesn't like anything out of the ordinary, really."

      EW: It's like that other world, probably because that's where the king is from."
      "Like Yamato or like China?"
      "Like Yamato. The Royal En came from Yamato."
      "And that's your only reason?"
      Rakushun looked up at Youko. "You still don't trust me, do you, Youko?"
      "And perhaps you've been overdoing it a bit?"
      The rat was carrying a knapsack on his back. He scratched the fur on his chest. "Well, look at me. I'm a hanjuu."
      "A hanjuu?"
      "A half-beast, a chimera. The Royal Kou doesn't like hanjuu, either. He hates kaikyaku, hates anything that is different."

1.1. As noted previously, I decided to resolve the Wa/Nippon/Hourai references as Yamato only. I find it a little odd that TokyoPop would go with the straight furigana reading here and yet literally translate the name of the Royal En elsewhere.

1.2. Additions not in the original.

1.3. I don't like this translation. My rule in cases like this is to define the word in context, and then use the original term (though I have gone back and forth between kijuu and pegasus). I'm also dead set against using Kunrei-shiki romanization in popular literature. Kunrei-shiki is useful in linguistics, but is confusing to the casual reader.

2.  TP: Not that it's me fault."
      Yoko nodded. So, he sympathized with her because they were both discriminated against. That made sense, though Yoko still doubted that was the whole story.

      EW: Not being able to do anything about it doesn't make it my fault."
      Youko replied with a slight nod. Though she vaguely understood what he was getting at, it didn't assuage any of her misgivings.

TokyoPop is stretching out this passage a bit much.

3.  TP: Rakushun gave the fur under his ear particularly good scratch. "You know, I went to the top school in the region. And I was top in me class. They even selected me as a scholar of the state, recommended me for the Lesser Learning. That's the top school in Jhun.[1] If you go there, you can even become a regional official."
      "And a region is larger than a prefecture, right?"
      "Yeah, it goes prefecture, then territory, then region, see? Every province's got a few regions. Though the number differs by province. Now, a region's got 'bout fifty thousand households in four territories. Each one of 'em's got 'bout twelve thousand five hundred households and five prefectures. Political geography was me specialty," Rakushun explained with a twinkle in his eye.[2]
      Yoko merely nodded. She had trouble envisioning fifty thousand households. How many households did Tokyo have, anyway?[3]
      "Of course, they weren't even supposed to let me into the regional school. But Mom fought for it hard. 'Get good grades, you can go to an even higher school and become an official of the kingdom', she'd say.[4] Because I'm a beastling, I could never get land, but if I got rank, well, I could be the keeper of some measly little farm,[5] at least." Rakushun sighed. "They stopped me at the doors. 'No hanjyu in the Lesser Learning,' they said."

      EW: Rakushun scratched the bottoms of his big ears. "Do you know what a joushou is? It's a district academy. I was first in my class and was recommended by the dean to the provincial university. If I had gone to university, I could have become a local government official."
      "Is a district bigger than a county?"
      "Bigger than a prefecture. There are a handful of districts in a province. How many's a handful depends, though. Each district has a population of fifty thousand households. Each district has four prefectures with a population of twelve thousand, five hundred. There are five counties to a prefecture."
      "Huh." She had a hard time wrapping her head around a number like fifty thousand.
      "In fact, I only made it to the district academy after my mom petitioned over and over, and she was finally able to get me admitted. If my grades were good, I knew I could go to the university and become a government official. Because I'm half-human, I won't get an allotment. But even without an allotment, I could make a decent life for myself. As it turns out, though, hanjuu aren't allowed into the provincial university."
      Well, I tried to mark up the most differing parts to be as specific as possible. I'm not sure I've succeeded. Again, most of this passage here not for the "correction" purpose.

3.1. This is another case where I don't think a literal translation is at all useful. The author does makes things difficult by using medieval Chinese terms, but educational systems are pretty much the same everywhere, and in the Twelve Kingdoms it's based on the Chinese meritocratic system that still dominates most of Asia. This is case of finding the best word to fit semantic categories that already exist.

national university
provincial university
shire prep school
elementary school

3.2. The addition is not in the original. I worked out the specific geographical terminology a while back with immi.

3.3. The addition is not in the original.

3.4. There isn't an embedded quote in the original, but I would strike "knew" from this sentence: "If my grades were good, I knew I could go to the university and become a government official."

3.5. This addition doesn't make sense. Rakushun says that by getting an education he could make a life for himself without an allotment.

4.  TP: She works the private fields for a rich man who lives nearby."
      "Private fields?"
      "Aye. The land the officials assign you is called granted land. The land you cultivate yourself, with permission of course, is private land. Me mum is the only one in the family who works; I don't. I want to work, but I can't. No one will hire a beastling. They lose too much on taxation."

      EW: She farms land rented from one of the richer homesteads in the area."
      "Homesteads are granted by the executor for public lands. After getting permission from the government, the newly cultivated land is called a homestead. Still, my mom can work the land, but not me. People don't hire out hanjuu. The taxes are too high."

The term "homestead" I use here comes from American geography. A homesteader would earn title to a plot of public land by farming it continuously for a certain number of years. This needs to be distinguished from the allotment granted by the kingdom to every eligible citizen, as explained in chapter 25 of A Thousand Leagues of Wind. Rakushun's mother sold her allotment (to pay for Rakushun's education) and is now a tenant farmer on a privately-held homestead.

5.  TP: "Well, some beastlings are like bears or oxen. They're stronger than average people, you see, so having them seems an unfair advantage, and the farmer gets taxed more. Of course, that don't mean much when you're born a wee ratling, but the officials don't bother to make distinction when it comes time for taxation. The long and short of it is that the king here just dislikes beastlings."

EW: "Among the hanjuu, there are also those of us who resemble bears or cows. They are more powerful than ordinary humans. But what it comes down to is, the king doesn't like hanjuu. That's all."

The addition is not in the original.

6.  TP: That's why we're so poor."
      Yoko nodded. It seemed lots of things in this world weren't fair; but then again, she couldn't claim that things had been fair where she came from either.

      EW: That's why we're so poor."

The addition is not in the original.

7.  TP: This is all the money Mum saved to put me in a Lesser Learning in En, where beastlings can go all the way the top, to the Great Learning.[1] They can even become officials of the kingdom. They are treated like people, and can have fields and their own family estate.[2] I thought, maybe, if I brought you along, I might be able to find a place for me in En."
      There we go, thought Yoko cynically. Now we see the real reason for Rakushun's eagerness. Surely he didn't mean her harm, but it hadn't been pure goodwill either. When did he first get the idea to use me as an escort to En? When he saw the sword?[3]

      EW: "This is all the money my mom saved up so that I could pay the tuition at a university in En. In En, even hanjuu are admitted to the best universities in the country and become important statesmen. I'd be recognized as a legal adult, given an allotment and included in the census. I thought that if I went to En with you, I could get myself a job, too."
      So it wasn't all out of the kindness of his heart, Youko thought cynically. There was no malice in it, but this was no altruistic act, either.

7.1. See 3.1.

7.2. Okay, "every man's home is his castle," but "family estate" is a bit of an exaggeration. In chapter 25 of A Thousand Leagues of Wind, Enho compares the average home to a small 2LDK (two rooms, living room/dining room/kitchen). Moreover, houses are located on the commons, not on the allotments.

7.3. The addition is not in the original.

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# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
7/27/2007 12:46 AM   
Very interesting. I found your translation long ago, but waited for more official version. Now it looks like I wasted a lot of time, doing so. Probably will read your version soon.

And by the way. Can you make a versions of your translation in Word format? Or better yet- plain .txt. I don't have a habit reading from monitor, but do a lot of reading from my PDA. And both pdf and html don't look any good on it's 3.5" screen.