December 03, 2007

"Shadow of the Moon" revisions

TP is the TokyoPop translation. EW is my translation.

Chapter 52

1. TP: "Apparently, he's my servant. He did call me master, after all. Not that he acted very servile."

EW: "He kept going on about how he was my servant and that I was his lord and all. I'm telling you, he had this heavy-duty attitude about him."

LIT: "His attitude was very arrogant." I'm good with both versions.

2. TP: "Don't you get it? If Keiki called you master, that means you're the next Glory-King!"
      Yoko blinked. "Huh?"
      "The Glory-King! The king of Kei!"
      Yoko sat for a while, unmoving. What Rakushun was saying was so unexpected she didn't quite know how to respond.
      "You're the new king of Kei! It's you, Yoko!"

EW: "If Keiki called you Lord, then you are the King of Kei."
      "The what?"
"The King of the Eastern Kingdom of Kei. The Royal Kei."
      Youko was speechless with surprise. She could not find the words to respond.
      "You are the chosen ruler of Kei."

My distinct impression from the original text is that Rakushun is speaking more with trepidation here. There aren't any exclamation points in the original.

3. TP: "Uh-uh," said Rakushun, waving a finger. "Until he sits on the jeweled throne, the king is a mere mortal.

EW: "Every king is an ordinary person until he sits upon the throne.

The addition is not in the original.

4. TP: "That's ridiculous. Besides, even if I were a ... a ruler . . . wouldn't I be a queen?"
      Rakushun rolled his eyes. "Never mind that," he sighed. "What's important is that the taiho chose you.

EW: "This is all so stupid."

The additions are not in the original.

Referring to "king" or "ruler," the author generally uses the word Ou. The "Royal Kei" is Kei-ou. This is a gender-neutral term (adding the character for "woman" specifically makes it "queen," which the author rarely does). When speaking generically, I translate it as "king." When referring to Youko, I use "empress." To be more linguistically consistent, I should probably use "emperor" and "empress." But I prefer "king" to "emperor" and "empress" to "queen." Throughout most of Japan's history, "emperor" has been a mostly titular role, with the political and military power residing in the hands of the shogun. "Empress" and "king" have more muscular connotations to me.

5. TP: Rakushun continued to look bewildered even as he spoke on. "Yoko. You're not a regular person--you're not even a regular taika. You made a pact with Keiki, did you not?"

EW: As he spoke, Rakushun glanced down the road toward their destination. "You may be an ordinary person, an ordinary taika, but you have entered into the covenant with the kirin of Kei."

TokyoPop is correct (though the meaning is essentially the same): LIT: "I now see that you are different from normal people and from normal taika."

6. TP: "Yes, he got down on one knee before me and lowered his head. Then--that's right, he put my foot on his forehead!"
      "That'd be the pact," said Rakushun with some finality "The kirin is a high, noble beast. It bows to no one . . . except the king."

EW: He knelt before me, bowed . . . touched his forehead to my feet."
      "That was it, then," Rakushun declared. "Kirin are dignified and aloof. They obey no one but the king, bend a knee to no one but the king.

TokyoPop here repeats a previous mistranslation. The verb means "to touch something to something," such as finger to lips.

7. TP: "But. . ."
      "You want to know why? Why you were chosen? Well, don't ask me! How would I know? I'm a wee li'l beastling! I don't hold truck with gods. You know who you should ask? The Ever King!" Rakushun's voice was unexpectedly hard. He stared at Yoko, absentmindedly stroking his whiskers with a single paw "I shouldn't even be speaking to you."

EW: "But . . . . "
      "I am not the one to fill you in on the details. You should be asking the Royal En instead. I am nothing but a lowly hanjuu. I do not know anything about the Kingdom of Heaven."
      There was a hardness in his voice. He looked up at Youko. His whiskers wavered and drooped. "You are so far away from me, Youko."

Again, no exclamation marks in the original. I think Rakushun's tone is more one of resignation to an unbelievable truth.

8. TP: Rakushun concluded his little speech with a bow so deep his whiskers tickled the ground.
      Sadness welled in Yoko. "Wait, Rakushun. You don't have to treat me so different all of a sudden! I'm still me."
      "No ... no, you're not."

EW: He bowed low to the ground. It was a pitiful sight.
      Youko said, "I am who I am."
      "That is indeed the truth."

The additions are not in the original.

9. TP: I'm still the person who's come all this way with you, Rakushun.

EW: Rakushun, you're the one I've come all this way with.

LIT: "I have walked all this way (up to this point) with Rakushun."

10. TP: "I haven't changed. I'm not someone far and distant. Even when you try to draw away from me--look! You're only standing two steps away." Yoko pointed at the short stretch of ground between her feet and Rakushun's.

EW: "I'm not the one who's far away. It's your feelings that are. You and I are standing no more than two steps apart."
      She reached out with her foot and crossed the distance between them. No further than that, she meant.

My use of "crossed" is not clear here. I mean she is reaching out with her foot. Perhaps "indicated" would be better.

11. TP: Rakushun looked down at the ground, then at his short legs. "Yoko . . . that might be two steps for you, but it's at least three steps for me."
      Yoko laughed. "My apologies!"
      Shuffling nearer, Rakushun reached out a paw and grasped Yoko's hand firmly. "Sorry 'bout that, Yoko."

EW: "It's three steps for me."
      Youko couldn't help grinning.
      "Forgive me." Rakushun reached out with his forefoot and touched Youko's hand. "I am sorry."

The additions are not in the original.

12. TP: The little paw clutched her hand, and she churned inwardly with remorse for endangering her friend. Could he still be punished for harboring a kaikyaku? Might the demons attack his home while he was away? When Rakushun had said that his mother could take care of herself, was he aware of the danger that she might face from the monsters following Yoko?

EW: Holding his small hand, a feeling of complete acceptance welled up inside her.
      Rakushun had likely committed a crime by giving shelter to a kaikyaku. The youma pursuing her may well have attacked Rakushun's home after she left. He had said to his mother when they left, "You're tough as nails, Mom. I'm sure you'll be okay on your own." There was no escaping the implication in his reassurances that her attackers or some other calamity might soon be visited upon her.

TokyoPop is more correct here. I would phrase it: "Holding his small hand, feelings of guilt and regret welled up inside her."

13. TP: The beastling yelped, burying his face in the gray fur of his chest.

EW: She ignored Rakushun's odd cries of protest and buried her head in the charcoal gray fur.

TokyoPop version doesn't make sense to me.

14. Rakushun's whiskers drooped. "You got a lot to learn about this world, lady."
      Yoko thought he was probably right.

EW: Rakushun's whiskers drooped. "It looks like we need to study you up a bit more about this world. You think?"
      He spoke in a concerned tone of voice. With no real idea what he was referring to, Youko could only nod and say, "Yeah, sure."

LIT: "Youko nodded without really understanding why and said, 'Yeah.'"

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# posted by Blogger Damien Sullivan
12/03/2007 4:55 PM   
On ou and connotations: Japan's emperors may have tended to be hereditary high priests, but the 12 Kingdoms strike me as Tentei's petri dishes based on classical China, and we tend to translate the Chinese title as Emperor. And I've read that the main reason we use Emperor for Japan is that the Meiji Japanese insisted on getting the same translation we gave China.

The author may be Japanese, but the model is Chinese. Also see Saiunkoku Monogatari.
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
12/05/2007 2:51 PM   
Before beginning I am going to apologize at first for my so so English...

I have just read your introduction to " a Thousand Miles of Wind, The Sky at Dawn. "
and the difficulty translating the word "banri".
In French, it was literally translated by " the wind of the infinity "
Here, we understand that the word "infinity" does not indicate anything without limit but some thing very great.
It is a poetic image no empirical sense.
The poetic sense is stressed by the translation of "The Sky at Dawn": in French there are several words to translate " at dawn "(aube, aurore,..) according to the sense that we want to give it. And the French translation privileged the poetic and aesthetic sense.
That gives “vent de l’infini, ciel d’aurore”

Thanks for your translations