Corpse Party Blood Drive English Ver. Translation Issues

Discussion in 'Corpse Party Series' started by Zaion, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    OK, so I posted the above response quickly as I was getting ready for work this morning, but I was thinking about it a little more during my walk to work, so I figured I'd post again with a few additional details.

    Regarding the white --> green thing, I think I might have an explanation, though I can't be 100% sure unless I watch the exact scene in question. I do know, though, that at multiple times during localization, we encountered text that just plain didn't match up with the visuals -- including, IIRC, times where the text described something as one color even though it appeared on screen as another. This may have been one of those times where even though the text clearly says "white," the image on screen depicted green. And whenever that happened, we would have to pick a side -- and the visuals would always win out over the text, simply because it's a much easier decision to justify.

    As a disclaimer, I don't know for certain that that's the case in this particular instance -- it could just be a collective brain fart on our end instead -- but I strongly suspect it might be.

    These moments of disparity were generally pretty minor, but every now and again, something big would crop up too. The baby teeth are a great example.

    In the Japanese, the baby teeth are always referred to collectively as one item, so when they're crushed to dust in front of Sachi, it's very strongly implied that BOTH teeth were destroyed. Yet only a single chapter later, the teeth are still fully intact and are slotted into the Pillar. This seemed like a pretty major oversight to me, and it was tough determining how to handle it in localization. Ultimately, we decided to specify that only one tooth was crushed to dust, and the other pocketed -- which may differ from the Japanese, but helps overcome this potentially serious plot hole.

    As for Sayaka's nickname for Inumaru, I think we did realize she more or less used "stupid dog" as an insult for Inumaru every single time she referenced him, but I don't think either of us ever realized it was being used as a nickname as opposed to an insult. By our interpretation, the takeaway was simply that Inumaru was constantly being berated, not the exact wording of HOW he was being berated. "Stupid dog" definitely sounds much less impactful in English than in Japanese, too, and the loss of the pun in Inumaru's name makes it less impactful still, so that's why we varied it up so much in the English.

    And finally, regarding the misinterpretation about Sayaka's intentions toward Inumaru... well, that was just pure misinterpretation of the Japanese on our part. It didn't seem logical for the game to be implying, to any degree, that Inumaru should pursue Aiko, as the two characters are just completely mismatched. It would be like trying to pair Morishige with Ayumi -- it just doesn't make much sense that either the game or even Sayaka would consider such a pairing. Based on your explanation, I can kind of see it, but with no knowledge of this from Cemetery or any other sources, it simply never dawned on us that this might be the case.

    So that was definitely an error on our part as opposed to a localization decision gone wrong... but I hope you can at least understand how that error came to be.

    -Tom
     
  2. Zaion

    Zaion New Member

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    I guessed as much in regards to the changed colors, and did mention that I had ignored those issues due to that possibley being the issue. However, it is worth noting that this change of color in the text to match the visuals was inconsistent. You use term "white sheen" for the Book of Shadows when it is glowing the same color as Sayaka's spirit in the last scene. This may be due to multiple translators working on the different pieces of text, resulting in confusion due to differences in perception of color. I understand keeping everyone on the same page is difficult, but it is worth noting that the confusion could have been prevented by sticking to the narrative instead of having some translators change it, and others not.

    As for the stupid dog line, it is both a nickname and an insult. She either uses "Inumaru" or "stupid dog" to refer to him for the most part, so it's more a name he is used to hear Sayaka calling him than a specific nickname. In the future, it may be better to keep an eye out for repeated phrases or names for someone, as repetition is a way writers can stress the importance of something. Your translator ended up taking this repetition and changed it around into several forms. e.g. mongrel, mutt.

    A technique I often use to combat things like this is back-translation. I re-translate the English back into Japanese after translating it once. Doing that for mongrel and mutt leads to "zassyu". As an insult, this has a different connotation to what Sayaka is saying. Therefore, I would have rejected that translation and started over.

    Additionally, I felt that the fact "Stupid dog" was put in quotation marks in the Japanese narration might have suggested it was important. It says that it was with every time Sayaka called Inumaru "Stupid Dog" that he shed a tear. In that situation, I felt that the translator should have noticed that there was some emotional signficance attached to the name due to him reacting specifically to it.

    Going back to the issue with Sayaka's statement, "Just how many times do I need to tell you... there's a more suitable woman for you out there! You stupid dog!" I think this is coming back to the main problem when translating Japanese into English. Namely, the missing subject or objects of the sentence.

    There are two ways I translate these sentence.

    1) Look for an implied subject or object from the way the conversation is going.
    2) If there is no subject implied, then the subject or object of the matter is most likely a generalization.

    The idea that Sayaka was suggesting Aiko to be meant for Inumaru didn't cross my mind from the Japanese either, but the fact that Sayaka makes no mention to herself immediately shows that she is not including herself as the "suitable woman".

    Perhaps the translator in question hadn't played Ex-Chapter 4 at the time of translation, but it is relatively obvious that calling herself the suitable woman for Inumaru is terribly out of character for her to say from that content alone. She treats him with derision, and constantly rejects his advances throughout the entire Ex-Chapter. Although there is such a thing as tsundere in Japanese media, it was obvious to me that Sayaka wasn't fitting that stereotype due to her fawning over Naho.

    Regardless, although I use the above connotations to strengthen the argument for my translation, it was obvious to me that Sayaka was telling him that there was someone else worthy for Inumaru besides herself from the Japanese alone.

    In short, although I can see and understand why the errors were made, I worry they will be re-made again in the future as I have watched similar ones occur throughout the Corpse Party series. The ones in Corpse Party: Blood Drive just happened to be more plot relevant than the others.
     
  3. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    There was only one translator (Jason) and one editor (me). So I don't think that was the cause. I think it was more an attempt to correct inconsistencies in the original Japanese in which a few instances were missed by both of us.

    We'll just have to be more careful to catch them ALL next time. ;)

    That was me, actually. And I stand by that decision. I... kind of disagree that the specific insult "stupid dog" was necessary to preserve every single time, and I think the repetition would've been a disservice to the script in English -- it would've come across as lazy writing, I feel. I maintain that the most important aspect here was simply that he was being insulted and compared to a dog, not the wording of the insult being used.

    I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

    Japanese cannot be directly translated to English without losing some of its subtle nuance or intonation, so this would never work. My mantra during localization is, "Translate the meaning, not the words." I'll read a passage to completion, then think about how best to convey the same meaning (including tone and nuance) in natural English and write my "translation" accordingly. The end goal is to create a script that you'd honestly believe was ALWAYS in English from the very start -- if it sounds "translated," then I've failed in my job.

    This is, I believe, the best approach to localization, and is an approach I am not likely to abandon anytime soon.

    I also feel it's served me well to date, though obviously it does open the door for possible localization disputes like this one. But that's a small price to pay, IMHO, for localizations that go above and beyond the usual "It can't be helped" variety.

    I still don't really see how the name itself is in any way significant. What's significant is that it's dog-related and that it's derogatory -- as long as whatever he's being called fulfills those two requirements, I think the same basic idea is communicated just fine.

    I can't speak for Jason, but I certainly had played through EX Chapter 4 when I was editing that scene, and I disagree. I felt that this was a moment of weakness for Sayaka -- a moment of clarity in which she finally realized just how loyal Inumaru was, and actually found herself kind of charmed by it.

    So again... different interpretations. Yours is likely more correct, since you clearly know the lore better than I do, but I really don't think my interpretation is all that ridiculous or anything.

    Now THIS is the real reason I wanted to respond here -- I was *very* careful with the original Corpse Party PSP's script in particular, and was personally responsible for both its translation AND editing, so every single line there was more or less solely my own handiwork (accounting for changes during QA) and I consider it to be some of my best work at XSEED to date (as do most reviewers, I might add). I'm really, really curious what errors you found in that game (not to mention Book of Shadows, which was about 80% me as well), as I kind of feel like the gauntlet has been thrown now and will defend my choices in that title TO THE DEATH, good sir. ;) I can virtually guarantee you that any "errors" you found in that game's script are not errors at all, but localization choices that I will firmly stand behind -- but I definitely challenge you to defy those expectations!

    Give me your best shot. ;)

    -Tom
     
  4. Zaion

    Zaion New Member

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    It'll take some time to dig up some of the issues I had with Blood Covered and Book of Shadows, but there were a few moments I felt the English didn't have the same meaning as the Japanese. However, they weren't serious enough to make me post here, and were not as plot relevant as the issues I saw with Blood Drive. This does mean I felt Blood Covered and Book of Shadows were better localized (or westernised for me) than Blood Drive, but the reason I felt there was a divergence in meaning from the Japanese was due to embelishment. This is the same reason I feel a lot of the issues with Blood Drive came from. There was stuff added to it that I didn't remember from the Japanese. It is this trend that worries me, as I feel that reading Japanese media should still feel like you are in a Japanese setting.

    In short, I wanted to see the equivalent of Norweigan Woods or Out in terms of translation. A seemless transfer of the original story's meaning and literary technique from Japanese to English with little to no embelishments or changes.

    In regards to some of the other things, I just have to bring this up again as I don't understand this from a writing perspective as opposed to a translation perspective.
    Perhaps I missed something, but the way this phrase was singled out and that it was with each repetion of this phrase that Inumaru shed a tear clearly indicated to me that he was reacting specifically to the name Sayaka was calling him. Surely quoting something and saying that a character has a specific reaction to it shows that this quote is significant to that character.

    Repetition is one of the oldest writing and vocal techniques used to stress something. Although overuse of it is sloppy, as is the overuse of any technique, there are times where repetition is invaluable to show a character's emotions. When panicked or emotional, people do tend to repeat themselves. This was pretty much the case for Sayaka's situation. If you wish to preserve the meaning of that line, surely editing out the repetition is removing the meaning impled by Sayaka's repetition; namely frustration.

    I don't really want to talk about this issue, because I feel it's going to turn nasty, but it does have the chance of shedding some light on one of the plot holes of Blood Drive. Therefore, if this wasn't the case, please ignore it.

    If your original objective during those changes was to correct inconsistencies in the origianal Japanese, why was the issue with the date that Ayumi mentioned on the recorder not dealt with? Admittedly, this is a lot more difficult to justify due to it being a time point and not an immediately observable thing like color. However, as it was not corrected, were you given or did you find information that justified Ayumi saying that date, as it was not two months after the Kisaragi festival?

    I've seen your posts regarding Blood Covered, especially the ones justifying the one line by Seiko many found ridiculous. I can see why you stand by them, and have pretty much decided to leave those be as it is entirely possible Seiko could have said that in English, although it does beg the question why her other dialogue is so normal compared to that.

    I'll try my best to find serious issues. There were a lot of minor issues I had that even I admit are pretty much nitpicking at this point, so I'll shave off most of the with minor ones that do not have major impact on the meaning of the text. However, I will still bring in issues that I felt were made with minor sub-plots or lore, so there will be times where it feels like I am arguing ridiculously trivial points.
     
  5. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    Again, I think a lot of this is just differing styles of localization and different interpretations of character motivations, so there's not much more I can say that I haven't already. To address this, though:

    Simply put... both Jason and I missed this little detail. There were similar issues with dates being wrong in the Japanese in BloodCovered PSP (specifically in regards to Yoshie's journal) that I did catch and correct in the English (under advisement from the writers at 5pb), but somehow or another, despite its obviousness, this is one that we both just plain didn't catch. I think we were focused on other aspects of the localization and just didn't think too hard about the date given there... and only learned it was an impossible date in terms of lore after the game had already been published.

    So that was just straight-up an oversight on our part, and I'm sorry we missed it.

    -Tom
     

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