Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

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Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by coola » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:51 pm

It make me wonder,did Mr. Simmons ever explain,why he decided to left Japanese honorifics,instead of translate them too?
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by AgitoZ » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:16 pm

coola wrote:It make me wonder,did Mr. Simmons ever explain,why he decided to left Japanese honorifics,instead of translate them too?
I don't know the exact reason why he left them, most likely cause he just felt like it, but I can think of why he didn't translate them. Honorifics don't really have an equivalent in the English language. So instead of trying to adapt them into English or flat out ignoring them, he just left them as is.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by JulieYBM » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:24 pm

Well, 'Mister Satan-san' doesn't compute in English. Honorifics are a lot more personalized than military ranks (like how Amuro Ray of Mobile Suit Gundam is called 'Amuro-tai'i', or Lt. Amuro). Then there's '-kun', which you can't really 'translate' at all.

Either way, I'm glad Daimao left them as is.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by The Tori-bot » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:38 pm

Yeah, whenever they're translated it's either done weirdly or doesn't look right in English ("niisan", for example), so I'm glad Daimao left them untouched.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by DemonRin » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:09 pm

I think it depends on the production.

In a series like Dragon Ball that's so very Asian-styled, they fit right in.

In a world like Trigun, Fullmetal Alchemist, or especially Hellsing, they're very awkward and out of place. Because those worlds are very western-styled, especially Hellsing which is flat-out STATED to take place in Europe. It would be VERY out of place to see a British person call someone else "Walter-san".
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by JulieYBM » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:21 pm

DemonRin wrote:I think it depends on the production.

In a series like Dragon Ball that's so very Asian-styled, they fit right in.

In a world like Trigun, Fullmetal Alchemist, or especially Hellsing, they're very awkward and out of place. Because those worlds are very western-styled, especially Hellsing which is flat-out STATED to take place in Europe. It would be VERY out of place to see a British person call someone else "Walter-san".
I don't think that's much of an issue. At the end of the day, if it's there in the spoken dialogue (and only when it is), it's there. As a Japanese production, 'anime-isms' like that are going to slip in and when they do, you can't just pretend they're not. It's inconsistent with other productions, too. It's annoying to hear Armstrong say 'Edward Elric-kun', but have the subtitles only read 'Edward Elric'. The strength of the "retain honorifics' argument should not lie in whether or not something takes place in an Asian setting, but whether they reflect the spoken dialogue the viewer hears. This is espicially annoying for a show like Bleach, which uses western (for the Arrancars) and eastern order (everyone else) all the time but the subtitles from Viz Media don't reflect this at all. It's espicially odd when full names are used often in dialogue.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by Bussani » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:32 pm

When it comes to subtitles, I don't think I'm that bothered if they're there or not. Like YBM said, they're there in the audio either way--leaving them out of the subs wouldn't change that. Translations that try to adapt them can end in some very strange things and generally require a light, flexible touch to be done well, while translations that leave them out entirely can encounter their own problems when an honorific becomes part of a joke or part of the plot. In the end, leaving them in is probably the easiest and safest thing to do...although I'm not arguing that it's necessarily the right thing to do, if that makes any sense.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by ssgOverlord » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:55 pm

With subtitles, I don't mind honorifics either way. But it is true reading what I'm hearing is less distracting.

With dubs, I do find them out of place a bit more.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by Mountain » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:03 pm

I love it that he left them in. :)

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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by NeoKING » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:24 am

Honorifics can't really be translated, but what most people don't know is that they can be conveyed.

Honestly though, I think it was a good idea for him to leave it in. It adds charms to characters like Chi-Chi who says Goku-sa instead of Goku-san ... Instantly makes her standout like her character already does to the English viewers.

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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by Piccolo Daimaoh » Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:06 am

Because translating them poses a number of difficulties. As a linguist and someone who can appreciate translations, this seems like, for want of a better word, a cop-out. It would be extremely unfair of me if I were to criticise Mr. Simmons individually because a) his translations are generally good and b) most translators do it (which doesn't necessarily make it right, but it's become the norm). Rarely do I see honorifics or diminutives left untranslated in other foreign media, except sometimes when they're being used jocularly or pejoratively, so I don't understand why Anime and Manga should be any different. A translator must accept that some things are just going to have to be "lost in translation", but he should do the best he can despite this. To each his own, I guess.
Last edited by Piccolo Daimaoh on Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:19 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by Mountain » Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:08 am

NeoKING wrote:Honorifics can't really be translated, but what most people don't know is that they can be conveyed.

Honestly though, I think it was a good idea for him to leave it in. It adds charms to characters like Chi-Chi who says Goku-sa instead of Goku-san ... Instantly makes her standout like her character already does to the English viewers.
In the English version, Chi-Chi just comes off as extremely whiny to me, rather than a hick. =\

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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by SHINOBI-03 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:32 am

Ugh... I began to dislike leaving honorifics untranslated. It looks awkward. Especially if it's used in a non-Japanese setting, real or fictional. The only exception is when the setting is Japan. Other than that, they should be translated.

The world of Dragon Ball is not real. And any Asian references you get are mostly non-Japanese. So it makes leaving honorifics unnecessary. Even if there are honorific specific jokes, it's not impossible to re-write and keep the original meaning.

Ex. This is a when Piccolo was talking with Gohan in Namek using Kaio.

Piccolo: "Gohan. I'm now talking to you through Kaio".
Kaio: "How rude. That's Kaio-sama for you".

It could be changed to this:

Piccolo: "Gohan. I'm now talking to you through Kaio".
Kaio: "How rude. That's Lord Kaio for you".
Last edited by SHINOBI-03 on Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by MCDaveG » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:01 am

Yeah, I agree with Shinobi.
Translation is always inconsistent and diverted from original. So I don't see any need to leave honorifics in pro translation.
As one of our domestic translator said: Formal form of Czech language does have two forms of speaking, tykani and vykani, where the most basic change is in using different pronouns. English don't have anything like this, also there is not a difference in english no matter who are you speaking to. There are of course slang words and using calling for people, but the english still uses the same rules. So translator must feel it and modify the language into it to make the closest sense possible for the language he's doing it, but not to alienate it. Like in case with honorifics.
I can in my language use honorific kun, which will look like this: Gohan-kun: Gohánek, Videl-kun: Videlka.....
But believe me, it does not work very well in case of foreign names and it sounds hillariously idiotic for my ears, so
as translator, I will left this as is as well.
The sama is probably one grade more difficult, since it means someone, like my higher superior, or highness and lot of other meanings. It really can't be translated, but not alienate it, I think that Shinobi nailed it flawlessly.

PS: What I really don't understand is One Piece fun sub. About some 43 episode, there was editor note.
As nakama is really important word in one piece, we will left it as is. WTF?????
Why the don't translate as ordinary word as a ''friend'' is????

I really don't take a logic of most anime fans and worst possible thing is when someone is trying to learn Japanese from TV shows. Example: Magibon (what the hell).
Nobody in Japan (nobody normal at least) is talking like characters in TV, be it drama or anime.
My girlfriend really despise most of the ''anime world'' because of idiocy and japanophilia it creates.
Altough she enjoys Gintama anime and comic - it's name caught in a shock her native proffesor she have on grammatics
when she saw that on her desk, who turned red in an instant :D :D :D
I dunno, they say officialy on english web sites it could be also a silver soul, but my GF states it's rather the other meaning which clearly is a pun.
Last edited by MCDaveG on Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by Bussani » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:34 am

SHINOBI-03 wrote:Ugh... I began to dislike leaving honorifics untranslated. It looks awkward. Especially if it's used in a non-Japanese setting, real or fictional. The only exception is when the setting is Japan. Other than that, they should be translated.
So for example, if it was a series set in the United Kingdom, honorifics in the subs would feel awkward to you, but everyone in England speaking Japanese and using the honorifics out loud wouldn't? It seems like the same thing to me, but I suppose different people probably associate what they're reading and what they're hearing differently.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by The Time Traveller » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:38 am

JulieYBM wrote:Well, 'Mister Satan-san' doesn't compute in English.
I've only ever heard him called Mr. Satan or Satan-san, or maybe it's Satan-sama.

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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by SHINOBI-03 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:42 am

MCDaveG wrote:PS: What I really don't understand is One Piece fun sub. About some 43 episode, there was editor note.
As nakama is really important word in one piece, we will left it as is. WTF?????
Why the don't translate as ordinary word as a ''friend'' is????
Because "You are our friend" sounds awkward?! You have no idea how I got confused from this word when I first saw One Piece in the Enis Lobby arc. They kept saying "Find your own nakama" and I could not understand what is this thing or who is that.

That's another reason I hate fansubs. Leaving a word untranslated because it "losses the meaning".
MCDaveG wrote:My girlfriend really despise most of the ''anime world'' because of idiocy and japanophilia it creates.
Altough she enjoys Gintama anime and comic - it's name caught in a shock her native proffesor she have on grammatics
when she saw that on her desk, who turned red in an instant :D :D :D
I dunno, they say officialy on english web sites it could be also a silver soul, but my GF states it's rather the other meaning which clearly is a pun.
Gintama is a pun on "Family Jewels" or "Kintama". Literally, Kintama means "Golden Balls". Replace the "Kin" part with "Gen", and you get "Silver Balls"
Bussani wrote:So for example, if it was a series set in the United Kingdom, honorifics in the subs would feel awkward to you, but everyone in England speaking Japanese and using the honorifics out loud wouldn't? It seems like the same thing to me, but I suppose different people probably associate what they're reading and what they're hearing differently.
Well, for one, it's a Japanese dub, and second the Japanese listeners sees it normal the same way we take Mr. and Mrs. normal. Another example for this is a current anime that takes place in Paris. While the characters are french, they use Japanese honorifics when they speak. But the subs (One of the few good fansubbers) use French honorifics instead.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by JulieYBM » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:33 pm

The Time Traveller wrote:
JulieYBM wrote:Well, 'Mister Satan-san' doesn't compute in English.
I've only ever heard him called Mr. Satan or Satan-san, or maybe it's Satan-sama.
True enough, but the viewer is still going to hear the switch between simply 'Mister Satan' and then 'Satan-san' ('-san' usually being treated as 'mister' for males), making it pretty silly. Well, it's not like the west doesn't know what '-san' is anyway, considering the status of The Karate Kid as a classic film.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by Eire » Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:25 pm

But the viewer doesn't have to. If he had wanted to have educational film about Japanese society ranks he would have watched one. Instead he watches pure entertainment series. For some reason the switch between Japanese and his native language doesn't bother him, so I'm sure he will bear exchange of the forms that in most cases have proper equivalent.
MCDaveG wrote: I can in my language use honorific kun, which will look like this: Gohan-kun: Gohánek, Videl-kun: Videlka.....
Isn't it rather an equivalent of -chan? :wink:

It's hardly to talk about matters of translation without examples. If the series is strictly about country's history or society some untranslated titles or word games can be left, but I can hardly imagine comedy or children's series with things foreign to most of the viewers. Also every translator should remember about traditions- especially when series refer to classical titles translated long ago with different manner. Sorry, the most known translation counts, and Winnie the Pooh here won't be Winifred or whatever you think is more accurate.
Not to speak about geographical names that some stupid translators tend to leave in original form). Also the language marches on and some forms change. If we talk about Japanese terms in Polish they appeared after Japanese-Russian war in 1905, so the traditional form was quite "hard" in pronunciation (szogun), while now the equivalent form is "softer" (siogun). But if you refer to classical TV series it will be always "Szogun" no matter what happens. So, dear translators, the common sense, please.

Leaving honorifics sometimes sounds really odd, especially when setting doesn't say anything about Japanese connotations. In fantasy( DB counts) I prefer the solution that the characters speak in reader's native language, unless it's mentioned they don't.
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Re: Why Mr. Steve Simmons left Japanese honorifics?

Post by .:PoetikaL:. » Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:52 pm

In my personal opinion if a translator is going to subtitle a show in any language, I would want them to translate professionally. It is the goal of the translator to make the viewer understand what's going on in their language. So in the case with Dragon Ball: Kaio-sama > Lord Kaio, Kami-sama > God, pretty straightforward. I understand that in anime that you're gonna hear the honorifics at the end and it's up to the translator to translate it their way for the viewer to enjoy the show and know what's going on, but I preferably I want something translated closely to the language I understand without leaving certain things in to keep it "Japanese", for example. That's my opinion/views on the matter, but it won't stop me from enjoying the shows I love.

Speaking of which, this is related towards the fansubbing world, but it's pretty interesting thing to watch about translations. Many of you most likely have seen it before, but for those who haven't I'll leave it here:

THE RISE AND FALL OF ANIME FANSUBS (Part 1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUYlqLlbix0
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