Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Discussion regarding the entirety of the franchise in a general (meta) sense, including such aspects as: production, trends, merchandise, fan culture, and more.

Moderators: Kanzenshuu Staff, General Help

User avatar
LiamKav
Beyond-the-Beyond Newbie
Posts: 373
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 5:15 pm
Location: Liverpool, UK

Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by LiamKav » Tue May 15, 2012 6:01 pm

One thing I've noticed in lots of places, including here, other forums and sites, and even Viz, is that no-one seems to have any consistent rules as to what spelling they are going to use for DragonBall characters. There are several I can think of, and everyone ignores at least one of them. Note, I'm not talking about actual name changes. Those are usually done for censorship reasons (Mr Satan, Bra), or sometimes to help out a pun or because FUNi had no idea what the original character's name was.

1/ Direct translation. Exact conversion of the Japanese to English. This leads to Seru and Torunksu, and most people seem to agree that if it's an English word, then that word should be translated (retro-translated?) back to English. This also leads to our first inconsistency: Bulma. Is her name supposed to sound like Bloomers? Or is it supposed to be exactly Bloomers? The rest of her family are, after all, Brief, Trunks and Bra, and not names that sound like Brief, Trunks and Bra. (Burief, Torunks and Bulla... sorry.)

2/ Written in the manga Several characters have their names written in English in the manga, such as the aforementioned Bulma. So, hey, if Toriyama wrote it like that, shouldn't we all go with that? Except... then we have to assume that whoever wrote the welcome sign to Yamma's place can't spell. Also, very few people say the name of Goku's best friend is "Kulilin" (if that's how it is spelt on his hat. I forget.)

3/ Written in authorized third-party products Again, it's official, it makes sense, right? Except that very, very few people use "Gokou", mainly because it would be pronounced very differently. I

4/ Pronounciation So, if we are going to ignore prior spellings in favour of how the name is actually said, why do we give FUNi such a hard time for "Frieza"? If you showed that word to someone unfamiliar with the show, they'd probably pronounce it the same as "Freeza". Of course, lots of words in English aren't spelt how they are pronounced anyway. My surname is Kavanagh, and gets pronounced at least two distinct ways, neither of which use the last two letters. Maybe the second "o" in "Gokou" is silent? This also wraps around to the first rule, where if we go by pronunciation, aren't we going to be using "Bejita", or at least "Piccoro"?

5/ Translated meaning This is different to an all out translation, and more applies to Kaio-Sama/King Kai. If we can translate the word into something that native English speakers can grasp without having to learn about Japanese honorifics and culture, should we? We are translating everything else, after all? So should it be Kama-sama and Kaio-sama, or God and King Kai?

I think that's all. There's individual cases, such as Yamcha vs Yamucha, but I don't know what rule to put them in. Personally, this whole subject is something that sometimes really annoys me (such as the aforementioned overly precise translation), and sometimes fascinates me. What makes people pick the translations that they do? Have you thought all of them out? Are some because you wanted to be different and "cool" when you were young and now you've gotten used to them? Or do some of you genuinely think that Viz and FUNi should replace every instance of the character's name with "Kulilin" and be dammed that people are going to be biting their tongues all over the place? And are there any more rules that I might have forgotten?

(I'm also curious as to whether the Kanzenshuu staff disagree on any name spellings, and whether they have had to pick one now that the two sites have merged to maintain consistency. I'm also guessing that the Wiki is going to pick one spelling for each character and stick with it.)

User avatar
desirecampbell
Moderator
Posts: 4292
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 9:55 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by desirecampbell » Tue May 15, 2012 6:58 pm

These are very interesting questions and I can only hope for Jake and Julian to talk about it at length on the podcast at some point.

I'll make a couple of points myself, though. On the Frieza spelling (FYI: that spelling auto-corrects when posted); while you can spell English words in weird ways, it's a good general rule not to. There's simply no reason to spell Freeza with an "I"

User avatar
TripleRach
Moderator
Posts: 2656
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2004 5:08 pm
Location: Ohio, USA
Contact:

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by TripleRach » Tue May 15, 2012 7:01 pm

LiamKav wrote:One thing I've noticed in lots of places, including here, other forums and sites, and even Viz, is that no-one seems to have any consistent rules as to what spelling they are going to use for DragonBall characters.
I have very strict name rules that I stick to, but only on my own website (and most pages there are very out of date). I don't use all of them in public (IE, this forum) because some of them would probably just confuse people, and it's easier to just lean towards things people know. Like if I said "Realm King" in a post, that would not be nearly as recognizable as "Kaiou."

But basically, I spell every name to reflect its pun (Freeza, Cell, Boo, etc), and I translate every title (God, Turtle Hermit, Bull Demon King, etc). Same goes for most other proper nouns. At the moment I don't translate the fancy attack names, mostly because I don't want to translate Kamehameha (the options are terrible), and I can't just leave Kamehameha as is while translating all the others. But if/when I do come up with a Kamehameha solution, every other attack name will get translated too, because consistency is a must for me.
-Rachel

Majin Boo
Newbie
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:05 am

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by Majin Boo » Tue May 15, 2012 7:14 pm

While there are a few names with alternatives that could be argued are more correct, just going by the official spellings in the English subtitles would make things easier.

The forum's auto-correcting sure isn't gonna make things easy for this type of discussion, however. :?

User avatar
VegettoEX
Kanzenshuu Co-Owner & Administrator
Posts: 16373
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2004 3:10 pm
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by VegettoEX » Tue May 15, 2012 7:30 pm

Lots to add at some point, particularly with our own site's style guide and decisions (and some decisions that have NOT been made yet, such as Jiǎozi vs. Chiaotzu), but...
Majin Boo wrote:While there are a few names with alternatives that could be argued are more correct, just going by the official spellings in the English subtitles would make things easier.
Not that I have an answer for you, but what about Simmons' subtitle translations vs. Mandelin's subtitle translations vs. Viz's translations/adaptations? All of them are perfectly legit (for the most part, anyway), 100% "official" and "English".
:: [| Mike "VegettoEX" LaBrie |] ::
:: [| Kanzenshuu - Co-Founder/Administrator, Podcast Host, News Manager (note: our "job" titles are arbitrary and meaningless) |] ::
:: [| Website: January 1998 |] :: [| Podcast: November 2005 |] :: [| Fusion: April 2012 |] :: [| Wiki: 20XX |] ::

User avatar
Zestanor
Beyond-the-Beyond Newbie
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:28 pm
Contact:

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by Zestanor » Tue May 15, 2012 7:42 pm

I'd say, if we were to dump all connections to the naming schemes we have today, and start over, we would create something completely different, and more consistent. What we have now has been influenced by years of fandom, (Firefox says 'fandom' isn't a real word...) and most people aren't willing to change them. I wish I could say I had a good, consistent naming scheme that I made myself, but that isn't true. 8) I just follow what Steve Simmons (or Mandelin, but Simmons gets priority) did, except in a small few cases where I disagree. For example: I know 'Blooma' is better than 'Bulma,' and 'Vegeta' probably should be something less close to the actual word such as 'Vegita,' but since Steve used those, I use them too, and so does most of Kanzenshuu. On the other hand, he uses 'Dabura,' and 'Kibit,' which are the only two I disagree with. It should definitely be 'Kibito.' And Dabura...

Sorry, but I feel like making my big anal-retentive shpiel about 'Dabura' right now, so bare with me. This is my argument for why it should be 'Dabra'
Me: Dabura should be Dabra.
Opposition: It should actually be Darbra, since the first vowel sound is long.
M: But no, that misses the pun!
O: But you use 'Zarbon,' which uses the same 'ar' sound for the first long vowel.
M: Yes, because without that 'ar,' it would be 'Zabon' which one would be inclined to pronounce, 'Zeibon.' 'Dabra' isn't affected in that way by losing the 'r,' so it isn't necessary. Plus, in this form it more obviously resembles abracadabra.
That's my shpiel.

On the other hand, I really don't like 'Tarble,' since its pun isn't obvious. But you learn that consistency doesn't matter. Life is about picking and choosing, and choosing these names relies mostly on fan history and pronunciation. If it looks ugly and you can't say it (Hatchihyakku), then it probably won't be used.

So yeah, I use Steve Simmons' names, and in exclusively DB (153) names, where I use Mandelin's names. If neither of them subbed it, I pick and choose a name that looks/sounds the best :P And I wouldn't get too stuck on consistency, because then you end up with things you don't like. (E.g. If you use 'Grand Elder' for Saichoro, then you should technically use 'Great World King God' for Dai Kaioshin. :lol: )

Edit: In names that are obviously Japanese puns, you should pronounce the Rs in the way the Japanese do. For example: Kuririn.
Last edited by Zestanor on Tue May 15, 2012 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
son veku
Banned
Posts: 283
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:24 pm
Location: AR

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by son veku » Tue May 15, 2012 7:47 pm

It would be cool if we had one massive poll to decide name spelling

User avatar
Zestanor
Beyond-the-Beyond Newbie
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:28 pm
Contact:

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by Zestanor » Tue May 15, 2012 7:53 pm

son veku wrote:It would be cool if we had one massive poll to decide name spelling
But I wouldn't obey it, and that kinda defeats the purpose...

Majin Boo
Newbie
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:05 am

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by Majin Boo » Tue May 15, 2012 8:24 pm

VegettoEX wrote:
Majin Boo wrote:While there are a few names with alternatives that could be argued are more correct, just going by the official spellings in the English subtitles would make things easier.
Not that I have an answer for you, but what about Simmons' subtitle translations vs. Mandelin's subtitle translations vs. Viz's translations/adaptations? All of them are perfectly legit (for the most part, anyway), 100% "official" and "English".
Viz changes stuff and doesn't really care if they're accurate or not. "Djinn Boo", having the people who say "Son" call him Goku instead, etc.

I actually wasn't aware there were discrepancies between the two subtitlers, however. The only releases I'm interested in owning are the Dragon Boxes.

User avatar
LiamKav
Beyond-the-Beyond Newbie
Posts: 373
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 5:15 pm
Location: Liverpool, UK

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by LiamKav » Tue May 15, 2012 8:37 pm

What about if you contributed to the Wiki? Presumably you'd have to follow the style guide there?

I've just noticed that G*O*K*O*U also gets translated. That's the spelling I was going for in point 3 and 4.
TripleRach wrote:At the moment I don't translate the fancy attack names, mostly because I don't want to translate Kamehameha (the options are terrible), and I can't just leave Kamehameha as is while translating all the others. But if/when I do come up with a Kamehameha solution, every other attack name will get translated too, because consistency is a must for me.
I thought it had been said (possibly on the podcast) that Kamehamaha shouldn't be translated because it's not meant to mean anything. I thought it was named after the Hawain king, probably because it began with Kame, and Kame=turtle. If it's not MEANT to mean anything, then it's fine not to translate it.
Zestanor wrote: Edit: In names that are obviously Japanese puns, you should pronounce the Rs in the way the Japanese do. For example: Kuririn.
While I agree, to play devil's advocate... Toriyama spells it Kulilin. So, if we all go with Kuririn, are we saying that we know better than him? And even if some people do know how to translate into English better than him, should we? Are we not overriding authorial intent?

Majin Boo is right about the auto-correct though. I'm guessing we can't turn it off for one thread?

User avatar
TripleRach
Moderator
Posts: 2656
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2004 5:08 pm
Location: Ohio, USA
Contact:

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by TripleRach » Tue May 15, 2012 8:47 pm

LiamKav wrote:I thought it had been said (possibly on the podcast) that Kamehamaha shouldn't be translated because it's not meant to mean anything. I thought it was named after the Hawain king, probably because it began with Kame, and Kame=turtle. If it's not MEANT to mean anything, then it's fine not to translate it.
The final "ha" does mean "wave," so it does have a loose meaning of "Kamehame Wave." The podcast discussion was probably just debunking the widespread belief that the whole thing means "Turtle Destruction Wave." But I couldn't ignore that final "ha" anymore than I could ignore the "pa" in Dodonpa or the "ba" in Mafuuba (both of which use the same "wave" kanji).
-Rachel

User avatar
son veku
Banned
Posts: 283
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:24 pm
Location: AR

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by son veku » Tue May 15, 2012 9:03 pm

In the beginning of one volume he said his wife made up the Kamehameha.

User avatar
dbboxkaifan
Banned
Posts: 8906
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:32 pm

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by dbboxkaifan » Tue May 15, 2012 9:06 pm

I never liked the names: Frieza (but they pronounce it as Freeza), Tien, Chiatzu, Hercule or Korin, or the race name Seyen (should be SAI-YAN), they just don't ring a bell or sound original to me, since I'm used to the Japanese version and Brazilian Kai.

Btw, why is Karin as Korin in the English dub?
FUNimation 2015 Releases I want:
- Kai 2.0 on Blu-ray

User avatar
son veku
Banned
Posts: 283
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:24 pm
Location: AR

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by son veku » Tue May 15, 2012 9:10 pm

I pronounce it as "sayin", but I spell it as "saiyan"

User avatar
Bussani
Kicks it Old-School
Posts: 8041
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:35 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by Bussani » Tue May 15, 2012 9:10 pm

To be honest, I'm not very consistent at all. I tend to use what I'm used to or what people will understand. I only really avoid things that either make no sense or are pointlessly close to the Japanese pronunciation (Torankusu and the likes).
LiamKav wrote:This also leads to our first inconsistency: Bulma. Is her name supposed to sound like Bloomers? Or is it supposed to be exactly Bloomers? The rest of her family are, after all, Brief, Trunks and Bra, and not names that sound like Brief, Trunks and Bra. (Burief, Torunks and Bulla... sorry.)
Her name is written as "ブルマ" in Japanese. This lacks the long vowel sound at the end, but is apparently still an accepted way of writing "bloomers" in Japanese. So while some people use "Blooma", I do sort of question if it shouldn't be "Bloomer".
Of course, lots of words in English aren't spelt how they are pronounced anyway. My surname is Kavanagh, and gets pronounced at least two distinct ways, neither of which use the last two letters.
Well, Kavanagh isn't exactly an English word, is it? The name's Irish, so the correct pronunciation would be the Irish pronunciation. Likewise, we (Kanzenshuu, that is) pronounce things like Kaio the Japanese way. Gokou is a weird one since using the Japanese pronunciation would get you something like "Go-koh".
If TPP passes in your country it will be illegal for you to watch an imported DVD. Click here to learn more!

User avatar
Zestanor
Beyond-the-Beyond Newbie
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:28 pm
Contact:

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by Zestanor » Tue May 15, 2012 9:13 pm

LiamKav wrote:I thought it had been said (possibly on the podcast) that Kamehamaha shouldn't be translated because it's not meant to mean anything. I thought it was named after the Hawain king, probably because it began with Kame, and Kame=turtle. If it's not MEANT to mean anything, then it's fine not to translate it.
IIRC, the 'Ha' is a kanji, and it has the meaning, "fist," but Kamehame is technically gibberish. The Kame does come from turtle, but it is spelled out phonetically instead of using the kanji.
LiamKav wrote:
Zestanor wrote: Edit: In names that are obviously Japanese puns, you should pronounce the Rs in the way the Japanese do. For example: Kuririn.
While I agree, to play devil's advocate... Toriyama spells it Kulilin. So, if we all go with Kuririn, are we saying that we know better than him? And even if some people do know how to translate into English better than him, should we? Are we not overriding authorial intent?
The pun is over the word 'Kuri' and also 'shaolin,' I've seen the argument that 'Kurilin' is best. But mixing Japanese and Chinese romanization schemes seems silly to me, so Kuririn fits the pun best. What's funny, is that we reject Toriyama's Kulilin because his spelling doesn't preserve the pun, but with Bulma (which doesn't preserve the pun) we use his spelling. That's just how it's been, and just about nobody cares to argue it now.
LiamKav wrote:Majin Boo is right about the auto-correct though. I'm guessing we can't turn it off for one thread?
I think if you type a random BBCode function at the end of a filtered word, it will come out correctly. I'll try: Frieza
Edit: Okay hat doesn't work.
Last edited by Zestanor on Tue May 15, 2012 9:16 pm, edited 5 times in total.

User avatar
Gaffer Tape
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 5850
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:25 pm
Contact:

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by Gaffer Tape » Tue May 15, 2012 9:14 pm

Well, Kavanagh isn't exactly an English word, is it? The name's Irish, so the correct pronunciation would be the Irish pronunciation.
Well, with a person's name, the correct pronunciation is how the owner of that name pronounces it.
Do you follow the most comprehensive and entertaining Dragon Ball analysis series on YouTube? If you do, you're smart and awesome and fairly attractive. If not, see what all the fuss is about without even having to leave Kanzenshuu:

MistareFusion's Dragon Ball Dissection Series Discussion Thread! (Updated 10/21/19!)
Current Episode: How to Fix a Future - Dragon Ball Dissection: The Cell Arc Part 18!

User avatar
dbboxkaifan
Banned
Posts: 8906
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:32 pm

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by dbboxkaifan » Tue May 15, 2012 9:29 pm

LiamKav wrote:This also leads to our first inconsistency: Bulma. Is her name supposed to sound like Bloomers? Or is it supposed to be exactly Bloomers? The rest of her family are, after all, Brief, Trunks and Bra, and not names that sound like Brief, Trunks and Bra. (Burief, Torunks and Bulla... sorry.)
Bulma in Japanese always sounded Buruma to me, I don't remember "Blooma" bit might've happen since R gets switched for L.

Like Luffi and Ruffi from One Piece.
FUNimation 2015 Releases I want:
- Kai 2.0 on Blu-ray

User avatar
JulieYBM
Namekian Warrior
Posts: 12491
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:25 pm

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by JulieYBM » Tue May 15, 2012 9:49 pm

I try to be consistent, but sometimes I just plain overlook things. As of late, though, I've tried to stick closer to the pun while maintaining the alteration, if present. As such, I've moved toward Darbra, Blooma, and Tarble.

For Japanese names (or Japanese approximations of the Chinese names), I use the full romanization of the Kana. I used to use circumflexes like 'Gokû' rather than 'Gokuu', but it occured to me that with something like ôzaru they wouldn't convey that the Kana is 'oozaru' and not 'ouzaru' or 大久保 利通 as Ookubo Toshimichi, so I switch to writing out the full Kana. Basically, I take the approach that I want to be "the most educated on the subject," therefore "I'll be the most educating" on it.

For titles, I tend to waver. While I've stopped using 'Kami' and started using 'God', I'm still using Kaiou, Dai-Kaiou, Kaiou'shin, Dai-Kaiou'shin, Gyuumaou, Daimaou, and Muten Roushi. Sometimes I will also use Kame-sen'nin and Tsuru-sen'nin for the Turtle and Crane Sages, too. Eventually I'm sure I'll just settle on using the titles in Japanese, though.
•Julie | She/Her | Pansexual & Transgender | Queer |
•Avatar: Igarashi Kyou (married name: Hasumi Kyou) from the web comic 性転換後、親友と (Seitenka-go. Shin'yuu to) by Eroe (Pixiv; Twitter)

User avatar
Bussani
Kicks it Old-School
Posts: 8041
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:35 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Opinions and rules behind name spellings

Post by Bussani » Wed May 16, 2012 12:58 am

Gaffer Tape wrote:Well, with a person's name, the correct pronunciation is how the owner of that name pronounces it.
I suppose so, but that's still generally based on where it's from, right? Especially when it comes to surnames. My point is that a name might not be pronounced as you'd expect, but that's to be expected when it originates from somewhere else, rather than just. There's a reason for it, rather than, "It's written differently to how it's pronounced because I felt like it."
If TPP passes in your country it will be illegal for you to watch an imported DVD. Click here to learn more!

Post Reply