Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

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Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Thouser » Tue Dec 15, 2015 4:23 am

As we all probably know, lots of characters in Dragon Ball have different translations of their names. Some of this is because of different localizations, or because translators don't know how to deal with the good portion of Chinese names in the series (Chinese to Japanese to English doesn't always have good results). We all have our own preferences for how certain characters should have their names translated. Some of us might not even be consistent with our selections (I know I'm not). For fun, let's talk about some of our name preferences and why we like them over others. Here are some of mine (in spoiler because I said a lot):
What names do you guys like to use? Why do you prefer them? If you live in a non English speaking country, are there any "weird" localized versions of the names you dislike (or prefer)? And of course talk about names that you've gone back and forth on over the years.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by successoroffate » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:54 am

As I grew up, I called Roshi "Maestro Roshi" (Blame the Latinamerican Dub). Also if I'm talking about DB to English Speakers I would refer to him as Muten Roshi. Freezer for Freeza, Chaos (Pronounced Ciao in Italian with an S at the end) for Chaotzu, Pikoro for Piccolo. Shenlong, Oolong, Bulma pretty much the same for those. Pikoro Daimahkuh, Tao Pai Pai.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Ajay » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:05 pm

How do you feel about a certain Dragon Ball Super fansub using "Venerable Grandmaster" for "Muten Rōshi"?
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by successoroffate » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:14 pm

Ajay wrote:How do you feel about a certain Dragon Ball Super fansub using "Venerable Grandmaster" for "Muten Rōshi"?
Poorly translated probably. Feels odd.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by VegettoEX » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:20 pm

successoroffate wrote:
Ajay wrote:How do you feel about a certain Dragon Ball Super fansub using "Venerable Grandmaster" for "Muten Rōshi"?
Poorly translated probably. Feels odd.
Do you think it feels "poorly translated" because it "feels odd" or do you know that it is?

Because it isn't. It's incredibly faithful and matches the "colorfulness" of "Muten Roshi" in Japanese.

This is a huge problem plaguing Dragon Ball and its names/translations. People have gotten so used to their own localized versions that there's really no critical thinking going on or any fresh approaches. It's all just "well that's how it is; nothing can be done". I realize that it's nearly 2016 and everyone wants to just be set in their ways, but it doesn't have to be like that.

I also realize that anyone attempting to use anything even remotely different will be seen as a crazy person.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Ajay » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:28 pm

VegettoEX wrote:It's incredibly faithful and matches the "colorfulness" of "Muten Roshi" in Japanese.
People have gotten so used to their own localized versions that there's really no critical thinking going on or any fresh approaches.
That's pretty much where I am with it. I know there's nothing wrong with it, and I think it's an excellent way of getting around the unbearably clunky literal translation of "Muten Roshi", but oh man, I would be lying if it didn't stick out like a sore thumb every time I read it. I don't even really know why it does, honestly, which kinda irks me. "Jiaozi" sat with me just fine, as did "Sage Bean", but this one threw me a little. I wish it didn't. It really is just a case of being so far removed from what I'm used to, I guess.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by successoroffate » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:29 pm

VegettoEX wrote:
successoroffate wrote:
Ajay wrote:How do you feel about a certain Dragon Ball Super fansub using "Venerable Grandmaster" for "Muten Rōshi"?
Poorly translated probably. Feels odd.
Do you think it feels "poorly translated" because it "feels odd" or do you know that it is?

Because it isn't. It's incredibly faithful and matches the "colorfulness" of "Muten Roshi" in Japanese.

This is a huge problem plaguing Dragon Ball and its names/translations. People have gotten so used to their own localized versions that there's really no critical thinking going on or any fresh approaches. It's all just "well that's how it is; nothing can be done". I realize that it's nearly 2016 and everyone wants to just be set in their ways, but it doesn't have to be like that.

I also realize that anyone attempting to use anything even remotely different will be seen as a crazy person.
I said Poorly Translated probably because I didn't mind looking it up and for me, it feels odd in English, no matter the translation. I am not setting anything in my way, the name is Muten Roshi or Kame Sennin for the original and that's the one I am using. You get used to something and After 20 years, a fan sub changes something to a name that I am not used to and You are really expecting me to take it and accept it? and therefore, it would be wrong for me to criticize it?
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by VegettoEX » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:34 pm

successoroffate wrote:After 20 years, a fan sub changes something to a name that I am not used
But that's the thing. They're not "changing" anything -- they're actually translating stuff.
successoroffate wrote:and You are really expecting me to take it and accept it? and therefore, it would be wrong for me to criticize it?
I literally just addressed this above in the post you're responding to:
VegettoEX wrote:This is a huge problem plaguing Dragon Ball and its names/translations. People have gotten so used to their own localized versions that there's really no critical thinking going on or any fresh approaches. It's all just "well that's how it is; nothing can be done". I realize that it's nearly 2016 and everyone wants to just be set in their ways, but it doesn't have to be like that.
For myself, it's "Hirudegarn" that I have a huge problem getting used to as a spelling (versus "Hildegarn"). It's crazy that the "proper" version of the name feels so much like the raw romanization names that people make fun of. But hey, people after my generation accepted it without question because FUNimation used it.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Herms » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:36 pm

I do feel like a Super fansub probably isn't the best place to bust out a bold new vision for how to translste a pre-existing character's name. Of course, it wouldn't be a huge problem if the general English fanbase had at least a vague idea of what "Muten Roshi" meant. Obviously it's not their fault that the Funi dub treated him as just a guy named "Roshi" who had a sister named "Baba", but the confusion this has caused tends to make things awkward.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Vegard Aune » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:40 pm

Ajay wrote:
VegettoEX wrote:It's incredibly faithful and matches the "colorfulness" of "Muten Roshi" in Japanese.
People have gotten so used to their own localized versions that there's really no critical thinking going on or any fresh approaches.
That's pretty much where I am with it. I know there's nothing wrong with it, and I think it's an excellent way of getting around the unbearably clunky literal translation of "Muten Roshi", but oh man, I would be lying if it didn't stick out like a sore thumb every time I read it. I don't even really know why it does, honestly, which kinda irks me. "Jiaozi" sat with me just fine, as did "Sage Bean", but this one threw me a little. I wish it didn't. It really is just a case of being so far removed from what I'm used to, I guess.
To me, any way to refer to him seems weird these days. Like, I was introduced to him as "Kame-sennin" in the Norwegian manga, but have since come to realize that that was stupid. Then I learned that his name was Muten Roshi and just took that as fact until it was eventually pointed out that that, too, is a title and so leaving it in Japanese doesn't make sense. So basically... Dude has no name. And everything I'm used to calling him is a randomly untranslated title. These days I do tend to refer to him as just "the Turtle Sage", seeing how the "Venerable Grandmaster" thing doesn't really make it clear enough who I'm talking about unless people already know about the translation through sources like that fansub, but honestly, even that feels a bit odd to me...

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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Herms » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:54 pm

I'm actually pretty much OK with leaving titles untranslated as long as it's kept clear that it is indeed an untranslated title. Viz does this well, opting for "Muten Roshi" most of the time but also explaining that this is a title and providing the translation "Invincible Old Master". There is after all a huge tradition in English of leaving foreign names and titles untranslated; it's not just something found in crappy subs. Nothing wrong with referring to the Dalai Lama as the "Dalai Lama", as long as you remember he's not some dude whose first name is "Dalai" and last name is "Lama".
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by B » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:59 pm

In an ideal world everything would have the perfect English equivalent, but a lot of what we have is long and clunky(All-Seeing Crone/Fortunetelling Hag/etc. Fine on its own, but then writing that out everytime I need to talk about the character feels awkward and if I just say "the crone" no one's going to know what I'm talking about)

I like "Venerable Grandmaster", especially considering Goku almost never uses "Muten Roshi", so the problem of it being "too wordy" is not a problem when it's only the generally smarter Kuririn and Yamcha using it.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:09 pm

VegettoEX wrote:I also realize that anyone attempting to use anything even remotely different will be seen as a crazy person.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Adamant » Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:22 pm

Thouser wrote: I don't know what the Anthony Yu translation of Journey to the West uses for Niu Mowang
"Bull Demon King".


(also, as a side note, seeing people refer to a certain couple characters as "Roshi" or "Kai" makes them immediately come across as someone that probably doesn't have anything particularly insightful to say, mean as it sounds.)
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by EmmaWinters » Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:43 pm

Herms wrote:I'm actually pretty much OK with leaving titles untranslated as long as it's kept clear that it is indeed an untranslated title. Viz does this well, opting for "Muten Roshi" most of the time but also explaining that this is a title and providing the translation "Invincible Old Master". There is after all a huge tradition in English of leaving foreign names and titles untranslated; it's not just something found in crappy subs. Nothing wrong with referring to the Dalai Lama as the "Dalai Lama", as long as you remember he's not some dude whose first name is "Dalai" and last name is "Lama".
This more or less sums up how I feel.

There's nothing wrong with translating and localizing names or titles (even though I'm generally against it). But what bothers me is the sheer inconsistency. If you're going to go with Venerable Grandmaster, Sage Bean, etc, you kinda have to translate Kaiō and Kaiōshin as well, along with every technique name. And at that point, you might as well localize Ginyū's name as Milqk.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by LuckyCat » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:13 pm

I don't prefer either way, as long as I can understand who people are referring to. I admit, I was a bit miffed when people brought up "Hero" from the 23rd Budoukai, because I never watched the Dragonball dub, but no biggie.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Adamant » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:25 pm

LuckyCat wrote:I admit, I was a bit miffed when people brought up "Hero" from the 23rd Budoukai, because I never watched the Dragonball dub, but no biggie.
...what?
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by VegettoEX » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:32 pm

Adamant wrote:
LuckyCat wrote:I admit, I was a bit miffed when people brought up "Hero" from the 23rd Budoukai, because I never watched the Dragonball dub, but no biggie.
...what?
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Thouser » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:33 pm

Ajay wrote:How do you feel about a certain Dragon Ball Super fansub using "Venerable Grandmaster" for "Muten Rōshi"?
"Venerable Master" I would be okay with, but a "grandmaster" is a master of chess so that's pretty weird to me.
EmmaWinters wrote: There's nothing wrong with translating and localizing names or titles (even though I'm generally against it). But what bothers me is the sheer inconsistency. If you're going to go with Venerable Grandmaster, Sage Bean, etc, you kinda have to translate Kaiō and Kaiōshin as well, along with every technique name. And at that point, you might as well localize Ginyū's name as Milqk.
Out of curiosity, why are you generally against translating attack names or titles?

The way I see it, when a Japanese reader reads Dragon Ball, and they read something like 「海亀」(umigame), it's not just some sounds up for interpretation. They see the kanji for "sea" and "turtle," so transcribing it as "Umigame" in English is leaving out some of the meaning in English that would be impossible to miss if you were reading the original source.

Some might say the name "Umigame" is more unique in English, but he doesn't have a unique name in Japanese to begin with. That's why I would generally prefer an official translation to translate titles. Obviously not all the names in the series are as simple as this, though, but I don't see the point in using something like "Tsuru Sennin" or "Ōzaru" or "Saichōrō" when they're easily translatable.
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Re: Which translations do you prefer for characters' names?

Post by Quebaz » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:45 pm

I mostly just use the Japanese names as is when refering to the characters/techniques, maybe throw a Funimation term every once in a while because of the games.

However, I can't for the life of me stop using "Space/Super Warrior", "Genius Turtle", "Satans Little Heart" and "Hercules" for (Super) Saiyan, Kame Sennin, Piccolo and Mr.Satan respectively when talking with a Portuguese person (even if said person has never seen the dub/doesn't use these terms), I'm trying to fight it though.
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