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News Article
New Poll - Translating Dialects
This week's poll about translating dialects comes from 8-3.

You can submit poll ideas here
http://www.mangaupdates.com/showtopic.php?tid=3903

Previous Poll Results:
Question: What do you drink in the morning most often?
Choices:
Spirits - votes: 62 (0.8%)
Cider - votes: 23 (0.3%)
Wine - votes: 25 (0.3%)
Beer - votes: 47 (0.6%)
Juice - votes: 470 (6.3%)
Milk - votes: 908 (12.3%)
Soda, pop, soft drinks, cola, coke - votes: 384 (5.2%)
Tea - votes: 1167 (15.8%)
Coffee - votes: 1230 (16.6%)
Water - votes: 2877 (38.8%)
Other alcoholic beverage - votes: 26 (0.4%)
Other non-alcoholic beverage - votes: 187 (2.5%)
There were 7406 total votes.
The poll ended: February 24th 2018

All you alcoholics =P
Posted by lambchopsil on February 24th 8:40am Comments ( 18 )  [ View ]  [ Add ]
Comments

» residentgrigo on February 24th, 2018, 1:57am

Standard English with a translation note, or we end up with "valley girl" accents and other nonsense. Rubbish as this is one of the main reasons against anime dubs too. It is admittedly harder to produce those and good ones exist but that field is worse in this aspect for sure.

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» SinsI on February 24th, 2018, 3:44am

This one is very hard, and every case is special - so solutions also need to be different.
Why was the non-standard dialect used in the first place?
If it is to show that a character is from some rustic place - then a rustic English dialect is OK.
If it is to show that the character is of somewhat different culture (i.e. uses Kansai-ben) - when making the character use some foreign language words might achieve the same effect.
If it is a way to show different levels of masculinity/feminity - then standard English with translation note might be the proper solution.

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» kurotaito on February 24th, 2018, 5:48am

Quote from SinsI
This one is very hard, and every case is special - so solutions also need to be different.
Why was the non-standard dialect used in the first place?
If it is to show that a character is from some rustic place - then a rustic English dialect is OK.
If it is to show that the character is of somewhat d ...


I completely agree.

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» calstine on February 24th, 2018, 5:49am

Quote from SinsI
This one is very hard, and every case is special - so solutions also need to be different.
Why was the non-standard dialect used in the first place?
If it is to show that the character is of somewhat different culture (i.e. uses Kansai-ben) - when making the character use some foreign language words might achieve the same effect.
If it is a way to show different levels of masculinity/feminity - then standard English with translation note might be the proper solution.


Excellent points! I agree with all of them. That being said, I voted for the first option, but the third is also fine.

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» philip72 on February 24th, 2018, 10:59am

Absolutely.

Far too many lazy (American) translators automatically default to using Southern US, Redneck or California surfer accents for everything from Akita Dialect to Kansai-ben to Okinawan.
It's galling because English has some great equivalents that somewhat match cultural touchstones in Japanese counterparts, to use.

A few possible examples:
Kansai-ben = Cockney or East End London, if you have to keep it 'murican then Bostonian or Metropolitan New York English.
Akita = Doric Scots or Minnesotan
Hokkaidan = Canadian eh, maybe some Irish type
Kyoto proper (modern court dialect) = Received Pronunciation
Tokyo-ben = Standard English, BBC English
Kyushu = Southern Drawl
Okinawan = Aussie

I remember reading a seinen manga about a girls basketball team, and the translator used a heavy Scots to substitute for one of the girls Akita. It really got the point across well. It was an excellent job.

If it's too much work or beyond the capabilities of the scanlator to properly address the accents, then Standard English with a translation note is preferable to more hilbilly, surfer dude speak.

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» gwkimmy on February 26th, 2018, 12:04am

Quote from philip72
A few possible examples:
Kansai-ben = Cockney or East End London, if you have to keep it 'murican then Bostonian or Metropolitan New York English.
Akita = Doric Scots or Minnesotan
Hokkaidan = Canadian eh, maybe some Irish type
Kyoto proper (modern court dialect) = Received Pronunciation
Tokyo-ben = Standard English, BBC English
Kyushu = Southern Drawl
Okinawan = Aussie

omg this is perfect. I would love if this were the standard.

someone below mentioned that different Japanese dialects were a matter of grammar instead of accent sounds. In the U.S, that would be the difference between standard English and something like say, African American colloquial English and perhaps some variants of Southern English, which would be hard to incorporate unless the translators were also speakers of those dialects and could translate accordingly, or they were linguists.

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» VawX on February 24th, 2018, 5:02am

I mean... what is supposed to be non-standard English accent, most of the time it's just become weird mmm...

I prefer the one with translation note mmm...

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» Natsuki@ on February 24th, 2018, 6:34am

I as a non-native English speaker voted for Standard English with a translation note. It's hard to get it right if you use a local dialect/accent, I've had the misfortune to read an attempted dialect in the translations from drifters. It was almost impossible to decipherer for me and really ruined my reading experience of those chapters. While a few odd words would be okay, if it has a translation note I would rather have readable English instead.

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» MinatoAce on February 24th, 2018, 7:08am

Chose Standard English with a translation note. Because that's the basic point of translating. Any dialect of a foreign language is foreign to a foreigner, so it really doesn't matter.
But, I think it's totally on the translator. If he wished to translate it into non-standard dialect or different accent, he/she is free to do so. I believe most readers will have much of an opinion.
Now on the practical field, I think translators are mostly going with "Translate to a non-standard English dialect or accent", in case they show a foreigner like a Caucasian or A Black Person.
Examples of usage of Japanese dialects like Kansai dialects are very limited.

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» vigorousjammer on February 24th, 2018, 7:40am

Why not translate it to a non-standard English dialect AND add a translation note?
That way the reader can have some semblance of the original writing style represented in English, but also glean what it was in the original Japanese if they're curious.

Keeping the character's lines in standard English might be best for translation... but for a manga, I definitely want more than a standard translation, I would want it to be localized more, so it feels more natural to read.

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» gwkimmy on February 24th, 2018, 9:27am

This is really tough. Normally I prefer a translation note and nothing else, but then often I forget that the character is talking in a different accent until there's a joke and I've missed the punchline.

If EVERYONE is speaking in the different accent, then standard English with a note is fine. Otherwise, different fonts for the accents and maybe a few choice different words would be sufficient. Often I've seen kansai-ben translated into American southern drawl and some people go so over the top with it that it's really distracting!! (Do they really think southern people talk like that too?!)

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» juliarox214 on February 24th, 2018, 12:14pm

So hard to choose because I do like seeing people talk differently (once in a while). I think if the character always talks like that, probably better to do standard English with something strange thrown in once in a while.

Plus how do you translate what Japanese dialect goes to what English dialect. Hokkaidan to Canadian, eh? Hmm. I translate into Canadian English all the time because that's what I speak, so ... roll eyes

For myself, I translate from French, not Japanese, so the dialects are probably already lost in translation.

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» cmertb on February 24th, 2018, 11:43pm

Unlike Japanese dialects, English dialects are more a matter of accent than grammar. It doesn't go over well in writing. When people try to express an accent in writing by misspelling whatever they can, it only gets annoying.

And if you translate everything to just standard English grammar and spelling, is there really a point to adding a note that in the original the character spoke some dialect? Do you have to add a note in every chapter to remind readers of the dialect that character uses?

My choice is standard without any note.

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» MangaGhost on February 25th, 2018, 9:32am

Actually I think there is a point. When a character is being made fun of because of their accent or being stereotyped in either a positive or negative light a note can help explain that.

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» cmertb on February 25th, 2018, 7:00pm

Most of the time there is a dialect, the fact isn't used in the story. It just exists for the sake of diversity. Or the stereotypes it represents are so subtle you have to be Japanese to understand. Naturally, if the dialect is mentioned in the story, you have to explain it, and a tl note works for that. But I was rhetorically asking about the point in a general case.

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» MangaGhost on February 25th, 2018, 9:27am

I can barely stand it when official translations from publishers start using modern American colloquialisms in Japanese Manga and Anime especially when it takes place in some ancient Asian setting. Then there's all the anime with Texas accents used as a dialect, which tends to stand out as a sore thumb.

I'm not completely opposed to tweaking a translation a bit, like having some people speak more formally than others, but often it just gets too heavy handed with accents or trying to make it sound cool to the kids (in official translations) and why I tend to prefer just a translation note. Its supposed to be another culture with its own unique viewpoints and biases not our own.

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» KaoriNite on February 26th, 2018, 6:40am

I prefer if they use standard English with a note. When people try to write in a non-standard English accent it often is just awkward and annoying. English dialects come with certain stereotypes about the speaker, and that stereotype doesn't always match the stereotype that comes with the Japanese dialect. Also, the writer would need to be very familiar with the English dialect to pull it off correctly. And in the end, it doesn't matter if the reader isn't familiar with the English dialect.

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» HoshiRyo on March 2nd, 2018, 8:36pm

Quote
And in the end, it doesn't matter if the reader isn't familiar with the English dialect.


It gets worse. If the person writing the translation doesn't have the necessary familiarity with the dialect, it can be pretty insulting. In some series, though, dialects can end up being plot points--so the 'standard English with a note' route may not be always workable either. Making up a dialect would work, as would just recruiting somebody who can do the necessary checks for the real dialect you opt to use as a substitute.

As somebody who's decently familiar with Japanese dialects? philip72's list looks to be a very good one. Southern US's actually a bit too laid back for Kansai-ben, the logic seems to literally have been 'Of course Southern has the same connotations everywhere.' (I am certain people in Southern England would not agree...)

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