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Pushing Back Against "Westernizing" Names

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Post #776287
Member

7:01 am, Apr 20 2020
Posts: 68


A point of consideration regarding "Westernized" names:
Publishers do it because they assume readers aren't capable of keeping track of characters otherwise. Essentially, they're saying you're not bright enough to learn new names. "Oh, but it makes it more accessible to new readers!" Does it? How many of you or your friends can name the majority of characters in Naruto as well as their jutsus? How about Haikyuu and their high schools? Free? Yuri on Ice?

You're smart enough! You're capable enough! And these publishers are only doing it because they think of you as dumb English readers. If you see a work in which the names have been westernized (Asian last names, but English first names are often an indicator--or, just plain cultural disconnect, such as everyone has an English name, but the words 'hyung' and 'sunbae' still keep popping up because lazy, lazy "localization"😉), first, please continue to read these works as much as you can on the publisher's site to support the author; and second, leave a comment saying you'd prefer to see and learn the character's original names.

Let's fight cultural whitewashing and the stereotype that English readers aren't bright enough to follow details.

Last edited by Carmella at 4:59 am, Jul 28

Post #776310
Member

6:37 pm, Apr 20 2020
Posts: 30


Hi ,this might not be relatable to everybody but I do have a bit of a problem with names (in general not just manga). And as you say even I can remember most of the names of the characters in any long series such as Naruto ,but after thinking for awhile (apart from not remembering the characters of ''koe no katachi'' or ''Tokyo blues''😢) I saw a pattern in he series who's names I remembered .

It is mainly when:
1) their names are easy to pronounce (not necessarily ''westernised'' ).
2) already used in other works (of said language)
3) different from other characters of the same series (I really forget Korean composite names)

And that is a practice most authors/editors from other countries use .

I completely agree that the lazy "localisation" (everyone getting an English name) makes me cringe .But I must admit that Japanese works (and other languages...), do give foreign characters local names in many cases .

Quote
words 'hyung' and 'sunbae'

Personally I'm fine with some (or a side quote on them when necessary) but I don't like their inconsistency,since they usually just appear randomly and are sometimes omitted in the same fashion.

I'm also fine with the use of honorifics (I remember they used to include them all and leave a side note with their translations). Even though in most languages they do have honorifics ,it is understandable they are not translated (since their use is almost extinct and wouldn't be used in modern speech). Sometimes some "Asian/Eastern " works are too dependent on them

Lastly if they weren't lazy they could perfectly change most ''onii-chan'' with bro or ''..-kun'' with friend and actually translate other "indigenous words".(but these changes must be consistent)

Spoiler (mouse over to view)
but weebing runs
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
deeeeeep😛


Last edited by Joese at 6:46 pm, Apr 20

Post #776312
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Seinen is RIGHT
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7:21 pm, Apr 20 2020
Posts: 2077


There is nothing wrong with adapting names (you already have to interpret occasionally ambiguous kanji with manga) as long as it is done sensibly and the meanings are retained and more importantly translated. Cuz you know, that´s how translations work and just think about what else is interpreted, switched and so on in every translation ever.

Every good translation is a localization. See The Witcher. Dandelion is Jaskier and so on. Unless you think that the in house localisations of the games were run by racists. Or how about Dune? Muad'Dib would need to be mo'addeb. Etc. But nah, Frank Herbert was also a racist as he didn´t use correct Arabic in his interpretations. Do you know what is also racist by OP´s logic?
The Bible. (Ok, it is but that is another problem.)


Last edited by residentgrigo at 7:30 pm, Apr 20

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Post #778856 - Reply to (#776312) by residentgrigo
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4:55 am, Jul 28 2020
Posts: 68


Quote from residentgrigo
Every good translation is a localization. See The Witcher. Dandelion is Jaskier and so on. Unless you think that the in house localisations of the games were run by racists. Or how about Dune? Muad'Dib would need to be mo'addeb. Etc. But nah, Frank Herbert was also a racist as he didn´t use correct Arabic in his interpretations. Do you know what is also racist by OP´s logic?
The Bible. (Ok, it is but that is another problem.)


The video game that popularized the Witcher, to the point that it GOT a TV show, called "Jaskier" Dandelion. Noticeably, the TV show chose to correct that. That's actually an example of UNDOING whitewashing, precisely what my original post promoted.

Dune is supposed to explore a fictional culture and language as much as Lord of the Rings does. Yes, they're based off real languages, but if you're complaining that the elves aren't English enough in LotR, we're guessing you're missing the point of the story. We're talking about the localization of works that are set in REAL cultures.

Finally, you're right. The Bible DOES whitewash. It's almost like it was a medium to spread doctrine and subjugate competing religions, like Judaism! You're just so smart! 😀

Post #778859 - Reply to (#776312) by residentgrigo
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5:31 am, Jul 28 2020
Posts: 924


Quote from residentgrigo
Every good translation is a localization. See The Witcher.

Bad example.

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Post #778864
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Seinen is RIGHT
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8:22 am, Jul 28 2020
Posts: 2077


Jaskier means Buttercup. The flower. But that would not come through if pronounced so another flower was chosen. This is whitewashing now... Both flowers are yellow. The German translation went with Rittersporn (Delphinium) which is interestingly enough blue but is considered to be superior to the English novel translation. Dune is set in the future (Hitler is mentioned in Dune 2), not an alternate universe, so all cultures and languages are intrinsically based on ours.
LOTRs was lastly written to reflect on our folklore and past. It´s even technically set on planet earth. One age before the Age of Man. Not knowing the points of the most famous fantasy and sci-fi books is just sad.

I love it when topics on this site are started to spread only garbage, misinformation and best of all racism by people who clearly don´t read.

Edit: The Witcher books are mediocre to bad, don´t read them you all. Stick to the games only. Game 2 and 3 + its DLC. Dune is as good as sci-fi gets. Good luck Denis. LOTR is also the best in its genre. I don´t care for the spinoffs though, outside of its originator The Hobbit.

Last edited by residentgrigo at 8:59 am, Jul 28

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Post #778871
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7:52 pm, Jul 28 2020
Posts: 3


Quote
We're talking about the localization of works that are set in REAL cultures


The Witcher was made by a Polish guy (white) and Elric was made by a British guy (white), so much for whitewashing. Localizing names have their place and time, and are not just done in English or for white people. It's done all the time everywhere (with even people and historical figures using the local version of their name in a different country). Yes, lazy localization often leads to the erasure of cultural values embedded within the media and the 'whitewashing' of the story. Yet most of the time the people that decry localization are the same 'subs not dubs' kawaii weeaboo crowd that fetishize and commodify that very same culture as evidenced by the following:

Quote
How many of you or your friends can name the majority of characters in Naruto as well as their jutsus?


Having spelled out honorifics or seeing onee-san instead of sister or sempai instead of senior isn't going to increase my cultural literacy. It won't make me understand japanese culture any better. It won't improve the quality of the story. What it will do, however, is convince a bunch of impressionable nerds to say things like 'kawaii' in real life and make a mockery of Japanese (or whatever country's) culture.

I definitely agree that turning every character's or place's name into an English or whatever language counterpart is incredibly stupid to do for every situation, and a good translator will be able to distinguish when the name of something should be translated or transliterated. However, this is a complete non-issue even if you believe that illegal manga/manhwa scanlations should be the forefront of social justice, cultural literacy, and diversity.

Also, on the point of accessibility, often times something that is very clear and apparent in one culture, language, or even writing system is not the same in a different one. A publisher or translator also has the responsibility to reach the widest variety of audience (including 12 year olds and 65 year olds), and focusing a translation to appeal to people that want to be immersed in a pale caricature of a culture does not make sense business-wise. If you want the author to do well you should let them focus on the things that will make them the most money.

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Post #778872
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Seinen is RIGHT
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8:33 pm, Jul 28 2020
Posts: 2077


Even Japan does this. Sun Wukong was turned into Son Goku. #CancelAkiraToriyama
And how dare Square Enix change Sefirot into Sephiroth and Tiferet into Tifa. They trampled on the Kabbalah!

Edit: No one is talking about the translations of FF VII. セフィロス & ティファ are also their original Japanese names and are used in all localisations. Not knowing this but using this site to bitch about its (admitted mediocre) remake elsewhere is wow. We now know who hasn´t played either version of one of the most famous games of all time. The response below again proves that people who cry about SJWs ruining modern media have usually never touched the new versions and the source material. I couldn´t have asked for a better response!

To the rest. The PSX translations of FF VII are infamous for being very bad. SE itself is publically ashamed of them. Aerith was even misspelled as Aeris so the Air + Earth meaning went away. This guy are sick/10 Mod the PC version or play a hack of the other ones for a much-needed fix: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-05-29-why-would-s omeone-spend-five-years-retranslating-all-of-final-fantas y-7
The German translation was even worse than the US one. Getting the US version was an upgrade for me! Sad but true...

Last edited by residentgrigo at 12:34 am, Jul 29

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Post #778873 - Reply to (#778871) by falconmaster3000
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9:15 pm, Jul 28 2020
Posts: 924


Quote from falconmaster3000
Yet most of the time the people that decry localization are the same 'subs not dubs' kawaii weeaboo crowd that fetishize and commodify that very same culture

No, they don't. The so-called "kawaii weeaboo" crowd are Japanophiles in-appearance-only as they'll accept any shlock production done just to keep their "weeb" identity (As they literally have no other life), and, more often then not, are the ones crying on about "entitlement" whenever people point out translation issues. Meanwhile, the people that criticize localizations are just people tired about world backstory and character interactions being butchered to spout whatever the latest memes are and satisfy the translator's need to publish their fanfiction.

Quote from residentgrigo
And how dare Square Enix change Sefirot into Sephiroth and Tiferet into Tifa.

The entirety of Final Fantasy VII was translated by one guy who locked himself in the company closest for a month while surviving on a can of beans. (If learning Japanese yourself wasn't an option) I would much rather have that than the Working Design levels of professionalism that have infested all forms of media translation.

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