Author Topic: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations  (Read 12007 times)

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Offline Auturgist

Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2006, 06:26:04 AM »
[01:55] Duane Johnson: oh boy, i see you joined the SK.net forums
[01:55] *** Auto-response sent to Duane Johnson: I am currently away from the computer.
[01:55] Duane Johnson: let's see what all went down
[01:57] Duane Johnson: ah man, you let them know about the Raven reference; i was hoping to surprise them ^_^;
[01:57] Duane Johnson: of course, some of them might not have taken it well anyway; lots of critics on these boards
[01:58] Duane Johnson: it's good that you pointed out that you don't represent DH; that was probably the biggest liability in identifying your role
[02:04] Duane Johnson: do be careful about dropping too much regarding scripts that haven't been published yet
[02:05] Duane Johnson: if you can, try to limit allusions or citations to volumes that have already hit the market
[02:09] Duane Johnson: oi...i wish you hadn't gotten so deep into the "groovy" thing...i had a feeling that would cause trouble
[02:12] Duane Johnson: well, hopefully that bit has quelled
[02:13] Duane Johnson: as for the previous translator, good call in not saying anything else about him - it's not our place to comment on how he stepped down from translating Berserk
[02:13] Duane Johnson: okay, finished reading the posts
[02:14] Duane Johnson: looks like damage control isn't necessary, but as i stated above, please be careful with what information you let fly - especially when it concerns volumes that are still in the "pipeline"
[02:20] Duane Johnson: just be careful not to get too zealous with these guys and brew any hostility...i think that would be very bad
[02:20] Duane Johnson: it's probably the main reason i've avoided joining this board in the first place - to avoid conflict
[02:22] Duane Johnson: now i'm racking my brain trying to remember what the Dune reference was...but that's just as well - if i can't remember it now it must not have been too obvious
[02:22] Duane Johnson: i say let these guys spot these things on their own in the future - it's more effective that way
[02:25] Duane Johnson: anyway, good night

This is an edited response Duane sent me via IM after seeing this thread.  (I cut out some things he said to me that aren't really intended for anyone else to read.)  As you can see, he didn't even REMEMBER the reference to DUNE in the script, it was so fitting.

I think if you guys were to actually pick up and read the English versions from volume 5 onward, you would generally greatly approve of our work thus far.  If you HAVEN'T been reading them (and further, aren't buying them), I don't really know that you are in any position to criticize anyway.  I don't say that to be a jerk either... but I mean, if someone's entire issue with our work is based on one comment I've made about one word in one volume, I'm not sure that they have any leg to stand on in an actual debate about the quality of work or attitude we take in doing it.

On the other hand, if you have been reading (buying) them all and take issue, it's perhaps understandable.  I just hope you understand, as Duane and I do in our respective roles translating the series, that you can't win every battle.

I'd like to think it wasn't a mistake posting here.  I expected some antagonism or criticism of what we do, but I also hope you guys understand that we are NOT trying to fuck up a series you love because it's a series WE love too.  ^_^;;

Offline SaiyajinNoOuji

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2006, 07:46:40 AM »
I don't know... since I have not bought any Dark Horse copies of Berserk I suppose I can't criticize to much but do they really need American pop culture references in them? Why not translate the Japanese ones and put an index on to what the references are referring to.

Although I suppose from maybe your point of view it wouldn't hurt it to much cause the only ones would care are the elitist's and hardcore of purists like us and I am sure that there arnt a whole lot of Americans that are like that.

Dah well though, I am sure all in all we are all happy that Berserk is getting officially translated and published in America, we are just hoping that it doesn't get corny with all the added American pop culture references. Since it wasn't made for that. Just my 2 cents.
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Offline Auturgist

Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2006, 09:46:42 AM »
Believe me, I'm hardcore and something of a purist myself.  But here's the thing about those references:

If you don't know about them, they don't ruin anything for you.  And if you do, they're like "easter eggs" in that they aren't forced into the script in ways that compromise the actual meaning of the original.

If you weren't a fan of the EVIL DEAD movies and saw the word "groovy" in the text, you wouldn't be the wiser because what Guts actually says is a pretty generic, informal exclamation.  Like I said, it could just as easily be "neato" or "nifty" or "wicked" or anything else that is really not much more of a stretch than "groovy".

As for the DUNE reference, like I said, if you didn't know about DUNE, you would NEVER even realize that you just read an allusion to something.  In fact, I don't expect even half the people who DO read it to get it when they do so.

Offline Walter

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2006, 12:27:17 PM »
I think if you guys were to actually pick up and read the English versions from volume 5 onward, you would generally greatly approve of our work thus far.  If you HAVEN'T been reading them (and further, aren't buying them), I don't really know that you are in any position to criticize anyway.  I don't say that to be a jerk either... but I mean, if someone's entire issue with our work is based on one comment I've made about one word in one volume, I'm not sure that they have any leg to stand on in an actual debate about the quality of work or attitude we take in doing it.
I own most of the DH releases (3,4,8-12) and there are about a handful of sections of dialogue that feel awkward to me.  I'm not a fluent Japanese speaker myself, nor do I have my volumes handy at the moment (out of town, I'll be home tonight with an updated post), but, just offhand, one of the more "wtf" moments for me was Carcus calling Guts a "fag" at the ball in volume 8... I've always wondered, does he really say that?  :carcus:

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I just hope you understand, as Duane and I do in our respective roles translating the series, that you can't win every battle. ... I'd like to think it wasn't a mistake posting here.  I expected some antagonism or criticism of what we do, but I also hope you guys understand that we are NOT trying to fuck up a series you love because it's a series WE love too.  ^_^;;
You should also understand that our criticism is meant for the benefit of Berserk, not as arbitrary naysaying.  I do appreciate you going out of your way to explain to us your rather unique role in the translation process, but like you said, you have to expect some criticism from the #1 Berserk community on the internet.   :guts:

When it comes down to brass tacks for me, as long as you're seriously considering the character's personalities when you're writing dialogue, there won't be any complaints.  Seriously, on the whole (SFX boxes aside, that's a whole other issue XD) I think Duane has done excellent work in translating such a complex series.  And I acknowledge that you're trying to market to a huge variety of readers.  However, like I say, as long as you're genuinely faithful to the source material, and aren't going out of your way to make it extra funny or referential (i.e. throwing in extra jokes, or 19th century poems on sections you simply don't know how to handle), there's no problems.
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Offline TheBeast43105

Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2006, 04:39:45 PM »
I'm personally liking the groovy line.  It is pretty subtle, and it doesnt change the context of the scene.  Now if Guts said something like " Diz arm is off the hizzey!!!!"  yeah i'd be a little dissapointed.    But since i am a big fan of Berserk and the Evil Dead, i dont think its too bad a deal. I can see how some people wouldnt care for it however.

Im all for subtle references, just as long as they use them VERY sparingly.  Like one or two every couple volumes.

Offline Rhombaad

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2006, 05:44:55 PM »
Im all for subtle references, just as long as they use them VERY sparingly.  Like one or two every couple volumes.

Even that's too many.  Unless it's something with a lot of thought put into it, like the Poe reference, leave the subtle references to things out.  Miura is a great writer and no one needs to add their own little humorous references to his work.  That said, I do own all of the English volumes released so far (and my collection of the Japanese versions is growing quickly) and I am very pleased with the translations I've seen.  The only things that bugged me were the use of "fate" instead of "causality" in the first 3 volumes (but that's been taken care of and Auturgist and Duane had nothing to do with the first 3 volumes anyway) and the reference to the Sacrificial Ceremony as the "Invocation of Doom."  Apart from that I really can't complain too much about the way the DH releases have been handled so far (aside from the few things brought up in this thread and the SFX translation boxes being pasted over the artwork).  In the end, I'm going to keep supporting the American release 100%, despite the few relatively minor problems encountered so far.

P.S. - Apologies if I sounded harsh in my first post, but I'm a stickler for perfection, especially when it concerns the things I love.

Offline Auturgist

Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2006, 10:17:39 PM »
I own most of the DH releases (3,4,8-12) and there are about a handful of sections of dialogue that feel awkward to me.  I'm not a fluent Japanese speaker myself, nor do I have my volumes handy at the moment (out of town, I'll be home tonight with an updated post), but, just offhand, one of the more "wtf" moments for me was Carcus calling Guts a "fag" at the ball in volume 8... I've always wondered, does he really say that?  :carcus:

Yes, Corkus (by the way, the official spelling of his name mandated to us is "Corkus") does essentially call Guts a "fag".  He uses the katakana "homo".  The decision to change that to "fag" in English was made because it sounds more derogatory, which is a) in character for Corkus, who is always talking shit to Guts, and b) what we felt the original Japanese was trying to do.  Not being from Japan, I can't say for sure that the word "homo" does or doesn't carry a very negative connotation, but I can say that I feel Corkus' remark to Guts would, and since the denotation of both "homo" and "fag" is the same, in this case we went with "fag" to convey that extra little bit of disdain.

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You should also understand that our criticism is meant for the benefit of Berserk, not as arbitrary naysaying.  I do appreciate you going out of your way to explain to us your rather unique role in the translation process, but like you said, you have to expect some criticism from the #1 Berserk community on the internet.   :guts:

Oh, I totally understand where you guys are coming from.  I don't take any personal offense at all from these kinds of questions and concerns, because I've been on the other side of them myself regarding other stuff.  I'm simply trying to win you all over to see our logic and reasons behind these things, so that you can be more confident that the series is being handled carefully.

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When it comes down to brass tacks for me, as long as you're seriously considering the character's personalities when you're writing dialogue, there won't be any complaints.  Seriously, on the whole (SFX boxes aside, that's a whole other issue XD) I think Duane has done excellent work in translating such a complex series.  And I acknowledge that you're trying to market to a huge variety of readers.  However, like I say, as long as you're genuinely faithful to the source material, and aren't going out of your way to make it extra funny or referential (i.e. throwing in extra jokes, or 19th century poems on sections you simply don't know how to handle), there's no problems.

Well, the FX boxes aren't our call.  Duane has been translating the sound effects for as long as he's been doing the scripts because it's his job, and I've never bothered giving them more than a passing glance because there's really no feedback I can give him on an onomatopoeia that represents "the sound of light dimming".   :void:  But the way in which those effects have made it into the published volumes, however, was not his call and I'd hope people don't hold that against his translation of the material.

As for that parenthetical comment about references and 19th century poems, lemme just put it like this:

When translating, you deal with more than just words.  If it were just words, it would be a hell of a lot easier.  But you also have to account for manners of speech and cultural references; both of these make the job a LOT more difficult because a reader in Japan is aware of what they mean.  When translating, it's not always possible to assume that English readers will have the same foundation of knowledge.  Thus, our job translating becomes not merely matching the Japanese to the closest English word, but instead trying to find the best way to convey the actual message of those words.

I think this is where people are most likely to differ in their philosophy regarding the translating process, so I expect and respect that some of you will disagree with me here.  But let me offer my attempt at explanation.

The first person I ever talked to about translating was a guy named Shin Kurokawa.  He used to work for AnimEigo, as a translator and producer.  I don't remember a lot of what he said (we were drinking at a room party at an anime convention, the exact year or con I can't even remember), but I remember he said it's impossible to do a literal translation of something from Japanese to English.  And I remember him making an example of a joke in URUSEI YATSURA that simply cannot translate into English properly.  So what did he do?  He substituted a joke that does work in English and kinda helps to retain some element of what would otherwise be lost in the translation.

Now, working on BERSERK, I've seen instances in which this same scenario has occurred.  Wyald's speech was one instance, and I've already discussed that.  Another coming to mind was the torturer who was working Griffith over in the Tower of Rebirth... hit p.147 of volume 10, the last panel.

The torturer says, "I've never had a pupil ash pretty ash him in my care."  In the Japanese, the torturer makes an anatomical pun involving the word for "tongue", I believe, when he talks of Griffith.  There was absolutely no way to make that work in English.  So I suggested he call Griffith his "pupil" because the word has two meanings, one that refers to a student of a teacher (in this case, Griffith is learning the meaning of suffering from this guy), and one that refers to a part of the body (part of the eye).  Was that a liberty taken with the script?  Absolutely.  There was NO use of a word for "eye" or "pupil" or anything like that in the Japanese.  But it damn well was the best way to convey something that does exist in the Japanese, an obsession this guy has with anatomy that even finds its way into his speech, be it intentionally or no.

Now, if you can support THAT liberty, maybe you can support our decision to have a line Puck says sound similar to something from "The Raven" purely for the purposes of conveying that he's trying to talk like a crow.  Think about that...

Maybe in Japan crows and ravens have a way of talking that's been established in literature or plays or films that is something a reader would recognize immediately there.  Maybe not.  In either case the point is that Puck is trying to talk in the crow's language.  Duane and I felt that simply slurring his words someway doesn't exactly convey this fact, so we tried to tailor his dialogue in a way that would evoke this idea of crow-speak, and for English readers, NOTHING sounds more like crow-speak than the word "nevermore".  Now when you read that panel in volume 15, if you really despise it, I dunno what to say to make it better.  But I hope you will understand where we're coming from with that line.

Also, perhaps consider this: things are always LOST in translation.  How often can we say things are GAINED in translation?  I'm not presuming to say that Duane and I have the right to change Miura's meaning, or anything like that.  But in the case of instances where nothing's lost, where there is no cost to doing so, if we can use a particular word or reference something that some readers will pick up on as an allusion to other works, I feel that adds something extra for those readers.  Duane and I don't go out of our way to do this, we don't force it... but I don't think it's wrong in any of the instances in which we have done this so far.

I'm personally liking the groovy line.  It is pretty subtle, and it doesnt change the context of the scene.  Now if Guts said something like "Diz arm is off the hizzey!!!!"  yeah i'd be a little dissapointed.    But since i am a big fan of Berserk and the Evil Dead, i dont think its too bad a deal. I can see how some people wouldnt care for it however.

Exactly.  Using "neat" or "groovy" or anything else doesn't change what Guts is saying, but using "groovy" buys the reader a smile if he's a fan of EVIL DEAD, which is why we chose it.  We're not doing it to sell more books -- believe me, I think it's insane to think one word someone probably won't even read, flipping through it at the shelf of a Barnes & Noble, is going to sell the book when its exclusion would cause that person not to buy it.  We're doing it because we saw the similarity between that moment when Guts gets his cannon-arm and when Ash puts on the chainsaw-arm, and we're fans of both series.

Unless it's something with a lot of thought put into it, like the Poe reference, leave the subtle references to things out.  Miura is a great writer and no one needs to add their own little humorous references to his work.  That said, I do own all of the English volumes released so far (and my collection of the Japanese versions is growing quickly) and I am very pleased with the translations I've seen.  The only things that bugged me were the use of "fate" instead of "causality" in the first 3 volumes (but that's been taken care of and Auturgist and Duane had nothing to do with the first 3 volumes anyway) and the reference to the Sacrificial Ceremony as the "Invocation of Doom."  Apart from that I really can't complain too much about the way the DH releases have been handled so far (aside from the few things brought up in this thread and the SFX translation boxes being pasted over the artwork).  In the end, I'm going to keep supporting the American release 100%, despite the few relatively minor problems encountered so far.

P.S. - Apologies if I sounded harsh in my first post, but I'm a stickler for perfection, especially when it concerns the things I love.

No apology necessary.   :guts:

I'm glad you know not to hold that fate/causality debacle against Duane and myself.  (It's a good thing I almost never feel compelled to read the first three volumes, because I'd hang my head in shame every time if I did, and I'm not even responsible for that part.)   :puck:

As for the "Invocation of Doom", I questioned Duane about that once myself, and as I recall, it actually is an accurate translation.  It SOUNDS cheesy as all hell, but essentially the God Hand is invoking doom for all those who are sacrificed.  I might be wrong about this -- I'd have to check it out again, because I don't remember all these details perfectly, so don't jump on me if I am wrong -- but I believe that phrase is used to describe just part of the overall ceremony.  In any case, I seem to recall it being not a terrible translation, despite it sounding like something out of the not-very-good Indiana Jones movie.   :judo:
« Last Edit: August 08, 2006, 10:36:11 PM by Auturgist »

Offline Rhombaad

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2006, 02:07:16 AM »
But in the case of instances where nothing's lost, where there is no cost to doing so, if we can use a particular word or reference something that some readers will pick up on as an allusion to other works, I feel that adds something extra for those readers.  Duane and I don't go out of our way to do this, we don't force it... but I don't think it's wrong in any of the instances in which we have done this so far.

From the way you've described it, adding in "groovy" or the possibly upcoming Dune reference, it sounds pretty forced.  I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.  Interesting stuff about the translation of what the torturer says in Vol. 10 though.  That kind of stuff I have no problems with, because outside of those few who speak Japanese and know the English equivalent of said phrases, most people won't understand what Miura is doing with the words.  As for the "Invocation of Doom," it's reassuring to hear that it's close to what the Japanese phrase means.  And yes, it certainly does sound like something from the weakest of the Indiana Jones movies.  Indyyyyyyyyyyyy...

Offline jackson_hurley

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2006, 03:16:04 PM »
  And yes, it certainly does sound like something from the weakest of the Indiana Jones movies.  Indyyyyyyyyyyyy...

*off-topic* come on. temple of doom was the best!  :puck:

Offline Griffith

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2006, 06:50:19 PM »
My concern is the general lack of caring displayed here over how a simple choice of words DOES change meaning and the tone of the story, as has already been pointed out. Certain language itself is just ridiculous coming out of Guts' mouth. Certain vocabulary shouldn't even be in the Berserk translation lexicon because it's inappropriate for the tone, setting, and style of the work.

Offline Señor Caudillo

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2006, 07:13:49 PM »
My concern is the general lack of caring displayed here over how a simple choice of words DOES change meaning and the tone of the story, as has already been pointed out. Certain language itself is just ridiculous coming out of Guts' mouth. Certain vocabulary shouldn't even be in the Berserk translation lexicon because it's inappropriate for the tone, setting, and style of the work.

Thank you. When it comes to issues with translation/adaptation of Berserk, that's exactly what I had in mind too.

Offline Auturgist

Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2006, 08:10:42 PM »
My concern is the general lack of caring displayed here over how a simple choice of words DOES change meaning and the tone of the story, as has already been pointed out. Certain language itself is just ridiculous coming out of Guts' mouth. Certain vocabulary shouldn't even be in the Berserk translation lexicon because it's inappropriate for the tone, setting, and style of the work.

I appreciate your concern and I think I've already displayed that we're more than concerned.  (Please, note what we did with the torturer -- if that's not care given to a simple choice of words, nothing is.  Also, read that part of an earlier post in which I tell of how Duane and I once spent like two hours debating over whether to use "tick" or "parasite".  Honestly, I don't think you are in any position to assess the amount of care we give to a simple choice of words.)  The very fact that we included a note in the script to the Dark Horse editor stating our intention in using "groovy" so that he can opt to edit it for something more generic would seem to indicate that we are aware that such diction might be controversial, and though we felt it was fine, didn't want to presume in such a case.

I'd like to know: how many of the Dark Horse volumes from 5 onward do you own?  How many have you read from cover to cover?

[Edit: I'm not saying this or asking to attack you... but there are always people who haven't even been buying/reading our translations who want to give us shit about them, and those are the people I'd prefer simply to ignore, because they aren't arguing about anything we've done or are doing, they're arguing about what they think should be done and assuming we're not doing it.  And even if they have valid concerns, engaging them is never actually productive because they can't be satisfied -- they don't ever buy or read the books to see that things aren't bad or are getting better.]
« Last Edit: August 09, 2006, 08:15:23 PM by Auturgist »

Offline CnC

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2006, 08:16:33 PM »
Auturgist, I forgot if you mentioned this already, but did you say you spoke japanese?  Or are you just taking literal translations and making them more colloquial?
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Offline Auturgist

Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #38 on: August 09, 2006, 09:22:06 PM »
Auturgist, I forgot if you mentioned this already, but did you say you spoke japanese?  Or are you just taking literal translations and making them more colloquial?

I have only a very limited understanding of Japanese, which is to say I took 101 and 102 back in college, and have over a decade of casual exposure from anime/manga fandom.  I'll admit, if you are asking, that I am not qualified to translate.  Duane is the translator, and I work very closely with him when we go over the scripts to make them -- to say simply "colloquial" isn't adequate, because that's not exactly it -- flow more naturally in English.  Sometimes this includes making the speech more colloquial, sometimes I actually end up making the speech more formal, depending on the character speaking and the circumstances.

This is a quick summary of the process:

1) Duane does his first translation of the material.  We call this his "first run".

2) After giving himself some time (read: weeks) away from that material, to clear his brain (usually he'll work on something else he has been hired to translate), he comes back to it and does his "second run".

3) After his second run, he e-mails the script to me and I read through it, noting everything that I feel needs to be refined.  At this point if there are any questions I have about something, I'll mark it so that when we discuss it, I can ask him.

4) I then make all my own edits, smoothing out the English so that it reads as though it were spoken naturally, fixing any errors that I find that aren't intentional.  In the case of some characters, this means making sure they don't speak perfect, proper English (Guts might occasionally say "ain't" instead of "am not" or "isn't" simply because he's not formally educated), while other characters would never split infinitives or speak without proper subject-verb agreement (most royalty speak very formally and are educated, so they speak using proper grammar).  Basically, I take the more literal translations Duane gives me and smooth them into English while infusing character personality into the dialogue.  When I've gone over the whole script, noting all my suggested edits and fixes, I save the file under a different filename.

5) Once I'm done, Duane and I either meet or discuss over the phone the entire script from start to finish.  I open my revised file and he opens the unmodified translation.  Every edit or fix I've made in my file we discuss and compare to his original translation.  When he agrees with me and there are no problems, the edit is made.  When he feels my edit fails to convey something necessary, or he doesn't agree with the tone of it, we deliberate until we reach something that satisfies us.  (We have spent hours doing this!)  We do this from the start of every script through the end of every script.  We skip nothing.  Each and every question, edit, and fix of mine is addressed, and when we are done, we always feel the result is greatly improved over the purely literal translation that existed previously.

6) Now, Duane makes his "final run" over that script, not for the purpose of translating, but for the purpose of checking it for consistency against itself and, especially, the other volumes.

Now, I don't want anyone to think that Duane doesn't know these characters or isn't capable of doing all this himself.  I have every confidence that he could if he spent the time doing so.  But he is my friend and once he was able to tell people he was hired to translate volume 4, he told me because we were always discussing it as fans anyway.  And because he values my insight and understanding of the English language (above and beyond that of even most other native English speakers), he asked if he could hire me on as a "creative consultant".  As such, I help him out a great deal by offering him feedback, which coincidentally offers him a break from the translating.  This helps him to get out of the purely translation-motivated mindset that would have him constantly scouring the text for a literal translation.  So when we talk about the script, while he has the literal translation always in the back of his mind, he's better able, with my input and ideas, to see the script from a different angle that ultimately helps him to improve it.

For the record, he occasionally skims these boards (as you can tell from my cut and paste of parts of his IM to me about it), but doesn't get involved because he doesn't want to beget controversy.  I have no doubt that if he were ever to post here on this subject, he would state as well that he feels what I bring to the table as his "creative consultant" is extremely valuable.  Otherwise, well... he'd fire me.   :isidro:

Offline Walter

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2006, 11:04:06 PM »
I ... have over a decade of casual exposure from anime/manga fandom.
That's not something you put on your resumé is it?  :carcus:

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6) Now, Duane makes his "final run" over that script, not for the purpose of translating, but for the purpose of checking it for consistency against itself and, especially, the other volumes.
I was just curious since "Invocation of Doom" isn't necessarily the most complete translation of the original phrase, would Duane have used this phrase simply because the previous translator used it and didn't want it's usage in volume 12 to be inconsistent with volume 3's?  I think that may be a conflict of interests, since he may be ignoring a better translation for the sake of "consistency."

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And because he values my insight and understanding of the English language (above and beyond that of even most other native English speakers),
Geez, tooting your own horn a bit here, aren't you? Not even an emoticon to balance out the statement?  Hail KING ENGLISH :guts:

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For the record, he occasionally skims these boards (as you can tell from my cut and paste of parts of his IM to me about it), but doesn't get involved because he doesn't want to beget controversy.
I'm afraid that's already happened, and is inevitable when dealing directly with a fanbase like this.  There will always be discrepancies in translation (both literal and figurative) with fans as dedicated to the series as we are.  And while you aren't necessarily hired by DH directly, I really don't think it's good PR work to distribute information of this nature freely like this.  But, it's at your own discretion so...
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Auturgist

Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #40 on: August 09, 2006, 11:52:23 PM »
That's not something you put on your resumé is it?  :carcus:

No, it's not.  I wasn't hired as a translator, though, so I fail to see how it's pertinent to my role in the process that I described above.

Quote from: Walter
I was just curious since "Invocation of Doom" isn't necessarily the most complete translation of the original phrase, would Duane have used this phrase simply because the previous translator used it and didn't want it's usage in volume 12 to be inconsistent with volume 3's?  I think that may be a conflict of interests, since he may be ignoring a better translation for the sake of "consistency."

He does, in fact, use this phrase because the original translator did.  Your point about a better translation vs. consistency is an issue he and I have discussed at length from multiple perspectives on multiple occasions.  I refer you to the point I made previously, though, that sometimes things are beyond our control, and sometimes compromises must be made.  If Dark Horse makes revisions in later editions before publication, this is certainly something Duane and I will likely submit for revision, but in some cases we're like jumping fish in the river.

Quote from: Walter
Geez, tooting your own horn a bit here, aren't you? Not even an emoticon to balance out the statement?  Hail KING ENGLISH :guts:

Ok, ok... that might have come across arrogantly, but I don't think it's unfair or inaccurate of me to say with confidence that I'm exceptionally eloquent compared to most people who speak or write English.  That said, the fact remains: Dark Horse hired Duane to translate because they have a good professional relationship with him, and have given him permission to hire help.  If Duane hires someone, anyone, to help him in his job, that person's efforts will ultimately influence Duane's performance in the eyes of Dark Horse.  As such, I am that person, and my role in the scripting process reflects either positively or negatively on Duane when he submits these scripts to Dark Horse.  As he is still their translator, I would wager 11 volumes of my influence haven't proven negative, else he would have fired me before they fired him.

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I'm afraid that's already happened, and is inevitable when dealing directly with a fanbase like this.  There will always be discrepancies in translation (both literal and figurative) with fans as dedicated to the series as we are.  And while you aren't necessarily hired by DH directly, I really don't think it's good PR work to distribute information of this nature freely like this.  But, it's at your own discretion so...

You are right in that it's inevitable.  You might be right or wrong about distributing this information, though.  As it stands, I'm not leaking scripts or divulging details regarding contracts, payment, etc.  I'm merely giving you some insight into the process so that you can see a) how we arrive at the decisions we make, b) why we make those decisions, and c) what obstacles we face in the text and from outside forces.  My hope is that, in knowing a little more about this stuff that I don't feel is classified information, you can better understand and appreciate what we do.  I don't want to be a faceless, nameless bad guy who is bastardizing your favorite manga series.  I want to be the good guy who is using his influence to do the best he can, and I hope that the only disagreements we ever have are on an occasional instance in which we don't have the same idea about what is best... not whether or not we care about the material or the fans.  I assure you we do.  We ARE fans.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2006, 01:13:43 AM by Auturgist »

Offline CnC

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2006, 12:08:42 AM »
When I said "colloquial" earlier I meant the act of making it understandable to an english reader, not anything to do with its formality.  Sorry for the mix-up.  :guts:

Anyhoo, the reason I'm asking all these questions is to try and get a better understanding of the process thats being used in translating these, and specifically what your role in them is.

I mean nothing personal when I argue over decisions over the inclusion of movie quotes or other strange choices to the language in berserk.  I don't know you.  I don't know Duane.  And I know very little about the translation process.  I just know a little about this series that I've been following for close to a decade now.   ...great, now I feel old

That said, your position sounds very similar to what an editor would be doing.  I could understand someone bouncing some possible ideas on how to best express an idea in English off a friend every now and then.  I can also understand if two translators (both knowing Japanese) would do what your doing or argue over how to best translate the Kanji.  But what I can't really fathom is a professional translator actively seeking an additional editor _and paying_ them to best write a script.  That either says very little about DH's current editors or the translator's ability to translate.

Again, nothin' personal.  And there are aspects to the translation process that I don't really know.  Hell, there were many things I was unaware of when I started workin' in the coloring business.  So take my comments with a grain of salt.
I'm sick of following my dreams.  I'm just going to ask where they're going and hook up with 'em later...
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Offline Auturgist

Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2006, 12:57:15 AM »
That said, your position sounds very similar to what an editor would be doing.  I could understand someone bouncing some possible ideas on how to best express an idea in English off a friend every now and then.  I can also understand if two translators (both knowing Japanese) would do what your doing or argue over how to best translate the Kanji.  But what I can't really fathom is a professional translator actively seeking an additional editor _and paying_ them to best write a script.  That either says very little about DH's current editors or the translator's ability to translate.

Everything else you have said is totally understandable, and I am cool with your concern without taking personal offense.  I hope I have shed some light on the process for you guys!   :serpico:  The only reason I'm quoting the above is that I'd really like to address it with some emphasis.

On the topic of Dark Horse's editors: I can only say that they are, to the best of my knowledge, both very busy and very capable people.  It's extremely important to understand that they aren't just the editors for one series.  They have to do what they do for a lot of series that Dark Horse publishes.  That being true, they are often unable to dedicate the long hours that Duane and myself dedicate just to BERSERK.  It's simply not possible, and is not a reflection of their ability in the slightest, rather it is a matter of simple fact: they have more balls to juggle than just this one.  You have seen Chris Warner on these boards, and he's taken time to make himself available, but he's also stated that he is busy.

On the topic of Duane's ability to translate: I've already said, and will say again that I have every confidence Duane could do this without me.  He knows the languages, he knows the characters, he has plenty of experience, and he is not an amateur.  He doesn't need me -- he's certainly translated plenty of other things without me.  So necessity isn't the issue.  The issue is that he WANTS my feedback because he feels it's valuable (even when we disagree) and because BERSERK isn't just a job to him.  Consider this: translators in the American anime/manga industry are rarely paid so much that they can work on one series alone and expect to make ends meet.  So, a) they also frequently juggle multiple balls, and b) you would think they would be hesitant to take on any help if it has to come out of their own pockets and isn't absolutely necessary.  Now, if Duane is willing to hire someone to help, wouldn't that seem to indicate he has an extraordinary interest in the series?  Because I see it as him making a personal sacrifice for the benefit of the series, because he cares, and because he doesn't want BERSERK to be just another ball being juggled by someone who does care, but must divide his attention amongst so many others.

Anyway, I suppose you can make the argument that I am like an editor in a way.  I used to make that joke.  But the fact is that there are a lot of other concerns that Chris Warner has that don't even enter my mind involving the logistics of the book's publication.  And it would be totally unfair to assume Duane's paying me to do the job of anyone at Dark Horse, just as it's unfair to assume that by hiring help, he's not capable of doing the job himself.

Nevermind that we are ultimately talking about business, and in the world of business, people are paid for results, often regardless of the means of getting those results.  But I can, and will continue to do so as long as it's ever questioned, defend Duane's ability as a translator.  He's the bee's knees, guys!   :guts:

EDIT:

A thought occurred to me that is worth mentioning, if only for the sake of further defending Duane's professional integrity as a translator (because I don't mind being the target of questions or flames, but I hate seeing the professional integrity of my friend, who I know to be perfectly qualified, questioned in a manner that could even potentially harm his reputation).  That is: he didn't approach me about being his assistant on BERSERK.  He did exactly what CnC said is totally understandable; he'd bounce occasional ideas off me and I'd give him my friendly feedback.  It was only after he'd done this a couple times that I made the proposition to him that he should hire me as a "creative consultant".

He got clearance from Chris at Dark Horse, and for the next volume I actually read the whole script and offered input that we both felt ultimately improved it enough to warrant doing so again.  That's not to say the script wasn't great before, and wouldn't have been great without my involvement.  But our collaboration in that phase of the process yielded results that were exciting to both of us.  Despite the hours it takes to read through those scripts, I was willing to continue helping him out, and he was willing to continue accepting my help.

So, he hired me, but not because he needed someone's help and was looking to hire it.  He just wanted my feedback on a couple issues, and what I gave him was beneficial enough that when I then offered him the opportunity to have it consistently, he took me up on that offer.  I don't charge a lot by any stretch, and the second my input is no longer valuable to him, he can tell me as much and I'll not read or offer my input on anymore of his translations.  And you, whoever is buying Dark Horse's version of BERSERK, will still purchase an excellent translation for as long as his name is on that credits page.

That said, I don't want to think that this thread has become any sort of "damage" to Duane, Chris, or Dark Horse.  I think people who had issues with the DH release of BERSERK would have those same issues whether or not I'd said anything.  Conversely, I'd like to think that my efforts explaining things have maybe helped some of you guys to feel better about things.  And if you DO feel better, giving me some sign of that would be great.  Like I said, Duane does occasionally skip through here, and I'd really like for him not to feel as though I've put his feet in the fire if/when he reads this stuff.  The same for Chris and anyone else involved in BERSERK on the DH side of things.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2006, 01:18:22 AM by Auturgist »

Offline Skeleton

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Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2006, 01:50:46 PM »
Wyald was a very tricky character in that he speaks not only informally, but downright childishly at times, in an almost mocking or condescending manner.  Essentially, it's as though he talks to others like he were talking to a baby.  It's very difficult to describe.

I can assure you that "gangsta rapper" was never the intended approach taken with him.  There are times when he makes puns or near-rhymes in the Japanese, and we tried to find ways to kinda bring that element of his speech into the English.  If you read it as a "gangsta rapper", I'm sorry you did so.  I'd be kinda pissed if I thought that's what someone was doing to it as well... but try to consider that's not the approach we were shooting for at all.

I absolutely loved the way Wyald was translated.  I've never read the Japanese version, of course, but I really "connected" to the Wyald character because he speaks like I, and the people I know, do.  I liked him to begin with but it was the sausage fest comment of his that put him from a liked character to my all-time favorite character.

Now it's just time for me to wait for the "history of Wyald flashback." It'll come one day... I promise... I hope...   :judo: :troll:

Offline NTSC-J

Re: I'm a guy that works on Dark Horse's translations
« Reply #44 on: August 20, 2006, 11:16:33 AM »
I'd like to see Guts say "Cowabunga!" at least once.

Or better yet, if you could include the following exchange:

Isidro: Yes, dudes and dude-ettes...major league butt-kicking is back in town.
Puck: Awesome!
Isidro: Righteous!
Puck: Bossa nova!
Isidro: What? Bossa nova?
Guts: Chevy Nova?
Isidro, Puck, Guts, Knight of Skeleton: Excellent!
« Last Edit: August 20, 2006, 11:51:20 AM by NTSC-J »