_debbiechan_ (_debbiechan_) wrote in bleachness,

Translation Wank

I don't know any more Japanese than course one of a Rosetta Stone software program and the Jimmi's Book of Hiragana I bought for my daughter when she was five.

I do have some experience as a professional translator in Hebrew and Spanish, and I believe I can make qualified judgements as to bullshit and what's much ado and what's a tempest in a teapot and what's fandom wank.

Repeat: I do not know Japanese.

But I do know translation wank when I see it.

So here's the deal. IchiOri shippers have been going around saying that in the most recent chapter, Ichigo said to Ishida, "Protect Inoue for me."

Why yes, he did.

In one translation and yes, that is the correct grammatical construct.

To wit.

Ichigo did say to Ishida, "Protect Inoue for me."

None of the scanlations said that, though.

Mezz tells me:

I still remember NaruSaku fans making a BIG DEAL out of Sakura saying 'Naruto, I'll save Sasuke for yoooooou! ' when Naruto went crazy - all because Sakura - being Japanese - added a miseru (to show something to someone) to the verb 'to save'.

Well, in the official translation there wasn't any 'for you' - and as you can imagine, this provoked all kinds of 'The official Japanese translator doesn't know what she's doing! How could she forget such an important part of the sentence!'

For those of you who are wondering why the wank, remember that minutae matters in shipper-land. All posts regarding this subject were deleted in the chapter thread at Anime Suki.

Just for record, I'd like to restate my position.  1) Because I can and 2) Everyone likes a little lesson in Japanese, right?

As for the argument that somehow this grammatical possessiveness equals a CULTURAL possessiveness and an amorous possessiveness on Ichigo's part over Orihime--just no.

Mezz again:

...wow, are there really so many arguments about this chapter's translation going around?

Just for clarity's sake, then - here's the literal translation of Ichigo and Ishida's dialogue

Japanese: "俺の霊圧が井上の六花で防ぎ切れなくなったら、オマエが体張って守ってくれ"

Transliteration: "Ore no reiatsu ga Inoue no rikka de fusegikirenaku nattara, omae ga karada hatte mamotte kure."

Literal translation: "If it becomes such that Inoue's rikka breaks the defense because of my reiatsu, you protect her by sticking out/attaching/affixing the body"

Sensible translation: "If it comes to the point that Inoue's rikka breaks because of my reiatsu, you protect her with your body"

Japanese: "...言われなくてもそのつもりだ"

Transliteration: "...iwarenakute mo sono tsumori da."

Literal translation: "...even if I weren't told, that is my intention."

Sensible translation: "...even if I weren't told by you, that is my intention."

That's it. Ishida doesn't use the word 'protect' simply because he's answering Ichigo, who's just finished using it. It would be redundant of him to repeat the same term - so he says that is his intention. Our boy couldn't have been clearer.

...and since I've also heard some arguments about Ichigo supposedly saying 'protect her for me' in his one sentence, let me copy-paste this little explanation I wrote about it just a little time ago, for anyone wondering.

Oh, God, not this again.

Okay, so the problem here is the verb 'kureru', probably the most exploited verb to ever exist in fandom. How to explain it, mmmh...

Basically, the Japanese language has three verbs that don't really mean much of anything when associated to another verb. They are:

Kureru/Morau (used when something is been done for you - you choose either kureru or morau according to the structure of the sentence itself)
Ageru (used when you do something for someone else)

All these verbs are used after the -te form of another verb, so for example:

Verb kau (to buy) + kureru = katte kureta (someone bought something for me)
Verb yomu (to read) + ageru = yonde ageta (I read something for someone else)

Now, a lot of people (not understanding how Japanese works), get all excited when a character uses this term because to them it sounds like that character is saying 'Oh, pleeeease, do this for meee! For me, for me, for meeee!".

Problem is - that is not what it means in Japanese. And if they read a little more raw manga instead of trying to twist one sentence out of all of it, they'd notice that the grammatical form kureru (because that's what it is - grammar, not an added 'for meeeee' ) is used about fifteen times every chapter.

This is because it is a completely normal structure in Japanase, not a way to underline a character's FEEEEELINGS. The structure itself doesn't necessarily imply that you are grateful or feeling indebted - it's just the normal way Japanese people ask someone to do something.

If Ichigo had not added the 'kureru' the sentence wouldn't have sounded 'less romantic', it would simply have sounded wrong to a Japanese ear.
God knows we don't have this structure in Italian, and I kept forgetting it when I spoke in Japan (still do, in fact ) - and my teacher always corrected me for forgetting.

You always use kureru in these cases. Even if you're asking someone to clean the floor, or to stare at a wall - the very action of asking someone else to do something needs this form.

From another language site:

?先生が私に本を買った。(note - this sentence means "The teacher bought me a book" - but it doesn't use the 'kureru' form, so it's only 'katta', not 'katte kureta')

This sentence sounds odd, perhaps excepting soliloquy such as in diary. Here watashi, the speaker, is treated as someone other than the speaker. Without -te kureru, the sentence is a remark based on an outside-looking-in framework in which the speaker sees the actors and actions as a neutral observer. Unless the action is seen in a negative light, "Someone does something to me" is expressed in this construction.

Trust me, there's absolutely nothing of note in Ichigo's sentence (except perhaps for the fact that his 'karada hatte mamotte kure' literally means 'protect her by sticking out/attaching/affixing your body', which to me sounds almost as if he were suggesting Ishida jump Orihime ).

Unfortunately, these poor functional verbs have always been exploited in fandom (like I said, forgetting that it's a completely normal expression all the characters use continuously in all kinds of situations) - this is just the last of a very long series of mistranslations I've seen.

I, debbiechan, did malign a translator in public by referring to the aforementioned interpretation of his translation as ca-ca because that interpretation was his own.  I do apologize for bringing real live people into fandom debates when I'd MUCH rather be arguing over who's got hawter hips--Ishida or Ulquiorra. I was accused of unjustly attacking this person, but I stand by my calling him on a misinterpretation of a translation, if not a mistranslation as Mezz states above, even if I do not know Japanese.

Tags: translation
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