_debbiechan_ (_debbiechan_) wrote in bleachness,

The Translation Debate; Bleach 279

I translate. I've translated letters, poetry, simple text. My languages are Spanish and Hebrew. Translation is a skill and an art, and I'm no accomplished translator but one thing I've always believed was that some translations are more precise than others.  From an academic perspective, a correct translation is a translation with no errors. One does not translate "cow" as "giraffe." Semantics is another issue. Can you translate "farm animal" in one language to "pig" in another language? Here's where looking at context is necessary. Here's where people start debating. Great. Good. Fun!

Debates about translation tend to be big (and ugly) in academia because of all these scholarly articles written in various languages and different writers trying to justify this thesis or that one in order to get publication and attention. Also in academia, there's the whole "post-modern deconstructionist" issue in which the po-mo's tend to flatten most opinions/art/products/behaviors/translations into one being as good as the next.

Excuse me while I gag. Oh yes, you po-mo's , of course quality is subjective and relative, but please, please why can't you see what most people see (and what is increasingly becoming accepted in acade
mia as "a valid theory" haha); namely, that some interpretations/translations/English papers/pianists/race car drivers are better than others.

That's really all I want to say about the current Bleach translation to-do.

Okay, for those of you who don't know, there's an enormous fuss going on right now about various translations of the last Bleach chapter. I would be at the helm of it because I love talking about language and every week I check out at least two or three different translations of chapters to broaden my understanding of what the heck is going on in the story. I see differences sometimes--and things that appear like mistakes or outright polar interpretations. The only time these different interpretations get any attention, though, is when they have something to do with "ship evidence." I want to say I'm reminded of all the hungry professors in my husband's profession who will stay up until dawn arguing a mere word (OR the Talmud scholars who debate with debaters not only in the room but in previous Jewish debating history XD ). But ... it's just shipping fuss for the most part. The chapter debate has subtext for some people: it's IchiRuki against IchiOri again, but for others (and I'd hope to be included in this group) it's more of a simple thing--which words are more accurately translated. I like Spacecat's recent translation not only because it was smooth, seemed more natural, and clarified the chapter for me, but because Spacey is a reliable friend and a decent person who doesn't get his hands muddy in internet squabbles (so I don't suspect that he had a shipping agenda when he translated) but most of all, because Spacey's  translation was checked by his teacher, a professional person proficient in Japanese. It just so happens that this translation adds a molecule, a molecule of support for my ship and takes away a molecule from another.

I wish it didn't.

If I accepted a translation that took away a molecule of evidence from my preferred ship I could say so and get everyone's respect. It just so happens that even before the fuss started, I read Spacey's and went "Oh! So I get it now! The other translations were murky here and there." And by that I don't mean to discount the wonderful, wonderful people who bust their butts doing translations week by week. I love the earliest vaguest translations, I need Blood Scanalations, I respect Ju-Ni, I wait for Manga Rain. The whole fandom, I''m sure, appreciates them all. But no one's ever going to convince me that one is no better than the next. A standard of quality that is cross-cultural isn't so hard to understand; today my stomach hurts and yesterday it didn't, so yesterday was the better day. There were no typos in this typing test, so it is better than the one that had twenty typos.

I never thought I'd recall so much of my grad school trauma through reading a manga.

So much for a chapter I thought was a great yawner. At least some people got some brain-churning fun out of the debate. I'm going to nap now.

Tags: bleach manga, translation
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