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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, '14, 10:05 pm 
I generally prefer the English names, both for euphony and clarity's sake, especially when referring to the characters in question. On an English-speaking website it's just always seemed silly to me to insist on using the Japanese names. It would be like referring to The Rite of Spring as Le Sacre du Printemps or going on about Yehoshu'a and Moshe and Shlomo and Elohim instead of Jesus, Moses, Solomon, and God. There's a time for referencing the original name or title, usually in a specific scholarly setting or whatever, but using them when speaking to other English speakers has always seemed pretentious to me.

Of course, there are times when public awareness of the original is so great that it necessitates the change. Calling the U.S. version of the SNES Final Fantasy 2 "FF 2" is actually more confusing these days than just saying FF IV. And in the fighting game community everyone knows the U.S. Balrog, Vega, and M. Bison are called M. Bison, Balrog, and Vega in Japan, so especially in international tournament settings they'll often be referred to as Boxer, Claw, and Dictator to avoid confusion.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, '14, 10:37 pm 
I will try to use both, then, not only Japanese.

And that Street Fighter thing is interesting. I did not know people actually knew about those name changes (outside of fans who go beyond what is on the screen).

When comparing Claw and Boxer, Claw is definitely the one who creates an extravagant persona for himself, and would be more likely to use an equally special name, like that of a "Balrog", instead of using a plain and very normal surname in Spanish speaking countries, like "Vega". Boxer just seems like a, well, boxer. He even looks like a, well, Mike Ty-, I mean, Bison.

Dictator could then use "Vega", but not based on the surname, but on the name of the star, or its Arabic origins.

Since Rémy or Balrog (cute Spanish assassin) are most likely to ever be drawn by me for SF fan art, I always thought I would use Balrog's original name when I did. But I did not expect *most* people to get it.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, '14, 11:54 pm 
Bragatyr wrote:I generally prefer the English names, both for euphony and clarity's sake, especially when referring to the characters in question. On an English-speaking website it's just always seemed silly to me to insist on using the Japanese names. It would be like referring to The Rite of Spring as Le Sacre du Printemps or going on about Yehoshu'a and Moshe and Shlomo and Elohim instead of Jesus, Moses, Solomon, and God. There's a time for referencing the original name or title, usually in a specific scholarly setting or whatever, but using them when speaking to other English speakers has always seemed pretentious to me.


This pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter, and I'll always use the English names, whether they're "right" or not. I'm used to them and considering I've been using them for over 20 years at this point, I think it's a little late for me to make a shift. :D Some of the Japanese names I don't mind - Thray and Lyla come to mind, and objectively I might prefer them - but some of them, like Fal and Eusis, just don't sound nice to my ears.

(Off-topic, but I had to laugh at the second part of this paragraph because just the other day at work, I had a continuation of a case I'd done a number of months ago. In the first deposition, they used the English names for the people involved, but in the most recent depo, they switched to the Hebrew names for some of them. Drove me nuts, but I think I spelled everything correctly!

And you will find people who insist on Le Sacre du Printemps, or, say, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. I don't really like either piece, regardless of the language. :wink: )


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, '14, 12:20 am 
Sometimes, the original names are preferable but in PS's case as a whole: English and with a preference for PS2's Nomenclature. This means Rolf, Hugh, Kain and this also means Palm, Mota and Dezo.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, '14, 2:38 am 
augmentedfourth wrote:(Off-topic, but I had to laugh at the second part of this paragraph because just the other day at work, I had a continuation of a case I'd done a number of months ago. In the first deposition, they used the English names for the people involved, but in the most recent depo, they switched to the Hebrew names for some of them. Drove me nuts, but I think I spelled everything correctly!


Wow, that had to be interesting, ha ha. I study Hebrew and I wouldn't know how to spell a lot of them just by sound because of all the spelling variations. I wonder why they switched?

augmentedfourth wrote:And you will find people who insist on Le Sacre du Printemps, or, say, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. I don't really like either piece, regardless of the language. :wink: )


Sacrilege! I kid, but I like Stravinsky and Debussy and I like both of these. I've never heard someone bother giving the whole French title of Prelude, but my old boss in the scene shop used Le Sacre du Printemps once, which left me shaking my head. I think he figured I'd be familiar with it because he was probably vaguely aware I liked a few weird modern classical composers, but I still remember finding it very odd. I made sure to ask him if he had read the Islendingabok soon after, ha ha.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, '14, 8:08 pm 
Those names can have translations, which are acceptable ways to say the same thing/name in a certain language. The "real" name of the piece would still be the original one, but the translated names would clearly mean the same thing.

It is not the same case with people's names. Even ones that are "equivalent", like John, Juan and Ivan, they are still not the same name. If someone is called "Ivan", then his name is not "Juan". It will always remain "Ivan", no matter which language we use. Sometimes we call a Juan here in Mexico and use "Johnny", but that is a nickname, and his name never is anything other than "Juan".

Then there are the cases of videogame or animation series being "localized". People in charge, with all their wisdom, decide the new market will be confused by the name "Usagi", so it has to be changed to, say, "Serena", something the public will be familiar and comfortable with.

The public then is introduced to "Serena". They get to know her for a few years. Later, they are informed that she is called "Usagi" in the original context. They then reply that name does not fit her character, that is sounds weak, that she simply does not look like an "Usagi" at all. "Serena" is obviously a superior name.

There are a few problems I have with all that scenario.

First, if, during the 70s and early 80s, kids in Mexico have no problem with characters being called "Koji" and "Shiro Kabuto", who live close to Mount Fuji, surely the world in the early 90s is ready for "Usagi Tsukino".

Two, it perfectly fine to have a preference for any localized name over the original name. But, seriously, I have seen people make claims like the ones I mentioned above, saying the original name always was totally out of place. Regardless of it having been absolutely fine for all the fans who were there since the beginning.

Three, if recent Dragon Quest translations have thought me something, it is that the translation team, thirsty for creating something of their own, but somehow still doing work for hire, transform things that do not need (do not have) to be transformed, all of this just to insert their own (completely different from the original) brand of humor. Even thinking they are improving the product, as if the creators had just been there sitting on their own hands, waiting for these saviors to show them how to create a funny Dragon Quest game...

Sigh...

But literal (or slightly artistically altered) translations of music pieces or paintings should be fine, I guess. :yes:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, '14, 6:16 am 
And if the not-so-recent releases of Star Ocean 1 and 2 for the PSP taught me anything, it's that people will whine a blue storm over the name "Millie" being used for a character, because the fan translated SNES version they're familiar with called the exact same character "Milly."

Yes. This is an actual thing that has been fought about on the Internet.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, '14, 12:10 pm 
Even if I don't have time to explain it.. I mprefer the japanese names ! :) I'll try to explain it later ! ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, '14, 3:47 pm 
I will be looking forward to reading your reasons.

Snorb wrote:And if the not-so-recent releases of Star Ocean 1 and 2 for the PSP taught me anything, it's that people will whine a blue storm over the name "Millie" being used for a character, because the fan translated SNES version they're familiar with called the exact same character "Milly."

Yes. This is an actual thing that has been fought about on the Internet.


I am not familiar with SO (although I have long been thinking about the two PSP games, since those would be a good place to start). In this case we can say it is the same name, just stylized differently.

If the Japanese did not state any "official" preference, we cannot say one way is more appropriate than the other. And an official translation should not be exactly like a fan translation just because. I suppose it is a good thing I missed all that.
:hypnotized:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 3, '15, 11:35 pm 
Icecypher wrote:Those names can have translations, which are acceptable ways to say the same thing/name in a certain language. The "real" name of the piece would still be the original one, but the translated names would clearly mean the same thing.

It is not the same case with people's names. Even ones that are "equivalent", like John, Juan and Ivan, they are still not the same name. If someone is called "Ivan", then his name is not "Juan". It will always remain "Ivan", no matter which language we use. Sometimes we call a Juan here in Mexico and use "Johnny", but that is a nickname, and his name never is anything other than "Juan".


You know, this raises an interesting linguistic point that I meant to address earlier and was reminded of in the discussion about Eusis in PS II. It is true that variants of names arise among different languages and cultures and that those individual names have meanings and associations distinct from their cognates. As you point out, John in English is not the Hebrew "יוֹחָנָן" (which contains an abbreviated reference to Yahweh, or "Yah", and a distinct connotation of grace and kindness which is immediately evident to a Hebrew speaker and not to an English speaker) or even the Greek "Ioannis", which is the more common regional source of the word in Mediterranean and European countries. John is the result of a distinctly English series of sound changes that is natural and inevitable to language. It would be somewhat bizarre to say the name is meaningless, or not authentic; it has a distinct source, a linguistic lineage, and has its own connotation in its current form.

Which actually coincides with my view of video game script translation. Translators could easily choose the more original or "pure" form of a given name or word or phrase in a game; one could argue that it surely wouldn't strain a reader's linguistic abilities to deal with unfamiliar names like "Eusis" and "Hyuui" and "Shiruka". Individually, of course, they wouldn't; but as a whole, and as the unfamiliar names build, it becomes increasingly difficult for the player to deal with the linguistic difficulties, especially as the names of techniques like "Foi" and "Gires" mount in number. In these cases, I would argue, language is not simply a model for sound and aesthetic effect; it is intended to communicate, to convey meaning, and it's hard for an English speaker to make heads or tails of the strange names Japanese game developers come up with, names which are often portmanteaus and inventions comprehensible only to native speakers.

Of course, there's always an argument for linguistic authenticity, and I've seen this grow increasingly common as American and Western consumers pursue the Japanese language to various degrees and grapple with the difficulties of actual game scripts. Traditional translations and localizations have come to be attacked and derided as somehow "dumbing down" or diluting the original material. I find this interesting in a lot of ways. For one, again, I don't see the accusation leveled at traditional cultural nomenclature we've all come to know and use. I've never once heard someone ask why we don't call the Abrahamic God "Elohim" or "El" or even "He Who Is". I think it's understood, on some level, that for words or terms which have repeated use we find a natural linguistic substitute or equivalent. Calling God Elohim would certainly point more strongly to the actual cultural root of the word, but it would be difficult and confusing and pointless in a language like English, in which it has no meaning. "God" has a meaning in English, as an old Germanic word; Elohim does not.

Which is why I think it's perfectly acceptable to find more familiar terms for these characters when necessary. Rolf is unusual in English, but Germanic in origin and thus dimly familiar. Rhys is Welsh, and extremely uncommon in most English-speaking countries, but even more vaguely familiar as a Brythonic, Indo-European name. They indicate unfamiliarity while being memorable and even easily memorized; they serve as a useful referent and are allusive and rich in linguistic meaning, however faintly felt. No obscure Japanese term, at the present, can really be said to have an equivalent effect in English.

To conclude with this monstrous rambling post, I believe the names Juan, Ivan, and John affirm, and not refute, the choices of older video game translators and localizers. We could choose in every instance to use the "original" formation of this name, and say Yohannan. But we don't, because the beauty of Spanish, Russian, and English sound laws make certain that we transform this already rich name into a more familiar and more meaningful form in our own language of use. Language is a constantly evolving system that aims to preserve euphony, or beautiful sound, and meaning, both of which shift and mutate over political and historical lines. On some level, to say that "Rolf" is a dumbing down of the original name is to deny the efforts of translation itself. Ideally, in a natural environment, we would come to find a more familiar form of "Eusis" and "Hyuui" and "Shiruku" in English, because we do that with existing, natural names. But because these names exist in a brief form in a video game which we're likely to play only for a span of hours, translators have to come up with a substitute where the natural process of language cannot (even if it would in a longer term).


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