Trails of Translation Ep. 2: My Pure Glass Heart is Broken (Sky FC, Ch. 1)

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This week in Trails of Translation I’ll be looking at Olivier Lenheim’s introduction in chapter 1 of Trails in the Sky FC. The translators took a few more liberties here than they did in the last scene I wrote about, adding some flavor to the dialogue and making a couple of changes for added humor. For the most part though everything is in line with the original intent. Here is the first section between Olivier and bartender Nolan when you first enter the inn. (The yellow column on the left is the original Japanese, the red column on the right is Xseed’s official localization, and my own semi-literal translation is the green column in the middle).

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There’s something I want to point out in just about every line here, which may be a little heavy for the first section, but ah well, that’s just the way the proverbial cookie crumbled, I guess. 

This isn’t a change, but in row 4 there is a set phrase used: 嬉しいことを言ってくれる (ureshii koto wo itte kureru). This is used to mean something along the lines of “how nice of you to say that”, and most literally means “you said a happy thing for me”. The translation’s “I’m glad you liked it” works.

I used row 5 to write a grammar lesson on 食わせてくれる (kuwasete kureru) (causative form + kureru), but it ran pretty long, so I’ve moved it to the bottom of the post. Those of you who are interested in that can find it there!

I think the nuance in row 6 is slightly different in Japanese, though the difference isn’t that big a deal. Nolan says 旅行中 (ryokouchuu), which means during your trip, and then 楽しみにしてるこったな (tanoshimini shiteru kotta na). 楽しみにする (tanoshimi ni suru) means to look forward to something, and こったな (kotta na) is a contracted version of ことだな (koto da na), which is used to give suggestions or advice. In the translation Nolan tells Olivier to enjoy his trip, but in the Japanese it seems to me like he’s telling Olivier to enjoy the food during his trip. It’s a minor difference, and because it’s not specified what Nolan is telling Olivier to 楽しみにする, I could be wrong.

In row 8 the meaning is unchanged, but it is a good example of how the translators put some work in to give Olivier’s dialogue some extra spice in English. “Bar on the outskirts” becomes “border dive,” and “From here I can get my expections up” becomes “I am truly in for a feast elsewhere in this land…” As you can see on the spreadsheet, Nolan’s line in row 10 was similarly fleshed out.

Row 9’s official translation looks pretty different from my translation, but the nuance is actually captured pretty well. Nolan apologizes for his bar on the outskirts by saying 悪かった (warukatta), meaning literally “was bad”. Saying 悪い (warui, present tense of the adjective “bad”) or 悪かった is one of the most casual ways to apologize in Japanese. I’ve always thought of it as pretty similar to saying “my bad” in English. So, this isn’t a serious apology. He doesn’t feel bad about it. So “well excuse me!” works pretty well.

Now that I’ve spent a page worth on the first 10 lines, plus the grammar lesson at the bottom of the page, time to move on to the next batch…

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There’s much less to talk about here, most of these translations are pretty straightforward. Row 20 though is pretty different. “Ha, I’m glad you asked” is not in the Japanese. The “both for work and for… pleasure…” comes off significantly more suggestive/creepy to me in the translation than it does in the Japanese. In Japanese he uses the word 道楽 which can be translated a number of ways including “hobby” and “pastime”, but seems to be mainly used with the nuance of “debauchery” and indulging oneself in wine, women, gambling, etc. The translators probably added the ellipses to up the creepiness factor and make sure this nuance got through. It comes off pretty differently, but it’s funny, and I like it.

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Here we can see a couple more examples of the translators adding extra flavor to Olivier’s lines. In row 21 the first sentence is a very close translation, but then afterward they add “I know exactly who you are” to make it more playful. In row 31 “please don’t look at me so suspiciously” becomes “please don’t look at me with such suspicious eyes”. These changes aren’t coming from nowhere — Olivier’s speech in Japanese is pretty fancy, so Xseed made an effort to have the English match that.

In the Japanese of row 31, Olivier says  睨まないでくれたまえ (niramanaide kuretamae) to mean essentially “please don’t look at me like that”. This たまえ (tamae), here attached to the verb くれる (kureru, meaning “to give”), is an old-fashioned way of making a request that is not commonly used in modern Japanese. The normal way to say this would be 睨まないでください (niramanaide kudasai). Olivier is using たまえ because he’s being fancy, and because it is masculine language that is used today by men of authority.

In row 29 Joshua’s “amateur” comment is expanded to clarify why he doesn’t think Olivier is an amateur.

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Row 36 where Estelle says “Are you one of those men who likes… other boys?!” is an interesting translation where, perhaps surprisingly to some, the Japanese is less explicit than the English. Here is what Estelle says in Japanese:

あんたそーいう趣味のヒト?!

anta + souiu + shumi + no + hito?!

you + that kind of hobby + person?!

Are you a person with that kind of hobby?! / Are you a person who’s into that kind of thing?!

趣味 (shumi) is used to mean both “hobby” and “interests/tastes”. It is also commonly used in this kind of context to mean sexual taste or fetish. So what Estelle is doing here is saying “you’re into that kind of thing” or “you have those kinds of interests” without giving voice to what exactly the 趣味 is. Though from context it is obvious that she means Olivier liking “other boys”, as she puts it in the English.

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I put asterisks on row 38 because I felt like translating that literally into English was… kind of impossible. First I’ll explain 玲瓏たる美女 (reirou taru bijo). 玲瓏 (reirou) is an adjective that, according to weblio.jp, can mean to shine beautifully like a jewel. This is not a very common word. たる (taru) is an old-fashioned way of connecting adjectives to nouns, and is actually a contracted version of とある (to aru). 美女 (bijo) is a common word meaning “beautiful woman”. So it’s literally something like “beautiful women who shine like jewels”. The translators went with “daughters of serenity”.

On to the second half of the sentence. 水も滴る (mizu mo shitataru) is a saying that is used to describe extremely good-looking men and women. According to a Japanese article I found, the saying comes from the idea that a person’s skin is so beautiful that, like fresh fruit, it looks moist and like drops of water are trickling on the surface. 美少年 (bishounen) means a “handsome/beautiful young man”. The translators went with “sons of elegance”.

joshua apple

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And here’s the end of the section I’ll be looking at this week.

In rows 42 and 43 Estelle and Schera use two different words that were both translated as “pervert”. Estelle says 節操ナシ (sessou nashi). 節操 (sessou) is a word meaning “integrity; faithfulness; honor”, and ナシ, or なし in hiragana (nashi) can be attached to a noun to mean “without (noun)”. 節操がない (sessou ga nai), which means the same thing as 節操ナシ, is a set phrase meaning that someone is lacking integrity, often in regards to sexual affairs.

Schera says 呆れ果てた快楽主義者 (akirehateta kairaku shugisha). 快楽 (kairaku) means “pleasure”, and 快楽主義者 means “hedonist”, or someone who lives primarily for the pursuit of pleasure. 呆れ果てた (akirehateta, past tense of akirehateru), means “to be dumbfounded”, and Schera is using it to say something along the lines of “he’s a hopeless hedonist”, or “he’s such a hedonist I can’t believe it”. In the translation both of these simply became “pervert”. (There is a common word for pervert in Japanese: 変態 or hentai, which is used in the west to refer to anime and manga pornography.)

Olivier uses three katakana English words in row 45: ガラス (garasu) from glass; ピュアハート (pyua haato) from pure heart; and ブロークン (burookun) from broken. “Delicate as glass pure heart” was truncated to “delicate glass heart”.

Row 47 has a total insertion from the translators: “You’ve already scarred me for life as is.” This line does not exist in the Japanese, and was clearly inserted for added humor. People are going to vary on whether or not they’re okay with this kind of change, but I like it because it fits the situation and Joshua’s personality well.

Row 48 was expanded quite a lot. 妙に (myou ni) means “strangely”, and 話が弾む (hanashi ga hazumu) is a phrase that is used to describe a very lively conversation that is fun and interesting. Nolan is commenting to himself about how strange and weird this conversation is. The translation takes this idea and twists it a bit it by making Nolan sound like he’s having the time of his life listening to this conversation.

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Conclusion

There are a good amount of changes in this section, with most of them made to bring out the humor in the scene. Most of it is faithful to the original intent and to the characters. Olivier speaks pretty fancily in Japanese and uses a few rare/complex words and phrases, so that was captured well in English. The translators clearly had fun writing for him. Some real liberties were taken as you can see in rows 47 and 48, but I think they match the scene well. In my opinion, this is a great translation and a great introduction to everyone’s favorite playboy, Olivier Lenheim.

Japanese Lesson Time

For those of you who are interested, I’m going to use this section to talk about a tricky grammar pattern used in row 5 that can be difficult for learners of Japanese to wrap their heads around. Here is the line again:

街に行きゃ、美味しいリベール料理を食わせてくれるは色々とあるぜ。

There’s a lot to unpack here, but so I don’t go too long, I’m just going to focus on the underlined and bolded part. The underline represents everything modifying the noun 店 (mise, which means store/shop but here likely means restaurants), and the bolded part is the grammar I am explaining here. Here is that noun-modifying clause broken down:

美味しいれベール料理を食わせてくれる店

oishii + ribeeru + ryouri + wo + kuwasete + kureru + mise

delicious + Liberlian food + (particle marking direct object of an action) + allow to eat + give + restaurant

Direct translation in terrible English: restaurants that will give you their allowing of you to eat delicious Liberlian food

Direct translation in slightly better English: restaurants that will allow you to eat delicious Liberlian food

The difficult grammar point I want to explain is 食わせてくれる (kuwasete kureru). 食う (kuu) means to eat, and is more casual than the word 食べる (taberu), which also means to eat. 食わせる (kuwaseru) is the causative form of that verb, which can mean either “to make someone eat” or “to let someone eat”. くれる (kureru) is a verb meaning to give, and it is used from the perspective of the receiver (for more on that, look up あげる vs くれる). くれる is attached to verbs using something called te-forms, so when used with 食わせる it becomes 食わせてくれる.

Nolan is using this to say that there are restaurants where Olivier can eat Liberl cooking. The restaurants are going to give (くれる) Olivier the thing of being allowed to eat (食わせる). Olivier is doing the eating (食う) and the restaurants are making it happen (食わせてくれる). The reason it’s くれる and not あげる is because Nolan is saying this from Olivier’s point of view; Olivier is receiving food from the restaurants. In normal English we’d say something like “restaurants where you can eat Liberl cooking” which is basically what the translation did. But in Japanese it’s presented through this much fancier construct of giving and receiving.

In summary:

食う = to eat

食わせる = to make/allow someone to eat

食わせてくれる = to be allowed to eat (to be given the thing of being allowed to eat)

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