But why am I talking about a somewhat corny Japanese joke, you ask? Where is this all going? For the past year, I’ve undertaken a project of sorts. I decided to test my knowledge of the language and do something that can only be described as somewhat insane. I decided to read and translate a Japanese written manga and what do you know? I actually finished reading it!
I have written well over 30 pages of basic translations, which now I have to go back to and double read, double check my translations, re-write certain segments, make sure I actually did get some of the trickier sentences down pat, make sure I didn’t misinterpret jokes or puns as literal translations, do a final pass on the script and then, finally, doctor in those translations to the original panels in Photoshop and actually make the thing into a book as a gift for myself and my friend.
So what have I learned from this little project of mine? I’ve learned to respect translators a hell of a lot more. It’s quite the undertaking and you really only begin to appreciate exactly what goes into it once you do it for yourself. I guess in my younger years I was always a bit naive and thought it was just a matter of switching out Japanese words with English words, but that simply isn’t the case. It’s a difficult job that requires a lot of thought, a lot of patience and a fair bit of rewriting. So here’s to you translators, you have my utmost respect for the hard work you do in helping to bring foreign text to our door steps (salute; or is that kanpai in this case?)