Thursday, 11 October 2012

We aren't dead and I've been very bored

Status of episode 1 is still below in the strike-out zone in the last posting. I thought that since I have nothing better to do besides maybe QC my own amateur timing that I'd share some stuff I was going to enclose on the credits.txt file:

Let's talk... British English.

I actually had a small rant here about you-know-which-group. But since we're on the cusp of episode 2 and I haven't managed to even release yet, it'd hardly be my place to bring up self-respect or professionalism. Two traits that have nothing to do with that group. If you enjoyed it, that's fine. Jojo isn't that serious a series and the story in Phantom Blood quite weak. But for new viewers who have nothing at all about it imbued into them but that garbage release is something that haunts and drives me to keep this group going even if I have to do everything myself.

Where was I? Yes, the English-variety English.While I didn't have enough time to make sufficient research, I do know that there is a wide variety of slang from the period that could be used in some scenes. An "authentic" reproduction would be very challenging to write and to read, but not necessary. The Japanese used throughout is mostly typical. To drown it with atypical translations for its own sake is pointless and only serves to distract from the story and action.

So I've elected to go with more modern grammar with a few Victorian expressions and diction added for flavor and sometimes necessity. You won't get an over-the-top experience that distracts you from actually watching the show. Some of them you may not even notice. If I can somewhat reflect things like class difference while adhering to this, then I'll be satisfied.

For example, and this ties into a story fact. The lady with Dario at the start? That isn't Dio's mom. It might be, but nothing to my knowledge has been stated about any mother of Dio unless you count Diego's in the world of Steel Ball Run. In fact, and this is something that the earliest scanlated chapters of Phantom Blood neglect to mention, she's a woman from a pub that Dario chanced to meet and was walking with before spotting the crashed carriage. Maybe after George I gave Dario some money, he caught up with her and they got hitched and had Dio soon enough for Dio and Jonathan to both be of the same age? Your guess is as good as mine.

At any rate, I translated her referring to Dario "旦那" (danna) as "Guv" for old London slang "Guv'nor". That is very nearly a 1:1 translation in the context of Victorian-era British English, and I'm disappointed nobody caught onto that and assumed she was just Dario's wife.

Let's talk... SFX.

SFX, and the SFX of the Jojo manga specifically, are one of the first things I took it upon myself to translate. I was doing proofreading for Steel Ball Run, and it struck me that leaving the (ballooned) SFX romanized probably wasn't a good idea. So I found a database for them and the rest I couldn't look up, I tried my hardest to find out how to understand.

If you've read an SFX glossary in a manga, and I haven't bought much manga in recent years so I can't really tell you what one to look this up in (I read it in Excel Saga from Viz), you see a ridiculous variety of effects. Not only that, they're not all literally SOUND. A lot of them are there to stand in as expresions of condition, like standing up suddenly or floating dead in water or how bright the sun is. These aren't things that translate easily as though they're sound effects in a comic book, and even the sound effects themselves can be a challenge. They can even overlap.

It is a challenge. You need to have read a lot of manga, and pretty much be at or near native-level in your aptitude, to comprehend the tens and tens of SFX in each chapter of a manga. Not understanding isn't necessarily an issue. Someone with good eyes and good reading comprehension can usually discern the context of a piece of FX for themselves. Is the character crying? Laughing? Making a sudden motion? Comics are a flexible medium despite their static nature, and trying to understand SFX will drive you up the wall.

Which is why I'm glad I only had to translate the ones that were ballooned (that is, enclosed within a balloon indicating the FX's source). Because the majority of the time, they were sound and not depiction.

Point, point, point; again. We're not typesetting the SFX in the Jojo anime. Anime is not a static medium (though it uses static stills verrrrrry much). This SFX is carefully selected for certain scenes, and I suppose meme value as well. As such, there's no way to mistake what it's indicating. There are sound effects put in, not necessarily the sounds the SFX indicates. The SFX is even colored particularly. There is no way you can mistake the context of each SFX in this anime. This decision did not come lightly. In all this week that I've had free time not devoted to episode 1, I've thought about why or why not to translate and typeset them.

And relating to my great walls of text, these are general panel SFX. A lot of them are indication, and not sound. Some of the SFX in Jojo, particularly ones that have meme value to the Japanese fanbase and will likely be included, are entirely made-up by Hirohiko Araki. That's not something unique to Jojo. But Jojo is well-known for its ridiculous variety of SFX, to go with its variety of character designs/super powers/ways of using super powers/settings/[pick anything to do with the series], hence their being included in the anime at all.

I do not want to make up a translation if I am forced to. I have mediocre Japanese aptitude, but I have scruples in excess. They do not allow me to guess at translating. They force me to listen to the same line dozens of times if need be, and exhaustively trawl the dictionaries until I find what I'm looking for. The scruples, beware the scruples.

Oh, and here's some other stuff.

 -Dario, the low villain that he is, makes lots of gutteral sounds. I'd love to have been able to translate them.

 -I wanted Dario's use of the same insult (まぬけ: manuke) to carry forward to Dio. 'Imbecile' is a bit too high for Dario's class, but 'fool' works in either case.

 -Danny the dog is able to eat grapes even though they should kill him. His Stand (not featured because nobody in Phantom Blood can see Stands), "Gin and Juice", allows him to be eat anything except fire. I am kidding. Danny can eat grapes BECAUSE ARAKI.

Oh, and the raw's ready. We could only get a provider and encoder for episode 1, but it's ready. It's ready. Almost ready. But ready nonetheless. We're not dead. Our day is nigh. It's probably tomorrow. I really want to get this out before episode 2 airs. No more word from me until it does. Thank you for standing by us this week. Thank you for stumbling onto us if you haven't. Download Commie early, download Duwang for laughs, and we hope you'll decide that we're worth archiving in the end.

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