mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Is it just me...?

My translator's conscience pricks me. I have to wonder if Yumemakura's Seimei really sounds as much like Sherlock Holmes as he does in my translation. It's not just that if you do a close translation, most Japanese outside the colloquial-slangy starts sounding Victorian. The language likes nouns, especially 'thing', which begs to be rendered as matter or business or affair, while a colloquial translator would just ignore it or subsume it under a general 'this.'

Equally, as you can see, my default style is already pretty Victorian so it says nothing that Seimei's Japanese goes so easily into it. It's standard non-period Japanese except when Seimei drops into 'addressing others' high style, which requires a few extra flourishes. But Seimei talking to Hiromasa is ordinary conversational, only with me it becomes Holmes talking to Watson- a rather nicer Holmes, but still. And I wonder if I shouldn't make his dead-level standard Japanese into something more dead-level English. Should I say 'settle this now' rather than 'bring this matter to a conclusion'?

Ah well. I suppose it's a matter for the edit. On with the translation.

ETA: I'll learn some day to reread the whole of a story before saying Oh *this* one will do nicely. Not that it would help. The only Yumemakura stories I can recall that do pity and terror and no earthiness at all both have god-help-us poems in Heian Japanese that I'm not touching with a bargepole. And for the rest-- oh well. If you want refayned Seimei take yourselves to the manga, I suppose. I'll be over here trying for an acceptable translation of shiri no ana- hole of the buttocks- into which Seimei is about to insert a small paper shikigami dog to chase the occupying demon from the body. Like a magical suppository, you know. (French and Japanese have neutral words for butt and, by extension I suppose, the entrance to the butt. English makes both into epithets. The same problem occurs when dealing with female dogs. Le sigh.)
Tags: onmyouji, translation

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