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Quotes under the Scope

Updated: Oct 12, 2021



Hey there Fujos, Newbies and Nukkis! Fuu-chan is here to bring you something new!


Nukkuri and I have been talking and we notice that stuff can get lost in translation and context during translation or localization of our beloved series. So, we decided to analyze some famous anime quotes and see how literal, how meaningful or how significant the changes can happen in these quotes are!


We decided to call these posts “Quotes under the scope!”


As much as possible we want to have the official, licensed translation as the main reference but seeing from our research that scanlated stuff are more common online we will also make some comparisons on the matter. Please note though that it is surprisingly difficult to get a hold officially translated quotes so in the event that it is simply impossible then we will resort to English dubs which brings about more nuances and subtleties because of the animation etc…


We will start with One Piece quotes because in case you haven’t noticed, Nukkuri-kun is a big One Piece fan! So there is a readily available source of official translation in our favorite boy’s collection!


The first quote put under the scope is Dr. Hiriluk’s speech from the Drum Island Arc of One Piece, volume 16.


Let’s see what he has to say:

Official Translation: “When does a man die? Is it when he’s shot in the heart with a pistol? No. When he’s stricken with a deadly disease? No. When he eats soup made from a deadly mushroom? No. It’s when he is forgotten!!!”


Scanlation: “when do you think people die? when they are shot in the heart with a pistol? when they are ravaged by an uncurable disease? when they drink a soup made from poisonous mushrooms? NO. it’s when they are forgotten!”


Japanese:

「人はいつ死ぬと思う・・?」”Hito ha itsu shinu to omou?”

「心臓を銃で撃ち抜かれた時・・・違う」” Shinzō o jū de uchinuka reta toki… Chigau”

「不治の病に侵された時・・・違う」“Fujinoyamai ni okasa reta toki… Chigau”

「猛毒のキノコのスープを飲んだ時・・・違う!!」“Moudoku no kinoko no suupu o nonda toki… Chigau” 「・・・人に忘れられた時さ・・・!!」”Hito ni wasurerareta tokisa… Chigau”


Fuu-chan’s comments: I’m not sure about you but seeing the translations side-by-side, you can see already that the official translation reads smoother and is more eloquent. Both are accurate to the Japanese text but the official translation is much more personal, since Hiriluk is clearly talking about himself. Unfortunately, here we see the first instance of a very big difference between the English Language and Japanese Language, which is the pronouns. Pronouns aren’t used as much in Japanese as it is in English so when it comes to translating, context is very important in order to know who is talking about what. Honestly, scanlators don’t have it easy and what they wrote is enough to understand what is going on, the experience might just be more unnatural linguistically because thinking about the nuances and contexts isn’t as important. Let’s all also admit its free, volunteer stuff for people who love the series they’re working on get more attention, thereby getting official releases and translations and giving the mangaka or creator the money and recognition the fans felt deserved.


This week’s post comes from Jujutsu Kaisen’s Satoru Gojou with…


Official Translation: “It’ll be fine. I have faith in everyone”

「ま、なんとかなるか 期待してるよ、みんな」”Ma, nantokanarukakitaishiteruyo, minna”

Fuu-chan’s comments: Honestly this is a very good translation in the sense that it wasn’t too literal and the English used here is very natural. I believe in its most literal interpretation, “nantokanaru” is “whatever happens”, because “nantokanaru” is an expression used by people who say it to mean that they can overcome any problems. It’s also very casual so “It’ll be fine really fits.” If you look at a dictionary 期待(Kitai) it’s usually “expectation, anticipation and hope” written as the meaning. Maybe an alternative translation could be “I have high hopes in everyone” and intent-wise they would still com across similarly.




The post for this week is from Denji talking to Reze.


Official Translation Panel 1: “I’m slowly figuring out how to handle buddies with crappy personalities too. And I even finally hit it off with this older coworker I couldn’t stand.”


Official Translation Panel 2: “I even found like, a career goal. I’m starting to enjoy it more and more…”


Japanese Text Panel 1: 「糞みたいな性格んバディの扱い方もだんだんわかってきた … それにイヤ~~な先輩ともやっと仲良くなってきたんだ」 “Kuso mitai na seikakun badi no atsukaikata mo dandan wakattekita, … soreni iya~~na senpai tomo yatto nakayoku nattekitadanda”


Japanese Text Panel 2: 「「仕事の目標みてえなモンもみつけてさ だんだん楽しくなってきてんだ今……」”Shigoto no mokuhyou miteena mon mo mitsuketesa, dandan tanoshikunattekitetanda ima…..”


Fuu-chan’s comments: This is so interesting; the translation seems so literal and yet very watered down to me. Like the “how to handle buddies” bit is very literal from the text, specifically バディの扱い方. The “crappy personalities” part is where its very watered down, like I’m not sure how profane manga translations can go but, it feels like saying “shitty personalities” would fit better. For the second panel, the English translation did a good job on adding little verbal tics that is a decent equivalent to the Japanese source. If I had to be nitpicky about it, maybe the English translation could have put more emphasis on how happy Denji is *NOW* or at the moment in time, but overall, the translators did a great job!




This week and next week is a back-to-back special featuring Saitama talking to Phoenix Man!

Through this quote Nukkuri-kun and Fuu-chan will introduce an important part of the Japanese language!


Official Translation: “Then I heard what you were saying, and to a child! You should be ashamed!”


Japanese Text:「しかしさっきから聞いてりゃ何なんだオメーは」”Shikashi sakki kara kiiterya nannanda omee- ha”


「子供相手にネチネチネチネチ」 “kodomoaiteni nechi nechi nechi nechi”


Fuu-chan’s comments: This is an interesting case in that in the Japanese text, there are no words written that “You should be ashamed” but that is clearly the intention the writer wants to say, though much indirectly. If I make a word-for-word translation Saitama says, “But I heard you earlier and you were just persistently nagging on a kid.” The word “omee-” in the text is a very rude and guyish way of saying “you”. So, Saitama is clearly annoyed at the guy and its just heavily implied so understandably, its just easier to have Saitama be more straightforward about it in English. There is also the matter of spacing and pacing issues.


Now, I would like you direct your attention to the “nechi nechi” in the Japanese text which is an example of a part of the Japanese language that is prevalent but very difficult to convey and especially translate as context really matters here. Onomatopoeia or “Giongo” and “Gitaigo”; you Nukkis have propbably heard of doki-doki, fuwa-fuwa, wan-wan, etc… There are actually a lot more words or vocabulary in Japanese that try to portray certain feelings through “condition of the body” or “by the sound something makes”. Let’s be honest, Japanese people aren’t very emotional, so Japanese Onomatopoeia is a way for them to express a whole range of emotions without having to show it on their faces. This is also the aspect of the language people would deem “cute”.


For today’s quotes, “nechi nechi nechi nechi” is specifically in the Gitaigo category where it doesn’t try to imitate sounds but refer to action, motion or state of being. Which for this specific context, I would interpret it as “nagging persistently” because Phoenix Man was saying all sorts of things to Child Emperor.


This is the second week with Saitama from One Punch Man.


“You’re free to do whatever you want! Of course, I’ll beat you up if it’s evil. But don’t drag a kid into it!”


「やりたい事あるんだったら趣味として自分で勝手にやってろよ! 悪事だったらぶっとばすけど。 子供に巻き込んで困らすな!」


”Yaritaikoto arun dattara shumi toshite jibunde katte ni yatteroyo! Akuji dattara buttobasu kedo. Kodomo ni makikonde komarasuna!”


Fuu-chan’s comments: This one is a frustrating case, in the Japanese text, especially in the earlier parts of the story Saitama would say “趣味でヒーローをやっている者だ。” (Shumi de hi-ro- o yatteiru mono da)which literally means “Just a guy being a hero for a hobby” but in most English iterations it gets changed to “Just a hero for fun” or “Just an average guy who serves as an average hero.” In the Japanese version, be it manga or anime (I heard it a lot from the anime) You would hear the word “Shumi” come out of Saitama’s mouth a lot, so I feel that maybe the English versions could’ve made more connotation or connection to it being a hobby for him. Which is the missing word here as well, like the main idea of that you can do what you want is there but the part about hobby (which for me is a big part of Saitama that didn’t get translated properly) isn’t, which I think lessens his characterization or context.


As for the rest of the text, I would say it’s pretty spot on, though maybe he could’ve sounded a little bit ruder or rougher? The “Of course” part of the second speech bubble is a little odd but not offensive.



Today let’s look into the words of Ittetsu Takeda!


“A brave and go-getter attitude is a wonderful thing to have, yes. But. That’s entirely different from this thoughtless nonsense!!”


「一生懸命と無鉄砲は」「別物ですよ??」 “Isshoukenmei to muttebou wa” “betsumono desu yo??”


Fuu-chan’s comments: The English translation added more nuance and reads as more inspiring and “coach-like” than the Japanese text. In the Japanese version, it’s literally “You know, giving your all and being reckless are different things, right??” Which is very direct. Though now I would like you to focus on the word 「一生懸命 」 “Isshoukenmei” which has 4 kanji characters. Well, this word is actually an example of 「 四字熟語 」or “Yojijukugo ”. The best way I can explain this concept is that they’re like 4 character compounds. A lot of them can be idioms or metaphors but there also versions that are literal with the meaning based on the individual meanings of the characters. I believe “Isshoukenmei” is the latter because the words as 2 separate pairs can mean “One’s whole life” and “earnestly”.




If anyone has a quote they want analyzed and you have a page of the official English translation, please send it to us!