Happy International Translation Day 2016!

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Today we are celebrating International Translation Day! Translation is a crucial part of making anime accessible to many, many fans. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the speed, passion, and dedication of our translators. Learn a little bit about the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes, and join us in celebrating all they do for anime fans! 

 

This year FIT’s theme for International Translation Day is “Connecting Worlds.” so that’s our theme too.

 

Name: Nora Stevens Heath 

Year I started translating professionally: 1999

A moment when worlds connected (or collided): FIRST LOVE MONSTER. I marveled at how many of the grade-school playground games I’d played lo these many years ago were being played today by Japanese grade-schoolers–or by this tiny sample of fictitious fifth-graders, anyway. Even their version of “Red Light, Green Light” needed hardly any translation.

A project I had fun with recently: Series credits. Not only is it a challenge I can really sink my teeth into, but there’s something about helping viewers outside Japan know whose hard work went into their favorite shows.

 

Name: Duane Johnson 

Year I started translating professionally: 2001

A moment when worlds connected (or collided): The Empire of Corpses. Talk about a mash-up of inspirations. It contains references to everything from Frankenstein and The Brothers Karamazov to Sherlock Holmes and James Bond. Some of these were easy for me to spot, especially the Bond references since I watched those movies a lot when I was young. It still turned out to be a research-heavy project all around, though.

A project I had fun with recently: Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn

 

Name: Jo-Ann Lieu 

Year I started translating professionally: 2015

A moment when worlds connected: During my last Japan trip, the bullet train got stuck in what seemed like the middle of nowhere because of a storm. Out of curiosity, I looked up where we were on my GPS and saw “Numazu,” which is the nearest city to the town where Love Live! Sunshine!! takes place. I had read about it while translating the show, and it was cool to see it in person.

A project I had fun with recently: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

 

Name: Nita Lieu 

Year I started translating professionally: 2008

A moment when worlds connected (or collided): When I saw someone cosplay Dandy from Space Dandy at a convention. It was the first time I saw a cosplay from a show I translated in person, and I still love seeing cosplays from my shows at conventions.

A project I had fun with recently: Shonen Maid was unexpectedly fun to work on. The main character talks a lot like I do normally, so it felt very natural to write his lines. It’s a cute show I think more people should watch!

 

Name: Sarah Alys Lindholm 

Year I started translating professionally: 2003

A moment when worlds connected (or collided): Black Butler. Since the show is in Japanese, naturally none of the special modes of address that have to be used with British aristocracy are observed… because it’s not possible to observe them in Japanese! I had to build that in on my own to make these Japanese-speaking lords and ladies persuasive for English-speaking audiences. I’m lucky I read all that Dorothy L. Sayers as a child.

A project I had fun with recently: Genocidal Organ

 

Name: Clyde Mandelin 

Year I started translating professionally: 2002

A moment when worlds connected (or collided): LAST EXILE -Fam, the Silver Wing-. The citizens of a remote nation, including an important character, speak a language that’s unknown to most of the main cast. In reality, these characters speak in Russian, but I don’t know Russian. On top of that, it was Japanese text translated into Russian, so there was a lot of reverse-translating to do. I was lucky enough to work with a Russian translator, and together we managed to unravel the show’s linguistic dance between Japanese to Russian, Russian to Japanese, Japanese to English, and Russian to English. The unique experience left me with an appreciation for the super-skilled linguists out there who know dozens of languages and can translate between them all on the fly. I also learned a few things about Russian myself!

A project I had fun with recently: The Noragami series

 

Name: Masako Ollivier

Year I started translating professionally: 2003

A moment when worlds connected (or collided): When I see or hear English words used with different meanings in Japanese. Japanese has been adopting a lot of foreign words, but some of them are used in ways that probably make it hard for foreigners to know what they really mean. For example, if you’re told “You’re so naïve” in Japanese, it’s usually a compliment (in Japanese, “naïve” is used to mean pure, innocent, sensitive, etc.).

A project I had fun with recently: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (still ongoing)

 

Name: Shoko Oono

Year I started translating professionally: 2001

A moment when worlds connected (or collided): The Kenshin live-action movies. I’d collected all the manga in Japanese and watched the TV/OVA series as a fan before I’d ever started translating professionally, but it was a big part of how I got into translating, so it felt a bit like coming full circle to get to work on this incredible live action adaptation of the series.

A project I had fun with recently: See above. 😉

 

Name: Steven J Simmons 

Year I started translating professionally: 1999

A moment when worlds connected (or collided): An exceptionally rare bit of serendipity in translation once cropped up. I was working on a project where the eyes of a potato were mentioned. Now, in Japanese, the eyes, or buds (芽, “me”) of a potato, and eyes (目, “me”) in the more general sense, are both pronounced the same way, and as it happened, there was a bit of wordplay involved in the scene about the potato having the latter kind of “eye.” The upshot of it all is that while the words are homophonous in Japanese, they are synonymous in English, which meant that I didn’t actually have to translate the wordplay–it made the jump to English as-is!

A project I had fun with recently: Death Parade

 

 – Thank you for all of your hard work! –

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