Yen Press, Viz, & Seven seas do you trust them?



  • Okay, so I read this http://missdream.org/editorials/professional-translation-and-the-american-manga-industry/

    It's a big read, but it gets very interesting if you keep reading on.

    It probably isn't the case today where manga and light novels have bad translation to English, but I was wondering for this year, if there is still differences with English manga/novel companies such as seven seas, Yen Press, Viz Media etc.

    Where do you buy your books? Is the company you are buying from trustworthy?



  • I can't say its a matter of is I trust them or not. In a way I guess I do as I by several many titles I read from each of them.



  • I ran into some problems with Kodansha's Sailor Moon releases and occasionally some awkward wordings (from a variety of publishers, Sailor Moon in particular did have quite a few instances of this however). I purchase titles from Seven Seas, Viz, Yen Press, and Kodansha, have some old Del Rey Fairy Tail and have read some Vertical, Tokyopop, and Dark Horse books through the library. For the most part I trust them to do a good job.

    As for the article and when it comes to leaving honorifics and untranslated words… Most of the manga where I've run into honorifics or untranslated words do have a translator's note page or short footnote with an explanation. With Yen Press's releases of Black Butler and Pandora Hearts they do a good job of including these explanations, sometimes using that page to also explain references in Black Butler's case, or to explain why they chose to translate something the way they did (also seen this with Fairy Tail). There are some gag comics/extras included in the PH volumes that retain the original Japanese words due to the nature of the jokes but these are always explained.

    With Del Rey/Kodansha's Fairy Tail releases they leave some of the attack names untranslated (the Dragon Slayer ones mainly from what I recall) but include a footnote below the panel with the translation. Personally I think it would be better to translate them in that case, but that's just me. With honorifics, it doesn't bother me one way or the other so long as the rest of the translation flows nicely, but as they can alienate people unfamiliar with them a translator's note page is vital to those works that do include untranslated words and honorifics. I tend to prefer leaving them in for anime subs (since I can hear that they're being used), but it's not a deal breaker if they are translated or left out so long as the tone is retained. Sound effects I definitely prefer to leave in their original form since I consider them part of the art.

    Like I mentioned, I have run into some problems with awkward wording, so I understand what the author of that article is getting at when it comes to having a naturally flowing translation (and retained honorifics merely being symptomatic of a larger problem, not a problem in and of itself) and I do believe they have a very valid point. It just hasn't been common enough to disrupt my reading, or at least not bad enough that I've noticed it on a regular basis.



  • I did find it awkward after reading the first translated Strike Witches manga. I get Seven Seas using Japanese names in their native order, but having non-Japanese characters using honorifics to address other non-Japanese characters when they're not in Japan, is pretty lazy. Not to mention inaccurate.



  • Wow Firefly, that's some cool knowledge you have. To tell you the truth, ever since I read that one article on missdream.org, I started doubting Viz Media and every other company that sells English versions of Japanese manga and novels.

    Right now, I only own three titles of manga which is Lucky Star (only volume 7), Deadman Wonderland, and Itsuwaribito. Lucky Star of course was translated by Bandai, and their translation of the book(s) comes with a lot of honorifics and untranslated words.

    Sound effects I definitely prefer to leave in their original form since I consider them part of the art.

    Itsuwaribito is pretty new and ongoing, but in Volume 5 on page 102, I kind of know what you are saying, about with the art; if you have seen the page in Itsuwaribito it doesn"t look all that great; a footnote would have been much better.

    I really only ever bought from Viz Media, but now I want to get different manga titles, such as Soul Eater and Spice and Wolf (L-Novel), and Viz Media doesn"t have these titles, but Yen Press does. So after reading that article I started getting skeptical about purchasing Soul Eater and Spice and wolf from Yen Press. Did you read any of those manga?

    P.S. Lucky Star is coming to Viz Media soon. It be interesting to compare with Bandai"s work.



  • @7jaws7:

    I did find it awkward after reading the first translated Strike Witches manga. I get Seven Seas using Japanese names in their native order, but having non-Japanese characters using honorifics to address other non-Japanese characters when they're not in Japan, is pretty lazy. Not to mention inaccurate.

    I tend to agree that it's better to translate the honorifics properly if the setting, like in Strike Witches, is European in nature, but at the same time it doesn't really bother me that much and won't prevent me from buying.

    @AnimeTalk:

    I really only ever bought from Viz Media, but now I want to get different manga titles, such as Soul Eater and Spice and Wolf (L-Novel), and Viz Media doesn"t have these titles, but Yen Press does. So after reading that article I started getting skeptical about purchasing Soul Eater and Spice and wolf from Yen Press. Did you read any of those manga?

    I've read some of Soul Eater as well as some of both Spice and Wolf's light novels and manga and didn't notice anything glaringly bad about the translations. Yen Press leaves in the original sound effects. I think, but am not 100% sure, that Soul Eater's translation left in honorifics too.

    I'd suggest checking out the closest library to you as they likely have some manga. The library near me carries both Soul Eater and the Spice and Wolf manga, along with many other titles (but mainly popular ones like FMA, Fairy Tail, Black Butler and so on).



  • I've purchased manga from most all of the NA english publishers , including Yen Press, Viz, and Seven Seas (of late mostly just Yen Press and Seven Seas), and I can't think of any real complaints when it comes of localization. In particular, Yen Press has always really impressed me and, as Firefly mentioned, they typically include useful translator notes. Haven't read either Soul Eater or Spice and Wolf, but I'd expect those to be to the same exemplary standards as all else that I have read. So, precise answer: yes, I trust Yen Press, Viz, and Seven Seas to produce a translation I enjoy and have no problem reading.

    Regarding the article, and this may also impact the credibility of my assessment of translations, there was something bothering me as I read it. Being in an area and part of a culture where use of pidgin and creole languages is prevalent, although english is more or less being spoken here, its not at all unusual (rather its somewhat expected) to have words from different languages (including Japanese) commonly and often used, and our grammar is far, far from perfect. Now, I fully realize that this is not exactly the same situation as was discussed in the article, and the article's goal was not at all to criticize a regional dialect but rather to point out an industry's supposed lack of professionalism. However, even knowing that on an intellectual level and even recognizing that my ire is clearly not justified, when the claim that using untranslated words and such is simply lazy, I can't help but feel somewhat defensive and annoyed. I point this out because first, well because it did bother me :P , but second and more importantly, to explain and clarify that my high-to-statisfied opinion of the translations may not be shared by those looking for a complete and fully english translation.



  • @AnimeTalk I've noticed Kodansha tends to get tripped up when reromanizing no Japanese words that were localized into/written in Japanese. I've noticed SEVERAL instances of this in Battle Angel Alita where German words I know got butchered as a result... as well as in the Queen Emeraldas manga.



  • @Kenshiro3 I'm not familiar with the manga mentioned, but there's a historical reason for German/Japanese translations to end up getting "garbled". It actually happens quite a bit, and can make for some "interesting" conversations if you know anyone from a German-speaking country living in Japan.

    Anyway, the Dutch were one of the first countries (only preceded by Portugal) to be allowed to port in Japan for the purpose of trade. There were occasional missionaries from other countries, but their numbers were very limited and not a lot of exposure to the Japanese. Because of having almost 300 years of exposure to the country before anyone else, bringing their language with them, A LOT of words were introduced into common usage either by the names of products or just attempting to communicate for trade purposes.

    The two most common representations of this are tobacco, タバコ (pronounced as tabako), and rifle, ライフル (pronounced as raifuru). Tobacco was introduced by the Portuguese in the late 1400's and rifles were introduced by the Dutch in the early to mid 1500's. Oda Nobunaga, if there are any other Japanese history buffs out there, owes his success to those Dutch traders as he essentially had a corner on the market for receiving firearms coming into the only port they were allowed to enter (now known as Tokyo bay). There are a lot of other examples, but the assumption by Japanese is that these are foreign words which don't require correction beyond using romanized characters.



  • It was probably muskets though. Rifles were not really common until much later, and they were not common as line soldier weapons until the mid 1800s. Rifling was just too complicated, time consuming and expensive to mass produce.



  • @HOOfan1 They had rifled barrels, but were still flintlock. They were actually originally coming from France, but the Dutch traders were able to get a premium for them because of Asian items which were popular among the French Nobility.



  • I am aware. However that's not the case here as the previous translation/release, from Viz, got it right. There was basically no excuse. Also I highly recommend checking it out. Battle Angel Alita is one of the all time cyberpunk classics. There was a follow up that retconned the original ending. The creator Yukito Kishiro rushed the ending because he had been diagnosed as HIV positive and wanted to finish it while he still could. Turns out he's a non-symptomatic carrier. So after writing for the game based on it, he went back and expanded/continued the series. That continuation is Last Order. Later Shueisha, the then publisher and owner of Viz, preassured him to censor the manga and tone down its language. He refused. So he took it to Kodansha, as he owns it. There's an ongoing continuation of Last Order called Mars Chronicle. It's basically the last arc. It's flashback and final battle.
    @pleco_breeder said in Yen Press, Viz, & Seven seas do you trust them?:

    @Kenshiro3 I'm not familiar with the manga mentioned, but there's a historical reason for German/Japanese translations to end up getting "garbled". It actually happens quite a bit, and can make for some "interesting" conversations if you know anyone from a German-speaking country living in Japan.

    Anyway, the Dutch were one of the first countries (only preceded by Portugal) to be allowed to port in Japan for the purpose of trade. There were occasional missionaries from other countries, but their numbers were very limited and not a lot of exposure to the Japanese. Because of having almost 300 years of exposure to the country before anyone else, bringing their language with them, A LOT of words were introduced into common usage either by the names of products or just attempting to communicate for trade purposes.

    The two most common representations of this are tobacco, タバコ (pronounced as tabako), and rifle, ライフル (pronounced as raifuru). Tobacco was introduced by the Portuguese in the late 1400's and rifles were introduced by the Dutch in the early to mid 1500's. Oda Nobunaga, if there are any other Japanese history buffs out there, owes his success to those Dutch traders as he essentially had a corner on the market for receiving firearms coming into the only port they were allowed to enter (now known as Tokyo bay). There are a lot of other examples, but the assumption by Japanese is that these are foreign words which don't require correction beyond using romanized characters.



  • @Kenshiro3 The difference between VIZ and Kodansha is obvious though. VIZ is an American, San Francisco based, localization company which hires translators in an English speaking country.

    Kodansha is based in Tokyo and does in-house translation for overseas marketing. While there is still a possibility of a native speaker translating, more often than not, they're done by Japanese that have studied the language being translated to. That is where the difference I mentioned about viewing foreign words as understood comes into it.

    Just a notice though, you may want to edit your post as I initially thought you were trying to claim that Yukito Kishiro owned Kodansha rather than the manga series. "So he took it to Kodansha, as he owns it." Kodansha is a family business and has been owned/operated by the Noma family for over a hundred years.



  • Wow this thread is fascinating lol cool info!



  • @pleco_breeder said in Yen Press, Viz, & Seven seas do you trust them?:

    Kodansha is based in Tokyo and does in-house translation for overseas marketing. While there is still a possibility of a native speaker translating, more often than not, they're done by Japanese that have studied the language being translated to.

    I might be misunderstanding you but I'm pretty sure Kodansha's translations are done in New York not Japan. I checked all the volume 1s of Kodansha series I own (Again, To Your Eternity, Your Lie in April, Noragami) and none of them were translated by Japanese people. In fact the Nibley twins that did Your Lie in April and Noragami do quite a bit for Kodansha, Yen Press and even Sentai Filmworks.



  • @Doublethree100 I don't know about specific titles, but know that Kodansha hires translators in Tokyo. The specifics of which projects they work on, I have know idea. My assumption, incorrect based upon the "Your Lie in April" (a Kodansha USA title) reference, was that all titles distributed internationally by Kodansha were in-house translation.

    However, looking up the Battle Angel Alita titles mentioned on ANN shows that both the original and Last Order portions of the story were licensed by both VIZ and Kodansha, I assume this to be the timeline where the change @Kenshiro3 was referring to the change of publisher. Both of those list English speaking translators.

    However, Mars Chronicle only shows Kodansha as publisher. In that segment of the series, no foreign speaking staff (of any language) are listed. Keeping that in mind, it's a safe assumption that the series is done in-house. In translation, as with any other form of media, having your name attached to a project allows you to claim it as a reference. Any decent contract translator would want to have credit for their work because it opens more doors for future projects.

    Rather than going back to put links inline, I'll include them here since I'm not really into the idea of editing this post, but want to show what I'm looking at.

    Battle Angel Alita
    https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/manga.php?id=2427

    Last Order
    https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/manga.php?id=2615

    Mars Chronicle
    https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/manga.php?id=17399



  • The article in the original post is pretty interesting. I don't read a lot of manga, but if what is described in there is true about keeping honorifics, I'd be slightly concerned. I wouldn't necessarily have an issue reading something with them left in, but I'd be concerned that if it were to start becoming a common practice in written translations, it would start passing into English dubs. And honorifics in English dubs are terrible.

    Sorry to ignore the other really interesting stuff you guys are discussing, but I wanted to throw my opinion out there.



  • @Dalmation1013 I'm actually kind of split on this. Honorifics like san being left annoy me because they're so easy to translate. Kun or chan imply a closeness, so are a bit harder to really put into words. If the story can imply it without having to use them, I think it's better to remove them unless they're part of a consistent nickname, such as someone named Ichiro being called Ikun (there's actually a pun in that nickname when spoken which wouldn't translate well to English).

    Likewise, kohai/sempai/sensei don't translate well, but most of the time they could be replaced or ignored because the context of the material tell their social standing. A lot of casual learners have "figured out the wrong meaning" because they've been left in translations for a long time. I think it does more harm than good.



  • I think it really boils down to the Reader themselves, honestly. While I understand why some people don't like the honorifics left in, It's a different culture, and if the reader cares enough, it might encourage them (or incite them if they don't like it) to learn about said culture.

    But if you want to get technical, Look at the Freezing Anime. In the translation from Japanese to English they took out Rana Linchen's unique Speaking pattern. Since she's from Tibet, she usually ends most of her lines with "Ne Arimatsu", which basically sort of translates as "Yes?" which is kind of a "Did I say that Right?" because she's a Foreigner and Japanese isn't her native language and she's seeking confirmation that she said it right. Kana Hanazawa puts that line after almost every single line she gives in the sub. While they chose to ignore it in the dub. They tried to get around that by having Jamie Marchi speak like a person who uses English as a Second language to make her sound "off" so to speak. I think it worked OK, but it really is personal preference.



  • Ne is one of the ending particles. It's the same as adding "I think/believe" to the sentence. Arimasu in this context is confirmation of that. In all, it's like saying "xxxx is what I think. Yes, I got it."



  • Yen Press and Seven Seas, I love. VIZ TICKS ME OFF TO NO END with all the dialogue changes, localization crap, and CENSORSHIP. But....I really love lots of manga titles they managed to get their grubby paws on so I have no choice but to keep buying from them. =______= irk irk lol


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