TSKD 180 Released

Random completely unrelated rant about English LN below. Click me for the chapter.

So I recently found out that Arifureta was now selling English hard copies. I’d never bought any Light Novels in English before because I never liked any of them enough to bother, but Arifureta is like a drug to me, so I decided to get it even though I already had all the books in Japanese. All I can say is… regret.

They blew up all the images, which is actually surprisingly nice as the quality didn’t really seem to drop. I also really liked how they actually had tables for all the stats and stuff too. That was neat. Those, unfortunately, are all the compliments I can give.

The paper they used for the English version was clearly much worse. I felt like I would tear it if I was even the slightest bit careless. The stuff barely felt attached to the spine of the book. The Japanese version, on the other hand, was decently well printed. I mean, I guess I should’ve expected this. LN aren’t really popular in the English speaking part of the world, so whatever, I can live with cheap paper.

If that was all there was wrong with it, then I wouldn’t have really minded. I mean, it’s still at least fair. But then there’s everything else. The Japanese one gives you a free (really shitty) bookmark. This is convenient. It makes it so I don’t have to rip a piece of paper off some random other thing and stick it in the book.

The translations were…

Couldn’t they at least have edited the first page…? The translations themselves are fine, but the editing is ughhhhhh.

Moving on.

WHERE IS MY GOD DAMNED SLEEVE. WHY DO THE ENGLISH ONES NOT COME WITH SLEEVES!? WHERE’S MY SHITTY ONE LINER THAT HELPS SELL THE SERIES!? AKSDJFKADSJFKASDJFKDSAJF WHAT’S THE POINT OF EVEN BUYING A LIGHT NOVEL IF IT’S NOT GOING TO COME WITH A SLEEVE? LOOK AT THIS! LASDKFJDASKFHASDIKFUAWESIOFUISDJKFASDKFJASDKFJSD

K, rant over.

Oh yeah, Happy Chinese New Year!

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20 thoughts on “TSKD 180 Released

  1. There were several major flaws with it. The first was diction, it felt like they didn’t even attempt to use a thesaurus. Using the word “light” in all three of the novel’s opening sentences simply makes it feel unedited. They don’t use it three times for the sake of repetition in the literary device sense, nor do they do it to convey a specific idea. It’s simply redundancy that exists because they couldn’t think of a better word, especially because this error is not reflected in the raw. Likewise, the word “Darkness” was used twice in the first paragraph. This, again, is not even actually correct, as the author intentionally chooses the word “abyss.” They seemed to intentionally avoid words that can allude to hell, only to immediately use it in order to describe how the MC feels about Mondays. (This is because the raws compare the weekends to heaven, so its use makes sense. It’s the fact that they intentionally avoided it earlier that doesn’t.) Another example would be that one of the first lines is, “he desperately shot out his hand.” I’m not quite sure if this falls into the category of nitpicking, but the words used there don’t match with the emotion that the paragraph tries to convey. Specifically, the word “shot” feels really out of place.

    The second was that many of the sentences and phrases remained awkward even past the editing stage. The following, for example, is treated as its own sentence, “And the light he was staring at was the portal to the world of the living.” They forcefully inject the main character’s full name where it isn’t needed, as opposed to leaving it as simply his given name like it is in the raw. There are far too many examples for me to go over even if one only accounts for the first chapter. To keep things short, I guess I could best summarize it as the fact that it feels like there was very little polish.

    Their translation decisions are conflicting, they clearly choose to use honorifics and the word “otaku,” but they flip the first and last names. They bother to rephrase things so that spoken lines are in the middle of sentences, but don’t bother changing “Dobwah” to “Oof.” I don’t understand their paradigm of thought; the way they localized some things but left others makes very little sense. The product they put out was a published, edited good, one they expect to sell. I believe it is fair for one to think that it to have more defined standard practices than some shitty web blog that someone does for fun, but it really feels like it doesn’t.

    The formatting isn’t what I would call the best either. The manner in which the first line of the third paragraph is squished makes it look like there’s no space between “young” and “Japanese.” This is something that could’ve been avoided with a bit of minor rephrasing if they literally just looked at their final product before hitting the print button. Like ffs.

    While I haven’t read the original WNTL, I don’t doubt that the current iteration is much, much better. They’ve shown a lot of potential quality. The thing is, they just haven’t really gone all the way with it. They have 4 or 5 people credited as editors or proof readers, but they still haven’t worked enough kinks for me to feel that it’s at a professional standard.

    Please do note that I’m not trying to say I do a better job than them or anything. I personally find the translations I host on this site to be pretty terrible as well. I literally only put in just barely enough effort to make them readable. However, I’ve done my fair share of stuff in the industry. I understand how translation pipelines function, and that is precisely why I expect so much out of staffed, professional work.

    tl;dr I guess my standards are really high, idfk

    Liked by 6 people

    1. The nitpicking about the repetition is a bit unfair, since the author used the word twice in the two sentences that make up the paragraph. So the error is definitely reflected in the raws. In fact the author uses the word “light” 4 times in the first 5 sentences…
      As for the word “darkness” being used twice in the first paragraph, I don’t see the problem with it. Why even try to sugarcoat the novel using “big words” when the author himself isn’t doing so in the first place? Darkness is used twice because the author is referring to it twice.

      > Another example would be that one of the first lines is, “he desperately shot out his hand.” I’m not quite sure if this falls into the category of nitpicking, but the words used there don’t match with the emotion that the paragraph tries to convey. Specifically, the word “shot” feels really out of place.

      “To shoot out one’s hand to grasp at something” is perfectly fine English, and does indeed convey what the original line said.

      > They seemed to intentionally avoid words that can allude to hell, only to immediately use it in order to describe how the MC feels about Mondays.

      What? They use the word “hell” twice in the second paragraph.

      “The chasm he’d fallen into was so deep that it seemed almost as if he was falling down to the pits of hell.[…] His entire life flashed before his eyes, with nothing but the sound of wind rushing past accompanying his plunge to the hellish depths below.”

      > The following, for example, is treated as its own sentence, “And the light he was staring at was the portal to the world of the living.

      It is perfectly fine to start sentences with conjunctions like “but” and “and” in English, if that is what you are referring to… You can see quite often in creative writing.

      >Their translation decisions are conflicting, they clearly choose to use honorifics and the word “otaku,” but they flip the first and last names.

      I would say this is mainly because their readers want to see honorifics in the translation. As for the word “otaku” and such being left in, that is a good thing, rather than bad. Flipping first and last names doesn’t really lead to any issues in the book. I have only seen it presented as last then first name once in a light novel. It was the Boogiepop translation from almost 10 years ago.

      > They bother to rephrase things so that spoken lines are in the middle of sentences, but don’t bother changing “Dobwah” to “Oof.” I don’t understand their paradigm of thought; the way they localized some things but left others makes very little sense.

      You want them to replace meaningless Japanese sound effects with their non-existent counterpart? The fact that the author has to use those words in the first place tells a lot about his writing, and web fiction writing in general. Although I would like to know the reason they chose to translate most interjections but leave some untranslated. So that is definitely a fair issue to point out.

      All in all though, I would say that you are either trying to be nitpicky on purpose, and while doing so don’t really *make sense*, or the problems you have are because of the Chuuni suki’s shit writing and the fact that they didn’t try to sugarcoat it.

      My only problem with the translation was the use of “the young boy” which just triggers me. Although the Japanese version of the word does too…

      A few other points :

      The images in the physical book are awful. The printer malfunctioned or some shit so some of the illustrations are a lot lighter than they should have been. Especially the one with the naked Yue. She isn’t that naked anymore…

      > WHERE IS MY GOD DAMNED SLEEVE. WHY DO THE ENGLISH ONES NOT COME WITH SLEEVES!

      Only hardcover light novels come with sleeves unfortunately. Printing costs are a lot higher in NA than they are in Japan so having a sleeve would probably make the books more expensive. The paper quality is a lot higher than the ones Japanese LNs have so not really sure what your problem with that is either. Although Seven Seas did use better paper for their Grimgar release.

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      1. Getting lazy so responding in jot notes.

        – Agree I’m being really nitpicky with the repetition, but it doesn’t ruin the flow nearly as much for me in the raw. Sounds way clunkier in eng
        – ^ may be because I’ve surrendered myself to the fantasy less the nth time around and read slightly faster in eng

        – Use of “shot” is technically correct, yes, but felt extremely awkward to me. It seems like something that just kind of pops out as a weird choice, and makes me question why they chose it over basically anything else. Stood out as a “???” moment. Issue isn’t so much incorrectness as it is awkwardness. Also isn’t really the same type of diction used throughout.

        – The hell thing is actually a mistake on my part. Iunno how I missed it when I read the paragraph like 5 times. Whoops.

        – I’m not questioning the fact that the sentence starts with “and.” It’s b/c the sentence sounds strange, especially if read out loud with a pause before and after.

        – Agree that flipping first/last isn’t a problem. Just feels weird when mixed in with the other TL choices b/c its not consistent.
        – Speaking of inconsistent TL choices, forgot to add retained JP flow @ some parts and doesn’t work, whereas and fixed it @ other parts. Idfk why they did this. Whole end of 4th chapter is clunk to hell and back, but only in eng.

        – Yep, being nitpicky. I like the series too much. Author’s writing isn’t great, but it wasn’t awkward enough to get me to constantly pause without intending to do so I guess is the main difference.
        – You can’t not be nitpicky when it comes to “professional quality translations.” The whole point of getting a team together is to shut up people who qq about quality
        – Also they did try to cover some of the worse parts but not others. More consistency issues.

        – Prints didn’t look too terrible to me? Colour is a bit off, but not too bad? Doesn’t really seem less naked to me, skin is rosier if anything. JP ver has more of a yellowish tint, if that’s what you mean?
        Images: https://puu.sh/zpOp4/48bb8711ab.jpg https://puu.sh/zpOqk/b7117eb7dd.jpg
        – Paper def feels like crap. Specific problem is that it’s really gritty and coarse.
        – Colour pages came partially detached from the book’s spine… Same thing with several of the other pages throughout, feels like it’s barely bound to spine.
        Image: https://puu.sh/zpOsP/8d53f6852d.jpg <– It came like this. I didn't do anything to it =|

        Good to know that hardcovers get sleeves. I would personally be willing to pay more for them because I like my crappy one-liners.

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    2. “Good to know that hardcovers get sleeves. I would personally be willing to pay more for them because I like my crappy one-liners.”

      I think he’s talking about full-book sleeves, not the mini ones you’re referring to. I’m pretty sure no American books have those sleeves, not least because bookstores over here are severely losing popularity so it’s kind of a waste of paper to print an advertisement for your niche-market book when the majority of purchases will be online.

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      1. What’s the purpose of the sleeve? At a glance it does not seem useful as anything other than a bookmark, or a collection piece.

        Like

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