June 19, 2007

"Shadow of the Moon" revisions


It occurs to me that an editor other than the translator could be making some of these additions. The spelling of "Takki" as "Takkee" in particular strikes me as the kind of change a non-Japanese speaker would make.

TP is the TokyoPop translation. EW is my translation.

Chapter 36

1.  TP: Yoko slept away the rest of the day, occasionally waking to find Rakushun moving about nearby, bringing her medicine or cleaning. She came to realize that the rat-creature lived alone.

      EW: Youko spent the rest of the day in the room sleeping. She came [had come] to the conclusion that Rakushun was the sole occupant of the house.

The addition is not in the original. I might change the above verb tense to past perfect, though.

2.  TP: She gazed around unhappily. Rakushun wasn't there. Though there were two beds in the room

      EW: Though there were two beds in the room, Rakushun didn't sleep there.

The addition is not in the original.

3.  TP: Yoko didn't reply. She sat there, silently, letting the monkey's voice rattle on. I'm on to you, ape! He was the embodiment of the worries that lurked in the back of her mind; that monkey shape was only there to give her fears a voice, to feed on her growing unease.

      EW: Youko didn't answer. If she continued to lie there and listen, the blue monkey would just repeat itself over and over. These were her anxieties. The monkey appeared in order to reveal them to her. He fed her fears and then gobbled them down. She was sure that was the way it worked.

The addition is not in the original.

My translation of above paragraph actually is sentence-for-sentence the same as the original. This is not always the case. Because Japanese has an SOV (subject-object-verb) grammar, any noun can be turned into a subordinate clause simply by throwing a sentence in front of it. This means that a subordinate clause can literally be a paragraph long. In these cases, rather than try to reproduce the subordinate clause in English, I'll split it into its constituent parts.

In general, I do think short, declarative sentences are better than compound sentences, though I'm no Hemingway.

4.  TP: I'm sure I can handle four or five officials. In the meantime, I'll use the rat."

      EW: If four or five of them came at me, I'd get away with my head intact. I can handle things well enough for that."

The verb in the first clause of the first sentence is fumikomu, "to make a raid." The verb in the second clause is kirinukeru, "to cut one's way through." The second sentence doesn't have a subject (common enough in Japanese):

      LIT: Up to that point, [subject dropped] take advantage.

I'll give this one to TokyoPop: "But before that happens, I'll take advantage of the situation."

5.  TP: "I'm being careful."
      "Checked out all the angles, have you?"

      EW: "I'm taking precautions."
      "And I'm telling you that you'll be outsmarted."

      LIT: Are you saying that you won't be outsmarted?

I liked the parallelism (I'm / I'm), so I made it into a statement.

6.  TP: "I know, now. I know how the world is."
      I have no friends. No destination, no way to go home. I'm alone. Yet I must survive.
      Somehow, having nothing made her life all the more valuable. If every living thing in this world wanted Yoko to die?

      EW: "I have figured a few things out."
      Like the fact that she had no friends, no allies. The fact that she had no place to go, no home to return to. The fact that she was completely on her own. Nevertheless, she had to stay alive. A life without friends, a life with no place to call her own, yes, it sucked being her. But if everyone in this world wanted her dead, then she wouldn't die. And if no one in her old world wanted her back, then she'd go back anyway.

      LIT: " [subject dropped] . . . came to a realization."
      That Youko had no allies in this world. That she had no place to go to or place to return to. That she was all alone.
      Despite this, she had to stay alive. A life without allies and a place to live was the utter worst. If everything in this world wished for Youko's death, then she'd live to prove them wrong. If everything in the world she'd lived in before didn't wish her to return, she'd return to prove them wrong.

7.  TP: She knew this, and yet she had let Takkee and Matsuyama take her in so easily. Instead of trusting them and getting betrayed, she should have feigned trust and used them--used them all in order to survive.
      Use what you can use. What's wrong with that? Both Takkee and Matsuyama had been using Yoko to make some cash, so Yoko would use Rakushun for his healing. It was simple.

      EW: If she had understood even that much, she wouldn't have been duped by Takki and Matsuyama . She wouldn't have been so ready to trust and been so easily betrayed. When it came to staying alive, she would use the appearance of trust to get what she needed out of people. That was the better strategy to follow.
      Take advantage of people who could be taken advantage of. It wasn't the most ethical approach to life. Takki and Matsuyama had taken advantage of her to try and make themselves a little richer. She should have a few scruples, then, about using Rakushun to keep body and soul together.

The first mention of Takki's named is spelled out phonetically, so it is "Takki." Perhaps an editor use /ee/ because it's closer to the typical English pronuncation. It's not proper Hepburn, though. I prefer Hepburn for everything but double and long vowels.

My version is a little wordy: "She wouldn't have trusted so readily and been so easily betrayed." In the second paragraph: "Take advantage of people who could be taken advantage of. What was wrong with that?" (The question is in the original.)

8.  TP: "That's fine with me", muttered Yoko, waving her hand in the monkey's face like she might shoo away a bothersome fly.

      EW: "Just doing what I have to do," Youko muttered. She waved her hand dismissively.

Neither addition is in the original.

9.  TP: Talking to the monkey was helping to sort out her feelings and concerns quite nicely.
      I can use him, too.
      "Villain!"
      She heard a light, derisive chuckling coming from somewhere in the room.
      Yoko didn't care.

      EW: These were all the anxieties she didn't allow herself even to feel brought out in the open. It was proving a useful way to organize her thoughts, something she could take advantage of.
      She laughed again, derisively. "Yes, I really am turning into quite the little scoundrel."

      LIT: "Without a doubt, [subject dropped] becoming a splendid scoundrel it seems . . . ."
      Soft laughter of self-derision spilled forth.

The relevant verb here is jichou suru, "to sneer at oneself," The ji is reflexive. So I attributed these lines to Youko. The "again" can be deleted and the order reversed: "Yes, I really am turning into quite the little scoundrel." She laughed softly to herself in self-derision.

10.  TP: What if my hair turning red, and my eyes turning green, what if these were just steps towards becoming something else? Maybe I' not human at all. Maybe I am a demon.

      EW: Her hair had turned red, her eyes green. Were these the first steps in a total transformation? Perhaps that meant she wasn't a human being at all, but a youma.

This paragraph is not in italics, but it is posed as a hypothetical.

This is another case where I originally used "emerald green," which I think is better. Youko's eyes are variously described as "green" (midori) and, as in this case, "emerald green" (aoi, using the heki kanji). There are several words in Japanese that mean "blue" or "green" or "blue-green," depending on context.

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