Thursday, February 8, 2018

Saki ch185: Overheat

I don't know if it's better to translate wakkanne as 'dunno' or just leave it as wakkanne because everyone knows what it means already. This is a translation so I translated it but for some reason I like the sound of wakkanne~ better. Not that I know, though.
Who'll be the winner? Wakkanne~


  1. Thanks! Tanoshii~

  2. Thanks! Nice joke in the blog post, too.

    *Achiga-hen spoilers ahead.*

    This made me rewatch episode 16 of the Achiga anime, which in turn reminded me of a mystery I’ve never resolved: how exactly does the interaction between Awai’s and Shizuno’s powers depend on the dice? They say Awai wins if the dice show 3 to 7 but Shizuno takes over on 2 or 10. I can understand 10: the last corner (which is apparently where Awai calls both kan and ron, although it’s not extremely obvious from other footage that ron happens so quickly after kan) is just six tiles (three tile columns) away from the end of the live wall. That certainly seems “deep into the (live) wall”. But 2? I thought that maybe it depends on where the breakpoint is located relative to the dealer (both 2 and 10 are on shimocha’s wall), but if that was the case, then 6 (on the same wall) should be even better for Shizuno than 2—but they specifically spoke of “3 to 7” versus “2 or 10”.

    1. As said by the anon below, Shizu's territory is the last 12 stacks of tiles. When the dice shows 2, her territory begins right after the turn of the corner. So, as Hiroko explains, Awai can still Kan (because she Kans before the corner) but cannot win because she wins right after the corner.

    2. Ah, I see! (Thank you too, anon!) When the dice show 7, the live wall ends exactly at a corner, so the last corner within the live wall is 17 stacks behind, and this distance then gets lower (and the corner digs deeper into the wall) as the number on the dice decreases. So the corner is at its deepest when the dice show 8 (one stack remains), then 9, then 10, 11, 12 (5 stacks), then 2 (12 stacks), and finally 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 (17 stacks).

      Good catch about the kan: I realize now that I didn’t fully understand that line of Hiroko’s but didn’t stop to think about it. Now it’s pretty clear though. Awai called the kan while she was still in her own territory before the corner, but once she rounded the corner, she crossed into Shizuno’s territory and her winning tile wasn’t there.

      I wonder if it’s possible to verify this 12-stack-zone against the other hands towards the end of that match. It seems Shizu’s power kept growing though, so maybe the extent of her territory grew too.

  3. With 2 the last corner is 12 stacks from the end of the live wall. Apparently Shizu's territory is exactly those final 24 tiles.

  4. The difference in points from pag 12 to 14 is 4200, not 3200. Is it Ritz's mistake?

    1. Riichi stick or dealer repeats.

    2. The riichi stick from page 13.

  5. Well I personally prefer short catchphrases to remain untranslated since people that reads the manga/watched the anime should have known what it means by then. Usually one trans note on the 1st time the catchphrase is used would suffice.

    Also, really loved Sawaya's 'This bitch' expression at page 7 for some reason.(well looked like that to me)

    And thanks for the translation!!

    1. I see, that's a good point about the catchphrases.

    2. I’d like to voice the opposite opinion: a translation is aimed at people who don’t speak the original language, and so it shouldn’t use the original language except when necessary.

      Sorry for TL;DR, but I’ll try to explain why I think so and suggest some exceptions. Also sorry in advance if some of this is incoherent, because I kept adding more and more to it, so it may have ended up more like a jumbled stream of consciousness.

      For starters, the only way to have already learnt a phrase in the original language is to have seen it untranslated (and why did that happen?) or to have listened to an animated/acted adaptation in the original language. It also seems easy to say that you should remember words and phrases after you’ve heard them a few times, but I’m not at all sure that all people do. At any rate they certainly don’t have to, but putting the same phrase untranslated on a manga page would require them to do so. There are also deaf people and people who’ve just picked up the manga or skipped a chunk or whatever.

      You could also equally say that people who have watched enough anime should understand any arbitrarily chosen common Japanese word or phrase and you don’t need to translate much at all. And people certainly have made joke translations that look like a bunch of transcribed Japanese words linked into English grammar, and I do understand them, but I doubt everyone does and I wouldn’t want to read such translations all the time. …In fact, you could say common Japanese words should be even more widely understood than catchphrases, since they’re used everywhere and not just in one particular anime occasionally.

      I think what’s more likely to happen if a reader sees an untranslated catchphrase, even assuming that they’re familiar with it, is that they recognize it as “this character’s catchphrase” but don’t remember what it means. Which is sort of adequate but not ideal. On the other hand, if they see a translated catchphrase and they have seen it translated before, they will recognize it just as well and also see its meaning.

      Of course, you could argue that a catchphrase is like a universe-specific term. Like “Interhigh”, for example. If you haven’t read or seen any Saki before, you probably won’t understand what “Interhigh” means. (Actually, I’m not sure it was actually explained in Saki… But assume it has. Or take a more obscure term.) But these kinds of terms are obscure to the Japanese reader as well and there isn’t really any way around it. And when considering how to handle such a term in a translation, you’d still want to translate the words it’s composed of if possible (which is not always, or not always in a concise way) to make it as accessible to the translation’s audience as possible. A catchphrase is just a regular word or phrase in the source language that only becomes a catchphrase by virtue of being repeated often, so I don’t see why it should be wise to treat it any different in a translation.


    3. There are some terms and words that can be sort of untranslated, like various cultural phenomena or mahjong terms, but they’re rather loanwords, not just arbitrary untranslated phrases. We say kamikaze, sushi, mahjong, chanta in English, but we don’t use wakannee in normal language.

      When in doubt as to how something should be handled in translations, it can help to remember books you’ve read. How often have you seen random untranslated phrases in books (without even so much as a footnote)?

      I think a translation should feel to the reader as close as possible to how the original feels to a reader in the original language. If the original uses a weird word, translate it with a weird word. If the original uses a word in a foreign language that the average reader doesn’t know and provides/doesn’t provide a footnote, keep the foreign word and keep providing/not providing the footnote in the translation. (It becomes more… interesting when the foreign language is the translation’s language.) If the original uses a normal everyday word, even if it repeats it often, just translate it as a normal everyday word.

      Certainly, short catchphrases should remain short in the translation. Sometimes this necessitates slight changes in the meaning. Occasionally this is just not possible without changing it too much, and then, yeah, I guess if it’s just a word then I might keep it untranslated and add a footnote the first time it’s used.

      By the way, regarding this specific catchphrase: I didn’t remember “wakannee” as her catchphrase. I remembered “Not that I know though”. I’ve now spent more than I’d’ve liked rewatching Achiga-hen trying to find scenes of her speaking (lol), and I’ve finally found how exactly this sounded in Japanese: “shiran kedo”. During this time, I think I heard her say “wakannee” only once, in the middle of a sentence (but also “shiran kedo” only once). I do speak some Japanese though, so I totally would understand this new manga page even if it said “wakannee” and I’d connect it to Mihirogi’s character automatically. And I probably wouldn’t even bat an eye; but since you started this topic, I decided to speak up! (Basically, for me personally, it doesn’t actually matter in manga/anime because I know the language, but if I was reading a translation from a language completely foreign to me, I definitely wouldn’t want to see this untranslated.)

    4. Welp.... Didn't expect such a huge text wall. Just scanning through since I'm lazy.

      Still based on my personal opinion: These short catchphrases ARE meant to make a character much more unique and memorable to us. Translating certain catchphrase makes that trait disappeared since it doesn't really sound like a catchphrase anymore(example making wakannee into dunno doesnt strike the reader that it is a catchphrase, heck even looking at that a few times won't). Let's take another one in other language for example: Harasho (since I can only think of this for now), translating it just makes it into a normal word. Let's say even if we manage to get a weird word to replace one, seeing it in foreign language would highlight and provide a larger impact, which is why people are spamming catchphrases in romaji rather than in a translated english word/sentence.(similar to why a lot of people prefer jp dub eng sub rather than eng dub)(I said a lot not all/most)

      Also I specified short due to I know not everyone has the memory to remember long ones(or even medium length). Usually you won't remember the whole sentence or meaning unless it became a worldwide meme phenomena.(Ex: Omae wa mou shindeiru)

      Also comparing to actual translation of books doesn't work. It is their paid job to translate them into a certain language as precise as possible. Still, it is undeniable that there are cases of better translation than the original and vice versa.

      So honestly speaking? Akio just do what you think is best. Or just make a poll or something, not that I know, though.

      Will just leave it like that. Sorry for the rant.

    5. First of all, thank you both for your reasoned opinions. I read through all your comments and I'll keep that in mind.

      Now, my usual policy for catchphrases is, if it's a unique word that has no meaning and it's specific to a certain character (like 'subara', for example) or if it's sentence-ending particles that simply cannot be translated (such as 'nanoyo', 'desuwa',...) then I usually leave them untranslated. I think such words add flavor to the character so it's better to leave them as is.

      However, if it's an actual word that could be used by other characters even outside of Saki (like 'wakanne', which is short for 'wakaranai', meaning 'I don't know'), then I usually translate it. Also, in Uta's case she says 'shiran kedo' and other variations of "I don't know" as often as she says 'wakanne'. So it would be weird to leave 'wakanne' but translate the others. That said, if the word appears outside of a speech bubble or in some other untranslatable form like 'wakannya', then I might leave as is.

    6. Thanks for both of your responses! (And once again sorry for the text wall.)

      Akio, your approach sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Rock on!

      KuroiHikari: you make some good points, but you see, they are just normal words in the original language. When they aren’t, then by all means, make it equally weird in the translation or at worst leave it as-is. But wakannee is just a regular word meaning “don’t know” and harasho (sorry, I don’t know or remember what character this refers to if any) is even more regular for “good”. They don’t jump out as unusual in any way in the original Japanese/Russian, so I don’t think they should in a translation, either. Especially here, as noted by Akio, Uta uses various words meaning “don’t know” equally often (which sound pretty different if you don’t know Japanese), which makes the matter extra difficult.

      Of course, if someone inserts harasho into a Japanese sentence, then you should probably keep it as harasho in an English translation.

      Empirically, I do associate Uta’s dunnos with her and view it as her unique trait, even though they’ve probably been translated in all material I’ve seen/read, and even though, it seems, she doesn’t actually say that all that often. But oh well… what do I know? :)

  6. Muchas gracias por la traducción!
    Thank you very much for the translation!