We all know literal translations are bad, and nobody knows this more than Nico-Nico.
Update: This may be a Nico-Nico translation instead of a Viz one. It’s still Viz’s license, so they deserve blame, but if the translation was done by Nico-Nico, I figure they oughta take most of the lumps. So I’ve updated the post accordingly.
Liberal > Literal. Always.
Evidence in images
If you can say all of the following without sounding like a speech-to-text program…
…you’re missing the clever characterization the translator gave to Usagi-chan. See, she’s supposed to be a soulless robot in this adaptation.
True, she may not be one in the Japanese release, but liberal translations are supposed to make the show better in any way the translator can think of. And hell, it’s hard to get better than robots.
Beyond rewriting characters, another central tenet of liberal translation is shortening long Japanese phrases when you don’t know what the words mean.
Just remember: it’s not incompetence; it’s efficiency!
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Indefinite articles? Definite articles? Pronouns?! Tools of the white man. Being 5% Native American myself (Ojibwe, to be precise), I can empathize with the translator’s struggle to bring down the patriarchy.
Pharaoh English, let my people go!
It’s key to avoid anything that might be seen as a common translation in liberal subs. For example, rather than having a character “Ahh!” or “Oh no!” when they trip and fall (which would be expected), “Wow!” could suffice.Cuz, y’know, everything in life is an adventure. Even the bad things. Or at least that’s what my Wes Anderson movies tell me. ^__^
When you’re ordered by the patriarchy to use honorifics (a disgusting practice that must be avoided at all costs!), it’s important to make sure the target audience can still understand what’s going on.
Thus, per liberal standards, always make sure to reverse the names of the characters so they’re in western naming order.
The familiarity of the order will distract people from having to learn anything new.
Nico-Nico thankfully provided us with a fabulous translation for one of the more common phrases in the Sailor Moon universe: “baka Usagi”.
As everyone knows, “baka” is a word that has such utility, you would have to be a baka to simply translate it as “stupid” or “idiot”.
If liberal translators weren’t so clever, why would they constantly tell us they are? Exchanges like the following just back them up:
Good job on taking out the word play here. English just can’t match Japanese when it comes tongue twistering, so there’s no reason to bother trying to match them.
One could say that’s cleverness in its own way.
Every true liberal translator knows grammar is just a suggestion, much like wearing pants or having genitals. And Nico-Nico demonstrates that philosophy perfectly here.
“The Pretty Guardian in a Sailor Suit Guardian”? Nobody knows what means, adding to the mystery of the show!
Kudos to Nico-Nico. By avoiding any form of grammar that might make Usagi’s introduction be clear and understandable, they are keeping audiences in the dark until they look up her actual title on Google later. That’s called adding suspense.
Could you imagine putting this translator on a show like Madoka or Shinsekai? It’d be perfect.
Thank you, official-subs-tl-kun.
This release would have definitely sucked if it was one of those dirty literal translations. But with you at the helm, it became a pure release that defied the standards of yore.
We asked for a liberal translation, and we got one.