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On Japanese honorifics and their replacements.
Loveless | wtf...?
baxaronn wrote in raburesu
As most of us probably know, Viz is translating Loveless without honorifics. Which is a valid decision, and one I'm fine with... or would be, if they weren't making some really bad choices.

Specifically, they've decided that Ritsu-sensei and Nagisa-sensei are Mr. Ritsu and Miss Nagisa, respectively. "Mr." is fine, I suppose - it's just not what I was expecting. But "Miss," especially coming from Ritsu, gets on my nerves just a little.

If you could control what Nagisa and Ritsu are called, what would you choose? I personally like "Professor Ritsu" and "Doctor Nagisa" - again, Ritsu can go either way, but Nagisa's a little old to be a "miss" and it's really unprofessional coming from Ritsu!

But that's just me. Are you fine with Viz's choices? Do you like a third option?

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I have to agree with you. Miss Nagisa was cringe-worthy. This is a woman who runs an advanced lab and is a power in her own right. Miss, especially coming from the Zeros, just does not fit. Doctor is an excellent choice. I like your suggestion of professor for Ritsu since he is head of a school. I had just thought perhaps they should have used sir when being addresssed in conversation to convey his status.

I don't read English-language manga because I've yet to find a company that does any series justice, but that just smacks of not even understanding what the honorifics mean in the first place.

Anyone who can't translate honorifics properly doesn't need to be translating them at all :/

I think the translators understand the honorifics just fine, and are making these decisions to give Loveless a more casual tone. Whether it's working is another matter entirely, of course.

I'm never going to prefer an official translation over the work of a dedicated scanlation team like Kamibana, but I do like having English-language manga around because it's hard to carry scanlations in my purse. :P And by supporting the translators, I can encourage them to translate more manga and, hopefully, continue to improve.

I was honestly surprised with just how jarring I would find Viz's lack of honorifics. Oddly enough, the thing that gets me most is seeing Kio refer to Soubi as Sou.

At this point in the game, I've stopped trying to think too much about it. I just read it and cringe a bit and move on.

I don't know... maybe it is a cultural thing, but as a *girl* who is a Dr. and not a Mrs., it does not bother me at all when someone refers to me as Ms. nor does it bother me when they call others who have earned the Dr. title Ms., Mr., or Mrs.

That being said, I do find it somewhat annoying when people who haven't earned a doctorate are referred to as Dr. So-and-so. In fact, I find it very annoying. If you haven't done the work, you shouldn't get the title. I know in the Japanese culture, medical doctors, teachers, and really anyone in a position to impart knowledge are given the -sensei. But I don't agree with "Name"-sensei always being translated as Dr. Name. Sensei and Dr. are not equivalent.

I agree that "-sensei" doesn't always mean "doctor" - but Nagisa is a brilliant scientist, and while we don't know her background or education, I think it's likely that she has earned the title. There's also a pretty significant difference between "Ms." and "Miss".

Is she married? I don't recall her being married... If she's married then, I agree that they should be using Ms. or Mrs. Otherwise Ms. or Miss are both equally appropriate. And I guess, no doubt due to my distaste for people who haven't earned the title using it, I feel, inappropriately, I would much rather see Miss, Ms., Mrs. or Mr. in place of Dr. for those whose education background is hazy. As a Pharm.D, I've worked with many a "brilliant scientist" who was not a doctor. :)

Edited at 2013-07-21 04:44 am (UTC)

I think a doctor would be called, for example, "Nagisa-hakase"? Someone who has more Japanese experience would have to back me up on this though :P

Honestly, "Miss" coming from Ritsu-sensei, especially since he's not fond of her, seems a little sarcastic coming from him and kind of fitting. As for her on the other hand, although a teacher, Nagisa-sensei tends to be child-like and fashionable (or at least tries to be in both respects), so she probably prefers to be called "Miss" from people, even if Ritsu is being somewhat degrading.

I have yet to read the VIZ translation, but I find those choices in honorifics to actually roll off the tongue well and fit their characters. I do like your choice of "Professor", if I had a say in it, I would have called both of them "Professor".

This is precisely why I need to see the Japanese raw version. Translated versions are not very reliable although they try to convey what was in the original. When you miss those honorifics, even though it seems only a small part, the whole feeling gets lost in translation. I wish the publishers and translators respect the cultural differences and keep the original ways as much as possible.

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