Another Translation Tale

ひさしぶり!明けましておめでとう!
DzyDzyDino here again.

Hope all your holidays were well, whichever ones you happened to celebrate! And Happy New Year to everyone as well! 2016 is upon us!

In the spirit of the Holidays, I thought I'd share this approrpiate little story from a recent Bleach chapter we worked on.

So when we work on chapters, usually we're all on Skype or some kind of chat together with eachother. This way we're all in touch through every step of the process, and the translation goes through a few sets of eyes which are all familiar with the series in the hopes of catching anything that might be off. We can also discuss what might be more appropriate for certain translations and what sounds off for what character and so on. Everyone here also has pretty strong English skills so we usually catch any spelling or grammatical mistakes too (but sometimes they still slip through! You guys are always great at catching them when that happens, and our team fixes it as fast as we can!)

So something else that's neat about us here at mangastream is that we have staff located all over the world from all different walks of life. This is awesome for lots of reasons but one that comes up a lot is cultural and language references. Bleach, for instance, looooves to throw in Spanish and German and whatever else they feel like.

In the past I've talked about "creative furigana" or using readings for implications before. Normally on the side of kanji in shonen manga, they'll have the reading for the kanji to help younger readers learn them, but they also get used for creative purposes or implications. A really simple example would be someone saying "That Jerk" but the reading for it is like "Naruto", so it works as a kind of subtext sometimes.

Furigana gets used in different ways for the ever creative names of attacks too. In this particular issue of Bleach, we had an attack that was written in Japanese as 「毒いりプール」 (A pool with poison in it, or a 'poison pool'). The reading for this however, plain as day, was "Gift Bad."

I did a double take, a triple take, stood up and got a drink, came back and checked again. Yup. Still looking me right in the face "Gift Bad."

What do I do? Do I change it so it makes more sense and make it "Bad Gift"? Maybe a Poison Pool is a bad gift? A guy charging up for a big attack, "rrrrraaaaaaaaaaarghhhhh!! BAD GIFT!!!" It's not inconceivable in the world of manga, right? Doubled by the fact that Xmas at the time was right around the corner, I go and pull up the Bleach wikia to make sure there's no associations with this character and Santa Claus, or he doesn't have some present gimmick.

I imagine a Santa Claus character reaching into a bag, "You've been bad this year! Lump of coal! BAD GIFT!!!!" or "You've behaved this year!! PONY 4 U!! GOOD GIFT!!!"

Still. Something's not right.

I run it by a staffer who happens to speak German and he clarifies. "Gift means Poison. Bad means Bath."

Wow. Many wtfs were had. Since I saw words I recognized in English, I immediately assumed they were English words and probably would have gone done some terribly wrong translation route. But thanks to our awesome team here at mangastream, a disaster was avoided and we got out the right translation.

tl;dr Strange translation. Teamwork wins out. Disaster averted.

Anyways, just thought I'd share this fun little Holiday-themed story with you for today and wish you all a Happy New Year from the staff here at Mangastream.

Hopefully you didn't get any Gift Bads this year. (ノ*゜▽゜*)

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