Hello! I am momimomi, the translator of Funbag Fantasy: Sideboob Story. Today I would like to talk about one particular heroine and how she affected the whole translation.
The character in question is Aphrodia, the queen of Fronce. She would not be a heroine of Funbag Fantasy without a huge rack, but her bust is not her only strong point. She is a very smart woman who, while having able advisers, is not inferior to them. On the contrary, she stands above them and acts like a mediator between the grand chamberlain and the prime minister. The former is a right-winger and interventionist; the latter is a liberal hoping to introduce the political system employed in Edelland to Fronce. How Aphrodia manages to keep in check those men you will find by reading the story. But one aspect of the queen deserves a special discussion. That is the quirks of her language.
Some readers might know that Japanese has many more first-person and second-person pronouns than English. There are many ways to say “I.” Perhaps the most iconic are 私 (watashi), 僕 (boku), and 俺 (ore). As for the second-person pronouns, there are あなた (anata), 君 (kimi), etc. Usually, all of those translate to “I” and “you” in English. But Aphrodia uses really lofty pronouns as 妾 (warawa) / I and そち (sochi) / you. Moreover, all her speech has archaic flavor to it. Dropping all those quirks in the translation would mean losing a lot of her charm.
Fortunately, the story takes place in a fictional world that very much resembles the middle age Europe. So, it is a perfect stage to spice the translation with some Olde English. And conveniently, Early Modern English had a second-person pronoun to address one’s inferiors (thou) and a second-person pronoun to address one’s superiors (you). Incidentally, in even older Middle English, thou was singular while you was plural. Hence we found a translation for Aphrodia’s そち (sochi): thou. But using thou also implies using the obsolete in modern English inflection of verbs: -st, as in thou mayest, thou wouldst, etc. Of course, everybody has at least heard about these peculiarities of Early Modern English, and somebody might point out that the modern inflection -s was -eth in the past. Therefore, we should use -eth, doth, hath for consistency. But if you try inflecting verbs with -eth, you will notice that it quickly becometh cumbersome. And that is why we opted for the “Shakespearean” style of inflecting verbs with -s while keeping doth and hath.
There is also Aphrodia’s lofty first-person pronoun. But that one is easier. She is a queen, after all. In other words, a perfect candidate to use the royal “we.”
Needless to say, we also incorporated other archaisms in her speech that should be familiar to everyone or easily guessable in context (forsooth, anon, ’tis, o’er, etc) while more obscure stuff (e.g. an for if, ‘a for he) was avoided. Just do not be mistaken, we do not claim to use authentic Early Modern English and neither the original Japanese used in the novel is truly archaic.
Thus was born the heroine who uses thou and royal we. But since we went so far with that heroine, it raised another question: why not apply the same rules to all the characters who use archaisms in their Japanese? There were plenty of them! Generally, all characters of advanced age or blue blood were candidates. So, we did it.
And that is how one heroine affected the whole script. Now English readers can have an experience closer to that which Japanese readers had: where the language of a character speaks volumes for itself. Forsooth, thou canst mark changes in attitude from simple changes of pronouns: from thou to you and vice versa.
But fear not, the characters of the first game did not change overnight. They are still the same characters you grew attached to in the first game. Consistency comes first.