Today, we have a translator’s corner from Gare!
Hi there, Gare here. I was one of the translators working on Himawari, and I guess I’ll now hijack this corner of the blog to try and reminisce a bit about what it was like to tackle a game like this, while also giving you a bit of insight into certain aspects of the translation process.
So right off the bat, we have a cast of main characters with wildly different personalities, quirks, and speech patterns, which always provides a bit of a challenge during any given project. For instance, one character would talk in a fairly awkward and often childish way, which we tried to emulate by not using contractions with her, ever. Another heroine (the fan favorite Aqua) would be using a touch more sophisticated language, which all ties into her personality and the fact that she intentionally acts a bit older than she looks. My personal favorites in terms of dialogue, however, were Amamiya Ginga and Johnny – the former is the main character’s close friend, while the latter is… well, a butler. Ginga is the very definition of an oddball, so a lot of his lines needed to be either quirky, over the top, or just lovingly silly. Johnny, on the other hand, is a prim and proper butler who occasionally reverts back to a rough, gangster-like tone, so having that contrast was certainly a fun aspect of his character and the whole process of writing his English dialogue. Hopefully we succeeded in conveying all that, and you’ll end up chuckling at their eccentricities as you play the game – for me, breathing life into these characters in English has definitely been one of the most enjoyable aspects of working on Himawari.
The script provided us with a host of other challenges to overcome, too. Namely, the kanji puns. Oh boy, the kanji puns – the bane of every J-E translator across the globe. I remember a fairly adorable example where a character, upon getting lost in the corridors of a huge mansion, uses 遭難, a word pronounced as “sounan” that is used when some kind of severe danger or accident befalls you, like when you’re lost in the mountains or out on sea. This expression is then pun-tastically juxtaposed with そうなんだよ (sou nanda yo; note how the beginning is also pronounced “sounan”) which basically just means “Yeah, that’s right”. So you can imagine how much headache that caused… Another prominent example is when we had to somehow find homophones that connected a penis joke with the stock market. Y-Yeah, I know. The localization we have for this actually ended being pretty good, I feel, but I kinda don’t want to spoil the surprise, so, uh… look forward to our penis joke, I guess!
The script is not all just kanji puns though, obviously. G.O.’s writing is relatively straightforward, but this simplicity is then used to express some very beautiful ideas. I remember some lines that sort of just made me stare at my monitor for like 15 minutes straight as I struggled to come up with a translated version I felt satisfied with. The lines themselves weren’t necessarily complex or ultra-flowery on their own – in fact, I could pretty much come up with a bare-bones literal translation very quickly, but as it sometimes is the case with Japanese translation, that just sounded… kinda off in English. It just wouldn’t have had the same impact as the Japanese version, I felt.
Anyway, the bottom line is that a lot of love went into the project. I have fond memories of reading and working on this VN, and I can’t wait to see what everyone will think of its story and various characters. Hopefully it’ll give you all an experience you won’t soon forget!
You can pre-order Himawari – The Sunflower – right now on MangaGamer.com to get it for 15% off! On Sale December 9th!
Love your work and blog, Gare. Keep it up, man.
I’ll happily be picking this up, perhaps to read alongside the original. Falling back on Google translate or the like when I can’t wrap my head around a given Japanese sentence (hello, seemingly-every-other-sentence!) is becoming traumatic.