ashurasama: Johan and Tenma from Monster (monster)
This post still contains useful information for people who use my translations as a secondary source, and in one case (the section on demonstratives) even for more general retranslations, so it stays. I'll update whenever something new comes up. This post is in my links list.

Current news (2007.09.13): I snagged this cool HTML/CSS trick from Tae Kim's site, though I can't fully implement it because I have no idea how to go about making a stylesheet that works in normal post mode (i.e. not my front page) here in LJ. Try hovering with the mouse over some kanji in the post!

Italicized Words in my Translations

The first time I do it I usually leave a translation note, but I'll keep this as a reference.
  • alone vs. alone: I don't think I'll be making the distinction unless Yuuko's line in Infinity gets quoted again, but I'm mentioning it just in case. Normal "alone" is written 一人 and means literally "one person"; "alone" is written 独り and means "alone" or "unmarried" -- thus, it relates more to "loneliness" than the other.

  • body vs. body: Probably what started this trend in the first place. Normal "body" is written or 身体; "body" is written (which with another reading means "corpse") and I've been told it emphasizes the idea that the body is but a vessel for the being.

  • meet vs. meet vs. meet: Normal "meet" is written with a ; "meet" is written with a and is more "dramatic effect" than the usual "meet"; "meet" is written with a (apparently this is the same as "meet") and has negative implications, like something dangerous or accidental.

  • see vs. see: Normal "see" is written with a and is pretty much normal vision; "see" is written with a and CLAMP seems to use it to mean extra-sensorial vision and when talking about dreams of people with powers.

Second and Third Person Demonstratives

English for some reason doesn't differentiate between the second and third person demonstratives. This isn't so with Japanese, nor with some other languages. If you're unsure of which should be used, you can try looking at the original text.

The second person demonstratives will invariably have a そ -- それ (demonstrative pronoun), その (demonstrative adjective) and そこ (demonstrative adverb for location) -- in them. In some rare cases you might find the kanji . In the example I saw that used , it wouldn't be translated as a demonstrative. Beware of そこ, though, as it's a suffix for its third person equivalent. Attention! The words in this group also function as anaphoric references in Japanese -- for example, "お前はその殺す" (Tsubasa 148) is one such case (if you've read the chapter, you know that back when that sentence was spoken there was no one else who could be killed at the moment, and その refers to something the speaker explained before).

The third person demonstratives will invariably have a あ -- あれ (demonstrative pronoun), あの (demonstrative adjective) and あそこ (demonstrative adverb for location) -- in them. The kanji for that あ is 彼, but I've never seen it used like that, and 彼の (ano) would most likely need furigana to avoid confusion with "his" (kare no).

Demonstrative pronouns and adjectives have a ら plural in Japanese, but for some reason I don't see the plural forms much. It's worth noting that the ら plurals of demonstrative adjectives are formed by sticking a の to the corresponding pluralized demonstrative pronoun.

Pronouns and Grammatical Gender

This section is pretty much a shameless copy-and-paste of something I added after my translation of Holic 135, when I was left with no way around using a pronoun to refer to Mokona.

I'm not sure whether there is an official statement on the genders of the two Mokona. There are, however, CLAMP characters that are officially genderless, such as junior Ashura, Kohaku and Ruby Moon. (Also, I'm guilty of ignoring X Nataku's gender identity.) Professional translators and most amateur ones just pick a set of gendered pronouns and pretend that the issue is solved, part of the fandom complains either way, and another part of the fandom seems to think a character's lack of gender is an excuse to argue that a certain pairing is heterosexual/homosexual. I just go with the set of gender-neutral pronouns of my preference, known as "Spivak pronouns".

I'd link to Wiki, but the article sports the infamous "unverified" tag, so I'll just explain what I can myself. The Wiki article on gender-neutral pronouns isn't tagged (yet?), though.

Spivak pronouns are thus named after one Michael Spivak, who used them in a book (a guide-to-software kind of book). He wasn't the first to come up with the pronouns, but he brought them into light. The set I use differs from the one in Spivak's book by the nominative pronoun (I use "ey", Spivak used "e"). Both are known as "Spivak pronouns". The pronouns in the set I use are formed by taking the corresponding third-person plural pronoun and slicing off the "th" (with the reflexive also changing "selves" back to singular). This is the reason why I chose this particular set of pronouns, it's the easiest to remember ("hir" pronouns are a pain in the ass for me to remember). So, we have:

 3rd person
Spivak (3rd
person singular)
possessive adjectivetheireir
possessive pronountheirseirs

Here are two more non-Wiki links about gender-neutral pronouns.

ashurasama: Johan and Tenma from Monster (monster)
For all you fellow edict users out there, a word of advice: get that Japanese-German dictionary, now! My German doesn't go beyond "Guten Tag" level, and the Japanese-German dictionary is still helpful to me, so imagine what it could do for someone who knows more German than I do. I don't know what maintainance strategy is used, but it isn't just a German translation of regular edict. One prominent example is that あやかし has an entry in the Japanese-German dictionary but none of the Japanese-English ones.

I decided to make a list of useful resources for people learning Japanese and translating manga. So, without further ado, the list, in no particular order. (Though I've divided it in categories somewhat now.)

Dictionaries and Reference Lists
  • Moji - This is an extension for Firefox that allows you to highlight Japanese text in pages and look it up in an edict-based dictionary. It's sometimes lacking in alternate spellings, and if the spelling is ambiguous it won't return all possible results, but it knows a few useful verb inflexions.
  • Jeffrey's dictionary server, EUC version, JIS version, Shift-JIS version and graphical version - An online dictionary based on edict as well. It doesn't know about verb inflexion like Moji does, but it has some entries you can't find in Moji.
  • The original edict dictionary by the maintainer of edict himself. It has multi-radical lookup for kanji!
  • Mahou is a subbing group (they did Fantastic Children, which is one of my favorite anime), and they have this kick-ass kanji dictionary with multi-radical lookup, example sentences, writing instructions and links to other kanji with the same radical or with the same SKIP code.
  • List of SFX in manga. Thanks to [ profile] rusalkaz for this one!
  • Rikai, a web gateway that makes translations of words (and kanji information when appliable) pop up when you hover over them in a web page.
  • A Firefox plugin version of Rikai, rikaixul.
  • And another, rikaichan. Accordingly to Jim Breen's page, it's much better than rikaixul.
  • A Japanese word processor with an integrated dictionary, JWPce. It's originally for Windows, and supposedly it can run on top of Wine, but my Wine is so broken and I'm so unmotivated to fix it that I can't vouch for that claim. That aside, I actually used it last time I went to my mother's, and it runs quite well, plus you don't have to install Windows IME because it uses its own IME. Problem is, there's no way to use the Windows IME if you -want- to. For Windows that's okay, but with Wine it'd be a real bother if you have custom dictionaries like I do.
  • Offline edict-based dictionary for Linux, yay! Very stupid fix for version 2.6 by me for use with GTK 2.4 and slightly less stupid fix for version 2.6 by me for a bug with the radicals window (both files hosted on Mediafire now, hopefully I won't have to upload them again).
  • List of Japanese proverbs, useful for some translations.
  • Huge list of idiomatic expressions with readings.

Japanese IMEs
I only list Linux and Windows stuff here. Know of a BSD, Mac OS or Solaris (or anything else I forgot) IME? Leave a comment!
  • For you legacy Windows folks, here's the link for the Windows IME. If you have Windows XP, it's in the install CD. Here are instructions to get it working. (Thanks to d-mented mind over at TF for the link.) Also, a page by Microsoft on the same topic, with extra babble on the "C" and "K" of the CJK group.
  • Running Linux like me? Forget IIIMF (that damn troublesome thing), forget kinput (it works, but for me it messed up normal input of Portuguese diacritics), and get this along with the corresponding Anthy module. It can work with a tool for handwriting recognition (i.e. you write a kanji with the mouse and it tries to figure out what the hell you're trying to write). The SCIM site has instructions for a number of different distros.

Online Translators
Any recommendations for this category? Leave a comment!
  • Online translator, can be a lot of help if you know a little Japanese to steer it in the right direction. It seems to understand Japanese grammar far better than the Babelfish and Google ones. It also has a dictionary, but I haven't used it much. Useful stuff to know: is shorthand for "English"; is shorthand for "Japanese"; 翻訳 means "translation"; クリア means "clear"; テキスト翻訳 means "text translation"; ウェブページ翻訳 means "website translation"; 原文 means "original text"; 訳文 means "translated text".

Grammar References
  • Tim's Takamatsu ~ Language Related is the page that got me started in my love for Japanese verb conjugation. Romaji only, but still very useful.
  • JGram has a lot of grammar information and examples. "Browse all" and "search" are your friends.
  • Nihongo resources. It has a lot of useful stuff, and it's still in construction (it'll probably be my favorite site once it's completed). There's a dictionary, a particle dictionary, some lessons, a page on Kansai-ben, a giongo/gitaigo dictionary and a grammar page. If you have problems viewing it, close IE, start a real browser and try again. ^_^
  • Tae Kim's guide to Japanese grammar. It's structured in a lesson format, and has some shared content with JGram. I find it easier to navigate. Plus, it's where I got the idea for the tooltips in Japanese text.

  • Jim Breen's Japanese page, mandatory stop for everyone interested in Japanese resources.
  • The Anime Lyrics Japanese forum, there are a couple of gurus there if you manage to get their attention.
  • Oral comprehension practice for the JLPT2, part 1 and part 2, ripped by me and encoded as FLAC.

Tips of dubious usefulness
  • If you're beginning, get rid of romaji as soon as you possibly can, and reject textbooks that keep it for any longer than strictly necessary.
  • Children's books with barely any kanji might be an interesting option for reading early on, but if you have trouble breaking up words, look for something that has kanji and furigana.
  • Randomly ask yourself how to say something in Japanese, try to come up with an answer, and then check it with a fluent speaker.
  • If you're picking up vocabulary from reading manga, playing games and watching anime, don't stick to a single genre of fiction. I know from experience this is a bad idea. Go fantasy, go sci-fi, go crime, go sports, go slice-of-life.
  • If you're translating text on images in a vocabulary domain you don't know very well, transcribe it to a text file. Not only it makes your life easier if you use a software dictionary, you might also pick up a couple of readings from frequent words.


ashurasama: Saïx from the Kingdom Hearts series (Default)

November 2008

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