so this is one of i think two instances in which duo and relena interact. please note the complete lack of antagonism and/or resentment.
though i want to note also that this has another good example of why the dub and translation is pretty bad so far as accuracy — he’s not calling her “good looking” there at all. (i don’t remember exactly what it is though i’d guess it’s something like “ojou-san” or the like, since that’s what he’s called her before. ojou-san is a perfectly polite and unintrusive way to address someone — no “HEY GOOD LOOKIN’” about it.) this dub and translation makes a weird point of having him address relena’s looks a few times, and another weird point of having him comment on heero’s TOTES OBVIOUS attraction to her; in endless waltz they have him saying something like “ANYTHING FOR LOVE, HUH” when heero leaves to rescue her, when in japanese he just says the equivalent of “LOL THAT GUY’S ALWAYS LIKE THIS” because heero’s just left the room abruptly without really explaining what he’s up to.
anyway. whenever you hear scott mcneil rasping out HEY GOOD LOOKIN or commenting on how heero and relena are in luv you can rest assured that’s not what duo’s actually saying at any point, lol.
From what I can tell, I think I’m in the minority with wanting more literal translations of things, that most people seem to prefer a more localized/informal translation to something that possibly sounds a little stiffer. (Which is totally fine, different strokes and all that.) But this is a good example of why I generally prefer a more literal translation and will happily take the way things sound a bit awkward occasionally, because there’s a world of difference between “HEY GOOD LOOKIN’” and “Ojou-san” and what that says about how Duo approaches Relena.
I realize they’re also dealing with the issue of trying to make the words fit the characters’ mouth movements, so that’s going to further restrict them, but sometimes I really scrunch up my face a lot over the difference in translations because it might not impact the scene that much, but it changes a lot about the characters and that’s what I’m here for—the characters.
*wistful* And once again I wish Duo and Relena had had more scenes together, whyyy does the universe not give me what I want?
Reblogging for translation commentary!
I think—and I know this doesn’t go for everyone—that it really depends on the literal translation vs. the localization change. There are some instances in which I think it’s best to localize. For instance, in the Ace Attorney series of games, most (if not all) of the character names are puns, and there are a ton of pop culture jokes. Translating those literally wouldn’t really work, because the humor would be lost on an American audience. True, you might have some Japanophiles that get the pop culture references, but I imagine they would be few and far between. It’d make the game series reach an even smaller audience than it already does.
So in that case, the names were changed to relevant English puns (e.g. Phoenix’s JP name is Naruhodou, which basically means “I see,” so in English they made his name Phoenix Wright to indicate rising from the ashes (like a turnabout), and the fact that he’s always right), and the pop culture jokes were substituted with relevant/fitting pop culture references from American culture. (e.g. Mia says, “I know whose milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” when the male members of the trial are fawning over Dahlia Hawthorne, and Phoenix once comments that, “This case has more plot holes than that movie The Grid: Revelations!”) In instances like that, I do think it’s better to stray off the beaten path and add in some localization.
However, in this Gundam instance I agree with you. It’s one thing to make a chance because the English speaking audience won’t get the joke. It’s another to change the meaning of the scene—and characterization, at that—altogether. Since you said that he addressed her more respectfully, I probably would have changed the line to something like, “Good morning, madame!” It would have had the same syllables as “morning, good looking!” to match the lip flaps, and it would have been closer to the original without sounding too weird. (I mean, “madame” might sound weird and I could see some girls getting offended if they see it as addressing someone as if they’re older, but it’s respectful and has one syllable more than “miss.”) Alternatively, “Hey, good morning, miss!” could have worked. Or even, “Morning, m’lady!” None of those things are come-ons, and I think they translate all right.
So yeah, tl;dr in some cases I think outright changes are good (even necessary), but in cases like this it really isn’t necessary at all.
I like to think, if I’d taken more time to write a response, I would have written something a lot like this. There are definitely instances where a more literal translation wouldn’t work and you’re spot on with the Phoenix Wright ones, because that game just… would never have worked with a more literal translation, not if it wanted to have any chance of commercial success.
So, I’m actually not that opposed to some localization, but I’m wary because too often the localization is used as an excuse to take all the Japanese culture out of a series and make it more cartoon-like, which there’s nothing wrong with cartoons, cartoons can be really impactful and meaningful, god knows I’m a fan of a lot of them, but there’s definitely still the idea that anything animated cannot be as good or as deep or as important as something that’s live action.
My gripe comes more from what’s lost and how, often times, there are English equivalents or a simple glossary would do. The use of honorifics isn’t terribly hard to pick up or to explain and it will tell the watchers/readers a lot about the relationships between the characters. There are definitely times when a more localized translation will do, sometimes something just doesn’t translate literally, but as a general trend? I will take the more literal translation because I’ve rarely been burned by that, whereas I’ve been burned by a lot of localized translations, especially in dubs.
And it’s totally cool if people don’t agree with that, if they like the more localized feel, because they like to understand it in terms relative to their own culture or for whatever other reason. I just personally usually prefer to have as much of the original context preserved as possible. Often times, if for no other reason than to remember that the creators of the series I’m watching/reading/playing came from a different culture and their reason for putting something in may differ completely from my views of it.