Klesha Bringers VS. Deviant Blades

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Klesha Bringers VS. Deviant Blades

Postby KingKamor » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:56 pm

Hey, I'm new here, but I have been a big fan of NIS games for a good five years. When I heard that NISA would be taking Katanagatari over hear with official subtitles and not a single English VA in sight, I became very excited.

And then I saw this description of the first box set online: http://www.rightstuf.com/cgi-bin/catalogmgr/NrmAfK=FlZAlc-Sk5C/browse/item/91672/4/0/0

The 12 "Klesha Bringers"

I realize that "Klesha" is related to poisons of the mind and such in Buddhism, but changing around the completely-normal "Deviant" label of the swords is kinda pushing it, in my opinion. I've heard that NISA wanted there to be a more "exotic" feeling given to the name, but going straight to Sanskrit and giving the swords' label a meaning outside of the author's original intent is going beyond the bounds of translation and into alteration. I'm a writer, and Katanagatari was originally a series of light novels, so I think that I would know what it feels like to have my own writing changed around. If a large part of the plot to one of my own novels was about a man collecting butterflies, I wouldn't want translators to say that they're beetles. Sure, they're still bugs, but that's not the point; the original intent was for there to be butterflies. One should not muck up an author's original intent to match their own tastes.

I might not be doing a very good job at expressing my concern over this, but I can't shake the feeling that what NISA is doing is wrong.

TL;DR: If someone can give me an explanation about why "Klesha Bringers" is any better than "Deviant Blades," then feel free to tell me. Just keep it civil.

(Note: If NISA messed up "Cheerio!" in any way, I'll freaking boycott this release)
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Re: Klesha Bringers VS. Deviant Blades

Postby Rednal » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:44 am

I dunno, if they put "Chesto!" instead, it would be kind of funny. :lol:

That said, I don't agree with your question. By asking why one is better than the other, you seem to be applying some sort of value judgement. Neither is inherently good or better, and are we absolutely sure that "Deviant Swords" is somehow more accurate of a translation? I mean, a major plot point of the story is that these swords do poison the minds of people who possess them. Calling them "Bringers of Mental Poison" isn't exactly inaccurate, and the translation team seemed to be hoping for something a little on the exotic side. I don't think it's anything to get worried about. ^^
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Re: Klesha Bringers VS. Deviant Blades

Postby LAMV » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:04 am

Sorry but I'm going to have to agree with King Kamor on this. It makes no sense, to forego a simple translation (Deviant Blades), which is also what Nisio intended more, in order to sound "hurrrr durrrr pretty and exotic gais". No.

Spoiler:
Also it makes no freakin' sense considering the 13th katana. Are you trying to imply that brings "poison" to the wielder? What the heck, NISA?


EDIT: Also on a more minor note, I think Princess Hitei should have stayed Hitei. I know Denial is a translation but you usually don't translate proper nouns, I don't think. Plus it makes the joke/quirk too obvious.
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Re: Klesha Bringers VS. Deviant Blades

Postby KingKamor » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:27 pm

Rednal wrote:I dunno, if they put "Chesto!" instead, it would be kind of funny. :lol:

That said, I don't agree with your question. By asking why one is better than the other, you seem to be applying some sort of value judgement. Neither is inherently good or better, and are we absolutely sure that "Deviant Swords" is somehow more accurate of a translation? I mean, a major plot point of the story is that these swords do poison the minds of people who possess them. Calling them "Bringers of Mental Poison" isn't exactly inaccurate, and the translation team seemed to be hoping for something a little on the exotic side. I don't think it's anything to get worried about. ^^
Whether it fits or not, the author's original intent was not to call them that. As for whether it's more accurate of a translation, that doesn't apply; "Klesha" is a word that doesn't appear in the entire damn show even once. The author did not intent to give an underlying tone of Buddhism in the work, but NISA insisted on it because they wanted it to feel more "exotic" to American audiences. Katanagatari is exotic enough visually, so it simply doesn't need any help in that department. Making it too exotic would just end up pushing people away instead.

And LAMV basically said whatever else needed to be said. I had heard rumors about Hitei-Hime's name getting a straight translation, but I thought that it was too ridiculous to be true. It cannot be that difficult to put in a little side note during her introduction that says "Hitei = Denial/Denying." I've seen subtitling groups do that and more on a weekly basis, so why wouldn't NISA do it for this release when subtitling and translation is their only job outside of marketing and shipping? Hell, the box set comes with extra material, why not just say it then?
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Re: Klesha Bringers VS. Deviant Blades

Postby LAMV » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:19 pm

The real headscratcher of it all? From what I can see, NISA remained more or less faithful in the rest of their anime releases. The ONLY changes they made up is due to wanting to avoid legal BS (Working! -> Wagnaria!, apparently there was a show called "Working!" in America), but they otherwise don't mess with anything because they wanted to prettify it or be totally radical or whatever. Why the sudden change in tactic now?
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Re: Klesha Bringers VS. Deviant Blades

Postby KingKamor » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:24 pm

That is pretty strange (Working! was translated?). I would suspect a change in the translation team, or maybe they just wanted to try something new to up their sales? Not that very many people outside of the anime community would even know about something as obscure as Katanagatari.
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Re: Klesha Bringers VS. Deviant Blades

Postby Hazen » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:38 pm

I didn't really know what to make of it when I read that the translation of 完成形変体刀 (Kansei kei Hentai tou) was going to be "Mastercraft Klesha Bringers." I guess I understand the reasoning behind the name, and the reason for naming it in such a fashion, but the fact remains that that's not what they're called and not what they are. You could say that calling Hitei-hime "Princess/Lady Denial" reveals the wordplay in her name or sounds awkward due to changing a proper name when we don't call Shichika "Seven Flowers" or Maniwa Koumori "Maniwa Bat," but at least it's still what they call her in the show. The swords are always called "hentai tou" which, however you want to translate "hentai" so you don't bring undue connotations to the term, still has the word "blade" or "sword" in it, and making that the abstract, agentive (it makes them seem like entities with will) "bringer" just doesn't fly with me. They're swords. Not bringers.

Moreover, the name "Klesha Bringer" seems to make them harbingers (of bad things) or plagues, cursed swords. And yeah in a way they are in fact cursed swords, but the ultimate point isn't that they bring bad things, it's that they deviate from the norm. (
Spoiler:
and deviating from the norm is the entire purpose--swords meant to cause history to deviate from the norm, not swords meant to bring "mental poison" to history, whatever THAT means--on the other hand now that I think about it, "swords that poison history" actually sounds pretty good...
) That's what's at the core of their being. The fact that they poison their wielders is also important and the central reasoning behind the "klesha" translation, but I feel that their venom is derivative of their being "deviant swords," not the other way around.

Also, I even have a (minor) qualm with "mastercraft." Is "completed" or "perfected" really that boring a word? especially assuming you're going to have the exotic "Klesha Bringer" following it. "Completed" is what the Japanese meant, contrasted with the 988 swords that Shikizaki forged beforehand that were practice runs for the real thing which were "incomplete." I suppose "mastercraft" ultimately carries exactly the same effect--it doesn't warp the meaning like "Klesha Bringer" for "hentai tou" does--but it still sounds needlessly wordy to me.

Speaking of which, and this is the last complaint I promise you that, while much of the dialogue is pretty nicely translated (I'm not as demanding of literal translations of dialogue as this post would make me seem), there are times Togame's lines sound awkwardly worded. It does convey a certain "trying hard to sound smart" quality in her character, though to what extent that feeling is present in the original Japanese I'm not sure on, but it doesn't stop it from being a little distracting from time to time.

All that said, I understand the issues in translating a series such as this--chock full of wordplay/puns, terms that are difficult to translate, names that have more than one meaning, jokes that are couched in knowledge of Japanese history, and so on. I really should take the time here to give the localization team credit for preserving so much of the wordplay and humor put into the series in the first place, and for making the right call (with notable exceptions like "Princess Denial") on which terms to leave in Japanese instead of markedly more awkward English terms. Thank you.
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Re: Klesha Bringers VS. Deviant Blades

Postby Neon01 » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:03 am

KingKamor wrote:(Note: If NISA messed up "Cheerio!" in any way, I'll freaking boycott this release)


Not possible unless they redub it somehow - it's a spoken line.

Great series, btw. Phenomenal artwork, excellent themes (though without a whole lot of depth), and beautiful setting and score. Characters are interesting too. I hate Tsundere types, but Kagame's "Cheerio!" gets a chuckle from me every time. I also loved that they avoided making it really sappy and love-crazed right off the bat.
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