A bit of warming up before I fully get back into the swing of translating narci2. So a comparative translation exercise on a song that I’ve had looping a bit too long. More commentary (esp. the comparative part) at the end of this.
The comparative part is rather long, but it’s just another of my experiments in playing around with the craft of translation, and trying to show what goes on behind the scenes at the keyboard, hidden away from the general audience.
Kimi no shiranai monogatari, relatively speaking it’s about 4+ months behind in the grand scheme of things? Oh well, details details.
|君の知らない物語||The story you don’t know|
|Lyrics, Music & Arrangement: ryo|
|Sound Produced by ryo|
|Translated by Agilis|
|いつもどおりのある日の事||On one typical day|
|君は突然立ち上がり言った||you suddenly stood up and said|
|「今夜星を見に行こう」||“Tonight, let’s go look at the stars!”|
|「たまには良いこと言うんだね」||“Sometimes you say good things”|
|なんてみんなして言って笑った||everyone laughed and said|
|明かりもない道を||On the street with no light|
|バカみたいにはしゃいで歩いた||we laughed like fools while walking|
|抱え込んだ孤独や不安に||So that we wouldn’t be crushed|
|押しつぶされないように||by the loneliness and worry we held|
|真っ暗な世界から見上げた||looking up from the pitch dark world|
|夜空は星が降るようで||the night sky looked like it was raining stars|
|いつからだろう 君の事を||When was it I wonder|
|追いかける私がいた||that I found myself chasing after you|
|驚かないで聞いてよ||don’t be surprised, listen|
|私のこの想いを||to these feelings of mine|
|「あれがデネブ、アルタイル、ベガ」||“That’s Deneb, Altair, Vega”|
|君は指さす夏の大三角||the Summer Triangle you pointed at|
|覚えて空を見る||Remembering and looking at the sky|
|やっと見つけた織姫様||I finally found Orihime|
|だけどどこだろう彦星様||but where’s Hikoboshi?|
|これじゃひとりぼっち||That’s being all alone|
|楽しげなひとつ隣の君||You were next to me looking amused|
|私は何も言えなくて||I couldn’t say anything|
|本当はずっと君の事を||Really, had I always thought of you|
|どこかでわかっていた||I knew somewhere|
|見つかったって||that I “found it”|
|届きはしない||but it won’t reach you|
|だめだよ 泣かないで||No, don’t cry|
|そう言い聞かせた||that’s what I told myself|
|強がる私は臆病で||I played strong but was cowardly|
|興味がないようなふりをしてた||I acted as if I didn’t care|
|胸を刺す痛みは増してく||that stabbing pain in my heart grows|
|ああそうか 好きになるって||Ah, I see. Falling in love|
|どうしたい？言ってごらん||What do you want to do? Say it.|
|心の声がする||A voice calling in my heart|
|君の隣がいい||I want to be by you|
|真実は残酷だ||Reality is cruel|
|言わなかった||I didn’t say it|
|言えなかった||I couldn’t say it|
|二度と戻れない||I can never go back|
|あの夏の日||That summer day|
|きらめく星||The shining stars|
|今でも思い出せるよ||Even now I can remember|
|笑った顔も||Your smiling face|
|怒った顔も||Your angry face|
|大好きでした||I loved them|
|おかしいよね||It’s funny isn’t it?|
|わかってたのに||Even though I knew|
|君の知らない||you didn’t know|
|私だけの秘密||a secret that’s just mine|
|夜を越えて||Going through the night|
|遠い思い出の君が||the faraway memory of you|
|指をさす||pointing your finger|
|無邪気の声で||with an innocent voice|
Now for the comparative translation stuff. Since I was late to the party for this song, and unlike most of the other songs I have on Neechin, this was a popular anime ending theme instead of rather esoteric theme songs from eroge, I knew there’s other versions out there. With a quick google of “Kimi no shiranai monogatari” I yanked out the top few ones just to compare.
A Foreigner’s Tale in Japan hereby ref. as “Tale”
Deciphered Melody hereby ref. as “Deciphered”
Being a dabbling amateur, I’m not out to say whether any of the above are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I’m just out to compare, see where things are different, where things are the same, and see what falls out.
One thing I noticed as an aside was that on Anime Lyrics, there was a mere transliteration page, but the title was “Your unknown story” while I had “The story you don’t know”. Sort of the similar, but lacking that genitive case… I think the main cause was that without even noticing, I had invoked “no-ga conversion” (google it) and read it implicitly as “kimi ga shiranai monogatari”. I’d need to ask a native if that’s a valid interpretation, but either way that’s one difference.
The Stanza 2 was the first interesting set of differences:
|Orig||抱え込んだ孤独や不安に / 押しつぶされないように|
|-||Kakaekonda kodoku ya fuan ni / oshitsubusarenai you ni|
|Tale||In order to crush, / The loneliness and uncertainty we were carrying.|
|Deciphered||as not to be crushed by loneliness / nor anxiety.|
|Neechin||So that we wouldn’t be crushed / by the loneliness and worry we held|
It’s hard to tell if Tale had flipped the meaning of ‘oshitsubusarenai’ (to not be crushed by) for style reasons, or just missed the passive construction. Still, the overall meaning isn’t lost or grossly distorted, just slightly off.
Instead of going down the path of nitpicking though, here’s a much more interesting comparison:
|Orig.||やっと見つけた織姫様 / だけどどこだろう彦星様 / これじゃひとりぼっち|
|-||Yatto mitsuketa orihime-sama / dakedo doko darou hikoboshi-sama / kore ja hitori bocchi|
|Tale||I finally found Vega, / But where are you, Altair? / If it’s like this, you’re all alone.|
|Deciphered||I finally found Orihime-sama, / but where is Hikoboshi-sama I wonder? / Isn’t she lonely?|
|Neechin||I finally found Orihime / but where’s Hikoboshi? / That’s being all alone|
Three translators, and just as many different ways of doing the same line.
Tale decided to not mention Orihime/Hikoboshi at all, going in some limited sense, “literal”. Meanwhile, Deciphered and I both made references to Orihime and Hikoboshi, drawing in part on the legend of Tanabata and the meeting of the two celestial lovers that only have one day to be together. (How effective the reference is without a footnote or audience knowledge beforehand is open to debate)
Next, the final line is a very tough one. Deciphered took the most natural path, choosing to have the line link with the previous one, asking if Orihime is alone. Tale does a similar thing also I think, though the use of “you’re” makes it seem like the singer is suddenly addressing one of the stars.
I guess I’m out being the loner in this, but I wanted to layer a small ambiguity into things. While from the sequence of lines, there’s a very strong implication that Orihime is the subject of being alone, I wanted to tie back to the original singer — is going back through their memories, searching the sky, alone. Is that ambiguity actually in the original? I don’t know. I feel it’s subtly there, but I’ve nothing to go on other than my gut over how the song sounds.
|Orig||どうしたい？言ってごらん / 心の声がする / 君の隣がいい|
|-||Dou shitai? itte goran / Kokoro no koe ga sure / kimi ga tonari ga ii|
|Tale||What’s the matter? / Try saying it? / My heart is beating / I’m fine by your side|
|Deciphered||Try saying to me ‘What’s wrong?’” / my heart tries to tell you that, / but being next to you is fine…|
|Neechin||What do you want to do? Say it. / A voice calling in my heart / I want to be by you|
For whatever reason, this block was just difficult to work with. Lots of little things to get across in a small amount of space. I read the part as there being a little voice in the singer’s heart telling them to give voice to what they really want. I’m not particularly satisfied with my rendering of it, but neither are the other examples.
Finally, the last half of the final stanza (or I suppose the last stanza depending on how you cut things) is another example of highly divergent interpretations… At this point, I have no idea which is “right” in any sense of the word… It’s just difficult. But each of the examples has a certain validity (or should I say, possibility) to it.
What, you thought translating songs was simple?