Tensei shitara Ken Deshita (Reincarnated as a Sword) - 05
Posted on November 12, 2022 by LightArrowsEXE

Back to dungeoncrawling we go! This episode, we begin Fran's character arc into becoming the one and only Goblin Slayer. Delay courtesy of uni kicking everybody's asses. We'll do our best to catch up, to prevent further delay, we make no promises, yadda yadda, you get the drill by now. Shit sucks.

Interesting of note this episode is the use of RPG-lingo. The original text doesn't necessarily use lingo the same way we do here, or have the same words we use for certain things, so whether to use them or not is always a fun predicament. For example, during the one-sided murder of both Their Excellencies, Fran gets all pouty about how Teach stole her "job", or her "fight". We opted (admittedly pretty last-minute) for "kills". A "killstealer" is a pretty well-known term in English among gamers, and... is basically what Teach does here. The reason we actually went through with it is that it's not some super meta word, either. "Kill" + "steal" is a very simple compound to make, even for non-gamers, so we believe it's fine for Fran to use that word here. Just goes to show that in translations, there's always a lot of things to consider, and while it may sometimes lead to arguable treachery, less literal translations and ones that lead more into the realm of domestication can and often will lead to more fun scripts that add additional meaning for readers of the translation (more on this later). 'Tis a balancing act, especially since we sometimes have to remove similar JP lingo because there's no perfect equivalent in English and trying to forcibly keep it in the line or as an on-screen note harms or distracts from the overall viewing experience.

On the topic of treachery, at some point while we're working on the BDs, I'd like to see if we can come up with more interesting localised names for the monsters. Ideas welcome, but know that as much as I wanted to keep it, "Count Demoncula" for the big baddy this episode was shot down already. Turns out it's really hard to come up with good names for enemies and items, and if you do come with any, the dialogue may get in the way.

Similarly, skill names are also rough, though we already established that in the previous posts. This episode had a couple more fun ones, though! The one that stood out the most to me was 心話 (Sentai/Seven Seas: "Mind Reader"; Kaleido: "Mind Speak"). This skill is a pain in the ass for multiple reasons. For one, it is not really the skill to "read minds". It's more like the ability to speak your thoughts into someone else's mind, like a one-way telepathy. Incidentally and totally not relevant, but Telepathy is apparently the advanced form of this skill. Funny that.

Another fun example is the "Dark" magic in this show. There's two forms, 暗黒魔術 and 闇魔術. Both are basically synonyms for "darkness" in Japanese. So, how do you render these in English? "Dark" is an obvious one for the first skill, but what about the second one? "Shadow"? "Dusk"? Maybe even big-brain it and go "Moon" or "Space"? Well, the latter is out for the simple reason that these forms of magic already exist in this work (damn you, author). "Shadow" seems like a simple solution, so you'll probably be surprised to hear we actually went with "Dusk". The reason is simple: the context surrounding the introduction and exploration of the skill. During the fight this episode, Teach's mind is cooking up an explanation for how this demon can move around constantly. The answer is of course, shadows. But imagine if during that inner monologue, he kept saying "Mhm, he has no skill that allows him to pop up out of nowhere. Dark Magic, Shadow Magic, he's coming from below us... Eureka! He's coming from our shadows!". While written like this it may sound sensical, when shown on screen, it comes across as if Teacher is extremely dumb, which is not the case with the original text. Hence, we swallowed the bitter pill and ran with Dusk Magic, leaving Shadow Magic for a potential other skill should it be applicable in the future.

This is an illustrative microcosm of the issue you face when translating a magic system that goes wide rather than deep. In trying to come up with a wide variety of different skills in his world, the author has added a lot of redundant skills, spells, and explanations that don't always translate very well to other languages (or even in the original Japanese...). As a result, sometimes concessions must be made. Sometimes, you have to go with something that sounds worse overall, but sounds even worse in a couple key scenes. And sometimes, you have to go the route of the next paragraph...

Finally, we get to the idea of "additive translation", as I call it (what even is the proper term for it?). I mentioned this before on Discord and in other posts, but it's not really out there for a translation to be additive to the overall experience of the work. Be it by adding additional context or information not strictly present in the original language (like I did by adding flavour text to the Return Feather), punching up dialogue to have stronger characterisation not uncommon in written text but maybe a bit harder to convey in spoken lines or are harder to do well in the source language (like happens often with Japanese works, I've noticed), etc. In this case, punching up is the big topic of the episode. The greater demon this episode has... extremely generic lines. Much like the bandits from episode 2, the lines are really generic, but in a "generic Japanese" way. Of course, this means to do a "good translation", you have to render them in a "generic English" way in the TL. But by doing that, you also run into a major issue. Obviously, you want the viewers in your target audience to enjoy the work, but orientalism often "heightens" the experience for a lot of those viewers. Even generic Japanese sounds a lot more exciting to them in English, even if it's much worse to an editor like I am. So the question becomes, do you try to forcibly keep the Japanesy flavour (and feed into orientalism)? Render it as generic English instead? Or do you do your job as an editor and improve it by punching it up (however much you can with what you're given, anyway)? If anyone tells you there's only one answer to this question, they're full of shit. But whichever side you lean to most, it is ultimately a balancing act and makes for interesting discussion both among fans and among translators.

Thoughts like these often go through my head while editing more "boring" lines, so it's always fun to imagine and actually hear how viewers react to these ideas at a higher level than just "hurdur do your job, just write what's in Japanese but in English" like you always see monolingual mouthbreathers argue whenever there's translation discourse.

As per usual, there's a lot of fun challenges with this work, but it's also very tiring. Not tiring enough to want to drop it, but tiring in the sense of "we tried our best, and damn am I sweating now". Thanks for being patient with our erratic release schedule. We hope it's been worth the wait, and that these posts help shine a light on our translation philosophies, challenges you may not have truly realised as just a viewer, and other issues inherent to translation. And hopefully uni stops kicking all our asses soon. Wouldn't that be nice?

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Spy x Family - 12
Posted on November 01, 2022 by LightArrowsEXE

Peanuts for all of you. Hopefully this will quell your anger at us because we're not doing the 2nd cour... or are we? DUN DUN DUN

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Tensei shitara Ken Deshita (Reincarnated as a Sword) - 04
Posted on October 29, 2022 by LightArrowsEXE

Sorry for the delay on this one, real life's a bitch to multiple staff members right now. We're hoping to finish up episode 5 before Wednesday this week, but no promises.

This episodes is largely infodump after infodump. We learn about crystals, about the gods of ye olden days, that Chaos is Good ActuallyTM, and that dungeons are full of sick loot. And finally, we learned that the plagues of MMO raid parties are not exclusive to those games. Always play with friends on voice, everybody. Do not form a ragtag group of players if you value your sanity (also make sure you actually have healers unlike these bozos).

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Spy x Family - 11
Posted on October 26, 2022 by LightArrowsEXE

One more to go!

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Tensei shitara Ken Deshita (Reincarnated as a Sword) - 03
Posted on October 16, 2022 by LightArrowsEXE

And that's another episode, this time way earlier! This episode didn't have as many good base lines, so expect a lot more "eh, guess that's okay" lines. Garrus was the big exception. Dwarves are always a lot of fun to work with.

This episode marks the first appearance of the annoying part of the skill hierarchy. Literal translations for the skills would be "Skill" -> "Unique Skill" -> "Extra Skill". However, "Extra" is not really the right word for it in English. We opted for "Special", because while boring, it gets across that it's "special" better than "Extra" does. We recognise it may not be fun when you hear "Extra skill" and read "Special skill", but our viewers are adults(?). They can handle "memori" -> "Skill bank", so surely they can handle "Extra" -> "Special" as well.

Also, much to my delight, this adaptation continues to prove itself to be pretty good. There is this scene in both the light novel and manga that I was not a particular fan of: the underwear scene. It just felt like standard isekai fanservice, but I'm glad to report the anime quickly skips past that and goes straight from the fanservice into the franservice. There's a lot of cute Fran shots throughout this episode, and in general they seem to round her out a lot more early on than they did in the LN.

Furthermore, this episode explains the Mana Conductivity (MC) system and how it works. For those wondering what "MC" meant in our TS last episode, here's your answer. I also forgot to mention it in the previous post, but while the JP literally puts "Mana Conductivity" (魔力伝導) in the menu, we shortened it to MC to balance out the typesetting and UI. Friendly reminder that Japanese "compresses" much better than English does.

Mana Conductivity is basically an additional amplifier that further buffs how much a weapon's ATK increases when you put MP into it. The boosts are as follows (taken from the TenKen fan discord. Lotta rad fellow fans in there):

(sorry if this looks broken)

F- 1%, 1min
F 5%, 2min
F+ 10%, 3min
E- 15%, 4min
E 20%, 5min
E+ 25%, 7min
D- 35%, 9min
D 45%, 11min
D+ 55%, 13min
C- 70%,15min
C 85%, 17min
C+ 100%, 19min
B- 120%, 21min
B 140%, 23min
B+ 160%, 25min
A- 180%, 27min
A 200%, 29min
A+ 220%, 31min
S- 250%, 33min
S 280%, 35min
S+ 310%, 37min
SS- 340%, 39min
SS 370% 41min
SS+ 400%, 43min

This means at Rank A, assuming you use 100 MP, the buff will be +200 ATK for 29 minutes. Pretty powerful stuff. Too bad the explanation isn't perfect in the anime, because much to our (read: my) chagrin, in the explanation they didn't actually subtract any MP! We changed this for our TS because... the example would just be wrong otherwise. I hope you can forgive this bit of creative licence, and I also hope that can be extended to the Gandalf the Short line. I'd rather wake up with both kidneys still there if possible.

Anyway, that's about all I have to say for this episode. As per usual, it's a fun one. We should be about 2-3 episodes away from the first hype point of the series, so I hope you guys will enjoy watching along!

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Spy x Family - 10
Posted on October 15, 2022 by LightArrowsEXE

Two more to go!

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Tensei shitara Ken Deshita (Reincarnated as a Sword) - 01v2 & 02
Posted on October 12, 2022 by LightArrowsEXE

And here is episode 2! We went over all the skills and menus again and reworked a lot of skill names and the like. This post also includes a v2 for episode 1.

This episode features my biggest fear when we picked up this show: the background characters. Most characters in this show are kinda boring. Most are just bandits or thugs with very generic lines that swear like a sailor to make up for their lack of vocabulary. Kinda like real-life thugs and teens. This is not really my strong suit though, so writing lines that sounded well was a pain. On the other hand, the secondary cast has a bit more flair. Donadrond talks rough, but with conviction. Klimt speaks like an elf. Nell was particularly fun. She doesn't take shit from anyone and gets really snarky and demeaning. It was a blast.

I'll put a changelog of change we made for skill names and other stuff this episode later.

Encodes have also seen an upgrade! With how much editing and typesetting was required, I kinda had to say "screw it" with the encode. Did a merge for episode 1 and some fixes to deal with the haloing, but no matter what I did it would give it this ugly sharpening effect, and I simply ran out of time to worry about it. Thus, a v2 encode as well! There should be less sharpening, better grain preservation, less weird fuckery with the textures, etc. The only drawback is the size increase due to the grain, but you can expect similar sizes for the BD too (if not bigger).

Aaaand that's all for now. See you for episode 3!

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Tensei shitara Ken Deshita (Reincarnated as a Sword) - 01
Posted on October 05, 2022 by LightArrowsEXE

Whew, barely faster than Subsplease. Kaleido proudly presents: Reincarnated as a Sword! If you've kept an eye on the progress bar to the right, you may have seen this show there since March. It's been a show we've been looking forward to for a while, so we hope you enjoy it! Our goal is to release an episode every week (ideally no later than Monday), but due to how many signs there are, as well as how much we need to double-check everything (and I do mean everything), release schedules may vary wildly. Every episode will hopefully also contain a bunch of fun TL notes.

The video is sourced from Abema and Bilibili, merged together because one had better lineart and overall less starvation, but also worse-looking grain, which the other preserved much better. Audio is Abema (because Bilibili post-processes theirs). ED translation will be added in the batch, or left for BDs if we don't get around to the former.

Let's start with a fun note straight out of the gate: the eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that Teacher has the "魔法使い" skill. This is most commonly translated as Wizard (with Mage being a more RPG-esque translation). Given he used to be 30 years old prior to being reincarnated, this is a pretty on-the-nose joke to make, and of course we had to oblige. Whether we'll continue this trend for other characters with this skill will remain to be seen, but for Teacher it was the most obvious translation to go with.

And speaking of Teacher, let's move on to the most annoying part about translating his character: his name. "師匠" (Shishou) is what Fran ends up calling him throughout the series. Of course, this may seem simple at first glance: call him "Master" (as that is the common translation). However, it's really not that easy. The most instantly glaring reason is that "master" is something a slave would call their owners. For Fran, who literally just got freed, to call her savior "master" is eyebrow-raising to say the least. But even if that weren't the case, we have the Clairvoyant EX skill. In the light novels, at some point she mentions that she was taught by "師匠". "Master", given the world is no stranger to slaves and slave traders, should by all means give most regular listeners a bit of a fright that she's enslaved. This makes "Teacher" generally the safest option to go with. Of course, I still don't quite like it as a name, so we looked for other options, but nothing really fit well as both a name and keeping future scenes in mind. "Coach", "Sensei", etc. all had issues (although I'd be lying if I weren't thinking about memeing by putting "Sensei" in the honorific track). In the end though, the most convincing answer is that this follows the official Light Novel translation, which should make reading that after watching the anime a lot less jarring. And speaking of the Light Novel translation...

The menus are, bar none, the most annoying things to translate in this show. Fortunately, trying to think of names for every skill is simple enough: let the official LN translation be our lighthouse. But much to our dismay (and what I suspect was probably the impetus for this tweet by Katrina), the LNs are also kinda inconsistent about it. To illustrate, sometimes the LNs translate "鋭敏嗅覚" as "Enhanced Olfaction". Other times, as "Enhanced Sense of Smell". This isn't even the end of it, as for "腕力", you sometimes see "STR", and other times "ATK". It's wildly inconsistent, making it difficult to use as the terminology Bible. So, we have our own terminology Bible which we're slowly constructing (and just trying to ensure everything is consistent this episode, and if not we'll update it for BDs). However, with there being so many freaking skills and terms, this is about as difficult as you'd expect. Moral of the story, if you're translating something, always have a glossary for common terminology! (Oh, and just to wrap it around to the examples, we went with "Sense of Smell" and "STR" for these terms).

Furthermore, there are also a lot of puns. Aria, our TLC (who was the fill-in TL for this episode because our regular TL was unavailable—He'll be here next week!), noted that Teacher makes a reference to the Shinsengumi motto or something alike when he follows the Goblins back to their cave (hence the "gobbies" and "slay immediately"). These are jokes you may have heard in other anime as well, like for example Gintama. There's a lot of lines like these we're sure are subtle references all over, but seeing as we're not super familiar with everything the author may have enjoyed in their childhood, I'm sure there's plenty jokes and memery we were unable to translate entirely accurately. However, we made sure to keep his tone and speech register very casual and almost gamer-like (minus the racial slurs). He's just a fun guy, saying funny things (unlike what Bilibili's TL would have you believe, what with how flat his voice is there...).

Now, on to the more fun parts! I've already talked a bit about Teacher's characterisation before, but I must stress that he's speaks super casually for the most part. He's having a blast, and even when he's panicking, he still sounds like he's joking around. Fran is his foil in this regard, being a lot more stoic and quiet (although she loosens up more and more over the series, and Teacher becomes a bit more serious over the course of their journey as well). Characters like Fran are typically the hardest for me, Light the editor, to edit. You want to make them sound "neutral", but that's easier said than done. It's too easy to go too far in the "stoic" direction (like, say, no contractions, very flat line delivery, etc.), but also too easy to go a bit too casual and not really sell the way she talks all that well (too many idioms, casual words, too many contractions where a more serious person may use them sometimes and not other times, etc.). It's a fine tightrope to traverse, and something I think will simply become more convincing in the actual script the further into the show we get. Sidenote for those hoping for it, but they do not hook up. It's very much a daughteru/father kinda bond they form, and it makes their dynamic a lot of fun.

Anyway, that is basically all I have to say for episode 1. We hope you guys enjoy it, and we hope we can keep up a relatively consistent release schedule, as well that our translation holds up against Katrina's TL, who's doing the official translation over at Hidive. We urge you to compare our scripts and pick whichever you enjoy most, but should we end up delaying our release, don't feel bad about going with Hidive's script! Between these releases, I can guarantee you'll have two high-quality options to choose from either way (just please, don't go with Bilibili. Lots of mistranslations (just goes to show "sounding literal" does not mean it is literal, huh?), as well as just reading very poor. If you wanna enjoy a show and "learn" English through them, honestly, read good English translations).

As a final note, if you notice any issues, us messing something up in the menus, or have any questions, we are unlikely to respond on the cat website. Leave a comment here, or better yet, join our Discord and ask your questions in #public-qc! See you next time!

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Spy x Family - 09
Posted on September 13, 2022 by LightArrowsEXE

What? Back-to-back releases? No waaaaaay!

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Spy x Family - 08
Posted on September 11, 2022 by LightArrowsEXE

That's right. That's me there, wine in hand. You may be wondering how I found myself in this situation. Buckle up, it's a long story.

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Kaleido2 Project (Strike Witches Edition)