Translation, Amalgamation, and Adaptation

Part of what differentiates this amalgamation from a composite is that the lines I’ve chosen to use from existing translations are rarely left untouched. I’ve edited dialog throughout the entire translation, sometimes only changing a word or two, other times rewriting the entire line—but I’ve only done this with the intention of preserving what I perceive to be the intended meaning, essence, and emotion of the original Japanese dialog. In other words, I’ve not only translated the dialog from Japanese, I’ve also adapted it for English—which I believe is necessary for a good translation from Japanese to English.

A translation that’s too literal can lose the feeling, spirit, and writing quality of the original story and characters. But a translator or editor who puts too much of his own signature on the adaptation can potentially obscure the original creative vision to some degree. I’ve done my best to stay away from both of these extremes by picking and choosing when to be more literal and when to be more adaptive.

My philosophy is that a natural sounding adaptation is important for comprehension of the story in general, but that literal translations are also important for comprehension of the more otherworldly aspects of the plot. In certain cases where the mechanics of the plot hinge on a universe that is merely inspired by our own, I think it’s important not to infuse speculation into the translation itself, and instead stick with what is certain (even if that means the result is more ambiguous in meaning). It’s better to preserve the original ambiguity than to impose new specificity that may or may not be intended.

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