It’s that time again! My English copy of volume 8 came this morning so I spent some time going through it and writing down my observations. I hope this gives some insight into how complicated this series can be to translate sometimes.

Please purchase it if you can! It includes all the extra strips and bonuses that didn’t appear in the magazine, minus the book jacket. Book Depository sells it and offers free shipping worldwide.

The good:

  • Overall, a very accurate translation that never gets too wordy or redundant.
  • Great control of character voice and tone. Slang and contractions are used appropriately depending on the character.
  • Puns and word plays are translated smoothly.
  • As usual, all sound effects are translated. Their letterer does an amazing job, no messy edits at all.
  • No typos (that I noticed).

The bad:

  • A number of simple errors that could’ve been detected by double-checking the original text.
  • Translator attempted to translate words based on literal kanji meanings. Do not do this! If you are ever in a situation where you feel it’s necessary, you either misread the kanji or it is a proper noun. Both instances occurred here.
  • The ever-baffling Landlady name inconsistency remains, but will she stay that way from now on?

With that said, let’s begin!

This volume has a new translator, but I didn’t notice until I hit the copyright page. There are no significant stylistic changes compared to previous volumes. One new difference, though, is that strip titles are almost never changed anymore. Previously, strip titles that were too obscure or complicated to translate concisely were substituted with simpler ones the translator came up with. While it’s nice to see them try to remain more faithful than before, strip titles ended up being the cause of most translation errors in the book.

p18 Error. Natsume did not come to Yamabuki to receive her exam results, she came to report them (she would’ve received her acceptance by letter like Hiro, remember?). This is why she traveled all that way on a day she knew her teachers would be there. Speaking of her college, Ama Art Academy retains its translation from the previous volume. While there’s nothing wrong with being consistent, I still argue that “academy” is a needlessly roundabout translation of 大学 that ignores the college’s intended parody, Tama Art University in Tokyo.

p23 Yuno: “I can’t help it! I love sleepovers!” I laughed out loud here. That translation works perfectly, especially in light of more recent chapters.

p26 In this translation Yuno specifies the things she brought are tissue packets. This was a very wise move because I remember some of you mistaking them for… something else!

p29 Great translation of the infamously all-encompassing phrase “yoroshiku” here. I mean that sincerely, I think this is the best translation of Natsume’s farewell scene.

p30 Originally Sae and Hiro’s moms’ messages also mention their fathers at the end, but the sentence is cut off in a way that’s impossible to infer the rest. It was omitted here, presumably for the sake of space.

p31 The part of Sae and Hiro’s moms’ messages where they say they could immediately tell who each other were is omitted, again for the sake of space.

p34 In Hiro’s list of the apartment’s perks, “has a washer and dryer” is added in the translation. Yet the opposite seems to be implied in the original text, if there were a dryer then Hiro wouldn’t be as concerned about the direction the building faces. Not sure what happened here.

p35 It’s funny to imagine Yuno saying “The rent will be killer!”

p36 To recap: throughout the previous seven volumes released by this publisher, the Landlady has been referred to by four different names: Owner, Landlady-san, Manager, and Ms. Landlady. For volume 8, she gets a fifth one! She’s now simply known as Landlady, same as in mine. Hopefully it stays this way because this lack of consistency is the single most bizarre thing about these releases.

p39 “Kanagawa” graphic on the television screen left untranslated. Too small to read?

p40 Punchline slightly altered. While it’s true Yuno suddenly speaks very formally, in the original she uses a phrase said when ending a party as opposed to beginning one.

p41 Strip title error. Straight out of the dictionary. The “Russian” in the strip title clearly comes from Russian roulette in context and should reflect that.

p42 Error. I’m assuming the translator did not watch the anime and translated “Misato-tachi” as “Misato and the others” without thinking. Such an error is understandable. However, later in this same volume Nazuna explicitly states there was only one other tenant in Misato’s year, so there’s no excuse for getting this wrong.

p50 Continuity-based translation error. In this translation Nori implies that Nazuna’s movers were the same women that are moving out Sae and Hiro now. However, we saw in volume 4 that Nazuna’s movers were men. In Japanese, Nori simply remarks that Nazuna wasn’t around to see her own movers, not that they were the same people as before.

p53 Nitpick. The moment Yuno realizes something doesn’t feel right was not “this morning” but “just now” when there’s silence after Miyako makes a Hiro weight joke. However, I can see why they’d alter this line to make the joke clearer (Yuno going along with Miyako rather than immediately pointing out she’s being rude like Hiro would).

p55 Major translation error. Miyako clearly says she was short, not tall! 背が低くて is Japanese 101, how did this happen?!

p56 Mashiro Cleaning is only referred to as a “white building” (its color was not specified originally) and gets its name translated to “Pure White Cleaning” on page 61. While there is not strictly anything wrong with changing this, it removes the implication that Mashiro could be the owner’s name as well.

p73 Yuno’s height is kept in centimeters, but her three sizes are converted to inches.

p74 Error? As the strip title indicates, the joke here is Nazuna tries to think of the opposite of “natural” but uses the wrong word. There shouldn’t be a “not” in Matsuri’s last bubble about the eyelashes. Now that I look at the Japanese again, the punchline is ambiguous between meaning “[my eyelashes are] false” and “[the correct word is] false (i.e. artificial not unnatural)”. Perhaps this is a compromise?

p76 Error. Yuno implies Nori isn’t used to being touched like that, not that she already is (otherwise, she wouldn’t be screaming).

p82 Error. “B” (as in Class B) was misread as “P” (ビー vs. ピー). This and the Kanagawa sign omission seem to indicate the translator doesn’t work from very high-res pages.

p86 Strip title error. The strip title was translated as “Finally Number 5”, but 5番 refers to the fifth line of Miyako’s song before Yuno realizes it has nothing to do with exams.

p91 Strip title error. The title of this strip is 前科あり which means “previously found guilty” or “has a (criminal) record”. In context, this refers to the Landlady’s penchant for telling exaggerated lies that don’t fool Yuno and Miyako anymore. Strangely, the title in this translation is “Admittance fee”. My best guess is the translator misread it as 前料あり (note the second kanji’s left part) and used the literal meanings of the kanji (“before” + “fee”) to make sense of it, as those two kanji together do not constitute a real word.

p93 Error. The Landlady always calls Miyako “Miyako-chan” but they accidentally wrote “Miya-chan” in the last panel. It was correct throughout the other parts of the chapter so this was just an oversight.

p99 Strip title rewrite and/or error. The title of this strip is 一枚だけ where 一枚 literally means “one sheet” but implies “one photo” (that Nori takes of herself). Perhaps this was not caught by the translator, as the title was changed to “Not bad” for no apparent reason.

p103 Major translation error. All three of the bath salts are named after famous hot springs, but the translator only recognized Noboribetsu and “translated” the other two as “Grass Paradise” (Kusatsu, almost certainly misread as 草楽) and “Special” (Beppu), the literal meanings of their kanji! It’s 2015, all you have to do is google these words and see they’re all onsen towns!!! I’d understand if all three names were localized, but the fact Noboribetsu was kept as-is (without even a translation note for it in the back) suggests something went wrong. The illegibility of the words at low resolution may have also played a part.

p104 Asagi Sports Center retains its name, unlike the fire department from volume 6. Volleyball is changed to bocce ball for Yuno’s comment about B’s to make sense.

p106 Context error. Matsuri does not get tired of watching Miyako and Nori’s game, it’s the opposite. She was watching Yuno and Nazuna first, then approaches Miyako and Nori and asks to watch their game. You don’t even have to know Japanese to tell this is wrong: on the previous page she’s watching Yuno and Nazuna, then in the strip after this she’s watching Miyako and Nori. Now, if she had simply added “them” to the end of her question, there wouldn’t be a problem here.

p107 The whole shiritori was rewritten! I’m impressed.

p108 Those symbols in the strip title are actually kanji! They’re used metaphorically to mean two things fit together well. It’s kind of hilarious they just left them there with no explanation in the back at all?!

…I can’t believe I spent so long writing that. But it was fun. I noticed a couple of minor context errors in mine thanks to them, so I’d better go and fix those. There’s no evidence that the translator has been influenced by my translations, so that’s good (?). I don’t think some of those mistakes would’ve made it to print if the translator had found a second opinion somewhere. My translations aren’t perfect and neither are theirs, but for an official release they meet the standard and do the series justice. My only concerns are the numerous small errors that could easily be avoided with more careful proofreading.