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Thread: Fate/Zero Retranslation/Edit

  1. #1
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors UnlimitedBladeWorks's Avatar
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    Fate/Zero Retranslation/Edit

    So I have, as of recently been working on editing/retranslating the Fate/Zero Light Novels (due to the.....questionable quality of the originals). Full retranslation credits go to Kotonoha who was generous enough to offer to collab with me when I suggested editing the novels. All the editing was done by yours truly and I don't have much else to say so I'll just leave the first prologue "8 Years Ago" here.

    Spoiler:


    Let us tell the story of a man. A man who believed in his ideal more than anyone else, who was driven to despair by those ideals.

    His dream was pure. He wished for everyone to be happy; it was all he asked for. A childish ideal that young boys get attached to at least once, one that gets abandoned as they grow accustomed to reality’s harshness. All children learn that happiness requires a sacrifice when they reach adulthood.

    But, that man was different.
    Maybe he was simply the most foolish of all. Maybe he was broken somewhere. Or maybe, he might have been what people called a ‘saint’, entrusted with God’s will. One that common people cannot understand.

    Once he learned that all living things in this world existed in a constant balance between sacrifice and salvation…
    Once he realized that neither side of the scale could be emptied…

    From that day on, he set his mind to work on being the one to balance that scale.

    To abate the grief in this world, there was no other, more efficient way.

    To save even one life on one side of the scale, he had to forsake another life on the other side.

    That is, in order to save the many, he had to sacrifice the few.
    Therefore, the more he saved, the more he excelled at killing.
    Again and again, he kept painting his hands the colour of blood, but he never faltered.
    Never questioning the righteousness of his acts, nor ever doubting his goal, he forced himself to only faultlessly tip the scale.
    Never misjudging the value of a life.

    With no regard to status or age, all lives were units with the same weight.

    The man saved indiscriminately, and killed indiscriminately.



    But unfortunately, he realized something too late:
    To value everyone equally means to never love anyone.

    Had he carved that inviolable rule into his spirit sooner, he could have attained salvation.

    Had he frozen his young heart into necrosis, perfecting himself as an unfeeling measuring machine, he could have simply lived a life of indifferently sorting those that were to die, and those that were to live. There probably would have been no suffering for him.

    But he had not.

    Seeing people smile with delight filled his chest with joy, and hearing people wail shook his heart.

    Whenever someone felt bitter resentment he shared their anger, and whenever someone wept with loneliness, he could not help but reach out a hand to them.

    Even though he was pursuing an ideal beyond human rationale — he was simply too human.



    How many times was the man punished for that contradiction?
    He did know friendship. He did know love.

    Even when putting those beloved individual lives, and a countless number of perfect strangers, on the left and right of the scale — he never erred.

    He loved them, and yet judged their lives equally to that of the others. He valued them equally, and abandoned them equally. It was as though whenever he met someone precious to him, he was mourning their loss all the while.



    And now, the greatest punishment had been imposed on him.


    Outside the window was a chilling snowstorm. A mid-winter night had frozen over the ground of a forest.

    The room was in an old castle built on frozen soil, but it was protected by a gentle flame burning in the fireplace.

    In the warmth of that shelter, the man was holding one new life in his arms.

    It was such a tiny body — almost ephemeral. It weighed less than he had anticipated.

    It felt dangerously delicate to the touch, as if a slight jolt would cause it to fall apart like a handful of freshly fallen snow.

    In frail eagerness, the sleeping child preserved her body temperature, her lenient breaths causing her lips to tremble. That was all that the modest beat of her heart could do at the moment.

    “She’s sleeping so peacefully.”

    The mother, resting her body on the bed, smiled upon him holding the baby in his arms.

    Not having yet recovered from the exhaustion of childbirth, her complexion wasn’t perfect, but even so, her beautiful face reminiscent of a jewel had not declined in any way.

    Above all, the color of bliss brightens her smile and erases the exhaustion that should have worn out her gentle look.
    “She kept fussing and crying, even with the nurses she should have gotten used to. This is the first time she’s let herself be held so quietly… She understands, doesn’t she? That you are a good man.”

    “…”

    Without answering, dumbfounded, the man compares the mother on the bed with the child in his arms. Had Irisviel’s smile ever looked that dazzling?

    She originally was a woman of little happiness. Nobody had even thought of giving her that feeling. As a creation not of God, but of the hands of men — a homunculus — this treatment was only natural. Irisviel herself had never wished for such a thing.

    Created as a puppet, brought up as a puppet, maybe she had never even understood the meaning of happiness to begin with.

    And now — she was beaming.

    “I’m really glad I had her.”

    Irisviel von Einzbern spoke, quietly and affectionately, watching over the sleeping child.

    “She’ll live as an imitation of a human. It may be tough, and she might curse the fact that she was born of an imitation of a mother. But, despite that, I’m happy. She’s a lovely child.”

    Her appearance was nothing unusual, and by the looks of her she was a lovely baby, yet —

    While inside the mother’s womb, a number of magical treatments had been conducted on the unborn body to rearrange it so that she was even more inhuman than her mother. A body with innately restricted utility, which could even be called a mere cluster of magic circuits; this was the true nature of Irisviel’s beloved daughter.

    Despite such a cruel birth, Irisviel still approved of it. She felt she was right to have given birth, and her daughter was right to have been born. She loved this existence, found pride in it, and smiled.

    That strength, that noble heart, was without a doubt that of a “mother”.

    The girl who could only be a puppet found love and became a woman, and found an unswayable strength as a mother. That must have been a form of “happiness” that nobody could infringe upon. Right then, the bedroom of the mother and child protected by the warmth of the fireplace was free from all despair and sorrow.

    But — the man knew better. That the snowstorm outside the window was the world he truly belonged to.

    “Iri, I — ”

    By speaking one single word, the man’s chest felt like it was pierced through by a blade. That blade was the peaceful, sleeping face of the baby and the dazzling smile of the mother.

    “...Someday, I will be forced to kill you.”

    As he spat this like he was vomiting blood, Irisviel nodded with a peaceful expression.

    “Of course. That is what I exist for, to fulfil the dearest wish of the Einzberns.”

    That was the future that was already decided.
    After 8 years had passed, the man would take his wife to her dying place. As the one victim to save the world, Irisviel would become a sacrifice to his ideal.

    That was a matter that had been discussed several times between the two, and on which they had come to an agreement.

    The man had already cried his heart out at that decision and cursed himself for it many times, and each time, Irisviel had forgiven him, and encouraged him.
    “I became who I was because you, your ideals and your prayers guided me. I became something more than a puppet.”

    She lived and would sacrifice herself for the same ideal. In that way, she had become his other half. That was the shape that Irisviel’s love had taken. Because she was like this, the man was still able to permit himself to be with her.

    “You don’t need to grieve over me. I’m already a part of you. All you need to do is endure the pain you’re going through.”

    “… So, what about her?”

    The infant’s body was light as a feather, yet a different sort of weight made the man’s legs shiver.

    This child still had no understanding of or preparation for the ideal he carried.
    She did not yet have the strength to judge or forgive his way of life.
    But his ideal had no room for mercy for even such an innocent life.

    With no regard to status or age, all lives were units with the same weight —

    “I…have no right to hold her.”

    Even on the verge of being crushed by maddening feelings of affection, the man squeezed out these words.

    One teardrop fell on the plump, pink cheek of the baby in his arms.

    Sobbing silently, the man finally fell to his knees.
    To overthrow the heartlessness in the world, he had aspired to a greater heartlessness, and yet still wound up having people he loved... and was now finally inflicted the greatest punishment.

    His most loved one in this world.

    Even if it meant the ruin of the world, he wanted to protect that.

    But, the man understood. When the time came when the justice he believed in would demand the sacrifice of such a pure life — what kind of decision would he, Emiya Kiritsugu, make?

    Scared of that day that might come, frightened by that one in a thousand chance, Kiritsugu cried. Holding the warmth in his arms tighter against his chest all the while.
    Irisviel raised her upper body from the bed and gently placed her hand on the shoulder of her husband who had broken down in tears.
    “Never forget. Wasn’t it your dream? A world where nobody would need to cry like that. Eight more years… And your fight will come to an end. We will achieve our ideal. I’m sure the grail will save you.”

    His wife, fully understanding his agony, kindly wiped away Kiritsugu’s tears.

    “When that day comes, please hold our child — Illyasviel — once again and be proud of yourself just as any father would.”


  2. #2
    Preformance Pertension SeiKeo's Avatar
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    I don't recall you speaking Japanese so I don't see the point. And, frankly, I don't think you improved it. What did you even change? I'm cross-comparing it and it seems like you kept most of the jank while tossing out the potentially interesting prose decisions.
    Quote Originally Posted by asterism42 View Post
    That time they checked out that hot guy they were just admiring his watch, yeah?


  3. #3
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors UnlimitedBladeWorks's Avatar
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    I don't speak Japanese but Koto does and she retranslated a....good deal of it for me while I did attempt to clean up a good deal of the jank. As for some notable translation differences, well there's this bit here where BT misses a......somewhat crucial point.

    BT
    Freezing his young heart into necrosis to become a bloodless,
    tearless measuring machine, he sorted those who were to die, and
    those who were to live. There was no suffering for him. But the
    man was wrong.
    A delighted smile would fill his chest with pride, and a wailing
    voice would shake his heart. Anger was added to his resentment,
    and he grew regretful as tears of loneliness longed for hands that
    reached out to him. For someone pursuing an ideal beyond the
    reason of men, he was too human. How many times had he been
    punished by this contradiction?

    Koto's/mine

    Had he frozen his young heart into necrosis, perfecting himself as an unfeeling measuring machine, he could have simply lived a life of indifferently sorting those that were to die, and those that were to live. There probably would have been no suffering for him.

    But he had not.

    Seeing people smile with delight filled his chest with joy, and hearing people wail shook his heart.

    Whenever someone felt bitter resentment he shared their anger, and whenever someone wept with loneliness, he could not help but reach out a hand to them.

    Even though he was pursuing an ideal beyond human rationale — he was simply too human.




    As far as my own personal clean ups I tried to make Iri talk more like a human being for one, her dialogue is EXTREMELY janky in the BT TL and while I thought that was intentional it turns out it wasn't so I tried to have her talk more like a normal girl for example. If you can offer any suggestions for improvement on my end I would be happy to hear it.

  4. #4
    Preformance Pertension SeiKeo's Avatar
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    For example, I think having Iri 'talk like a normal girl' is, to begin with, you projecting, and not something you should do. Why should she? Either it's the translation or it's not. If this is a 'one translator one English prosesmith' job, I don't know what we get out of it; despite their praise from Oprah P&V actually did not do a good job on the Russian classics in many places and I recall the BK version being criticized for being a game of telephone to begin with. Koto writes fine - 'cleaning up the junk', I don't know why she would need that. Just turns into a muddle. Even in the passage you want to put your foot forward for:

    "For someone pursuing an ideal beyond the reason of men, he was too human. How many times had he been punished by this contradiction?" -> "Even though he was pursuing an ideal beyond human rationale — he was simply too human."

    This is logical and better as English style, though still I don't understand why you would go with "simply too human" and not the weightier "all too human", putting aside the other things you could do with the snippet. But then you have:

    "Had he frozen his young heart into necrosis, perfecting himself as an unfeeling measuring machine, he could have simply lived a life of indifferently sorting those that were to die, and those that were to live. There probably would have been no suffering for him."

    This duplicates the same metaphor, three, maybe four times, and then inexplicably keeps 'probably'. It's this kind of business that I have a hard time with from the passage you post: it doesn't seem to hew either to greater translation fidelity or to better English prose, so unless there are truly massive errors in Zero I'm unaware of, the point passes me by.
    Quote Originally Posted by asterism42 View Post
    That time they checked out that hot guy they were just admiring his watch, yeah?


  5. #5
    What does an ESL speaker offer as an editor to a native English speaker's translation of Japanese?

  6. #6
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors UnlimitedBladeWorks's Avatar
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    So as far as Iri "speaking like a normal girl" goes, I asked Koto if Iri's janky way of speaking was accurate and was told that she spoke like a normal girl. I do apperciate some of the feeeback on specific snippets though. Also, I'm not ESL, as I was raised in the US the only language I'm fluent in is English. My purpose is to save time by splitting the work between two people.

  7. #7
    Preformance Pertension SeiKeo's Avatar
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    See, this is why I don't understand. You ask someone who is perfectly capable of doing the entire translation and writing on their own, and are told Iri speaks 'like a normal girl.' That gets filtered through your own perceptions, biases, and assumptions, and we end up with something that may be accurate regarding the specific corrections you're given but that we can't trust anyway, since you're playing as much a game of telephone as the BT tl without a clear purpose.
    Quote Originally Posted by asterism42 View Post
    That time they checked out that hot guy they were just admiring his watch, yeah?


  8. #8
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors UnlimitedBladeWorks's Avatar
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    While wha I ask Koto does go through some form of telephone game I did have her check on it constantly and I do think that mitigated some of the negative effects and downsides to come of doing it this way

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