I am a Japanese studies major who specialises in literary translation. I am best known for my translation of volumes 2-4 of Oregairu. See here for a list of things I’ve translated online.
If you’d like me to translate something from Japanese into English for you, I charge a small fee for private translation commissions. Don’t worry, it’s not much – just 1 Australian cent per Japanese character. For reference, most professional translators charge at least twice as much for the same amount.
Here’s how it works: you send me a link or a copy of whatever you want translated. I’ll send you a Paypal link with the asking price and get to work as soon as I’ve received the money.
For further inquiries, you can contact me via email (frogkun @ live dot com) or via the contact form at the end of this post. You will get a response within one working day.
I also accept article commissions. Commissions cost 50 AUD per article. I will accept requests to review anime, manga, light novels, visual novels, etc. I also accept requests to write editorials.
See the full post for terms, conditions and an FAQ.
To my surprise, my last post about how black women speak in anime was a hit on social media. It even reached the top page on the anime subreddit for a short time. I would never have imagined that an academic-style post about the more esoteric aspects of translation would interest anime fans, but it turns out that plenty of fans are interested in issues around what gets lost in translation. I’ve only ever discussed the politics of translation in a classroom setting, so it makes me really happy to think that there’s an audience for this sort of analysis outside the ivory towers of academia.
For the most part, the feedback I received for that post was positive. I also received some sound criticism, such as the lack of anime examples besides Little Women, reiterating too many basic points about sociolinguistics and not explaining fully why I thought the use of keigo “erased” the black identity in this context. These are criticisms I take seriously, and I would certainly like to do a more comprehensive overview of the subject in the future.
There was also some not-so-sound criticism, most of it revolving around what an evil “SJW” I am, forcing my diabolical Liberal-Progressive-Marxist-Feminist-Postmodernist-Communist-Maoist-Stalinist ideology onto anime. Those particular critics made no attempt to seriously engage with my argument, but I also think that their complaints can be distilled into this reasonable-sounding statement:
“Don’t force your own cultural assumptions onto anime.”
On the whole, black characters are quite rare in anime and manga. Plus, it’s been pointed out before that the majority of them are based on racist stereotypes. Although there is a black population in Japan (in fact, the current Miss Japan is half-black), most Japanese people are only exposed to black people through the media, which tends to reinforce their ignorance. As a result, you’d be hard-pressed to find an anime that focuses specifically on black issues.
The Little Women anime (1987) is one of the exceptions, as it goes out of its way to educate its young viewers about slavery and the American Civil War. The notable thing about this production is that it actually adds black perspectives that were entirely missing from Louisa May Alcott’s novel. The character of Hannah, the family maid, was changed into a black woman, and there’s also a subplot in the early episodes focusing on an escaped slave named John. 
As great as this is for people who like some diversity in their anime, it still remains that these perspectives are included for the benefit of a Japanese audience, not for an African American or even a White American audience. These representations are drawn primarily from second-hand sources. Moreover, the distinctive qualities of “Black vernacular” are completely erased through translation, which serves to obscure the complex relationship between race, gender and class.
If anything, this anime makes visible the uncomfortable politics of Alcott’s original novel, for by depicting black bodies without their voices, Little Women affirms a sanitised version of racial relations that revolves entirely around the white, middle-class experience.
This is a post about translation. It shows how all translation is, in the end, a matter of representation. I’ll compare how the white characters and black characters in Little Women are “represented” in Japanese, with a particular focus on women’s speech (which makes sense since this is a show about, you know, little women). But before we get to that, let’s go over some basic concepts in translation and sociolinguistics.
Hey guys, welcome to the new url for my blog. Before we get down to business, let’s have a moment of silence for my old site domain. You have served us well, fantasticmemes.wordpress.com. I will never forget the good times I had with you. Dare I say that it was fantastic?
But alas, fantasticmemes.wordpress.com, your time has passed, and now I’ve moved on to greener domains.
Although this blog is still called Fantastic Memes for the time being, I have long been aware that I don’t actually write about internet memes very much. That’s why I named the new url after my internet handle, because it gives me the leeway to change the blog name in future to something more reflective of what I actually do around here. But for now, I’m still attached to Fantastic Memes, and I’m sure you are too.
I paid for the new site domain with the profits I’ve made from the translation/reviewing commission service I opened earlier this month. So thank you to everyone who made use of my services! Of course, even if you didn’t ask for a commission, I’m really grateful for your continued readership. My hope is that I can provide even better updates and services in the future. I also want to start using some of the money I earn to support other artists whose work I admire greatly.
The season has only just started, but it’s never too early to pick out a favourite waifu and husbando.
A really interesting interview with an Italian translator, translated by @Sephyxer. Anyone interested in the art and industry of literary translation should check it out.
This post is mostly an English exercise for me to try and see how good are my translating and writing skills, so which better way to attempt it by translating an interview made to a translator? If you want the original interview you can find it here. Of course, if you find some grammatical errors or you don’t understand the meaning of a sentence (this is bound to happen), feel free to tell me! Sorry in advance to English majors and grammar nazis, this will make you cringe a lot.
Enrico Terrinoni is an Italian teacher and translator. His translation of Joyce’s Ulysses, published by Newton Compton in 2012, won the “Premio Napoli” the same year, proving itself as a critical and commercial success. As of today, in addition to contributing with the Manifesto’ s cultural page and occasionally with the “Corriere della Sera”, he’s working…
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BokuMachi piqued my interest before it aired because the two actors playing the protagonist’s character, Shinnosuke Mitsushima and Tao Tsuchiya (shown above), are live action actors who have never had an anime role before. Normally, haiyuu (actors) and seiyuu (voice actors) occupy separate niches, despite the crossover in their skill sets. While it’s not unheard of for a seiyuu to have live action roles or for haiyuu to have anime roles, it’s still uncommon enough to be worthy of attention. Thus, I was extra curious to see how the BokuMachi anime would turn out, as I had the feeling that it would be a very off-beat and distinctive work.
Happy New Year, everybody! Here’s to a wonderful 2016 for all of us. I sincerely hope you’re all resting well and taking good care of yourselves.
As always, January 1st is the best day to make a bunch of half-baked resolutions and never follow through on any of them. In lieu of that, here is my list of New Year’s Resolutions!
- Don’t watch Idolm@ster
- Get better taste
- Become a magical girl without having to sign a contract
- Pick up a girl in a dungeon
- Destroy Twitter
I’m kidding, of course (…or am I?!) But seriously, I do have some cool things in store for this blog in 2016, so let me tell you all about it.