I Am Planning to Write My Thesis on Light Novel Fan Translations
This is just a short post filling you in on some of what has been going on in my life. I have not been blogging as often lately, but this is definitely not because I have run out of things to say about anime.
I only have a few weeks of my undergraduate course left, so I have been busy making my applications for further study. I have been thinking a lot lately about what kind of thesis I will write. Given my status as a light novel fan translator, it’s probably no surprise I decided to write about LNs.
Here is a copy-and-paste of my rough thesis proposal, for those interested:
Topic: Japanese honorifics in Fan-Published English Translations of Light Novels (ラノベ)My thesis will explore how honorifics (-chan, -san, etc.) and politeness levels are rendered in English fan translations. I will examine popular translations and compare them to the Japanese texts. I do not simply want to make a count of how often honorifics are left untranslated – I want to analyse these decisions in the context of the entire piece. How is the light novel fan’s understanding of politeness and Japanese cultural norms constructed and mediated through amateur translation?
There are a couple of reasons why I chose this topic. Firstly, I don’t feel that light novels are represented very much at all in academic literature about Japanese pop culture. This is despite the increasing popularity of anime adaptations of light novels. As I’ve argued on this blog before, understanding light novels is key to understanding modern otaku subculture, and I plan to argue that in the academic setting as well.
Secondly, translation really interests me. One of the things I think is of vital importance (both as an academic and as a fan) is unpacking all the assumptions that go into translated works. I think that anime fan culture outside of Japan is different from the Japanese fandom and that translation is one of the factors explaining our own English-speaking “otaku culture”. One often writes about otaku culture with various deterministic cultural assumptions in mind (“Otaku are into 2D girls because [insert stereotypical claim about Japanese society]”). By understanding ourselves and how we appropriate Japanese and otaku culture in a hodgepodge kind of way, I think it becomes easier to truly understand other cultures and how they are all intertwined.
My final reason is a bit more selfish. I’d have an easier time translating light novels for a living if I were doing it for the sake of academia than as a freelance translator. Pestering the Japanese government to give me study grants as I write about ultimately inconsequential things sounds like the ideal way of living. I’d be doing the same thing I’m doing now as an anime blogger, only my writing will be published in fancy academic journals that no one will actually read. This prospect makes me really excited.
I will begin work on my thesis next year. For now, I actually have to pass all my units with high enough grades, so unfortunately I have not had as much time to watch anime or work on my Oregairu translation as I would have liked. It’s that time of the year when all the papers are due at the same time. I trust any university student would understand my pain.
So yes, that’s the brief update on my life. I would like to get back to my regular blogging and translation schedule soon enough, but if my posting rate slows down, now you know why. I am taking those first steps towards becoming a professional weaboo.
- I have expressed some interest in critiquing official translations as well as fan translations, so look forward to seeing some of that when I have more time up my sleeve.
- I really enjoyed the first episodes of Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works and Amagi Brilliant Park. Granted, they’re the only two debut episodes I actually got around to watching this season, but they’re both really well-animated (especially the former).
- The GGO arc in Sword Art Online II started off pretty promising, but ended up mildly sucking, except in the penultimate episode, which was when it sucked majorly.
- This was the entirely wrong time of the year to get hooked on Love Live! School Idol Festival. I am absolutely abysmal at this game but I can’t stop playing, not when there’s the chance of getting Maki in a maid outfit.
- I am hyped as fuck for Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu! This season has been great for twin-tailed tsunderes! (The best kind of tsundere)
- I still haven’t even finished the common route of Grisaia no Kajitsu. lol. The anime seems very classy. Michiru is Best Girl, though.
Posted on October 9, 2014, in Editorials and tagged amagi brilliant park, fate stay night, grisaia no kajitsu, infinite stratos, love live, me and my boring life, neon genesis evangelion, ore twin tail ni narimasu, shitty light novels, sword art online. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.