We are proud to announce the winners of Manga Translation Battle 2012!!
After our judges' painstaking selection process, and receiving a breathtaking number of votes from manga fans in our open vote, we are proud to announce 4 winners!
<About the Contest>
The Digital Comic Association, in collaboration with Project to construct a Media Arts Information Base / Consortium (Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan) and JManga, proudly presents the world‘s first official manga translation contest, Manga Translation Battle 2012!
The goal of the contest is to provide an opportunity for aspiring manga translators to become professionals while at the same time opening up manga culture to as wide an audience as possible. Professional and aspiring manga translators alike tried their hand at translating three of Japan's finest manga properties. The Grand Winner will win a trip to Japan and be invited to symposium during Japan Media Arts Festival. Runners-up will win new iPads or Nexus7.
<About the Award Ceremony and Symposium>
Date: February 21st, 2013 6:30PM (JST)
Location: Roppongi Academy Hills, Tokyo, JP
The Grand Prize winner awarded and members from the Judges' Panel will be invited
to discuss "The Present of Japan's Manga Overseas"
More info and pre-registration will be available in mid-January, 2013 at: http://mediag.jp
Best Translation for Chocolate Cosmos :mimizu
Created by Nana Haruta
<COMMENTS FROM JUDGES>
Jonathan "Jake" Tarbox
"All had their strong points and their weak points. But mimizu's entry had the most natural flow of language, the best transitions between lines, and the clearest characterizations. It's good parts were very good. The translation "beach warming" was good because it avoided trying to transliterate the Japanese. Sometimes with a pun, a joke or a "Japanglish" phrase, it is best to throw away the original altogether and create something new, like this translation did."
"There were many parts to Mimizu's translation that struck me in a good way. The phrase, "Let it go," was a great, elegant solution to the Japanese meaning, and it is phrased so that it takes even less words than the original. Most translations need to take more. Similarly, the, "Hey, shh!" line was also shorter than its Japanese counterpart and still conveyed the same information. I also liked the way that Mimuzu handled the "idiots catch summer colds" reference and the translator's note explaining who Takuya Kimura was. These all demonstrate not only a comprehension of the Japanese original, but a command of English to convey that information in the most economical, way -- a skill vital to manga translation. That, on top of Mimizu's excellent characterization skills, makes for an example of what a good, professional translator in this business should be.
The main challenge of Chocolate Cosmos was to create an atmosphere of breezy dialog for all of the characters, and especially a chemistry in the dialog between the main love-interest characters. Mimizu did that well, consistently characterizing Sayuki as being curt and blunt, and the chocolate-banana-selling love interest as being cheerful and playful. Mimizu's natural-sounding dialog and well-tuned sense of how the story was playing out placed this translation above some of the other strong contenders in this category. Very well done!"
"This reads very well -- the choices she made for the dialogue flow smoothly, and she wrote dialogue that's brief and easy to scan -- so many of the other entries wrote dialogue that was a little convoluted/overly long. This is especially important when most manga has vertical word balloons that make longer words and longer sentences impractical. shorter sentences are also easier to read, especially in shojo manga, which is meant to be a light, fun read.
I also appreciate that she avoided senseless cursing. That's not to say teen girls don't say that, but that level of cursing seems inappropriate for a younger teen audience. There are some missteps, like "your personality is just as bad as your cut eye" -- but compared to the other 2 entries, this is a much more polished effort."
Best Translation for Coppelion : Amanda Haley
<COMMENTS FROM JUDGES>
Jonathan "Jake" Tarbox
"This was probably the most difficult of the three Japanese manga originals to do. The author did some strange things in the original that ensured the English product would be weird no matter how it was done. The first third of Amanda's entry sounded a little forced, and it was hard to get into a feel for the characters. But in the second two thirds, it seems like the translator hit their stride, and after that the characterizations came through.
There were still a few rough spots. On page 15 last panel, the S.O.S. signal shouldn't be "intercepted". You "intercept" something that is not meant to go to you. an S.O.S signal is meant to go to anyone who receives it; it is "picked up." The nuance of a word or two like that changes the entire relationship between the parts.
In general, Amanda's entry had the best flow and the most natural characterization.
A good job, all told."
"I liked some of the characterizations this translator was using, and especially the way Aoi's and Taeko's names were introduced on the first page. I also liked the way this translator handled the passage regarding the Geiger counter and references to "dolls." The characterization really hit its stride after the first third of the chapter, and kept it going at a nice pace afterwards. Although some of the other Coppelion translation submissions were also working at a high level, this one edges its way into first place among a strong group. It's strong characterization and knowledge of what the story needs makes it the overall best translation of the contest from my perspective. Translation Challenges
Coppelion's first chapter has a number of challenges. The two girls, Aoi and Taeko, both use their names instead of personal pronouns for themselves in their early word balloons. This is easy to do in Japanese, but sounds weird in English. It's an important consideration since this introduces the names of Ibara's associates. The translator has to decide whether to wedge their names into those word balloons somehow or wait until Ibara names them in a word balloon a few pages later.
Another challenge is how to handle Ibara's Kansai accent. One method is to substitute in a southern accent. The other is to characterize her with slangy word choices. Thankfully no translator in the final cut overdid it with the accent. One threw in a smattering of typical southern word choices, but it was sparse enough not to detract from the story.
Still, the biggest challenge is story-based. The main internal conflict in the chapter is how the girls react to their own humanity or perceived lack of it. The Japanese script used the word, ningyo (doll, marionette, puppet, etc.), and the translation of this word is very important. Also any references to the Geiger counter should be handled carefully with knowledge of what they are and what they are afraid of."
Not bad, but some of the dialogue choices sounded a little odd, like "Should we really do something so leisurely?" sounds a bit oddly formal.
Tho I like how she's captured Aoi's enthusiasm with elongated syllables, and her use of slang like "Whatevs, I'm not, like, mad or anything..."
Some choices are overly literal, like "switch to your hand radio," vs. just "switch to your radios"
Best Translation for Shindo : pinkie-chan
<COMMENTS FROM JUDGES>
Jonathan "Jake" Tarbox
"When evaluating a translation, it's much easier to point out the bad things than the good. The things the translator does the best are precisely the things that don't catch the reader's attention. Please bear that in mind when reading these comments.
A intro page like in this series is extremely important for setting the mood of the series. These disembodied words are very important, but to the same extent they are usually heavily nuanced and thus must be translated with care. I myself have struggled greatly with this very kind of thing. I think the "We" used in the first line isn't quite impersonal enough.
There were a few other spots that were problematic. The parts about the Beyer piano exercises should include some explanation inside the balloons, even if it wasn't in the Japanese original. Simply calling it "the Beyer Exercises" or "The Beyer manual" or something like that would have sufficed.
In general, however, this translation has some nice natural flow and quite a few panels I marked "good" in my notes."
"It's is easy in translation to forget that the very first words the reader sees are extremely important. So a translation that tries to get too poetic or isn't written carefully can leave a bad taste the reader's mouth from the get-go. This translation handles this task found in the opening sentences well with easy-to-follow words and phrases that carry the reader into the story well.
Then, from the second page where the characters begin to converse, the dialog flows smoothly keeping characterization. Speaking of characterization, the two "rivals" for the top music school only have a panel or two each. The characterization here was very well done giving the reader the impression that they know these characters from those few words spoken.
Finally, the part that impressed me the most is the wording leading up to and out of the pitcher-catcher gag. Comedy isn't the easiest of translation tasks, and this sequence is a stand-out moment in this chapter. Very nicely handled. Translation Challenges
The very first sentence of this manga is a piece of narration which sets a mood that is quickly subverted by the very next sentence. The language has to be clear, interesting, and easy understand to draw the reader in.
The next challenge is the characterization of the two main characters. Needing especially serious consideration is Uta's characterization as she is the main draw and mover in the story. Her attitude should be quickly identified in her word choice and it should remain consistent throughout the translation.
The other major challenges include a couple of puns to convey somehow -- if there is no perfect English translation for the pun, you have to either substitute an English pun or lose the comedy. There is also a slapstick piece of comedy that needs to be backed up by the dialog just preceding it and following it too."
"Out of the three entries for this title, this one has the most natural-sounding, conversational dialogue. I appreciated that she made choices like 'grocery store' vs. 'vegetable store' that may not be literal, but more understandable to most readers.
I also appreciated that she knew how to adjust dialogue depending on who is talking -- so for 5th graders, "it totally beaned him in the balls" sounds perfectly true to how boys that age would talk.
That particular scene does require a deft touch -- the translator needs to convey the contrast between Uta's coarse, impolite style of talking with her effortlessly refined piano playing. So making her speak too politely kind of misses the point, but having her curse like a drunken sailor would be inappropriate for a 5th grade girl."
Open Vote Winner : Sawa Matsueda Savage
Thanks to all of the manga fans, supporters and aficionados around the globe
that casted their votes in our Open Vote!!
Created by Nana Haruta
<COMMENTS FROM JUDGES>
"The first phrase that jumped out at me was, "Fake narrating my thoughts." It was one of those translations that, while it did not use the Japanese words, it captured the meaning behind those words in an amusing and original manner. I especially liked the clear way the main character's attitude was communicated in her dialog, and the back-and-forth between her chocolate-banana-selling love interest really made it seem that the two had a kind of chemistry. It was a translation with excellent word choices that communicated the tone of the original in a very entertaining fashion. Translation Challenges
This manga has some odd phrases in Japanese that might trip up a translator with less experience, and it also has some confusing scenes where the dialog is crucial to sort the characters and actions out. In one or two places, it has dialog-based jokes that need careful wording.
Still, more than anything else, the most crucial aspect to making this manga work is a light-and-breezy translation style to give the manga a comic, upbeat feel. In this chapter, most of the fun comes not from anything one character says, but the repartee between the characters. There are manga where one should stay very close to the Japanese, but this isn't one of those manga. Translating for "feeling" -- choosing a natural, colloquial phrase that has the same emotional content as the Japanese without necessarily using the same words -- seems to be the right choice for light comedy such as this."
<A Note to All Participants>
"My congratulations go out to all the participants in the J-Manga contest. It was a pleasure to read all the finalists, and I want to convey that I am very impressed with the high quality of all the translations. As many people know, translation requires more than understanding two languages. Great translations require passion, commitment, and a desire to make something new that balances the message of an author and the understandings of a diverse audience. Each translator in this contest tackled that challenge with unique perspectives and the results were marvelous. Kudos to everyone.
The high level of participation and the range of high quality works also indicates that we are moving towards an era of reimagining the lines between producers, authors, consumers, fans, translators and more. These lines are blurred and the diverse forms of participation available to us these days says to me that we are on the cusp of a grand adventure in collaborative creativity. As judges, we would all have been happy to give out more awards, and so I want to give all participants this note of encouragement. A time of distributed, community-based innovation is upon us. It's up to us to figure out where to take it. Your amazing efforts in the J-Manga contest are a testament to the huge range of possibilities ahead. Thank you for sharing. Let's keep this sharing going."