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Tribulations of a Translator (POTENTIAL SPOILERS) Messages in this topic - RSS

Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 891

2/22/2019
I'm reasonably certain the name Jillyfleur was suggested by the gillyflower. That said, as far as I know Optimatum is right; the main idea is to differentiate Neathy jillyfish from Surface jellyfish, while still being close enough to be recognizable.

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Cpt. Eructus
Cpt. Eructus
Posts: 61

2/23/2019
Thanks. I didn't think of the flower, but I doubt I'll be able to work that into the name without it sounding too awkward. I suppose I could corrupt the word medusa (jellyfish) into something like miedusa,with the added bonus of it relating to the word miedo (fear), but I don't know if that would be taking it too far. Although sometimes they appear in common speech, these kind of mish-mash corrupted words tend to sound somewhat silly and childish and it could detract from the atmosphere more than it adds. I guess I'll have to ask for the opinion of some native Spanish-speakers.
edited by Cpt. Eructus on 2/23/2019
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NotaWalrus
NotaWalrus
Posts: 178

2/23/2019
Cpt. Eructus wrote:
Thanks. I didn't think of the flower, but I doubt I'll be able to work that into the name without it sounding too awkward. I suppose I could corrupt the word medusa (jellyfish) into something like miedusa,with the added bonus of it relating to the word miedo (fear), but I don't know if that would be taking it too far. Although sometimes they appear in common speech, these kind of mish-mash corrupted words tend to sound somewhat silly and childish and it could detract from the atmosphere more than it adds. I guess I'll have to ask for the opinion of some native Spanish-speakers.
edited by Cpt. Eructus on 2/23/2019

Am native speaker, miedusa sounds very silly. I think a good way to go here would be going with another name for jellyfish, like aguamala (literally "bad water") or aguaviva (Literally "living water"). I don't have any specific ideas but adjoining agua with a good adjective could work.


Also, what are your plans for Fingerkings? "Reyes Dedo" sounds very weird to me
edited by NotaWalrus on 2/23/2019

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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 891

2/23/2019
NotaWalrus wrote:
another name for jellyfish, like aguamala (literally "bad water")

This seems promising to me.

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Cpt. Eructus
Cpt. Eructus
Posts: 61

2/23/2019
I like it, but as aguamala is already a compound word, and it kind of needs both parts of the word to be identified as the concept it refers to (neither agua nor mala by themselves convey the full meaning), it makes it more difficult to add a twist that reflects that it's not exactly the same as a regular real-world jellyfish.


About the silliness, although I agree, I have to say that I feel sometimes translations take themselves too seriously, and don't take into account that the original can be silly too. Jillyfish instead of Jellyfish sounds a little silly in English too. "Miedusa" wouldn't be too different from other Spanish vulgar corruptions of words like "mondarina" instead of mandarina or "almario" for armario.

I haven't thought of the Fingerkings yet. Reyes dáctilos maybe? Dáctilo doesn't mean finger by itself in Spanish (only as a preffix or suffix) but the etymology is clear enough.
edited by Cpt. Eructus on 2/23/2019
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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 891

2/23/2019
Cpt. Eructus wrote:
I like it, but as aguamala is already a compound word, and it kind of needs both parts of the word to be identified as the concept it refers to (neither agua nor mala by themselves convey the full meaning), it makes it more difficult to add a twist that reflects that it's not exactly the same as a regular real-world jellyfish.

How common a word is it in Spanish? Failbetter makes extensive use of rare words to set the stage, sometimes (e.g. Aestival) without changing the word at all. If medusa is the expected word and aguamala is even somewhat unusual or obscure, you may have enough variance there to make it work.

Regarding jillyfish v. jellyfish: Perhaps jillyfish might be somewhat silly, but then English has an odd relationship with variant spellings. We've absorbed so many words from so many sources that English orthography becomes very flexible, and that's before you get into, e.g., the significant spelling differences between British and American English. A minor vowel-change (like jellyfish to jillyfish) is something that we can accept pretty easily, particularly in a game. It's really hardly different from the pronunciation differences you can find even when the spelling doesn't change. (E.g. wash, whose regional pronunciations range from wosh to warsh, or the way some parts of the American South pronounce hill, Hell, and hail almost indistinguishably.) Of course, there are similar regional differences between Manila, Mexico City, and Madrid, but there's also a greater base consistency both within the language and between its regions. I can see where such a shift would stick out more in Spanish than it did in English.

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Cpt. Eructus
Cpt. Eructus
Posts: 61

2/23/2019
I personally had never heard aguamala before (well, maybe once or twice but I didn't remember it), so it could be relatively rare in some regions and more common in others, but I wouldn't say obscure. By the nature of the name it looks like a more colloquial word than medusa.

And in the end, I think I'm hesitant to let it go because I like the mythological echoes of the word medusa more than the so much more straightforward and pedestrian "bad water" :P
edited by Cpt. Eructus on 2/23/2019
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NotaWalrus
NotaWalrus
Posts: 178

2/24/2019
Aguamala and aguaviva are definitely regional rather than obscure. And they also refer to Portuguese Man o' Wars.

I think a point to consider is the existence of jillifleurs. So we would likely need to get at least two wordplays on either medusa, aguamala or aguaviva (or perhaps a variant with another adjective).

A suggestion I came up with:

-Aguamalva is close enough to aguamala that the connection is clear, and it doesn't sound silly. It's a play on the word "malvada", which means "evil". Another similar play on words that I like would be "aguavíl" (vil meaning vile), but it loses the phonetic connections to aguamala

-For jillifleurs you could go with a play on words that's not as obvious but retains the pattern of agua+synonym of bad. Some ideas are agualigna (play on maligna, which means malign), agualéfica (play on maléfica, which means maleficent, although it sounds a little silly) and aguacruel (Take a wild guess. This one is a bit on the nose, but I think it has a nice ring to it.

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Cpt. Eructus
Cpt. Eructus
Posts: 61

2/25/2019
NotaWalrus wrote:
Aguamala and aguaviva are definitely regional rather than obscure. And they also refer to Portuguese Man o' Wars.

I think a point to consider is the existence of jillifleurs. So we would likely need to get at least two wordplays on either medusa, aguamala or aguaviva (or perhaps a variant with another adjective).

A suggestion I came up with:

-Aguamalva is close enough to aguamala that the connection is clear, and it doesn't sound silly. It's a play on the word "malvada", which means "evil". Another similar play on words that I like would be "aguavíl" (vil meaning vile), but it loses the phonetic connections to aguamala

-For jillifleurs you could go with a play on words that's not as obvious but retains the pattern of agua+synonym of bad. Some ideas are agualigna (play on maligna, which means malign), agualéfica (play on maléfica, which means maleficent, although it sounds a little silly) and aguacruel (Take a wild guess. This one is a bit on the nose, but I think it has a nice ring to it.



Compound words don't really work like that in Spanish though, you can't cut down the words "maligna" or "maléfica" like that leaving only "-ligna" or "-léfica" as the suffix, especially because you're cutting the "mal" part which is the one that gives them their meaning. Yes, you can guess the full words but it doesn't work from the linguistics point of view. I see where you're coming from but to me, it sounds worse than miedusa.


Aguamalva could work for the Jillyfleur though, but not so much for the connection to "malvada" because again, that's not how you abbreviate words to form compunds in Spanish, but because "malva" is also a kind of flower, so it would keep the floral theme. So maybe Aguamalva for the Jillyfleur and straight Aguamala for the Jillyfish. But I'm still not sure about it.
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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 891

2/25/2019
Cpt. Eructus wrote:
Aguamalva could work for the Jillyfleur though, but not so much for the connection to "malvada" because again, that's not how you abbreviate words to form compounds in Spanish, but because "malva" is also a kind of flower, so it would keep the floral theme. So maybe Aguamalva for the Jillyfleur and straight Aguamala for the Jillyfish. But I'm still not sure about it.

It sounds good to my (non-Spanish) ears. You've got a solid connection, but also a logical transition and distinction.

Also, a side note on medusa: this word also exists in English to describe the adult stage of a jellyfish. It may be worth noting then that Failbetter didn't use it, even with the "woman's face" connection.

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NotaWalrus
NotaWalrus
Posts: 178

2/26/2019
Cpt. Eructus wrote:
NotaWalrus wrote:
Aguamala and aguaviva are definitely regional rather than obscure. And they also refer to Portuguese Man o' Wars.

I think a point to consider is the existence of jillifleurs. So we would likely need to get at least two wordplays on either medusa, aguamala or aguaviva (or perhaps a variant with another adjective).

A suggestion I came up with:

-Aguamalva is close enough to aguamala that the connection is clear, and it doesn't sound silly. It's a play on the word "malvada", which means "evil". Another similar play on words that I like would be "aguavíl" (vil meaning vile), but it loses the phonetic connections to aguamala

-For jillifleurs you could go with a play on words that's not as obvious but retains the pattern of agua+synonym of bad. Some ideas are agualigna (play on maligna, which means malign), agualéfica (play on maléfica, which means maleficent, although it sounds a little silly) and aguacruel (Take a wild guess. This one is a bit on the nose, but I think it has a nice ring to it.



Compound words don't really work like that in Spanish though, you can't cut down the words "maligna" or "maléfica" like that leaving only "-ligna" or "-léfica" as the suffix, especially because you're cutting the "mal" part which is the one that gives them their meaning. Yes, you can guess the full words but it doesn't work from the linguistics point of view. I see where you're coming from but to me, it sounds worse than miedusa.


Aguamalva could work for the Jillyfleur though, but not so much for the connection to "malvada" because again, that's not how you abbreviate words to form compunds in Spanish, but because "malva" is also a kind of flower, so it would keep the floral theme. So maybe Aguamalva for the Jillyfleur and straight Aguamala for the Jillyfish. But I'm still not sure about it.

I'm a native speaker. I know how compound words work. There's no need to be so strict with grammar when translating the word "Jillyfleur".

However, I did get Jillifleurs and Jillyfish mixed up. I thought Jillyfleurs were the big ones. In light of that error I'd like to correct and say that my suggestions are aguamalva for Jillifleurs, Aguavíl for Jillyfish.

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Ignacious, the Licentious Scholar, he will accept most social invitations, including boxed cats and affluent photographers (but only betrayals), though he is absent-minded and might take more time than entirely necessary. He apologizes.

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Cpt. Eructus
Cpt. Eructus
Posts: 61

2/26/2019
I wasn't implying you didn't know how they work, it was just a general remark. Not every reader of this thread is a native speaker. In any case, even when making up words, I like when possible to use the real linguistic mechanics by which words are created, to make those fake words look like they could be real.

Anyway I think I have enough on the Jillies to make a decision, whatever that will be in the end. Thank you all.

Now, I've come to the Blemmigan. Is it related to blemish maybe? or if it's just a completely gibberish made up word, I'm happy to keep it like that, it has a nice ring to it that fits a creepy sentient mushroom somehow. I'm also wondering if I keep it unchanged, should I make blemmigan a masculine or femenine noun?


Oof, the alternate names the Principles gives for the chess pieces are going to be a nightmare. I may have to go for similar-sounding words forgoing the meaning, which seems kind of random anyway in the originals too.
edited by Cpt. Eructus on 2/26/2019
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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 891

2/26/2019
Cpt. Eructus wrote:
Now, I've come to the Blemmigan. Is it related to blemish maybe? or if it's just a completely gibberish made up word, I'm happy to keep it like that, it has a nice ring to it that fits a creepy sentient mushroom somehow. I'm also wondering if I keep it unchanged, should I make blemmigan a masculine or feminine noun?

I am unaware of any meaning behind blemmigan. It's probably best to keep it. As for gender, I'd go by the sound and feel of the ending, if that's any guide. If not, I'd consider masculine, to set up a contrast with the Uttershroom (which is described in vaguely maternal terms).

Cpt. Eructus wrote:
Oof, the alternate names the Principles gives for the chess pieces are going to be a nightmare. I may have to go for similar-sounding words forgoing the meaning, which seems kind of random anyway in the originals too.

That's going to be a challenge. However, I don't think the meanings are that random. They may have been chosen for sound, but purpose was worked into it. I think particularly of the Fluke-Core being used for the Kin. That's not something you can make work with any old pun off rey. Of course, if you prioritize meanings over sound, you're stuck with the challenging of communicating which piece is supposed to be which.

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Ixc
Ixc
Posts: 298

2/27/2019
I know I’m little late to the conversation, but perhaps the Fingerkings could be called “Reyes de Vidrio(s)”, or Kings of Glass/the Glass.

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NotaWalrus
NotaWalrus
Posts: 178

2/27/2019
Blemmigan definitely sounds male based on termination. I would drop the double m though. Leaving it el Blemigan.

For the principles chess pieces... Yikes. My call would be to translate them as normal chess pieces, ignoring the puns. But it's not my call.

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Ignacious, the Licentious Scholar, he will accept most social invitations, including boxed cats and affluent photographers (but only betrayals), though he is absent-minded and might take more time than entirely necessary. He apologizes.

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Cpt. Eructus
Cpt. Eructus
Posts: 61

2/27/2019
Siankan wrote:

That's going to be a challenge. However, I don't think the meanings are that random. They may have been chosen for sound, but purpose was worked into it. I think particularly of the Fluke-Core being used for the Kin. That's not something you can make work with any old pun off rey. Of course, if you prioritize meanings over sound, you're stuck with the challenging of communicating which piece is supposed to be which.



In this case, I feel inclined to take sound over meaning. The meanings are for the most part obscure enough that I feel I can get away with it, and it wouldn't make much sense focusing on the obscure meanings that would go over most people's heads anyway, while forgoing the much clearer chess analogy. That would likely result in none of the two contexts being understood.

So the question for me is whether to go with puns that sound obscure or ominous even if they don't have the same meaning (although if possible I'd try to get close or at least relate it to the character or setting in other ways) or do as NotaWalrus suggest and leave the regular names for the chesss pieces, which would take away some of the flavour and the weirdeness in the Principles' speech.


My first ideas for puns would be:
  • King / Kin -> Rey / Ley (Law) You can interpret it as the natural law of the Chain
  • Queen / Cream -> Reina / Ruina (Ruin) Sounds ominous
  • Bishop -> Alfil (unchanged)
  • Knight / Night -> Caballo / Cabello (Hair, doesn't make much sense), Caballa (a fish, fits the setting at least)
  • Rook / Root -> Torre / Torpe (Clumsy) Like root, it conveys a certain lack or difficulty of movement (I know, I'm clutching at straws here).
  • Pawn / Paw -> Peón / Pelón (Bald, a stretch but it kind of evoques the head of a pawn), León (Lion, could be semantically closer to Paw, but it gives a mighty impression that is far from the general idea of a chess Pawn), Peán (Paean, an Ancient Greek victory chant to Apollo, could looselty relate to the identification of Pawns with soldiers and fit the Victorian penchant for Classics)

edited by Cpt. Eructus on 2/27/2019
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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 891

2/27/2019
Cpt. Eructus wrote:
My first ideas for puns would be:
  • King / Kin -> Rey / Ley (Law) You can interpret it as the natural law of the Chain
  • Queen / Cream -> Reina / Ruina (Ruin) Sounds ominous
  • Bishop -> Alfil (unchanged)
  • Knight / Night -> Caballo / Cabello (Hair, doesn't make much sense), Caballa (a fish, fits the setting at least)
  • Rook / Root -> Torre / Torpe (Clumsy) Like root, it conveys a certain lack or difficulty of movement (I know, I'm clutching at straws here).
  • Pawn / Paw -> Peón / Pelón (Bald, a stretch but it kind of evoques the head of a pawn), León (Lion, could be semantically closer to Paw, but it gives a mighty impression that is far from the general idea of a chess Pawn), Peán (Paean, an Ancient Greek victory chant to Apollo, could looselty relate to the identification of Pawns with soldiers and fit the Victorian penchant for Classics)

The big challenge here is going to be finding names that fit with the text surrounding each piece. The Night wounds you and is fanged "like lions," the Cream is "terrible" (though that's intentional irony, I assume) and so on. For the Paw, the individual pieces seem to have names, e.g. the Catspaw and the Skinspaw. (You certainly don't want a Paw translation that connotes power; a cat's-paw is a person being manipulated to do someone else's work, or, as we also put it, a pawn.)

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Cpt. Eructus
Cpt. Eructus
Posts: 61

2/27/2019
Well, the mackerel (caballa) is a carnivorous fish so it's fanged...

I didn't remember they had such specific descriptions, I'll have to re-evaluate when I get to the events file. Now, I'm with the qualities, so it's mostly short titles and descriptions that don't provide the full context, but at the same time it's usefull to have them as stepping stones before tackling the huge undertaking that is the events file.
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Cpt. Eructus
Cpt. Eructus
Posts: 61

3/6/2019
I'm wondering if I should translate/transcribe the names of the ship classes. Most of them are words directly taken form Greek mythology, and there are clear rules as to how they must be called in Spanish, but on the other hand they're "brand" names for British (well, London) products and I've left most of those untranslated (Iron & Misery, for example), and I think the convention for classes of military or civilian vehicles is to leave them as is.
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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 891

3/6/2019
Cpt. Eructus wrote:
I'm wondering if I should translate/transcribe the names of the ship classes. Most of them are words directly taken form Greek mythology, and there are clear rules as to how they must be called in Spanish, but on the other hand they're "brand" names for British (well, London) products and I've left most of those untranslated (Iron & Misery, for example), and I think the convention for classes of military or civilian vehicles is to leave them as is.

I think treating them as you would any other foreign brand name is the right call. The one ship exception is, of course, the Cladery Heart, which is a proper name and (leaving out that troublesome Cladery for a moment) should probably be translated.

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