Talk:Dr. Latency's Freak Report

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Translation of First Track[edit]

他愛も無い二人の博物誌 is currently being translated as "The Childlike Duo's Historical Publication". But my idea is that it should be "The Childlike Duo's Natural History".
博物誌 is Japanese translation of "Natural History" (both the books of Pliny the Elder & of Buffon), while the same word is also that of one of the fields of study. I think they did their best to collect objects of nature and to observe them. The "nature", I mean it for "the field without human's artification". Their ultimate goal was to record the whole world (including very rare or almost unseen things) without human's effect and create the database. Their plan was collection, not effective/scientific classification.
On the other hand, Renko and Merry are making their doujinshi of Merry's witnesses, of the record of Gensokyo things. The recorded topics aren't critically identified or well-classified, since the objects (youkai) are going to die when humans observe or conceive them well. You know, the insistence of the two will be suspected. On this point, their attempt should be similar to Pliny's & Buffon's.
What I want to say is that English word "Natural History" should be better. You should also know that the subtitle of the music is "Our Supernatural History". --03:14, 2 June 2016 (UTC)masuo64 Talk

This is good reasoning, but I feel that the phrase "Natural History" would make people think of the field instead of the book. For that reason, I think using the original Latin title of the book would make the reference clearer at first glance. NForza (talk) 15:50, 3 June 2016 (UTC)


I think that the updated translation of 須臾はプランクを超えて does not reflect the spirit of the original text, so I did some more research and have compiled it below.

My first concern is with the interpretation of the particle は. From my experience, this particle isn't used to indicate the time during which an activity happens, which makes the new translation feel quite odd to me. It has other uses, like marking what comes before it as a target for description, but I don't think that marking the time period during which an action takes place is one of them. Please let me know if there are any resources or example sentences that support that interpretation.

In addition to this, the kanji used (超) has a different meaning to (越). My JP-JP dictionary lists the following for 超えて: 「越」は、境界を過ぎる意のほか一般的表記としても広く使う。「超」は、一定の分量や基準を上回る意に使う。 This makes it clear that 超 is used for indicating that something 'crosses over' a defined value. This makes the current translation impossible. The kanji would need to be 越.

The second question is as follows: What does 須臾 mean, and what does プランク mean? The only clue we have is the English subtitle of the song, "Very Very Short Time". One Japanese interpretation links 須臾 to cetain things said by Toyohime, Akyuu, and Kaguya. They refer to it as a unit of time so small it cannot be measured. Indeed, definitions of this word make it clear that 須臾 is not just a generic word for a really short period of time, but it is actually a unit of measurement. It's used to refer to a Femtosecond, which is 10−15 or 1/1,000,000,000,000,000 of a second. Apparently this isn't what Japanese people normally think of when they see the word, but it gives us a clear frame of reference for comparison.

Because of this, I think that the title should be read as 須臾は[プランクを超えて] where the bracketed part is describing 須臾.

So what does that mean for Planck? Apparently one way of expressing Planck time is tp = 5.39 × 10-44 s (formatting probably didn't carry over correctly). I'm not a maths whiz, but maybe there's a way of interpreting this in the context of the title? I tried comparing the two units of measurement using Google, and apparently 1 femtosecond is equal to 1.855e+28 Planck time.

In that sense, you could say that 1 femtosecond is longer than Planck time, so the title is a true statement. I think our original translation (The Instant is Shorter than Planck Time) was the closest to reflecting this. We just didn't make the connection between 須臾 and femtoseconds so ended up with the wrong translation of 超えて.

I ended up writing a lot of text, but I propose that the title be translated as "An Instant Longer than Planck Time" or something to that effect. This is based on interpreting 須臾 as 'instant (i.e. femtosecond)' and プランク as 'Planck time'. Biggest Dreamer (talk) 01:21, 21 April 2019 (UTC)

I think it doesn’t imply “longer” or “shorter”. It’s a combination of a strict science (exact measurement) and a more metaphysical concept (the “instant”), that’s why I propose “An Instant Goes Beyond Planck’s Time”, as instant is not a measurable time length—Yamaxandu (talk) 05:06, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
I see your point there, but I also think both points can coexist - 須臾 has a specific point of reference (one femtosecond) which is longer than one Planck time. 須臾 is also defined in the title. Its scope is defined and it's clear exactly how long the 'instant' is. In this case, the instant is longer than one planck time (or one planck second, or however it's measured).
Some other examples of this sort of sentence include "A giant taller than five metres" (巨人が身長5メートルを超える) "A summer vacation longer than one month" (夏休みが一ヶ月を超える). Neither of the nouns has a traditionally accepted measurement, but they are defined in the sentence. That's how I think this sentence works.
"Goes beyond" still has a physical feel to it, which I feel is better suited to 越 than 超. Is there a way we can combine the two interpretations, I wonder...? If you want to specify that we are defining a particular instant, we can go with "This Instant is Longer than Planck Time".
I feel a bit invested in this because it's one of my favourite music CD themes, so I think it's important we talk this out and reach the best solution. Biggest Dreamer (talk) 05:57, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
This is all based on the assumption that プランク means "planck time" and solely planck time. Planck time in Japanese is プランク時間 and cannot be shortened to just "planck" as that would make no sense, since there's other phenomena with the same name attached (planck length, planck epoch, etc). The idea by some that 須臾 refers to femtoseconds is a possible interpretation but ultimately speculative. To most Japanese, 須臾 simply means an instant or extremely short moment. 超えて is most commonly "beyond" or "exceeding" but, yes, it can also mean "longer (time)". ZUN researches these topics very well when making his CDs. He purposefully made the title ambiguous. There's no way he'd omit 時間 if he were talking about "planck time". And a "planck time" is just the time it takes to get past (go beyond) a planck length. So "Beyond a Planck Length" all by itself means, simply, just "Planck Time". Even then, ZUN did not write プランク長 either. He simply wrote プランク. Max Planck famously belived that all religions and science should coexist with science, being disappointed that many of his contemporaries were already hailing science as the death of superstition and faith in religion. The story underneath the track is specifically about Merry and Renko using science as a means to prove youkai existence (fantasy). The last paragraph hammers in the idea that modern humans have rejected the fantastic because philosophy and demand for concrete answers prevailed over belief. In that sense, the title takes on a new meaning. "Beyond Planck in an Instant" becomes about society having rejected fantasy (religion, mysticism, belief, etc) in the modern area, rejecting Planck's ideology about reconciling science and religion (fantasy). Merry and Renko, meanwhile, practice it very well! Thus, "Beyond Planck" in simple terms is literally "beyond" Planck, beyond his ideology. Society presses forward, leaving the fantastic to be forgotten. This is the main theme of the entire series. That's the beauty of the title. The subtitle "A Very Very Short Time" refers to all three interpretations (planck time, planck length, Planck himself as his ideas about religion were instantly rejected). The title is ambiguous in its very nature. "Beyond Planck in an Instant" is a translation that encompasses all meanings depending on how you read it, just like the original Japanese text.
"Beyond Planck (length) in an Instant" = Planck Time
"Beyond Planck (time) in an Instant" = Femtosecond
"Beyond Planck (person) in an Instant" = Society rejecting fantasy
The title is powerful. ZUN purposely made it ambiguous. That's why he just used プランク and not プランク長, プランク時間, or マックス プランク. Favoring one specific interpretation over another based on assumptions destroys the meaning of the story and themeing behind the original title. It's ambiguous nature was intentional. Also, "beyond" isn't "too physical". It's used to refer to time all the time.
Ennin (talk) 07:18, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
In that case, how about "An Instant that Exceeds Planck"? The explanations you've provided don't refute the underlying fact that "Beyond Planck in an Instant" does not match with the grammar of the original title. As I mentioned before, I believe that the title should be interpreted as 須臾は[プランクを超えて], where the bracketed part is describing a quality of 須臾. Your interpretation would be written as [須臾にして]プランクを超えて, where the bracketed part describes the time in which the non-bracketed part takes place.
If it was written that way, I'd have no disagreement and I would be more than happy to accept your well-thought out interpretation - I like how it covers all three aspects of プランク, and it truly deepens the title's symbolism.
Unfortunately, that isn't what's written. I've provided other examples of sentences that use similar grammar patterns, except using が instead of は. In the case of 巨人が身長5メートルを超える, if we apply the same logic that gets us "Beyond Planck in an Instant," we get "Beyond 5 Metres in a Giant." What I'd love to see, and what would push me over the line to accept the altered translation, is one or two examples of Japanese sentences that use a similar pattern to get a similar result. Otherwise, I will continue to stand firm to the idea that "An Instant that Exceeds Planck" or "An Instant Longer than Planck Time" are ideal translations of this title. Biggest Dreamer (talk) 10:25, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
Oh, I wasn't really too concerned with the ordering of words. I was more concerned with adding [time] or anything else to the end of "Planck", the ambiguity is what must be kept. "An Instant Beyond Planck" still expresses an ambiguous meaning with three interpretations. I think that's a fine translation. In fact, I just thought of something even better (IMO). "An Instant Outlasting Planck". It primarily keeps the "femtosecond is longer than planck time" meaning but, if read differently, also keeps the message that Planck's ideas about the supernatural are largely dead, outlasted by humans' craving for stone-set reasoning. That is, the instant when interpreted as "this instant": the present day. Going further, if you really want "time" in there, you could use "An Instant Outlasting Planck's Time". "Planck's time" is an acceptable synonym for "Planck time", academic papers and books use it, but it can also literally mean his lifespan. Well, are any of these suggestions appealing?
Ennin (talk) 11:18, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying that! I'm happy with 'Planck's Time', and am okay with going with "An Instant [that Exceeds/Exceeding] [Planck/Planck's Time]". I think 'exceeds' is the most appropriate translation of 超えて that keeps all the nuances intact. Biggest Dreamer (talk) 23:12, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
I don’t know if “that” is appropriate to use, I think it means more like “instant” as a concept, not any particular one, as in “the very concept of instant in itself is different than Planck’s time, not exactly specified whether it’s longer or shorter, just different”, that’s how I understand it -Yamaxandu (talk) 10:43, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
I disagree. That interpretation would fit better if the sentence was 須臾とはプランクと違って. The addition of を超えて makes it clear that 須臾 exceeds the boundaries of プランク. We already know that this works on two levels: A femtosecond is longer than 1 Planck Time, and an instant can be defined to exceed Planck, whether it is 1 Planck time or Planck's life. There is no question about the specificity of the phrase, unless you are able to provide references to support your assertion. Biggest Dreamer (talk) 21:43, 22 April 2019 (UTC)


Well, I think you’re getting very hung up on the word “exceed”, which is not the only possible interpretation of 超える, maybe the word “transcends” is a better fit, check out the 4th definition in weblio. Also, if there was “that”, wouldn’t that be more like プランクを超える須臾?-Yamaxandu (talk) 22:22, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
"Transcends" does not fit the context of the sentence, in my opinion. It removes the nuance that the instant can be 'longer' than one Planck time, which I think is an important part of its meaning. If you take our earlier example, "A giant transcending five metres" just isn't English. "A giant exceeding five metres" sounds much more natural. That's why I think 'exceed' is the most appropriate verb - it covers all possible interpretations. The instant exceeds planck time in length, and the 'instant' (lived in by humanity) exceeds the standard Planck set out in his work. A femtosecond also exceeds the length of one planck time.
I accounted for the presence of "that" in my earlier suggestions:
"An Instant that Exceeds [Planck/Planck's Time]"
"An Instant Exceeding [Planck/Planck's Time]"
プランクを超える須臾 begs for something to be added after it, because [プランクを超える] now becomes an adjective of sorts. I'd want to translate it as "An Instant, which Exceeds [Planck/Planck's Time] (is something or does something)" It would feel confusing, but I'm honestly interested to see how the wiki has tackled similar titles in the past... Biggest Dreamer (talk) 10:58, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

Planck Pt 2[edit]

The old topic was getting a bit too long so I wanted to make a new one to fine-tune the wording of the translation. I originally suggested 'An Instant That Exceeds Planck's Time', but have also added in some other options based on the discussion we've had so far. It would be great to hear from some more people about the following options, or any further interpretations we can add to the list:
1. An Instant That Exceeds Planck's Time
2. The Instant Exceeds Planck's Time
3. An Instant Surpasses Planck
The main things to work out are whether we use 'an instant' or 'the instant', 'exceeds' or 'surpasses', and 'Planck's Time' or simply 'Planck.' Please post here if you have strong thoughts on this or any more suggestion. Biggest Dreamer (talk) 23:47, 26 April 2019 (UTC)

I'm fine with "An Instant that Exceeds Planck's Time". Don't know about what others might think though. Sorry if I took too long to respond.
Ennin (talk) 05:50, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
Not too late at all! Thank you for your input, and for kickstarting this discussion to begin with. Happy to wait a little while longer to see what others think. Biggest Dreamer (talk) 21:22, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I also like "An Instant that Exceeds Planck's Time" for what my vote's worth ( ・・)/ Gilde (talk) 01:49, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for that! I'll go ahead and make that change, but there's always room to discuss this some more if more evidence comes to light. Biggest Dreamer (talk) 03:42, 4 May 2019 (UTC)