Talk:Mountain of Faith/Story/Prologue

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霊夢 「その時の人間が何者なのか判らないけど……

This was translated as 'Reimu: "I don't know how many people would come then, but ...'. I'm not very sure, but shouldn't 何者 mean 'what kind of people' rather than 'how many people', e.g. would 'Reimu: "I don't know what kind of people would come then, but ...' be more accurate? AlephNull 23:56, 21 May 2007 (PDT)

Mrr. Agreed, edited. (Marisa's follow-up seems a bit awkward, too; the translation drops the flavor of the その人間にも, which follows Reimu's implication that the new followers may not be so great ... maybe "Well, they probably wouldn't care who came, but ... " or something?) --T. Solamarle 11:40, 22 May 2007 (PDT)
Hmm. Taken literally, その人間にも would mean 'These people as well'. I'm not really sure about the 'flavour' of その人間にも (i.e. The phrase might contain additional connotations, esp. in light of Reimu's preceding statement as you pointed out, but if there is, I guess I'm not familiar enough with Japanese to pick it out), so I'd go with 'Well, they'd probably still be interested in these people'. If there is indeed such a connotation though, yeah, "Well, they probably wouldn't really care who came, but ... " sounds in line with what Marisa might say. (I snuck in an extra 'really' there) AlephNull 20:22, 22 May 2007 (PDT)
All I really meant was that も in その人間にも changes it from "They would be interested in those people" to "They would be interested even in those people [even though, as you've implied, they would probably be pretty low-quality people]". I think either of those would be fine, but I'm inclined to go with your "They probably wouldn't really care who came" because it seems more Marisa-ish somehow. --T. Solamarle 01:18, 24 May 2007 (PDT)
"They probably wouldn't really care who came" was your suggestion actually :P Okay, I've edited this in. - AlephNull 09:16, 25 May 2007 (PDT)

Miscellaneous Edits

  • "That fellow ordered me ... " - Fellow does imply a man to most people, I'd guess, and the chances of a male Touhou antagonist are probably pretty slim, so I'd suggest something like "The visitor ordered me ... ", or even the dreaded "they".
  • multitude -> countless - is there something I'm missing? This doesn't seem to change the meaning or voice much. I usually tend against phrasing edits of that nature since they're almost totally subjective. (The original would literally be something like "incredible number of", but I think that somehow that doesn't give the right feel for that passage.)
This was partly because I felt 'countless' was closer to the original meaning of 'innumerable' (multitude seems to be vague, could mean anywhere from 'many' to 'freaking many'), but mainly because of the 'structure' of the rest of the paragraph. ZUN's paragraph of 3 succinct sentences has a kind of rhythm to it, I suppose like poetry (though, ok, I'm not really familiar with Japanese poetry). 'The cast-off skins of countless snakes.' has fewer syllables than 'The cast-off skins of a multitude of snakes.' and seems to fit in better with the rhythm of the other sentences. AlephNull 21:00, 22 May 2007 (PDT)
  • They -> that person - I'd guess most people would say "they" in conversation rather than "that person" (though this is minor).
Generally, though, they all obviously made sense to me. --T. Solamarle 11:42, 22 May 2007 (PDT)
"Fellow does imply a man to most people"
Really? Huh. I always thought it was a gender-neutral term, but I just checked, and dictionaries say it generally refers to men. English really needs more gender-neutral terms. - Pilpsie
Yeah, the dictionaries seem to have shattered my conceptions about the word 'fellow'. I was looking for something gender-neutral and slightly rude (the そいつ suggests Reimu wasn't happy about the visitor). Turns out 'fellow' is actually none of the two. Can't seem to come up with anything that captures both these senses, so I've changed it to 'the visitor' for now. Also, regarding 'they', doesn't it generally refer to more than one person? suggests that it *can* be used to refer to only one person, but usually when that person is not specific, and anyone amongst some group of people could have taken his place. Here, we've got a particular visitor in question. At any rate, using 'they' in this manner seems very unusual. - AlephNull 20:42, 22 May 2007 (PDT)
At least among Americans - though given the upcoming references, perhaps in England as well, though I can't attest to what's common in British English these days - it's very common to use "they" as a gender-neutral singular or plural pronoun. (There are a few Language Log articles on the subject, and the last one there has links to some others.) Actually, "they" is the only gender-neutral term I can remember being applied to people in conversation. --T. Solamarle 01:14, 24 May 2007 (PDT)
although I have been told in the past that it's technically improper to say "they" when refering to a single person, in my experience the majority of Americans seem to have either no problem using the word in that way or at least they know what is meant when someone else says "they" in that way. Since the point of communication is to convey a thought, idea, emotion, etc. to someone else, even if some English professor in some university with outdated (and often changed) rules of grammar says you shouldn't use "they" when refering to a single person if the listener/reader understands what is meant then the goal of communication has been accomplished. If there was something unusual about the person you could say "some character came and said..." Of course since we're so used to saying "character" in a gaming sense it might come across differently. You could say "somebody came..." "that somebody said..." and it'd still be gender neutral. If you wanted to go with more of a slang term you could say "that windbag said..." etc. Also, using a descriptive term might work too. In this case saying "that cheeky person" could work.
Ooooh, "that cheeky person" gives me a bold idea. I've edited in a variant of that, see what you all think of it. The general problem of dealing with 'they' remains though. In Singapore, using 'they' to to refer to just one person sounds very odd (though I don't think anyone would be confused by it for too long if they already knew from context that only one person was being talked about). I agree that communicating the text across to the reader in a natural way is more important than grammar rules. Would be great if we could get some British /other English-speaking input on this. If people generally find 'they' acceptable, I guess we can use that. - AlephNull 09:07, 24 May 2007 (PDT)
We could always keep it the way it is for now, then change it to 'she' when the full version comes out, since we all know no males are going to appear in the Touhou games themselves. Pilpsie
I had considered using 'she' instead of 'that person' intially. But I think the important thing is that even if we know the visitor will turn out to be female, the author at this point in the text has made no indication of gender (the female-only trend aside), so I'd rather still keep it gender neutral at that time. - AlephNull 11:02, 24 May 2007 (PDT)

Gender Neutral Pronouns

Regarding what Pilpsie said, it just occurred to me that this isn't a problem restricted to Touhou; probably every other major translation project will encounter this. Any idea how most translators deal with this? - AlephNull 21:05, 22 May 2007 (PDT)

Er, crap, I just noticed this. See my comments on "they" above. --T. Solamarle 01:14, 24 May 2007 (PDT)
Passive voice at times, switching from singular to plural voice at times (in two differrnt sentences, obviously), using fellow (ha!) at times, and just plain ignoring it and sticking with a gender-specific pronoun at times, when anything else would have stuck out like a sore thumb. Pilpsie