Yesterday, I received a preview copy of Maria Watches Over Us, the Nozomi/Right Stuf US release of Maria-sama ga Miteru. Thank you Right Stuf for the preview! I was warned ahead of time that this preview only included the non-honorific subtitles track. :-)
Before I start to pick nits, let me sum up by saying that even with “Lady Sachiko,” I’d give the translation an 8 out of 10. One of the points lost was for a genuine error that made no sense. The other was for a few translation moments that were not wrong so much as just out of step with fan convention. No points were lost for the things that weren’t wrong, but just felt weird. After the nit-picking, I’ll touch upon some of the good things, just to balance it all out. ^_^
Unforgivably, Sachiko is translated as telling Yumi that her “scarf” is crooked. That doesn’t even make sense. She says “tie” using the English word, and even if one was going to mistranslate that, “collar” seems the most reasonable mistake. It’s September – no one is wearing scarves, and they call those mufflers anyway. And no one is wearing a fashionable scarf with their uniform, either. Given the many millions of “crooked tie” gags that have beeen propagated across the intertubes, this seems a particularly egregious error. ^_^
Both Japanese and American fandoms tend to use and become familiar with certain terms. In several cases, the RS translation isn’t wrong, but it just isn’t the same as the ones we’ve become comfortable with.
“Forest of thorns,” as spoken by Tsutako is rendered “forest of briars.”
“Mother Maria” seemed an odd choice in every language, since one naturally assumes that the translator would choose either English or Japanese. Mother Mary/Maria-sama/Blessed Virgin, whatever. But “Mother Maria” seems like a strange juxtaposition chosen only for its ability to be not instantly identifiable by people looking for things to get outraged about.
I’m pretty used to “Yamayurikai” but here it is translated as “Yamayuri Council.” Not hideously awful, just again, a sort of weird halfway-translated term.
And again, in the song Maria-sama no Kokoro, “Yamayuri lily” is pretty redundant. “Wild lily” or “mountain lily” is surely sufficient.
And while we’re on the topic of “Mother Maria’s Heart” – I don’t care that the correct name for the bird is the bush warbler – I find that amusing in an totally infantile giggly kind of way. lol
All the Rosa’s retain their titles. Rosa Chinensis, Foetida and Gigantea are unmarred by attempts at translation. And so are their en bouton. “Rosa Chinensis en bouton petite soeur” graces our TV screen accurately, if unwieldily. ^_^ I absolutely appreciated that. In fact, that was kind of my biggest concern.
The story itself is something I have not actually watched, or read, in a long time (although I am reading the novels voraciously these days.) So once again I felt that it was very nostalgic to see Yumi dealing with the Rosas for the first time. It’s a very, very amusing story. Sure Sachiko’s a raging bitch, but I love her for it – especially the moment when, after visibly having no recollection of ever having met Yumi previously, she blatantly lies to Youko about how close she and Yumi are…. ^_^
To sum up – there may be some issues even with the inclusion of the honorifics (and I don’t know to what extent honorifics will be included. Will “oneesama-gata” stay “dear sisters” or not? I don’t know for sure. Or will Maria-sama get her honorific back? No idea.) But I think that even with “Lady Sachiko” and “older sisters,” the translation was not *so* heinous that it couldn’t be enjoyed. It would be lovely to be able to give it a 10 out of 10, but with a little more smoothing, a 9 out of 10 ought to be easily obtainable.
Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 2
Marimite Fan – 100
Translation – 8
Overall – 8
Aside from the usual fannish grinning like a moron, I’m very prepared to fall in love with this series all over again for the fourth time. ^_^