Good Morning



  • I don't know if I've posted this before, but anyway, here it goes.

     I was reading this piece about a life in Japan by a games designer. The piece itself is about Japanese culture in general although there was a bit that you might find interesting:

     

    'In many Japanese offices, you're required to scream "Good morning!"
    at the top of your lungs, clapping your hands to your thighs, as soon as
    you enter the office area every morning. Everyone in the office then
    shouts "Good morning!" back to you. At my orientation for one company,
    the Human Resources Girl — whose face (figuratively) literally
    screamed "Hall Monitor" — was going over the "Good Morning!" protocol.
    Her explanation weird despite its terseness: "This is how adults
    interact in Japan." Most of the people at the orientation, like me, were
    under twenty-five. "Before we move onto the next item, does anyone have
    any questions?" I seriously and portentously asked a question, then,
    which I thought was hilarious: "If we're the first one in the office in
    the morning, do we still have to scream 'Good Morning' and clap our
    hands to the sides of our legs?" Her answer was immediate, and
    humorless: "Yes." "Well, I mean, there's no one else around to hear it,
    right?" "You still have to do it. It's the rule. Every employee
    must do this. That's why we call it 'protocol.'" This instant was
    actually the very first time I begin to ponder the logistics of actually
    going ahead and being homeless. You know, cardboard, up against
    concrete, is not only not uncomfortable — it's pretty good for your
    spine!

    I pushed further: "What if I am the second person in the office, and the first person is someone with whom I have, previously, managed to successfully cultivate a congenial personal relationship? What if it's a person whose first and last name I know, with whom I share interests and hobbies, and we've previously agreed that we think this 'Good morning' shit is some serious bullshit, and we just agree to be like, 'Hey, what's up' to one another in the morning and we've also agreed that hey, if anyone else asks, we'll just go ahead and say 'Oh yeah, that dude totally screamed "Good morning" to me this morning'?"

    The HR girl didn't even blink: "You still have to carry out the customary 'Good Morning.'"

    How this relates to videogames: That company I talk about in the above paragraphs? They were a (pretty big) Japanese game company. These are the kinds of things the people who make your favorite Japanese games are forced to do every day.

    It's worth noting that I got friendly with a guy in the office — and one day, he happened to be first in the office, and I was second. I didn't say good morning to him. He came over to my desk about two minutes after I'd settled in. "You forgot to say good morning."

    "Yeah, I know, dude. How are you doing today?"

    ". . . You know, I don't really mind, myself, though you really do have to say good morning. If there were more people in the office, and not just me, they would think you were not part of the team. Even if it's just me in the office when you get in, you should try getting into the habit of saying good morning in my presence. This is just how we do things in Japan, Tim."

    "Well, [Name-removed]-san, you can try putting 'san' on the end of my fucking name from now on, then, you know, as practice."

    Really — all these customs and politeness and whatever, and they go and throw out the customary name suffix and just call me "Tim". Why not "Tim-san"? I'm required to put "san" on the end of their names. It's a little . . . suspicious. I knew from the beginning that I would never "fit in" whether I wanted to or not; well, this was probably around when the rest of the world got the memo.

    I never talked to that guy again! From that day on, when I arrived in the office and he was the only other person there, I wold snap my fingers, point directly at him, and then, when I had gotten his attention, I'd give him a sharp military salute, letting some huge "HOOH" sound escape the back of my throat.'

     

    Source here if you're interested.

     



  • I'd prefer that over what I find where I work.  You have to be pretty friendly with someone  for them to even make eye contact when passing them in the hall.  Most people here would rather stare at their shoes or straight ahead (like a zombie) than say "Hello" to another human being.  If greet others first, most times you will be ignored.  Consequently, I don't say hello to most people here anymore.  I've never worked anywhere else where this is the case.  It's very odd.



  • I've read that before. It's an interesting article, but that guy's obviously a total asshole. I don't know if it's for religious reasons, or what, but most of his complaints sum up to... well, him basically being some weird combination of Amish and hippie vegan who also works on video games. There's basically no place on earth that guy would fit in.

    Edit: one thing I enjoy about his diatribe: he doesn't pull punches about the casual racism present in Japanese society, like the blurb about not adding -san to his name above. So many other people, when describing Japan, completely gloss-over things like that, or mention it in a pragmatic no-nonsense way: "in most areas, you must be Japanese to buy a house", as if that's God's own dictate and not a petty, racist, law.



  • @DOA said:

    These are the kinds of things the people who make your favorite Japanese games are forced to do every day.

    Not since about 1996 has Japan made a game that I like, let alone would consider my favourite. Every game is either ridiculously campy melodrama or a hyperactive missile storm.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I've read that before. It's an interesting article, but that guy's obviously a total asshole. I don't know if it's for religious reasons, or what, but most of his complaints sum up to... well, him basically being some weird combination of Amish and hippie vegan who also works on video games. There's basically no place on earth that guy would fit in.

    Edit: one thing I enjoy about his diatribe: he doesn't pull punches about the casual racism present in Japanese society, like the blurb about not adding -san to his name above. So many other people, when describing Japan, completely gloss-over things like that, or mention it in a pragmatic no-nonsense way: "in most areas, you must be Japanese to buy a house", as if that's God's own dictate and not a petty, racist, law.

     

    You know, I gotta kinda agree on you with that.

     Also love this:

    [...] Anyway, I brought up the "irasshaimase" thing, and she groaned. Her first explanation was the knee-jerk: "It's a Japanese thing."

    [...]

    Like, during orientation at a Japanese company, you're told to use the word "Otsukaresamadesu!" when greeting other employees either in the hallway, at the coffee machine, or even on a train station platform on the weekend. The word means, more or less, "You are tired!" The progression goes like this: When you see someone in the office before noon, you are to tell them "good morning." After lunch has finished, leading right up to the end of the day, it's "You are tired!" So there you have it: Japanese people in the office are expected to work themselves to tiredness before lunch. Or maybe they're expected to eat so much that they get tired.

    He acts like his own language don't have these "things" to them. He acted like japanese were retard for saying something so stupid and for it being a japanese thing.

    Every language have words that people use VERY often that mean a very specific thing but is used casually as a whole different thing. Like say the word "fuck". God, the more I read his article, the more angry I get at him.

     Also, the whole "Otsukaresamadesu!" means kinda like "Good work" or "keep up the good work" in it's used context.

     



  • @BlackMan890 said:

    He acts like his own language don't have these "things" to them. He acted like japanese were retard for saying something so stupid and for it being a japanese thing.

    I'm re-reading the article (bored at work), and yeah. Even weirder, he does bring up an English word that has absolutely no meaning: "hello".

    I get the impression that his real beef is:
    1) he's upset that in Japan, words that mean nothing (like the English "hello" and "ouch") also have a literal meaning
    2) it's fucking annoying that the guy in the jeans store yells it over and over

    I can definitely sympathize with 2), but 1) seems... not that weird at all, frankly.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I get the impression that his real beef is:

    1) he's upset that in Japan, words that mean nothing (like the English "hello" and "ouch") also have a literal meaning

    2) it's fucking annoying that the guy in the jeans store yells it over and over

    I can definitely sympathize with 2), but 1) seems... not that weird at all, frankly.

    So....when he says hello, he doesn't mean anything? Maybe he means...doesn't have some other, culturally determined, idiomatic meaning?

    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    I get the impression that his real beef is:
    1) he's upset that in Japan, words that mean nothing (like the English "hello" and "ouch") also have a literal meaning
    2) it's fucking annoying that the guy in the jeans store yells it over and over

    I can definitely sympathize with 2), but 1) seems... not that weird at all, frankly.

    So....when he says hello, he doesn't mean anything? Maybe he means...doesn't have some other, culturally determined, idiomatic meaning?

    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.

    In some cases yes, they do just that for several reasons including what you said.

    Others are: the word doesn't exist and they had to make it up or use a foreign word or a combination such as Merikan ko.  Also some part of the japanese youth has been influenced by gaijin culture and programs targeted at them have a lot foreign (english or otherwise) words



  • @boomzilla said:


    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.

    Yeah, god how I love to hear japanese show pronounce english words. Its god-awful-awesome.

    Also, I want to point out something:

    Maybe if I moved out to Osaka, things would be better. What things, though? Well, maybe the people wouldn't bother me so much. Though you know what, if I'm going to choose my place to live based entirely on how little I mind the surrounding people, or if I'm going to live somewhere I wouldn't have to deal with people at all,it might as well be somewhere I wouldn't have to pay quite as much for vegetarian recipe ingredients.

    Let me paraphrase:

    I hate it when people bother me or talk to me. I prefer the surrounding people to be zombie like. Did I mention I love Equilibrium?

     



  • @frits said:

    I'd prefer that over what I find where I work.  You have to be pretty friendly with someone  for them to even make eye contact when passing them in the hall.  Most people here would rather stare at their shoes or straight ahead (like a zombie) than say "Hello" to another human being.  If greet others first, most times you will be ignored.  Consequently, I don't say hello to most people here anymore.  I've never worked anywhere else where this is the case.  It's very odd.

    Wouldn't it be really funny if they thought the same thing when they started at your company, then as you said, "Consequently, I don't say hello to most people here anymore".



  • For another gaijin view on Japan, I used to read Azrael's editorials (link). He's an English teacher in Japan, and he dealt up with a lot of... Cultural shock as well.

    But then again, we're talking about the country where they came up with Hard Gay (not what you're thinking, also SFW).



  • One of his earlier articles has this tidbit:

    It only takes one jerk to prove any hypothesis absolutely false

    Like, have you ever heard the rumor that you can drop cash on the street in Tokyo and the people are so honest that someone will find it, pick it up, and take it to the cops? Well, that's absolutely 100% not true, because I once found a plain envelope on the ground with "6,000 yen" written on it. Inside was 6,000 yen. I put it in my pocket and kept walking.

    Hahaha.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    One of his earlier articles has this tidbit:

    It only takes one jerk to prove any hypothesis absolutely false

    Like, have you ever heard the rumor that you can drop cash on the street in Tokyo and the people are so honest that someone will find it, pick it up, and take it to the cops? Well, that's absolutely 100% not true, because I once found a plain envelope on the ground with "6,000 yen" written on it. Inside was 6,000 yen. I put it in my pocket and kept walking.

    Hahaha.

     

    Oh my god, that article is golden. It has so much fail and head-desk moments I can't even begin to count them. Even the title was hilarious xD
    You know, people like him is the reason why the world is as bad as it is. Everything he says and does, he does so in childish way ("I know what I'm doing", "Stop telling me what to do", "You are stupid" and so on).

    [rant]

    Wow, I wish someone would just kill him. He is being disrespectfull to EVERYONE around him, expects EVERYONE to respect him, he acts like a jerk, talks like a jerk, is a social akward lifeless idiot and ignores everyone while criticising veryone for doing the same thing.

    [/rant]

     



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    @frits said:

    I'd prefer that over what I find where I work.  You have to be pretty friendly with someone  for them to even make eye contact when passing them in the hall.  Most people here would rather stare at their shoes or straight ahead (like a zombie) than say "Hello" to another human being.  If greet others first, most times you will be ignored.  Consequently, I don't say hello to most people here anymore.  I've never worked anywhere else where this is the case.  It's very odd.

    Wouldn't it be really funny if they thought the same thing when they started at your company, then as you said, "Consequently, I don't say hello to most people here anymore".

    I'm pretty sure there is a lot to that.  It's a really big company and I remember visiting another site several years ago and encountering the same phenomenon.  The location where I work and this other site are both in the R&D part of our business.  I think it's almost like a virus of sorts.

    Also, we have a lot of 20-somethings with CS degrees, so there's that too.



  • @frits said:

    Also, we have a lot of 20-somethings with CS degrees, so there's that too.

    Weird, most 20-somethings with CS degrees I've met are actually quite sociable, albeit nerdy...  I guess just depending on if they have a masters or not as I know a couple who do have theirs and they are pretty much shut-ins.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    I get the impression that his real beef is:

    1) he's upset that in Japan, words that mean nothing (like the English "hello" and "ouch") also have a literal meaning

    2) it's fucking annoying that the guy in the jeans store yells it over and over

    I can definitely sympathize with 2), but 1) seems... not that weird at all, frankly.

    So....when he says hello, he doesn't mean anything? Maybe he means...doesn't have some other, culturally determined, idiomatic meaning?

    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.

    So what? Do you know what Hollywood movies do to the German (or other foreign) language? Most of the times, it sounds like the actor was trained by someone whose grandfather met a guy in a bar who admitted to having seen a German from afar when he flew his bomber over Germany.

    I mean, there are those stupid lines when someone asks the hero: "But, do you speak so-and-so?" And the hero promptly proceeds to mangle the foreign language in such a way that he would be spotted from a mile away! (Bourne, I'm looking at you!) And those guys are supposed to be undercover agents!



  • @Rhywden said:

    @boomzilla said:
    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.

    So what? Do you know what Hollywood movies do to the German (or other foreign) language? Most of the times, it sounds like the actor was trained by someone whose grandfather met a guy in a bar who admitted to having seen a German from afar when he flew his bomber over Germany.

    I mean, there are those stupid lines when someone asks the hero: "But, do you speak so-and-so?" And the hero promptly proceeds to mangle the foreign language in such a way that he would be spotted from a mile away! (Bourne, I'm looking at you!) And those guys are supposed to be undercover agents!


    Two points:

    1. Hey, at least they're speaking the right language.
    2. No one in Hollyweird cares about your language.
    3. The foreign language skills may be the most believable things about the movie.


  • @boomzilla said:

    @Rhywden said:
    @boomzilla said:
    What cracks me up is watching Japanese shows (especially stuff like Ninja Warrior) where you hear so many english words. Like the names of some of the obstacles: Spider Walk. I guess they just give them english names to sound more interesting / exotic to the Japanese audience.

    So what? Do you know what Hollywood movies do to the German (or other foreign) language? Most of the times, it sounds like the actor was trained by someone whose grandfather met a guy in a bar who admitted to having seen a German from afar when he flew his bomber over Germany.

    I mean, there are those stupid lines when someone asks the hero: "But, do you speak so-and-so?" And the hero promptly proceeds to mangle the foreign language in such a way that he would be spotted from a mile away! (Bourne, I'm looking at you!) And those guys are supposed to be undercover agents!


    Two points:

    1. Hey, at least they're speaking the right language.
    2. No one in Hollyweird cares about your language.
    3. The foreign language skills may be the most believable things about the movie.

    Let me make a few things clear:

    a: No, they don't speak the right language. They're rehearsing some words which neither form a valid sentence nor do they sound anything like they're supposed to.

    b: I was addressing the hipocrisy of laughing at the Japanese's attempts to use English while ignoring the fact that your own movies do the exact same thing!

    c: RottenTomatoes does not agree with you



  • When I enter my team's area in the morning, I say "Word, bitches." 

    Am I the only one?



  • @Rhywden said:

    @boomzilla said:
    Two points:

    1. Hey, at least they're speaking the right language.
    2. No one in Hollyweird cares about your language.
    3. The foreign language skills may be the most believable things about the movie.

    Let me make a few things clear:

    a: No, they don't speak the right language. They're rehearsing some words which neither form a valid sentence nor do they sound anything like they're supposed to.

    b: I was addressing the hipocrisy of laughing at the Japanese's attempts to use English while ignoring the fact that your own movies do the exact same thing!

    c: RottenTomatoes does not agree with you

    I dunno...they sound close enough to me, so I'm guessing that they sound like they're supposed to. Everything they say is just some rehearsed words.

    I don't see any hypocrisy here. A character speaking a foreign language in a movie, in the appropriate context, is pretty different from using foreign words to describe something meant for domestic consumption. If a show started using Japanese or German words for things in a gratuitous way like that, I can guarantee you that I wouldn't be watching it for long. But Japanese culture is pretty weird, so I guess it works for them.

    An example somewhere in between the two was Veena Malik teeing off on a numskull on Pakistani TV. I don't speak Urdu(?), but I was certainly amused to listen to her rant and be able to pick out the occasional english word or phrase. Obviously, colonialism has had an influence there. I've heard similar from people speaking (mainly) spanish, who also know english. I suppose that's easy for bilingual people to mash up two languages.

    Who cares what RottenTomatoes thinks? I mean, I don't even ask a good tomato's opinion before I eat it.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @Rhywden said:
    @boomzilla said:
    Two points:

    1. Hey, at least they're speaking the right language.
    2. No one in Hollyweird cares about your language.
    3. The foreign language skills may be the most believable things about the movie.

    Let me make a few things clear:

    a: No, they don't speak the right language. They're rehearsing some words which neither form a valid sentence nor do they sound anything like they're supposed to.

    b: I was addressing the hipocrisy of laughing at the Japanese's attempts to use English while ignoring the fact that your own movies do the exact same thing!

    c: RottenTomatoes does not agree with you

    I dunno...they sound close enough to me, so I'm guessing that they sound like they're supposed to. Everything they say is just some rehearsed words.

    I don't see any hypocrisy here. A character speaking a foreign language in a movie, in the appropriate context, is pretty different from using foreign words to describe something meant for domestic consumption. If a show started using Japanese or German words for things in a gratuitous way like that, I can guarantee you that I wouldn't be watching it for long. But Japanese culture is pretty weird, so I guess it works for them.

    An example somewhere in between the two was Veena Malik teeing off on a numskull on Pakistani TV. I don't speak Urdu(?), but I was certainly amused to listen to her rant and be able to pick out the occasional english word or phrase. Obviously, colonialism has had an influence there. I've heard similar from people speaking (mainly) spanish, who also know english. I suppose that's easy for bilingual people to mash up two languages.

    Who cares what RottenTomatoes thinks? I mean, I don't even ask a good tomato's opinion before I eat it.

    So, let me get this straight: You don't think it's perfectly okay to have people use foreign words in movies for domestic consumption.

    And yet you support someone who laughs at a culture which uses foreign words in movies for domestic consumption.

    And when I point out that this is pretty rich coming from a culture which actually partakes in the very same acitivity, I am the one who's wrong.



    Good evening, I am boomzilla and I miss points on a frequent basis



  • @belgariontheking said:

    When I enter my team's area in the morning, I say "Word, bitches." 

    Do they answer "Excel, dawg!" ?

    And honestly, this is one of the things I really like (and wouldn't ever expect before seeing it) about my job. I saw some Big Cmpanies before, with the whole be-quie-to-anyone-and-fear-the-boss mentality. Here, everyone greets everyone, always can and do talk to each other, things are so cool it took me half a year to give up on looking for the catch.



  • @Rhywden said:

    So, let me get this straight: You don't think it's perfectly okay to have people use foreign words in movies for domestic consumption.

    And yet you support someone who laughs at a culture which uses foreign words in movies for domestic consumption.

    And when I point out that this is pretty rich coming from a culture which actually partakes in the very same acitivity, I am the one who's wrong.

    Are you reading something different than I am? I said it was OK for people to speak foreign languages in context in movies.

    Maybe you just need to understand the context better. The laughing stuff (which I not only support, but participate in) was at a game show where elements of the show were given english names. The show (when aired in America) has english subtitles, and you can hear the original announcer, going a mile a minute, announcing the action in Japanese. But I can understand the names of some of the obstacles, because they're in english. Maybe a really large portion of Japan speaks english, but I don't think that's the case.

    My point is that if a show named stuff with some foreign language, for no apparent purpose (as opposed to characters in a movie going to a foreign country and speaking to the locals in their language), it would annoy me and I wouldn't watch. If there were some reason for it, that might be different. But the show in question is called "Ninja Warrior." I'm not sure how that would tie into anything but Japanese stuff. Or how you confuse this with movies.

    @Rhywden said:
    Good evening, I am boomzilla and I miss points on a frequent basis
    FTFY


  • @Rhywden said:

    So, let me get this straight: You don't think it's perfectly okay to have people use foreign words in movies for domestic consumption.

    And yet you support someone who laughs at a culture which uses foreign words in movies for domestic consumption.

    And when I point out that this is pretty rich coming from a culture which actually partakes in the very same acitivity, I am the one who's wrong.

    Jesus Fuck are you bring purposefully dense? This forum usually has pretty sharp people on it, so if you're using that as a tactic to score "Forum Points" it's not gonna work.

    He's saying:

    1) When American movies use foreign words, it's always IN CONTEXT, that is, from a character who has a good reason to be speaking foreign words at that moment in time. For example, a Russian soldier will be speaking Russian while in Russia.

    2) When Japanese movies use foreign words, it's often completely gratuitous, for example, they often have English words during the theme song, or to describe a sci-fi concept or technology on the show.

    Now obviously Japanese works would use foreign words IN CONTEXT, just as American works do. But you're failing (purposefully?) to see how point 2 above is different than point 1, and it's pissing me off because I'd like to think you aren't a complete idiot. Click the link above. Note how almost every example of Gratuitous Foreign Language on TVTropes is a Japanese show. (Actually it was better before they split the big languages onto their own pages... but you get the point.)



  •  Have you seen a Japanese McDonald's menu?  Every word on it is a katakana transcription of the English equivalent.

    Even for words that have perfectly acceptable Japanese equivalents, like "beef".

    Even for words that have no business at all on a non-US menu, like "ounce".

    Same goes for the Russian McD's menu, where at least they use the French workaround for the non-metric items ("Royal" instead of "Quarter Pounder").  I wanted to see how they described the "Filet O'Fish"; the first word is "fee-lay", not "fill-et", which may just be their way of thumbing their noses at the British, but the point is there are certainly Russian words for "filet" and "fish" that could have been used.  (The one exception was the potatoes, which they sell as "Kartoffel".)

    Not every language does this, though.  While waiting for a prescription at Walgreen's one day, I noticed the sign announcing that you can get flavorings added to some medicines so they're easier for kids to choke down.  The slogan in English read "Do yourself a flavor".  Nice play on words.  The identical sign in Spanish just said the equivalent of "Put flavors in your medicine".  No pun, no whimsy, not even an attempt to capture the spirit of the English version, just a straighforward description of the service.



  • @da Doctah said:

     Have you seen a Japanese McDonald's menu?  Every word on it is a katakana transcription of the English equivalent.


    A few years ago I was traveling to Korea a couple of times a year, so I started learning how to sound out hangul characters. I remember chuckling at a breakfast cart on one street, selling egg sandwiches on bread. Their sign was advertising (phonetically), "tow-suh-tuh."



  •  kawaii McDonaldu eatan!



  • @da Doctah said:

    Not every language does this, though.  While waiting for a prescription at Walgreen's one day, I noticed the sign announcing that you can get flavorings added to some medicines so they're easier for kids to choke down.  The slogan in English read "Do yourself a flavor".  Nice play on words.  The identical sign in Spanish just said the equivalent of "Put flavors in your medicine".  No pun, no whimsy, not even an attempt to capture the spirit of the English version, just a straighforward description of the service.

    I love the announcements in my local airport. In Spanish and Catalan** they say "For your own benefit, keep an eye on your luggage at all times"*. In English they say "Please do not leave your luggage unattended". I'm not sure to what extent you can draw the conclusion that the airport management think that Brits abroad will respond to politeness but Spaniards need to be told that they benefit in some way, but it amuses me every time I hear it.

    * Ok, the Spanish is "Por su propio interés, mantenga controlado su equipaje en todo momento". I can't remember the Catalan** word-perfect.

    ** Well, valencià. Flame wars in another thread, please.



  • @boomzilla said:

    selling egg sandwiches on bread
    Que?



  • @pjt33 said:

    but SpaniardsValencians need to be told that they benefit in some way

    Nice suit, Paco!



  • @da Doctah said:

    While waiting for a prescription at Walgreen's one day, I noticed the sign announcing that you can get flavorings added to some medicines so they're easier for kids to choke down.  The slogan in English read "Do yourself a flavor".  Nice play on words.  The identical sign in Spanish just said the equivalent of "Put flavors in your medicine".  No pun, no whimsy, not even an attempt to capture the spirit of the English version, just a straighforward description of the service.

    Translation is difficult.  Translating jokes is very difficult.  The Spanish for 'flavour' is 'sabor', I guess you could make a play on "por favor" somehow but I'm not good enough in Spanish to do it.

    On the other hand, sometimes translators get it very very right indeed.  Consider the original French version of this scene from "Asterix Legionnaire":

     

    je suis médusé

    The pirates, having had their ship scuttled by Asterix and Obelix as usual, are drifting on a raft in a scene that is an obvious homage to the famous painting of "The Raft of the Medusa" by the French 19th. C. artist Théodore Géricault:

    [URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/339/medusegericault.jpg/][IMG]http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/9297/medusegericault.th.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

    The pirate chieftain's phrase, "Je suis médusé", translates roughly from French as "I am dumbstruck", or confounded or similar, in reference to being struck to stone by the gaze of the Medusa of Ancient Greek legend, and so also serves as a pun in French on the name of the ship, the French naval frigate Méduse, the aftermath of the sinking of which is depicted in Géricault's painting.

    Without having any similar-sounding word to "Medusa" in English, that could be used to convey the same pun (or some slight variation along the lines of being shocked, stunned, or the like), the translators hit on an inspired re-telling of the joke:

    We've been framed, by Jericho!

    ... "Jericho", of course, being pronounced in English roughly how "Géricault" is pronounced in French, and "framed" being what Géricault did with his paintings after he finished painting them.

    This is widely acknowledged as being one of the pinnacles of the translator's art.  You can hardly expect it for a Walgreen's sign....



  • @DaveK said:

    Without having any similar-sounding word to "Medusa" in English, that could be used to convey the same pun (or some slight variation along the lines of being shocked, stunned, or the like), the translators hit on an inspired re-telling of the joke:

    You're ignoring the little detail that "we've been framed by Jericho!" doesn't make any goddamned sense in context. So while it may contain a similar pun, it's at the cost of creating a huge WTF in the dialog.

    I was always impressed at the localization of Pokemon. The first Pokemon movie has this joke about Vikings coming from Minnesota that either is a miracle of translation, or shows that the English translators had a ton of sway during early drafts of the script... either way, the result was impressive. (Of course, I'm also assuming the viking joke makes sense in Japan, maybe it doesn't.)

    Edit: and of course there's the famous example of Samurai Pizza Cats, which wasn't so much translated as "they threw the script away (or never had it in the first place) and wrote their own" with extremely good results-- to the point where the Japanese creator of the show admitted the English translation was better than the original script.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    and of course there's the famous example of Samurai Pizza Cats, which wasn't so much translated as "they threw the script away (or never had it in the first place) and wrote their own" with extremely good results-- to the point where the Japanese creator of the show admitted the English translation was better than the original script.
    The BBC did that with the Magic Roundabout. I don't know if that made it more or less weird.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Samurai Pizza Cats
     

    Oh god I loved this so much, because I never had any idea what the fuck was happening, story-wise.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    2) When Japanese movies use foreign words, it's often completely gratuitous, for example, they often have English words during the theme song, or to describe a sci-fi concept or technology on the show.
     

    Not just the movies insert English words out of context. When my wife and I went in Japan in 2009 we tried to ask some girls for directions (I can't speak Japanese but did have a few words) and one replied "I don't like English. Toilet." Fair enough, I guess: I didn't really like Japanese in high school either! トイレ

    When we first arrived we went into a restaurant and as we were escorted to a table all staff members stood in a line and yelled "irasshaimase" at us - running through this gauntlet was a bit of a culture shock after 10+ hours of travelling. At least my sister had been living there for a while so she could explain these details.

    After my return home, my local sushi shop changed ownership and they started yelling in the same manner to become "authentic". At least I knew the context!



  • @da Doctah said:

    Even for words that have no business at all on a non-US menu, like "ounce".

     

    IMSMR, Subway in Japan uses "small" and "large" instead of 6-inch and foot-long. They had 15cm and 30cm written underneath.

    Here in Australia those restaurants still use US customary units, even though we have been fully metric since the early 1970s. Heh, if I ask for a "foot" of something I should get more since my foot is 33cm long!

    Still, McDs in Japan was interesting, due to the different menu, such as the breakfast hotdog, McGriddles and teriyaki chicken burger.



  • @Zemm said:

    Here in Australia those restaurants still use US customary units, even though we have been fully metric since the early 1970s. Heh, if I ask for a "foot" of something I should get more since my foot is 33cm long!
     

    The size of your foot doesn't matter.  It's the king's foot, or some such foolishness.  Leading to grumbling among the cloth merchants whenever Edward the Weetootsied died and was replaced by Henry Gunboates.



  • @DaveK said:

    ... "Jericho", of course, being pronounced in English roughly how "Géricault" is pronounced in French, and "framed" being what Géricault did with his paintings after he finished painting them.

    This is widely acknowledged as being one of the pinnacles of the translator's art.  You can hardly expect it for a Walgreen's sign....

    If you accept that the goal of literary translation is to evoke in the reader of the translation the same intellectual and emotional response as in a reader of the original, then this is indeed a pinnacle of the art.  The response in question being, of course, "...WTF?..."



  • I never got the point of valencian - it just seems an odd mishmash of Castellano* and French with the last syllable dropped for good measure. Sort of an inverse-PERL you can kind of understand it but you're screwed when it comes to giving a response. Even worse is the fact my pronunciation in Spanish is so bad (I know what I'm talking about - right words in the right order, they just sound off) at times it gets mistaken for valencian so I sometimes get credited for being able to speak it when I really can't. 

     It does have the amusing tourist-confusing sideeffect of shortening 'Bomberos' (fire brigade) to 'Bombers' though, which is the last thing a brit tourist wants to see turn up when something is on fire.

     Workwise knowing spanish has helped because there's a tool kicking around here that is translated using the 'swop every spanish word for the english one' technique, so phrases like 'uncharging for USB. wait for please' appear so you need to swop the words back and translate it properly to have an idea what the hell is going on.

    *Yup - I know how angry some spaniards get when you say 'spanish' there. Almost as angry as when you describe portugese as 'Spanish with typos' :)



  • @blatant_mcfakename said:

    I never got the point of valencian - it just seems an odd mishmash of Castellano* and French with the last syllable dropped for good measure.

    I never got the point of Dutch - it just seems like an odd mishmash of German and English, with a bit more phlegm thrown in for good measure.

    @blatant_mcfakename said:

    Even worse is the fact my pronunciation in Spanish is so bad (I know what I'm talking about - right words in the right order, they just sound off) at times it gets mistaken for valencian so I sometimes get credited for being able to speak it when I really can't. 

    Presumably by people who themselves don't speak Valencian or Catalan.

    One of the most ear-bleeding sounds in the world is Spanish pronounced with a broad New Zealand accent.  I found that when learning languages, an important early step is to develop a comic accent (speaking English) for the language in question.  That way your vocal tract is already getting used to the unfamiliar acrobatics required to speak with a reasonably intelligible accent. 

    In fact, this works for English as well.  I remember being at La Jolla or somewhere and asking for a cheeseburger at a beachside burger stand.  "What?" "A cheeseburger." "What?!?"  "Erm.. A chiiiizzbrrrgrrr."  "Oh, a chiiiizzbrrrgrrr!" "Yes please." "Coming right up!"  (I'm Australian, so she probably heard something like "choizberga".)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @DaveK said:
    Without having any similar-sounding word to "Medusa" in English, that could be used to convey the same pun (or some slight variation along the lines of being shocked, stunned, or the like), the translators hit on an inspired re-telling of the joke:
    You're ignoring the little detail that "we've been framed by Jericho!" doesn't make any goddamned sense in context. So while it may contain a similar pun, it's at the cost of creating a huge WTF in the dialog.

    The detail you appear to be missing is that the joke here is based on a pastiche of a painting. If you do not recognise the painting, then you will not get the joke, you will not see the relevance of the dialogue to the situation, and you should just move onto the next frame.

    This is the same in both the French and English versions.



  • @__moz said:

    The detail you appear to be missing is that the joke here is based on a pastiche of a painting. If you do not recognise the painting, then you will not get the joke, you will not see the relevance of the dialogue to the situation, and you should just move onto the next frame.

    Hey shocker! Turns out I'm not a fucking retard.

    It doesn't work that way. People saying random things for no reason doesn't make you "skip it and return to the story". Instead, it yanks the story bodily away, leaving you perplexed as to what the holy shit is going on and what that line of dialog has to do with anything and why that pirate even said it. Is it foreshadowing? Is it a bad translation? Did the letterer have a stroke at that exact moment? Who knows! But pulling a reader out of the story like that is always a bad idea, and it would have to be a very, very good joke to make it work.

    Now if you're ok with that style of writing, fine. Go enjoy this book and your Family Guy and your Meet the Spartans and all those other shitty "comedy" works that only have plot as a thin excuse to make a long series of cut-away gags of varying quality. Good for you.

    But it's not for me.

    @__moz said:

    This is the same in both the French and English versions.

    So it's equally bad in both. I think we already established that.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Hey shocker! Turns out I'm not a fucking retard.
    Given the (quoted) stuff I'm still seeing in my mail inbox from you since I told gmail to ignore your posts in it, I beg to differ.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @DaveK said:
    Without having any similar-sounding word to "Medusa" in English, that could be used to convey the same pun (or some slight variation along the lines of being shocked, stunned, or the like), the translators hit on an inspired re-telling of the joke:

    You're ignoring the little detail that "we've been framed by Jericho!" doesn't make any goddamned sense in context. So while it may contain a similar pun, it's at the cost of creating a huge WTF in the dialog.

    Actually, it's out of context as presented here that it makes no sense.  In context, the larger context of the overall series of Asterix books, the pirates are always getting their ship scuttled by Asterix and Obelix, the pirate chieftain always ends up in the water bemoaning the general unfairness of his fate; on this particular occasion the pirates didn't even launch an attack against A&O's ship but still got sunk anyway, hence the chieftain feels as if he has been unfairly tried and condemned.  It didn't seem odd to me at the time I first read it, long before I knew anything about the Raft of the Medusa.

    You may have been thrown off by the disadvantageous perspective of looking at a kid's book through adult eyes and over-thinking it.




  • @DaveK said:

    You may have been thrown off by the disadvantageous perspective of looking at a kid's book through adult eyes and over-thinking it.

    Yes; obviously a kid would get that joke.



  • @DaveK said:

    Actually, it's out of context as presented here that it makes no sense.  In context, the larger context of the overall series of Asterix books, the pirates are always getting their ship scuttled by Asterix and Obelix, the pirate chieftain always ends up in the water bemoaning the general unfairness of his fate; on this particular occasion the pirates didn't even launch an attack against A&O's ship but still got sunk anyway, hence the chieftain feels as if he has been unfairly tried and condemned.  It didn't seem odd to me at the time I first read it, long before I knew anything about the Raft of the Medusa.
    No, the line in question just doesn't make any sense as anything other than the joke. The translation is still brilliant, but the joke itself doesn't make any sense as a line of dialogue.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @DaveK said:
    You may have been thrown off by the disadvantageous perspective of looking at a kid's book through adult eyes and over-thinking it.

    Yes; obviously a kid would get that joke.

     

    @Groucho said:

    Clear?  Why, a four-year-old child could understand this report!

    <aside> Run out and find me a four-year-old child.  I can't make head or tail out of it.




  • @blakeyrat said:

    @DaveK said:
    Without having any similar-sounding word to "Medusa" in English, that could be used to convey the same pun (or some slight variation along the lines of being shocked, stunned, or the like), the translators hit on an inspired re-telling of the joke:

    You're ignoring the little detail that "we've been framed by Jericho!" doesn't make any goddamned sense in context.

     

     Yes, "We've been framed by Jericho!" doesn't make sense. But you seem to have missed a small detail: the line is "We've been framed, by Jericho!" which, while certainly not the best line ever (doesn't come near the wit of the original), does make sense.


     



  • @Ilya Ehrenburg said:

    Yes, "We've been framed by Jericho!" doesn't make sense. But you seem to have missed a small detail: the line is "We've been framed, by Jericho!" which, while certainly not the best line ever (doesn't come near the wit of the original), does make sense.

    Only if they were actually framed. And if "by Jericho!" is an exclamation people have heard of. I've never heard of it.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Ilya Ehrenburg said:
    Yes, "We've been framed by Jericho!" doesn't make sense. But you seem to have missed a small detail: the line is "We've been framed, by Jericho!" which, while certainly not the best line ever (doesn't come near the wit of the original), does make sense.

    Only if they were actually framed.

    "Framed" has two meanings.  That's why it's a joke.

    @blakeyrat said:

    And if "by Jericho!" is an exclamation people have heard of. I've never heard of it.
     

    It's one of the most commonly-used interjections in the series, second only to "By Toutatis!".

     


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