Translation Notes: Black Rock Shooter

I blame my school's anime club for this one. Yesterday, we watched the Black Rock Shooter OVA, and that reminded me that I had a song that I had been meaning to deal with. Well, that and I was hoping it would provide some perspective on the events of the OVA. If nothing else, it certainly managed that. (There might, at some point, be a post talking about the OVA. It was actually really interesting. But that's a subject for another time.)

It was a very quick translation that I hammered out. Anime club ended around 2120; the post went up at 2220. Usually I try to spend a little more time considering what exactly I'm writing and whether it actually fits the Japanese source text, but then there's also the fact that there wasn't a single word in here that I haven't seen multiple times over in other places. There's almost a sense of a unique vocabulary for the songs I like to listen to; shared themes results in shared words and ideas.

Of course, one of the other consequences of posting the translation quickly was the lack of the kind of serious consideration of my translation that produces a "notes" page. While this is not going to make up for that in any serious fashion, I can at least put on the pretense of having considered the issue, and will highlight three points of possible interest. And in this case, that means a pair of things that I've actually changed.

In the very second line, I originally translated it in the present tense, "where are you going?" To some extent that instinct is not an unreasonable one, but in this case it was probably not justified; there is a narrative here, and not everything in the song references the same time period. I have changed that to "where have you gone?", matching the past tense in Japanese.

Then there's the "nomikomu" in the second-to-last chorus. I admit this gave me pause when first translating it; I had a momentary internal fight over whether to translate it literally or not. Clearly, "nomikomu" is something applied in a literal sense to actual objects, not to words; I tried to translate it in that literal sense "take in", perhaps in hopes of maintaining the phrasing. Looking at it again, though, I'm not really convinced. That has been changed to "understand", which seems like a better idea than the more esoteric "internalize" (that I was considering as the other option).

Finally, one of the last lines in the song, translated here as "you paid attention to me". One of the more annoying things to deal with in translation is the Japanese tendency of adding verbs that indicate giving or receiving even to actions, such as the "kureru" in the original phrase there. There's almost no way to translate it literally, as the use of that verb implies that the speaker has received something (in this case obviously intangible) as the result of being looked at. Thus, I discarded the original verb entirely (to look, "miru") in favor of an expression that followed the same idea and could be understood in English.

That pretty much covers my thoughts on this for now. If there are any obvious errors, comments, questions, and so on, let me know.

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