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Old 2008-12-15, 22:39   Link #1
stelok
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Is it hard to romanize characters' names?

Why do people romanize Japanese names in many different and sometimes inaccurate ways?

In the Singaporean-subtitled Urusei Yatsura, the main heroine's Japanese name Ramu is romanized as Lamu but in the American version it is romanized as Lum.


The official Galaxy Angel manga has romanized the name Ranfa Furanbowāzu as Ranpha Franboise. But for me the better romanization would be Lampha Framboise. One usually romanizes the senpai as "sempai", like in Tokyopop's Love Hina. In the American version of the movie Seven Samurai, Kanbei's name is romanized as Kambei.

Actually I like the Framboise a lot better than the more alien word Franboise. By the way, Framboise is French word for raspberry.


The official romanization of Shā Azunaburu is Char Aznable. But the other romanizations list off as Char Aznavel.

Won't Quattro's last name come off better as Bagina instead of Bajeena?
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Old 2008-12-15, 23:28   Link #2
npcomplete
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Aside from ん = n|m, if they were native Japanese names, then I'd agree with inaccuracy.. but really, if you're romanizing any foreign name, then all bets are off IMO
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Old 2008-12-16, 00:54   Link #3
Vexx
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Japanese sounds and their symbols are designed for japanese names... so there's always some pain or slippage in using the symbols to "japanify" a non-japanese name. Any language has a specific set of sounds... native speakers often have a difficult time with sounds not part of their native language and go with a sound more comfortable.

For example, my online nick is a real nasty bit of a thing to render as Japanese.... it ends up being something like "Bekksu" or some other mess.
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Old 2008-12-16, 01:35   Link #4
ZephyrLeanne
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Well, romanization is quite a messy thing by itself.

Singapore subbers tend to look at the Japanese name and the reading, and translate by the book, because it's easier.

Western subbers try to GUESS the reading as if it was English, and put what they think it should be. Which may be right (in the case of Pokemon) [no, really] or wrong (most times).

Another thing to consider is the method used. In Japanese there are two systems used Hepburn romanization and Kunrei-shiki Rōmaji (ISO 3602). There used to be another form, Nihon-shiki (which used to consitute the ISO 3602 standard), but it was thrown out in favor of Kunrei-shiki. Kunrei-shiki is used in Japanese schools these days, and is the offical one used by MEXT [the education ministry in Japan]. However, in everyday usage, Hepburn is more well used.

For example, Shinjuku is a Hepburn word, the Kunrei version is Sinzyuku.

More examples of each system are here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romaji#...ization_system

Therefore, it isn't an accurate science, and therefore, you might want to relax on this.
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Old 2008-12-16, 03:47   Link #5
Cut-Tongue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
For example, my online nick is a real nasty bit of a thing to render as Japanese.... it ends up being something like "Bekksu" or some other mess.
Lol, Bekksu is cooler than Vexx ^_^

Japanese names are tough, sometimes. Ryoichi or Sozaburo don't exactly roll off the English speaking tongue. Doesn't mean it the people who change things are right, but I can see why they would think it was a good idea.

I watched Haruhi with English subs from Mandarin, and they renamed all the characters. That was tough to keep straight. We kept asking each other 'who is Student LongQuin again?'
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Old 2008-12-16, 05:34   Link #6
stelok
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Japanese sounds and their symbols are designed for japanese names... so there's always some pain or slippage in using the symbols to "japanify" a non-japanese name. Any language has a specific set of sounds... native speakers often have a difficult time with sounds not part of their native language and go with a sound more comfortable.

For example, my online nick is a real nasty bit of a thing to render as Japanese.... it ends up being something like "Bekksu" or some other mess.
It is easier to japanize a foreign name than it is to romanize a japanized foreign name.

I can japanize my name as suteroku.


Roy Fokker= Roi Fokkaa
Saber= Seibaa
Archer= Aachaa or (Āchā)
Illyasviel von Einzbern= Iriyasufīru fon Aintsuberun
Iris Chateaubriand= Airisu Shatooburian


Arcueid Brunestud (Arukueido Buryunsutaddo)

However, you can also romanize the name Arukueido as Alucueid, right?
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Old 2008-12-16, 14:14   Link #7
Oxtail
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I think what you're refering to is a little different from normal romanization. It's taking a Western word that has been nihonified and then then trying to convert it back to English.

It's like taking a 1900x1200 image, shrinking it to 640x480(since many Western sounds reduce to the same Japanese syllable) and then trying to enlarge it back to 1900x1200.

Take Vexx's name. In Japanese it would be Bekkusu. But someone named Becks would also become Bekkusu in Japanese. So when you're trying to go from Bekkusu back to English, what do you translate that back as? Unless you have knowledge of the original source, you just take a wild guess.
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Old 2008-12-16, 16:38   Link #8
Zalis
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Quote:
Won't Quattro's last name come off better as Bagina instead of Bajeena?
Sure it's better as Bagina, if you want English speakers to think his name rhymes with a certain part of the female anatomy.
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Old 2008-12-17, 14:48   Link #9
stelok
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oxtail View Post
I think what you're refering to is a little different from normal romanization. It's taking a Western word that has been nihonified and then then trying to convert it back to English.

Take Vexx's name. In Japanese it would be Bekkusu. But someone named Becks would also become Bekkusu in Japanese. So when you're trying to go from Bekkusu back to English, what do you translate that back as? Unless you have knowledge of the original source, you just take a wild guess.
I see what you mean. For example, from Gunslinger Girl, Triela's fratello called Hirushā is romanized as Hillshire by ADV manga but the other sources romanize it as Hirscher.

Hillshire's ethnicity was supposed to be German but it sounds more like an English name. Hirscher sounds more German. Hirsch means "deer" in German.
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