Richie Ramos (
Thu, 25 Nov 1999 13:14:54 +0800

>>Yes, and there is the fact that I would expect Duo, for example, to use
>>street language, while Quatre would have to be formal, owing to his
>>upbringing. Heero and trowa would have a heavily technical use of
>>language, owing to their backgrounds, while Wufei would probably be most
>You're correct. In the original Japanese, Duo uses a rough, street
>language. Quatre is quite formal, almost feminine in speech. Heero and
>Trowa is always concise and to the point (sort of a speaking equivalent of
>technical writing...) Wufei is also concise but more rough in language than
>Heero and Trowa. In Japanese, it's quite possible to show personalities
>just by different speech patterns. It's not possible to do this in English.

Actually, it's possible to do that, but it would have to be done by
accent...the thought of Duo having a street accent similar to New york or
Chicago (better chicago, for the Irish/italian influence, I think) comes to
mind, while Quattre should have a very formal accent with a slight hint of
Arabic sharpness. Heero should have no accent, while Trowa I think fares
better with clipped british tones...Wufei must have that delicate
rhythm/melody common to Orientals who speak English -- he is a scholar,

>Uchu can mean universe in Japanese but it depends on the usage. For example
>Uchusen is spaceship. In the Gundam world, "Uchu" always meant space, as
>opposed to "chikyu" - earth.
>>Exactly. The Filipino terminology for that is based on inflection and
>>intonation, as well as usage -- which worked quite well in translation. I
>>think the language barrier here is that English is a very specific
>>language, whereas the original language is very nuanced.
>I agree with you here. Japanese relies heavily on intonation and
>inflection, something that most Americans have a very difficult time
>learning because it's practically absent in English. Japanese language has
>a natural rhythm which is used in poetry such as haiku. English really does
>not have it so it relies on such things as rhymes. I think this is the
>reason why so many lines which sound so nice in Japanese Gundam doesn't have
>the same impact in English.

Another thing to remember: Languages in the Asian region rely heavily on
usage within the sentence or dialogue pattern. Hence, in Filipino for
example, A person would be saying yes, but by intonation would actually be
conveying "it's a bad idea" or "I'm not sure". Or the use of the term
"siguro" (It's possible/maybe), which depends on intonation for a negative
or positive connotation. That's the difficulty of nuancing. I expect that
this sort of thing has happened a lot in the scripts...surprisingly enough,
I think Ranma did this quite well, as did Tenchi Muyo. Ghost in the shell
was a bit more difficult, owing to the poetic nature of the script.

>One of the well known lines out of First, the series was: (Amuro after he
>killes Lala) "Torikaeshino tsukanai koto o, torikaeshino tsukanai koto o,
>shite shimatta" which has a 5-7-5-7-5 syllable speech pattern. It's
>similar to tanka (Japanese poetry which is slightly longer than haiku) and
>has a wonderful, easy to remember rhythm to it. Unfortunately in English,
>it was translated to: "I did something I can't take back" which is correct
>in meaning but loses the poetic aspect. (It was popular among us anime fans
>back then to use this line for any minor mistake... which was rather fun)

DAMN! I didn't take into account syllabication and poetic rhythm! I guess
it's another aspect that we have to think about. This sort of thing
squarely puts a lot of dialogue into the Noh mode of Japanese plays, then.
Thanks! I hadn't thought of that! perhaps that's something to think about
when Filipino Translations are being done, so we can get it even more right.

"Magic is the hand of faith..."

Richard Ramos
Svengali, Artificer and Spellcrafter
(I currently write for - Changing The Way You See
Your City!)

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