Mark Simmons (scorpio@best.com)
Tue, 23 Jan 2001 12:55:33 -0800


Well, damn! I was almost finished with a long reply when my machine
crashed. So this will be short and pithy. :-)

Dr. Core writes,

>AFAIK, the Taiwanese and Hong Kongese translators are united (a most
>rare occurence) in translating her name as "Fa Yeung Li" (this particular
>spelling in a "Core-original", which is based on something-Gilles-something
>romanization, -Z- knows what I am talking about). More important than the
>spelling is the words. It is "flower-garden/park-beauty", or
>"garden-beauty".

  Exactly the rendition given in Animage's Z Gundam Handbook, published
in 1985. Couldn't find any other corroboration, but we do have a (early)
Japanese publication to support this. GIF attached just to double-check.

>What I am saying is that Bandai/Sunrise doesn't give a hoot about
>consistency in Romanizing names, and we must understand that.

  Actually not true, from what I can tell. I found a surprising - well, I
wasn't expecting it - degree of consistency in the name spellings used in
Japanese publications, frequently with 3 or 4 sources using the exact
same spelling and no dissenters. Even pig-awful ones like "Mashymre" are
spelled consistently, up to and including the box of the HG-UC Zaku III
Kai. And I can say from personal experience that Sunrise insists on using
these spellings in US releases - they mandated the use of "Kamiru Bidan,"
"Judau Ashta," and "Elpeo Ple" for the Battle Assault game, though I may
perhaps have talked them out of "Kamiru" in future, I hope and pray. :-)

>Anglizing foreign names was, is and will always be a fuzzy science. So
>my approach is to be dogmatically "anything goes"!

  Consistency and consensus notwithstanding, I agree. It's likely that,
when Zeta and ZZ and so on see a US release, Sunrise will end up forcing
Bandai America to use these spellings, just as they mandated "Gaw" and
"Fraw Bow" and "Kycilia." But in the meantime, I'm not going to pre-
emptively spell things incorrectly (Kamiru, Fa Yuiry, Kite Bush, Cony
Francis, Alexandoria, et cetera). And I'll be damned if I'm going to
accept "Quattro Vagina" except at gunpoint...

  So having compiled what seems to be a working approximation of
Sunrise's preferences, and hence the likely spellings we'll see in a
hypothetical US release, I've concluded that I'm going to be pretty
darned selective about applying them for the time being.

>My view is that "Khan" should taken as a 99% officially correct spelling.

  "Haman Karn" seems to be the consensus - 4 or 5 points of agreement,
with Rapport's "Hamirn Karn" being the sole dissenter. I agree that
"Khan" is more pleasing, but who can say what the intention was? Taka
Karahashi always suspected she was named after futurist/strategist Herman
Kahn...

>This is where I have to get dogmatic and disagree with -Z-, I think we should
>be extra careful NOT to extrapolate the katakana into English words, despite
>the fact that Japanese do have a tendency to worship the great US of A. If
>we were to take real words/names as proper than we must be compelled to
>use Charles or at least Charlie for the Red Comet. Especially "Charles"
>since we know officially he was named after the French singer. But he's
still
>Char, or even Sha, because Tomino/Yaz intended Char to be just Char, not a
>short form or pet form of Charles.

  In this case, the French name "Charles" is apparently pronounced "Char"
- I saw a snippet of an Aznavour concert while channel-flipping one day,
and the audience were all yelling "Char! Char!" So the kana rendition is
actually perfect. Nonetheless, Sunrise has always spelled it "Char
Aznable." Likewise "Elmeth" and "Qubeley," which appear to be corruptions
of foreign words. If they're changing the spellings of words which are
actually known to be derived from European languages, then it's even less
supportable to map "Hamburabi" and "Emarii" to "Hammurabi" and "Emily,"
where the kana don't even match the target word.

>Allow me another argument against over-Anglizing of names. If we were
>to flavour real English or European names or words, than we should accept
>Quatre Virgina (pronounced as Ver-Geena, not ve(t)-gia-na). Virginia is
>unacceptable because the Katakana spelling of Virginia is well-known and
>has different kanas from Virgina. It might even be a crass prophecy to say
>Char will get four girlfriends (beating Amuro's one (or none)). So if the
>sound fits and the meaning fits (yeah it's a bit sick), why don't we use it?

  In this specific case, the original kana are "bajiina," whereas
according to my dictionary of Japanese laonwords, the English "virgin" is
rendered as "baajin" in katakana. Char's alias has the long vowel on the
"ji", not the "ba," so it's not the same word.

  On the other hand, my loanword dictionary gives the Japanese rendition
of the female genitalia as "bagina" or "wagina," and also gives kana for
the native English-speaker's pronounciation: "vajaina," where the initial
"v" is written using the modified "u." So Quattro's last name isn't the
same as the Japanese rendition of "vagina," nor even is it an attempt to
recreate the English _pronounciation_ of that word.

  Bearing this in mind, the best Romanization might be "Vajeena" or
"Bajeena," which makes it clear that the middle syllable has the long
vowel, and ensures you'll pronounce the middle consonant like "jeep,"
rather than with a "g" as in "goat."

-- Mark

  P.S. This loanword dictionary is pretty handy. Just in process of
looking up Quattro's last name, I've confirmed that the leader of the
Titans isn't named "Hymen" - another alarming consensus spelling - but
that his deputy could very plausibly be named "Basque Homme." :-)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mark Simmons / scorpio@best.com / http://www.gundamproject.com/
"If you can kill it, it's not a god, just a good old-fashioned monster."




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