This was a totally, totally different experience
Read online: Batoto
Translating the written word, compared to a graphic novel, is much harder. Ambiguous wordings, constantly switching viewpoints without any clear indication, loads of overly descriptive narrative and above all, the absolute lack of the concept of a “paragraph” in the Japanese light novel.
Of course, there were also some difficulties that stayed the same, such as Kawakami’s love of wordplay – this manifests itself in this side story in the use of the term allowance, which I’d like to take a little time to talk about for whoever would like to hear about me prattle about localization.
The original text used the Japanese word, 余裕 (yoyuu) which has a plethora of meanings, all of which play a different role. It means a lot of things – “surplus”, a “margin (for error)”, “time”, “flexibility”, and so on. Essentially, it’s an “extra-ness”. She refers to this essentially as flexibility in how one lives one’s life, such as effort one puts into other pursuits, time devoted to building other skills and knowledge, resources allocated for various purposes, and so on. The main difficulty was essentially finding a good word that could capture the different meanings in different contexts to keep the wordplay going.
Other weirdness going on is how the viewpoint changes back and forth between Masazumi’s perspective, and a third-person perspective. Normally this would still be alright, but combined with the lack of paragraph breaks – every new sentence is essentially on a new line. You kind of have to figure out which sentences go together into a paragraph. The numerous amounts of dialogue help to break stuff up a little easier though.
By the way, the volume release will be coming in a little while, with all inconsistencies (naming, etc.) fixed. Volume 2 is in the works, but I’ll be working on Eustia before that.