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Bad∞End∞Night, the NoveL: Translation Notes
Usually I only do these for games, but my longest novel translation yet (95,000 words - only about 10,000 less than all of Capella's Promise!) does have a significant amount to note.
There are major spoilers for the entire thing, so read it first!
The series has lots of stylization going on with the infinity symbols and CapitalizatioN, but for the novel, very little of that actually showed in the Japanese. Obviously, the CapitalizatioN depends on using English letters, and the novel rarely does that. So it was largely just up to me to decide where it was appropriate.
According to the glossary, Crazy ∞ nighT is stylized like that, even though it's always クレイジー・ナイト in the text. The manga and ELN show the script with Crazy ∞ nighT on the cover (the former in the real world, the latter in the play), so that should be canon. Bad ∞ End ∞ Night and Twilight ∞ nighT are also spelled "normally" in the text, and I chose to spell them like that due to the book's title and the song names. However, when it came to Meg's initial script, I decided that "Twilight Night" made more sense, as it wasn't originally planned for it to be turned into Burlet's Crazy ∞ nighT, so the stylized title with infinity sign being there to begin with would be odd.
Burlet is an official spelling from the glossary, though the ending revelation makes it pretty apparent too. It's ビュルレ (Byurure), so I'm not sure what the pronunciation would be (Burr-lay, Byurr-lay... Byour-lay?), but the "t" is definitely silent.
Some of the characters had fairly distinctive ways of speaking. Miku, of course, had lots of broken-up sentences and ums and ahs. Meiko used "ara" and tildes at the end of her sentences a lot. Luka's was the most obvious, extending a TON of her words with ぉ and ぇ and so on (ですてぇー？). Meg... used tildes even more, and was generally much more excitable than Meiko. The others were fairly standard for their roles. Approximating these in English was sometimes tricky, and sometimes it does sorta expect you to be able to recognize the character by their speaking style, since it may not say who's speaking until a while after the line.
Hitoshizuku's style almost always puts a hard line between dialogue and descriptive text, putting the dialogue and the explanation of who's speaking/in what way in different paragraphs. Sometimes this was so egregious that I mixed them together myself; often I'd move text up beside the relevant dialogue, even if it was technically in the next paragraph originally. So cases like ""I'm Len." [new paragraph] Len spoke." were changed to ""I'm Len," Len said." when it seemed better.
Numerous times it made more sense - at least in English - to move descriptive text from after a line of dialogue to before it. Really, I just did whatever it took to make things flow naturally. There were many cases like... ""I'm Luka." "Hi Luka, I'm Meiko." Luka said her name, and Meiko responded to chime in with her own.", and not all of them really worked as-is, especially when there were more than two people involved.
I did generally keep more to the original paragraph structure than I have for other books, but still broke up especially long paragraphs, clumped closely-related dialogue together instead of putting every single line in its own paragraph or having it all be one after the other without any paragraph breaks (god, imagine Chapter 9 like that), and split up single lines of dialogue that went really long.
Often when it said something like 幻の台本 (phantom script), I translated it as "the lost libretto" to coincide with the subtitle of the song Crazy ∞ nighT.
The Doll Twins speak in all katakana with lots of comma pauses. My way of getting across that stilted feeling, as with the songs, was randomly capitalizing syllables, usually ones that were unnatural to stress. Of course, they have random English parts in the songs, but they never do that in the novel, so it's fairly normal other than the random caps. (But I briefly considered translating "Careful, careful!" after the stepladder falls in the library as "DangeR, DangeR!")
I usually capitalized the names of the Crazy ∞ nighT characters. However, for Chapter 2, to go along with the whole mood of being immersed in the play, I didn't capitalize them; their capitalization emphasizes how they're just roles. This got kind of awkward with the Lady, though, since that name doesn't immediately indicate that she's the Master and Mistress's daughter.
Nemo Village was Ｎ村 (N Village). Yes, really. That seemed really silly, so I, uh, extended the name. Any resulting overlap with a "Nemu Village" is complete coincidence, because I literally don't know anything about the Original Sin series other than that it exists.
Milord was ミロール (Mirooru), which is to me obviously a pun on "mirror(ed)" because he's Rin and Len's dad. It was between Milord or Miroir, but Rin Milord and Len Milord was just too perfect to pass up.
The End roLL seemed like something that should be stylized and not changed into anything like "credits," particularly taking into account consistency with my song translations (though I originally went with "end credits" in Crazy ∞ nighT). Really, I don't know what else you'd call it besides "end page." And this works out because Miku learns its name from it being written on the back of the envelope by the Mastermind.
The last illustration of Volume 1 shows Miku opening First nighT, and the title is BARELY visible (black on very dark gray), but it looks like that's how it's stylized, without an infinity symbol. It kind of makes sense, since it's unique among the books of past nights, distinctly different from the repeating night.
First nighT and the Mastermind's Prologue were written with very short paragraphs (basically never extending more than one line), often breaking up what was really just one sentence across several paragraphs. So I went with a style more similar to my past novel translations for those, having linebreaks instead of full-paragraph splits for everything, then making paragraphs out of (self-decided) appropriate clumps of those.
On occasion, it said 結末 (conclusion) with the (very cramped) furigana エンディング (ending). This is likely meant to echo "EndinG," but I opted not to write it like that, generally. (And most of the time it just says エンディング normally.) However, I made an exception for the Mastermind's Prologue, where EndinG and PagE were stylized since it was written text, and written by the Mastermind at that. There were also one or two times it said 台本 (script) with the furigana シナリオ (scenario).
While I just had them say "the true ending" for 正しいエンド in Chapter 9, in Chapter 12, it felt appropriate to go with True enD ala the EveR ∞ LastinG ∞ NighT PV.
The complete list of words written in actual English in the text is: "Oath of Black," "Miss Miku" (on the letter she finds on stage), "BaD" (at the end of Chapter 9), and "Size" (said by the Doll Girl in the middle of Chapter 10 while discussing the End roLL being the next page). No, the last one isn't even SizE, and in the part where Miku first finds the End roLL, the Doll Girl said サイズ instead. Don't ask me.
The last illustration of Volume 2 shows part of the message from the Silk-Hat Baron, and it's hard to read, but you can at least make out "From the Phantom of Butler." Thanks, Hitoshizuku/Suzunosuke.
Posted December 30th, 2014
#bad end night