Talking with RON, Today’s Guest: @kiirobon: Bars Lost In Translation

RON: Well, this is second talk of this series of talks that i’m doing called “Talking with RON”, it will be 12 talks with various aniblogger, anitwitter people, youtubers, etc
Today the guest is Kiirobon, known by his Gintama translations
The theme is: Translation

RON: Well, let’s break the ice, how difficult, for you, was translate for japanese to english at the beginning?

Kiirobon: Yeah, It was the hardest part.
I wasn’t born speaking Japanese or with a Japanese background.
So I ended up mostly teaching myself after two years in high school.

RON: Interesting
Personally, i’m still learning japanese
I’m just in the part of learning the kanjis and stuff
Kanji, is really difficult

Kiirobon: It’s hard, but I feel like if you really want to learn a language, or well anything for that matter, if you’re motivated it’ll work out.

RON: Like, the most difficult part of japanese are the fucking kanjis

Kiirobon: Kanji is tough. I think I learned a lot more translating than I did learning on my own.
Though people know me for Gintama, I actually started with the Law of Ueki.
But Gintama is really what taught me kanji and stuff since it’s so wordy.

RON: You start connecting the kanjis with the readings
when you translate, or at least, that what happens to me

Kiirobon: Yeah, for me I just kept banging my head against the wall until I got it, lol.

RON: Gintama has a lot dialogue, and a lot of wordplay, it’s a very difficult series to translate

Kiirobon: Yeah, starting with Gintama was probably the worst idea for me ever, lol.

RON: At least without losing the feel, even, on spanish, my language, is almost untranslatable

Kiirobon: Ueki was my first series and Gintama was my second. I was really not ready.

RON: when here announced a dub to spanish of the anime
the people was like “¿What? They are going to fuck it up, Gintama is really difficult to adapt well”
Yeah, it wasn’t your best decision

Kiirobon: There’s a Spanish Gintama dub? I knew of an Italian one.

RON: Yeah, they started last year
It’s very ok
If you ask me
Like, it don’t get at the level of the original, but it still works out a little

Kiirobon: Man seems like only we here in the US didn’t get a Gintama dub. There’s gonna be a dub in every language but English at this rate.

RON: they fucked up translations a little, though
Gintama is a series that is too much a pain on the ass to translate and adapt

Kiirobon: I get that. A lot of people in the states are saying an English Gintama dub won’t work.

RON: Is too japanese, for saying it on a way
Like a lot of japanese comedy manga

Kiirobon: But I feel like with the right people, a Gintama dub could really work.

RON: A lot of japanese comedy manga can’t work if they aren’t on japanese

Kiirobon: That’s true to some extent, but people still really like the translations I do for Gintama.

RON: Believe me that’s really difficult to read a manga with a bunch of Translator Notes xD
Yeah, but a Gintama Dub can go wrong as well

Kiirobon: Hah it’s why I try to adapt things so I don’t need a bunch of notes.

RON: If they don’t adapt it on the right way

Kiirobon: Things can go wrong with any dub, really. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

RON: I translated a comedy one time
Zai x 10
It was a pain on the ass

Kiirobon: Oh? How’d it go?
lol sounds like my experience with Gintama.

RON: It did well
even with large ass translator notes every 5 pages

Kiirobon: I’m more impressed that you can read Japanese names. That’s harder than Gintama by far.

RON: Japanese Names are hard
But my passion for the people behind the anime make me want to learn how to read it

Kiirobon: And sometimes TL notes are unavoidable. Though I try my best to rework jokes so people don’t need it.
Yeah, Japanese names are very, very hard. Your credits blog is super impressive.
It’s what inspired me to finally work on the Bomberman Jetters list.

RON: And i’m trying new ways to make it better
That’s why i didn’t published nothing on a while

Kiirobon: That’s really awesome. I hope I can get to the point that I can read names like you do.
Thanks to Josh and WMC I’ve started translating interviews, which is much harder than manga, lol.

RON: Yeah
i translated a interview of Isao Takahata
i don’t know if you read it
I was really disturbed when they started talking about shady things
Like “These guys are talking about that, and i’m translating this, i feel dirty”

Kiirobon: I haven’t seen it, no. I didn’t know you translated interviews.
It’s really hard for me, though I’m slowly learning how to do it.

RON: Plz don’t see it
At least if you want to still watch Grave of the Fireflies on a innocent way, without thinking on incest, pedophilia, etc…

Kiirobon: Manga is much easier to translate.
Sounds like Gintama again.
I’ve seen Grave of the Fireflies, though that was a few years ago.

RON: They talked about a 14yo finding sexually atractive a 4yo
on a part on the interview, i was almost puking translating that shit

Kiirobon: ….whoa. What kind of interview was this?

RON: A interview of Isao Takahata and the author of the novel
about The Grave of the Fireflies
Talking about their interpretations of the novel, Nosaka’s tragic life, Takahata’s trying to adapt it the best way possible, etc

Kiirobon: I see. Yeah you can end up translating things you don’t wanna read.
It’s a blessing and curse.

RON: Yeah
But i was really immerse on it

Kiirobon: I see, I see. Yeah I need to read it.

Kiirobon: Have you seen the other translations I do on twitter, or the WSS talkback I do?

RON: Yeah
They are pretty nice translations

Kiirobon: Thanks. I find it more fun to do it on twitter like that cause it feels less like I’m working on them alone, lol.
Translation isn’t the type of hobby you can do with others.
So it can get to be lonely sometimes.

RON: Also, i’m pretty impressed about your capacity of translate printed kanji
I can’t read it well if it isn’t written, like, on a plain text
Yeah, it can get kinda lonely sometimes, but, well..

Kiirobon: Oh you mean when it’s handwritten?

RON: I refer, like on a paper
yeah, handwritten, with different fonts, etc
I can only read plain text kanji
and sometimes, i can read kanjis from anime’s credits, nothing more

Kiirobon: Oh, oh. I get what you mean. Yeah it can depend on how good the handwriting is.
Sorachi’s handwriting is pretty bad so sometimes I can’t read it.

RON: Pretty much like every language
Like, my handwritten spanish is BAD
Like really bad fast spanish

Kiirobon: If I see a kanji enough times I get to memorizing it, so sometimes I can read credits on anime.

RON: You can’t translate nothing that i write to english
cause my caligraphy is just awful xD

Kiirobon: Yeah, my handwriting is pretty terrible. My mom thought I’d grow up to be a doctor, hahah.

RON: Same here.

Kiirobon: Hahaha

RON: I’m going to be a history teacher
if god wants to
good luck to my students
understanding something

Kiirobon: I’m already old and gray. Though I’d love to be a writer if I can find someone who’d want to read what I write.
I don’t think I could be a professional translator.

RON: Other thing that i wanted to do was a rapper

Kiirobon: I like being able to take my time and translate whatever I want.
Really? I do read your music reviews from time to time. You’ve got quite the ear for details.

RON: Thanks!
I listen to a lot of rap music
Like all the fuckin’ time, so i tried to do my own things
They are good, but i’m too political for the mainstream

Kiirobon: Anytime. They’re really well done. I can tell you’re really passionate about music.
That’s pretty awesome. I like hip hop beats and listen to them when translating sometimes.
Well really I listen to all types of music when translating.

RON: Like i say, i mainly listen to Hip-Hop
Kanye West, Eminem, J. Cole, Busta Rhymes, etc
They give me a lot of energy

Kiirobon: Political huh…I’m completely the opposite, I don’t care about politics at all.
Ohh those guys are some of my favorites.

RON: I was inspired by concious rappers
Like Common, J. Cole, Lupe Fiasco, Kendrick Lamar, etc, so i kinda did go on that direction

Kiirobon: That makes sense. Though are we off topic? lol.

RON: Yeah, really off topic
Let’s go back to translating things

Kiirobon: Sure thing. Um, so yeah I started with Ueki because I really liked the anime and the subtitles were really slow.
This was before Crunchyroll. So I bought all of the manga and tried reading it in Japanese.
I read them over and over again using a dictionary and trying to understand what was being said.

RON: Yeah
On what year was that? xD
The Law Of Ueki premiered on Spring 2005

Kiirobon: Probably….2005/2006?

RON: So 2005.

Kiirobon: But there was a sequel series “Law of Ueki Plus” and I tried to translate a few chapters of that.
And then Gintama was announced. If I am to be honest I didn’t like Gintama at first.

RON: I see
How old are you?
I was like 8yo at that time xD

Kiirobon: lol, old by anitwitter standards. I’m 32.

RON: Damn!
The oldest that i’ve seen was 38
A friend of mine, mecha fan, that is the owner of a Fansub.
That translated old sh*it
I translated and did timing for him during a while.

Kiirobon: I was in college when Ueki was TV (in Japan.)
There are a few people older than me, but generally I’m older than most people, lol.
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of anime/manga.

RON: I’m already getting tired
After 10 yers
Like “Why i’m doing this shit anymore?”

Kiirobon: That’s the one thing I haven’t done is fansubbing.
I see. I think it’s more like I just know when to step back before I get burnt out.

RON: Now i’ve watched more than 840 anime
841 anime, to be exact
From old shorts from 1931 to newer stuff of the last season
Yeah, there was Anime on 1931
These were simpler times.

Kiirobon: Though nowadays I’m more into manga than anime which is why I translate more manga.
Manga interests me more.
Geez. I don’t think I’ve ever watched anything that old.
Though I have read some “manga” from way back in Edo thanks to a friend, lol.

RON: lol
That’s really old!
So you are more a manga person?

Kiirobon: they are super old.
Yeah, I used to be more of an anime person, but I changed to a manga person once I started translating more.
Manga is really easy/cheap for me to get so that helps.

RON: I never get used to read that much of manga
mainly cause my internet is shit
I own some manga
translated to Spanish by Ivrea Argentina
They really fuck up the translations with modisms
Like, translating Shounen like “Pibe”, instead of “Chico”, the correct, neutral word

Kiirobon: Plus I can read manga on my phone now that amazon Japan digitalizes a lot of it.
I haven’t bought English manga in years other than HXH.
Everything else I buy in Japanese.
Ahh, that’s no good.

RON: Have you seen something like that?
They just try to adapt it too much

Kiirobon: Well, in the past bad translations were common, even with official translators.

RON: And they end up making it worse

Kiirobon: Yeah
It’s a little better now I think.

RON: I remember a english DVD
That on the credits, almost all the names were wrong
Like, the readings weren’t even close

Kiirobon: I get what you mean. Though some adaption is a good thing. After all, we aren’t reading Japanese, we’re reading another language.
So a perfect translation is sort of impossible.

RON: Yeah, exactly
But you can always do your best

Kiirobon: Ugh yeah, I’ve seen that on DVD’s where the names are screwed up. Which I get since names are hard to TL, but still.

RON: Also, it have to feels natural.

Kiirobon: Right, that’s what I usually strive for. I want to make it understandable to readers, but also to make it as accurate as possible.
Yup, I like to shoot for as natural as possible. The characters should talk like normal people, and not like a translation, lol.

RON: Indeed
A good way to do that is imagine the scene on your head and say to yourself “How i would talk on a situation like this?”

Kiirobon: Exactly.
I think about how my friends and I talk and keep that in mind when translating.

RON: Yeah
I can’t do really do that
Cause we talk on a very rural way
I can only do that with i don’t know, Non Non Biyori
I’m of the rural zone of Uruguay
There’s more cows than humans

Kiirobon: Well I do have to keep in mind what I can and can’t use, lol. My friends and I have a weird way of talking sometimes too.
lolol. Yeah, though I like rural accents and accents in general.

RON: Yeah!
You have to maintain certain level

Kiirobon: Exactly. Don’t want to go too far in one direction.

RON: Indeed

Kiirobon: Especially with manga translations.

RON: You have to make it understandable and relatable with the audience
cause manga is a massive media
A lot of people are going to read your thang

Kiirobon: Exactly. Yeah, that’s something I keep in mind.
My English translations are sometimes the base for other languages too.

RON: Also, while talking with you i lost a chess game on 6 moves, i’m impressive, no in the right way
Yeah, i’ve seen some spanish translations based of your things

Kiirobon: Man, I wish I knew how to play chess.
And yeah, I know there are Spanish and French translations out there.

RON: Me too
I always lose xD

Kiirobon: I sometimes translate songs too.

RON: Songs is even more difficult
In any language
Like, try to fully translate any song of the USA top 40 on another language, you can’t!

Kiirobon: Japanese especially so.
But I really enjoy it. especially the Gintama OP/ED’s. That’s what I started with.

RON: Yeah, Gintama OP and EDs are really good

Kiirobon: My favorite is still Speed of Flow.
Such an easy translation too. Though the song I first translated was Kiseki by Snowkel.

RON: My favorite one is one Spyair
Samurai Heart

Kiirobon: Yesss. Samurai Heart is good. It’s the only spyair Gintama song I like though.

RON: You don’t like Sakura Mitsutsuki?

Kiirobon: No, I didn’t like the other songs too much. They sounded the same to me.
Samurai Heart is amazing though.

RON: Oh, i see

Kiirobon: I’ve been translating the songs since the 7th ED.

RON: I’m seeing a top of spanish anime OPS
And there’s some good ass translations every now and then
Now i want to translate songs xD.

Kiirobon: I really should see more songs in other languages.
It’s really a lot of fun. I’ll be translating the songs for the new season.
Of Gintama I mean.
Also I translated the new Detective Conan ending which was subbed.

RON: My favorite OPs, both on japanese and spanish are the Orphen ones


RON: They contrated a professional chilean lyricist and singer for that one, on the spanish vr

Kiirobon: Man I can’t decide on a favorite song.
The more I listen to, the more that changes.
Oh that’s awesome!

RON: Yeah, i’ve seen it
Well, let’s finish this?

Kiirobon: Sure thing.

RON: Was a really good talk

Kiirobon: It was! I enjoyed it.



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