The above Italian proverb is famously translated as “Translation is betrayal,” but even that translation betrays the more literal “Translator, Traitor,” but we would all agree that the former carries the meaning better for English speakers. In episode 5 of Kill la Kill, I noticed a rather interesting expansion of what was literally said. Before I get into that, I would just like to say that episode five has by far been the most interesting episode thus far. The show is starting to get into more of the plot as a new faction has appeared on the scene and we discover that Kamui have killed their wearers.
But, the line to which I’m thinking of is “Teme ni wa shindemo watasanee!” If we were to opt for a literal translation, this would translate to “Even dying, I won’t hand it over to you!” That does not make to much sense to English ears. Better would be “Even if you were to kill me, I would not hand it over.” But this sounds a little wordy, and does not really seem to fit Matoi’s personality. What did the translators for Crunchyroll do? Reference Charlton Heston! (Requiescat in pace) “You’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands!” A more excellent choice that anything based on a literal translation.
One of the reasons I study Japanese is so that eventually I might not have to rely on the translators. How much fun they must have though, especially those who worked in the 90’s! Some anime of yore have hilarious translations, especially the many and varied ways they translate baka! Well, wish me luck as I try to find time to tackle my kanji book again.