Translating Mononoke-hime Japanese subtitles

Imo, the title should’ve been “The Erinyes:sweat_smile: :sweat_smile:

The Princess Furies? :thinking:

Princess of the Erinyes? :thinking:

Eh… Personally, that sounds super generic to me.

People may not know what Mononoke means, but they get a vibe from it.

4 Likes

The Japanese shinto-buddhist inspired view of the spirit world is completely different than our abrahamic and greco-roman view. Japanese uses 神 to refer to all kinds of things, including small, local spirits of forests, ponds, etc. Shinto is/was very animist pre-buddhism.

Because of that, using “gods” as a translation for the entities in Mononoke would be confusing or misleading to English audiences. It’s for a similar reason that Ryuk in Death Note is called a Shinigami - a new word they teach you the meaning of through Ryuk - instead of being called a Death God, which sounds far more important than it is. And the official Bleach translation went even further, calling their Shinigami (the main characters) Soul Reapers.

I also think Mononoke is fine. Any term we have is a bit different from what Mononoke implies. We import monster/spirit names in media all the time, anyway, and it sounds cool. We alteady have a good term for hime. So Princess Mononoke it is.
You can always get really reductive with these things if you want to. Why do we call them samurai? They’re warrior nobility in a feudal society! Clearly “knight” would suffice! Silly localizations!

shrug

I think these were all good calls on the translators’ parts. Translation is an art, and in the case of media, a good translation is intended to convey the story in the best way possible, not to teach the audience about about the original language, though it may sometimes do that.

That makes translations less useful for we the learners, but c’est la vie.

5 Likes

If they wanted to go with that, then I just wish they also went with what the manga Basara did:

That’s in the Japanese version, too, though. It’s not a translator’s note.

Though I do enjoy some translator’s notes sometimes.

4 Likes

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.