1.07.2018

Translation Problems

Hello shag.
Two posts in two days, wow!
Today I would like to share with you a couple of opinions on Rakuzan's shooting guard Mibuchi Reo.
I already posted this on Kuroko no Basket Amino, so if you see it, don't worry, that's me.
Since I live in Italy, my approach to the manga is Italian. I didn't watch the animated third seasons for reasons but I kept on with the manga which last volume came out in October.
This is to underline that the first time I actually came in touch with Reo's character was just lately, before this, I learnt a bit about him mostly by single panels or mixed doujins and fancomics on tumblr, which were always in English.



The character
Reo Mibuchi is Rakuzan school's Shooting Guard, formally settled among the Uncrowned Kings. Reo is the only character in the series whose sexuality is suggested not to be straight: in the match vs. Shutoku he confesses to find Takao attractive defining him a "cute guy" and in one of the extra panels at the end of each volume he confesses he has a crush on one of his teammates.
He is effeminate in his behavior and he doesn't deny it. Akashi and the other team members accept him for the admirable basketball player he is and don't give a damn about his behavior and sexual orientation. 
I personally appreciated how this character was inserted in the story. Being the manga a sport shonen, I was expecting a character with these features to be put in as a manager of the team (task usually performed by female characters) or to be put in a less powerful team with lower skills and the mere and wretched task to be just a nuisance to his opponents by repeatedly slapping their butt or asking them out during the game, in a desperate attempt to be funny.
Luckily this didn't happen, Reo is one of the most fearsome players around and he mercilessly destroys Hyuuga's defeat attempts while trying to defeat him one-on-one. Hyuuga himself stated that he is its role model concerning his playing style.  
Hyuuga also plays the only self-righteous role against Reo. He affirms that he can't understand "people like him".
Despite in real life I wouldn't agree with Hyuuga at all, it is evident (especially by Izuki's reaction towards this statement) that this behavior was put there to underline how some people react to others. 
Reo is very caring towards his teammates (at least when they don't mess up while playing). For this reason, Hayama , often calls him "Reo-nee".

Nee-san translation

The "nee" at the appendix of this word means (and it is usually translated as) "Big sis".
Translation of the term "Reo-nee" is the key here.

Usually, when this term is used in Japanese comics and animation series towards women, the Italian translation is made using the word "Sorellona" (literally "Big sis"), keeping it loyal to the original version and not giving a heck about the fact that this word is not commonly used in the spoken language (maybe just by kids?).
When I bought the comic, I was sure to find "Reo-nee" translated as "Sorellona Reo". To my big surprise, they decided to use the word "Signorina" (literally "Miss" or "young lady") and this is where the problem begins.

[Onward: Sorellona = Big sis; Signorina = Miss]

I think that the reason for this choice was to substitute a rather uncommon word such as "big sis" is with a more frequently used one. It is not rare in here to call a woman "Miss" (women around 25-30 years old actually prefer it) and it's not seen as an insult but when you use this term to a man, the situation changes. 
Despite being both "Big sis"and "Miss" female nouns in Italian, their inner meaning could assume a different shade if applied to a man.
While "Big sis" has technically no negative side meaning because it indicates someone who is really caring and lovely towards a specific group of close people, thus it's not meant as offensive when spoken, even to a man, the usage of "Miss" might hide offensive meanings.
I'll give you an example found in the Italian dictionary under the word "Miss":

"Soccer is not a sport for a Miss" 

Meaning that soccer is a rough sport, meant for real men to do and follow it, the fact that I don't agree with this sexist statement, it doesn't change that in Italy this word is kind of derogatory towards men in general, especially if they are effeminate. 

 According to me, this might enforce some wrong convictions which revolves around femine boys like: effeminate boys are all gay: this statement it's not true at all. There are several femine boys who are actually straight. It's just like affirming that any woman who has a short haircut is a lesbian, it's not true and even when it is, it's surely not a problem. Stop seeing this as an insult.
Beisdes, the author in a Q&A states that Reo doesn't dress up like a girl (there wouldn't be a problem anyway), he actually likes boys clothes. 

Shouting out "Hey Miss" to a man is like yelling "Hey faggot!" at him but in a classy and sugar-coated way. I recall that when I was a kid, I used to call boys in the class "Miss" whenever I wanted to offend them, and I was punctually scolded about it.

I am sure the translators didn't mean it that way and I agree that giving this word a negative sense is something inappropriate even towards women (it intends that they are weaker), however at the present states, with the current political state and controversies I would have used another noun, better suited for the situation.
Thinking about it, calling Reo "Miss", meaning he is weaker it's not even correct because he makes Hyuuga eat the dust.

On the other hand, I hope that young people who read the manga would be able to understand that being a Miss doesn't necessarily mean you're weak and that it's okay for boys to be femine. 
I really wish that this judgement of mine is affected by a wrong shade of the culture I grew up in.

What are your thoughts about it?

No comments:

Post a Comment