Friday, August 08, 2008

Fanslation Chamoru #3: Naruto # 170: I Tilu na Maga'gera

Last year, as a mixture of fun, community service and in general hopes of improving my fluency in Chamorro, I began translating manga comics from English into Chamorro. I call them fanslation Chamoru, although I've been told that since the files are taken from scans that fans make and translate on their own, the correct term is scanslation.

After a six month break, I've finally got another one for those interested. Like the last one I made, this is from Naruto. I'm not as much of a fan of the tv show or the manga as I used to be. Limited funds and limited time due to dissertation writing has helped make that possible. But I still follow Naruto closely. I get faint hints of what is going on in the most current issues being published in Japan, but the story as being published right now in the United States is already all well-known and old-news to me.

I still enjoy translating them though and have at least two more issues that I've already written, but have to get set up before releasing them. I'm looking for other titles to start working on. Its just that some of my favorites have proven to be very difficult to translate, either because they use alot of specialized terms (such as Hikaru no Go) or are incredibly violent (such as Berserk). But, we'll see.

My third Fanslation Chamoru is from Naruto #170 and titled "I Tilu na Maga'gera" which is my translation for the title "The Three Great Shinobi" given to the characters Orochimaru, Jiraiya and Tsunade. This is the first part of the arc in which these characters who were once part of the same ninja cell, and were considered to be the future of Konoha because of their incredible skills, battle it out with each other. It is coming up with translations for terms like this that make the creation of these fanslations interesting.

For instance, how would you translate into Chamorro, the phrase and idea of "The Three Great Shinobi?" The first step was that since there are three sets of numbers in Chamorro, English, Spanish/Chamorro and lastly Chamorro, the usage of them could be infused with certain social meaning. To in order to indicate high status or a position of great class, I decided that instead of simply saying the "Tres" Shinboi, I would use the older Chamorro number for three, tulu. This is the case with all languages, that titles, in particular those imbued with grandness or reverence are often comprised of arcane or outdated terms, which because of their rare or limited usage in everyday speech, help to recreate that grandness or that elevation above the ordinary.

For a term such as shinobi, since Chamorros don't really have ninja of which to speak of, and I simply didn't want to chicken out and use "ninja" or "shinobi" I would have to choose from a number of potential ways to translate this. The most obvious ways would be to pick a similar occupational title found in Chamorro, such as guerrero for "warrior" or "mimimu" for "fighter" or sindalu for "soldier." None of these, and a handful of other potentials satisfied me.

For those who know the manga Naruto, a common term which is always thrown around, especially in the first series by Naruto himself is "Hokage." The term literally means "fire shadow," but is meant to refer to the leader of Konoha, the highest ranking and generally most powerful ninja. Naruto aspires to be Hokage and never tires of yelling at people that it is his guinife to be so.

In translating this word, I decided to go against any literally translation, and instead create a new using a Chamorro prefix that generally indicates greatness or high social status "maga'" For those familiar with Chamorro maga' is a prefix heard very often, in particular in the terms maga'lahi and maga'haga, and possibly the Chamorro word for boss "ma'gas." Maga' is added to a word to create a label meant to elevate a particular person from that particular group. So maga'lahi and maga'haga, in times past were both terms given to the highest ranking son or daughter in a clan.

As the Hokage is the highest ranking ninja in the village, he would therefore be the boss or the most elevated of ninjas. Without a direct or simple translation for ninja, I therefore had to find adjectives or verbs that described what ninjas did such as, hatme, puno', sikat, kunanaf, keha. The verb I eventually settled on was kahat, which means to stalk, hunt or sneak. To me that fit best what a ninja is supposed to do, and it also sounded best when I added the maga' to it. So the term I used in my fanslations for Hokage is Maga'kahat.

For shinobi, I decided upon Maga'gera, or the masters or bosses of war. I liked the way this sounded, and it did work to convey the intent of calling these three warriors the "Great Three Shinobi." It is a touch choice because I was also considering calling them the "Tilu na Maga'guerrero," but decided that the "masters of war" sounded better than the "master of warriors."

The translating of this issue into Chamorro gave me plenty of opportunities like this to be creative with the Chamorro language in order to capture and describe certain types of slangy phrases, or even take on how to translate specialized terms in Naruto for magic or fighting styles. I mas ya-hu na pinila'-hu gi este na kamek, my favorite translation for this comic has to be "ha gosne i gifan-na." for "he shed his skin!" I seriously never, ever (and this is mainly because of my limited usage of Chamorro due to a stagnant circle of fellow Chamorro users in the US), thought that I would ever have to actually say. It was actually amusing looking up the words to try and say it.

As usual, if you are interested in checking out this fanslation or any of my others, just put a comment on this post or email me at and I'll send it to you. Si Yu'us Ma'ase. Put fin, sa' Berserk ha', i manga na todu tiempo hu gof nanangga yan gof taitaitai, buente ayu i otro na bai hu pula' gi fino' Chamoru.

1 comment:

Mike said...

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