Del Rey and Pumpkin Scissors

Del Rey and Pumpkin Scissors

Del Rey and Pumpkin ScissorsYou know, I really had hoped that the flushing of Japanese honorifics for Pumpkin Scissors Volume 1 was just a fluke. As such, I went ahead and ordered volume 2 of the manga. Were there any changes? Nope. Ikoi Hiroe still insists upon flushing the Japanese honorifics, despite the fact that Del Rey proudly proclaims in this volume their policy of retaining the Japanese honorifics.

“Nope! I will not use Japanese honorifics. We aren’t in Japan, so why would I use them? Besides, the other places I did freelance translations for did not want Japanese honorifics, so why is Del Rey using them? Nope, I will not use them, period.”

OK, Ikoi Hiroe didn’t actually say that, but I imagine something similar going through this person’s head (don’t know if its a guy or a girl). Even though they are a freelance translator, one would have thought that Del Rey would have given Ikoi Hiroe the sheet that says, “retain the Japanese honorifics.” After all, Ikoi Hiroe somehow knew to include a few translator notes. Baring that, maybe Ikoi Hiroe would have looked at a Del Rey manga, but maybe not.

Either way, I’m very annoyed. Del Rey charges ~$11 per manga, and each volume has the same proclamation which states they will use honorifics in the translation. For an adapter to then seemingly thumb their nose at that policy makes me as a consumer say, “OK. I’ll keep my $11. Thanks for nothing, Del Rey.”

I know Del Rey has been made aware of this. There’s no need for me to visit their forum multiple times a day to rant about it, nor pester their people about it, or even to insult Ikoi Hiroe, which I don’t believe I’ve done. Del Rey will either fix the honorific problem, in which case they’ll get my money, or they won’t, in which case I’m saving money. For now, I’ve vented and those to whom this kind of thing is important, now you know.

See related article Del Rey is Slipping.

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8 Responses to “Del Rey and Pumpkin Scissors”

  1. Anonymous says:

    If Del Rey has this policy, why did they publish it without honorifics then?

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Having talked with some translators in the business, quality control (for lack of a better term) isn’t that great when it comes to translations, more so when the translator is also the adapter.

    Take “Negima!” for example. Discounting Peter David’s rewrites, the first few volumes after volume 1 contained a HUGE error where the character Nagi Springfield was called the “Southern Master” instead of “Thousand Master.” The adapter, Peter David, had no way of knowing this was not the actual translation and so his adaptations contained the errant phrase. Once this was brought to the attention of Del Rey, they did go back and fix the error and subsequent volumes have not had this error. However, it does show how easily things can get through to publication.

    “KageTora” is another such title that shows how things get messed up. The first volume is rough with it obvious that there were two adapters on the project based on how terms changed in different chapters. However, once this was brought to Del Rey’s attention, subsequent volumes have been much, much smoother.

    Its possible that the translator for “Pumpkin Scissors” submitted a bunch of stuff and being the adapter, the work was published without even a blink. Now that Del Rey knows about the issue, we’ll see if they put the manga back under their policy (which is to include Japanese honorifics in ALL titles) of if they will make this an exception to that rule.

  3. Chris says:

    I think it makes sense not to have them in this case, because the characters are not Japanese. Personally I’d find it pretty distracting to have Americans in America or Europeans in Europe using Japanese honorifics just because the original author is a Japanese. It’s quite different from dropping them in something set in Japan with an all-Japanese cast. I definitely wouldn’t like that.

  4. AstroNerdBoy says:

    My biggest beef if the official policy by Del Rey, which says they’ll use them. To date, whether the title has been “western” in nature (Negima! has a western element with Negi being from Wales) or not, Del Rey has retained the honorifics as official policy. It was only recently that things started falling through the cracks.

    Take a look at TokyoPop. They don’t have an official policy regarding honorifics. Some of their titles have them and some don’t. Some, like Sgt. Frog split the difference where honorifics are used, but some characters have the Japanese honorifics swapped with western ones (“Fuyuki-dono” becomes “Master Fuyuki” though Koyuki might still be referred to as “Koyuki-dono”). My remarks about that have been, “I wish they’d retain it but oh well.” I’m not going to rant about it because TP doesn’t have a policy regarding honorifics. However, because Del Rey does have a policy and were branding themselves as the “Otaku’s choice,” that’s what caused my rant. ^_^

  5. Chris says:

    I can see your beef with them telling people one thing but doing another, but that’s not what you hilighted in the article. You said point blank that they needed to fix the honorific problem or they wouldn’t be getting your money. If you just had a beef with their policy, that could be solved very simply, by them adapting their statement to clarify that they’d keep the honorifics whenever it makes sense. In my opinion it generally doesn’t make sense for shows that don’t have any Japanese characters and are taking place nowhere near Japan. I don’t think it’d make sense for them to “fix” anything by using honorifics in those types of stories.

    I believe I qualify as an otaku, but I think it’d be weird if characters always used Japanese honorifics without any consideration given to where the story takes place and who the characters are. As such, I don’t see anything in Del Rey’s decision about Pumpkin Scissors that’d offend my otaku sensibilities. I’d say that their decision actually makes the world of PS feel more authentic, which I appreciate as an otaku. It may clash with a very strict interpretation of their pledge, but that’s more nitpicking than anything.

    I don’t think your parallel with Negima is really appropriate, because regardless of where Negi is from, Negima has a huge Japanese element to it. Pumpkin Scissors has none of that.

  6. Peter H says:

    I’m biased because I’m like ANB in that I like the honorifics left in the translations. If Del Rey says the honorifics are going to be there then they should be there.

  7. Kinnikun says:

    I’d hate to be in the shoes of Del Rey, having to decide if I’m going to do something that’s reasonable but will draw the IMHO unreasonable ire of a vocal minority of my customers, or not do it and keep cringing every time I see the book in question. There are plenty of times when companies make foolish decisions and fan outrage is warranted, but unfortunately there are also enough cases where fans in turn try to force companies to do something foolish, as IMHO is the case here.

    How about you guys go and complain to Japanese publishers about their use of Japanese honorifics in books translated from English, completely destroying the purity of the original…

  8. Anonymous says:

    if del rey was going to not use honorifics, they should have not said they were going to use them which is what they did in the ninja scrolls novel

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