Translation of Japanese names in English

Discussion in '英語勉強フォーラム - Learning English' started by sfir, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. sfir

    sfir Kouhai

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    Hi everyone,

    How would you translate the following names in English ? (names from a novel, so I guess they are no common)

    Father’s name is ヴァレン. Mother’s name is ダルシア. And son’s name is ヴァンダルー. which is a combination of the first and last syllables of the father’s name and the first two syllables of the mother’s name.

    TIA
     
  2. Julie.chan

    Julie.chan 後輩

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    They aren't Japanese names. They're written in katakana; Japanese names would be written in kanji or hiragana. Plus, they include the "V" sound, which is not native to Japanese. These are the transliterations into Latin script (respectively):

    Varen (Valen?)
    Darushia (Dalushia?)
    Vandaruu (Vandaluu?)

    Since the "V" sound is not native to Japanese, I'd wager to guess that these are either foreign names or (more likely) made-up names based on foreign words. I don't recognize them, though.
     
  3. Julie.chan

    Julie.chan 後輩

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    Addendum: seeing where you posted this, I guess you were actually trying to ask what English names or words those are? They don't look like English to me, but if I had to guess what they're supposed to be with the assumption that they're English, I would say maybe a shortening of "valentine" or an anagram of "raven"? And maybe the second one is from "Russia"? Remember, some fiction writers make up names for their characters. You already pointed out that one of the three names is the other two names mashed together, so that's a good indication to me that this is the sort of thing these names are.
     
  4. sfir

    sfir Kouhai

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    Oh! Your explanation have enlightened me. I actually don't know a lot about the Japanese language, so I wrongly formulated my question (And I also posted it on the wrong section. I thought it was the 'Translations' section). But anyways, your answers were exactly what I was expecting.

    Those are actually the characters' names from a Japanese fantasy light novel, so your guess were correct.

    Is there an "official way" to spell those names? For example, if I have to translate those name in French, should I leave them as [Varen (Valen?) - Darushia (Dalushia?) - Vandaruu (Vandaluu?)]
    or should I change the spelling to keep the original sonority/pronunciation of the names.

    Thank you again for your replies, Julie.chan
     
  5. Zizka

    Zizka Sempai
    Donor

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    "r" and "l" are virtually indistinguishable in Japanese which means translating such sounds in English requires so arbitrary decision on your part. So both Varen and Valen are possible for example. I don't think there's any way which one would be the best translation for sure. You'd just have to pick one.
    Unless the book you're reading has already been translated, google it and see what translation is considered canon.
     
  6. Julie.chan

    Julie.chan 後輩

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    It depends on whether those are R's or L's. Japanese doesn't have either exact sound, but it has a sound that sort of has elements of each, typically transliterated as an R. So when it's used for a foreign word, it can also be there to stand for the L sound. For example, the word for "violin" is (loaned from English) バイオリン; the standard Latin script transliteration is "baiorin" (the "B" sound is used instead of "V" in a lot of loan words, including this one), but リ is actually there to approximate the "L" sound in "violin".

    So you would transliterate the first one as either "Varen" or "Valen" (most would choose the former), and you would transliterate the second one as either "Darushia" or "Dalushia" (again, most would choose the former). But if you understand the etymology of the name, you might transliterate it in a different way to be more faithful, e.g. in the English translations of Dragon Ball, the ギャリック砲 attack's name is translated not as "Gyarikku Gun" or something similar ("gyarikku" is the standard transliteration for ギャリック), but instead as "Galick Gun". This makes more sense because the name of the attack comes from the word "garlic"; translating it that way retains some of the resemblance to that word.

    TL;DR: it depends, really, but "Varen", "Darushia", and "Vandarū" are the simplest transliterations.
     

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