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Blog Comments posted by Darbury

  1. Nice blog post! And for what it's worth, I've grown somewhat more tolerant of ellipses over the years. Have they worn me down? ...Maybe.

    I suppose the key is using them with intentionality, and not as a typographical shrug that takes the place of finishing a thought or properly punctuating a sentence. To your point, it's hard for an ellipsis to do the important work of demarcating time when those same three dots are also being employed in a dozen other pointless odd-jobs throughout the text.

  2. 18 hours ago, tymmur said:

    It goes for everything. Perhaps a bit more precise: "how would this line be written if it was originally written from scratch by a native English speaker and not based on a translation?"

    Yup! Moogy has said much the same thing, and I consider it to be his best piece of advice by far. In fact, I'll quote it below in its entirety:


    The Rewrite Rule. This is my “secret weapon,” as it were, and I think it’s probably the most important part of my approach to editing. Basically, The Rewrite Rule states that you must rewrite every sentence you come across from scratch, so as to ensure that you are dealing with sentences constructed from an English standpoint, as opposed to a Japanese one. It’s okay if you end up typing the same thing as the translator originally put – that just means that you have confirmed that it was fine to begin with. If you end up with something considerably different, then congratulations, you’ve just turned Engrish into English. Gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.


  3. 22 hours ago, Chronopolis said:

    Yes, fight me.

    Dammit! Where's my "You're already dead" GIF when I need it. :D

    Let's gather what we know.

    The Japanese wave dash:
    - is most often used to apply audible brightness to a word or phrase. It appears both in electronic communications (IM, texts, emails, message board postings, etc.) and light writing, but not in formal circumstances.
    - is much less frequently used to impart irony/sarcasm to a word or phrase. As far as I know, this usage is largely limited to e-communications. I'd welcome the input of a native speaker, though
    - typically appears at the end of a word/phrase/sentence.
    - has long since hit critical mass in Japanese pop culture. If you use a wave dash in Japan, your reader will likely know what it means.

    The English tilde:
    - is most often used to impart irony/sarcasm to a word or phrase. (I also quite like this BuzzFeed article's take, which suggests the tilde indicates ambiguity, working to destabilize language.) This is almost entirely limited to casual e-communications. To the best of my knowledge, I have never seen this usage in a book, magazine article, handwritten note, etc.
    - is much less frequently used to brighten a word or phrase. Again, this is almost entirely limited to casual e-communications, and appears to be copying Japanese wave dash usage. (Similarly, I'd suggest the ironic use of the wave dash is on loan from the Western tilde.) Arguably limited to the halo of those with an affinity for Japanese media.
    - typically appears at the beginning and end of the inflected phrase.
    - is far from hitting critical mass in Western pop media. A quick google will show lots of threads like the one you linked, with people wondering what the hell that squiggly thing does. Worse yet, the answers are inconsistent. Some people mention only the kawaii inflection. Some people mention only the ironic inflection. Some people mention both, but aren't sure when one applies instead of the other. And some get it right. It's a crap shoot.

    So we have two different characters that look a lot alike but, in their most common casual usage, have two very different functions. The wave dash is joyful, the tilde is ironic. Not helping matters any is that, when you least expect it, one mark may decide to appropriate the other's meaning just for fun. This is a goddamned minefield for any VN translation. It's introducing additional ambiguity into a process (JP->EN translation) that is already fraught with unintentional ambiguity. This is not a good thing for writers or readers.

    Just because you, or even your friends, can navigate this minefield, that doesn't mean the larger community of English readers can do so reliably. Nor does it justify why those mines even need to be there in the first place. :D

  4. 13 hours ago, Chronopolis said:

    The tilde is actually used in English in casual textual conversation. https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/19moay/eli5_what_is_a_tilde_used_for_and_why_have_people/c8pewhq

    It's not an otaku-stemming punctuation, I think a lot of younger people would recognize it, the people who are familiar with msging/posting on the internet.

    If we take our idea of what's acceptable in professional English writing from Internet usage, we'll be falling down a deep, deep hole for a very long time. To Rooke's point, that tilde is a linguistic cheat, shorthand for emotion in situations where brevity and typing speed matter more than precision. Think of it as a one-character emoticon. And if we say this particular emoticon cheat is fair game, why not all the other emoticons? Rather than make thoughtful use of language to convey whether a person's dialogue is happy or sad or teasing, we could just stick :-) or :-( or :-P at the end of every other line. So much easier, right?

    I'll be blunt: it makes for lazy writing. And worse yet, it makes for uninteresting writing.

    Besides, you're kind of making my case for me. Your example shows the tilde (which looks a lot like the wave dash, but isn't) being used to indicate casual sarcasm. Then we have the wave dash (which looks a lot like the tilde, but isn't) being used to indicate bubbly joy. Oh, and also sometimes sarcasm. Oh, and also sometimes singing. So when a reader sees something squiggly at the end of a line, how are they supposed to interpret it? Is it uplift or put-down? Or pop hit? You might say the reader should figure it out from context, but in a translated VN, cultural context is an ocean away and linguistic context sits at the end of a long game of TL telephone. It's an iffy proposition at best.

    I'll be blunt again: to leave squiggles at the end of a line is to leave a work partially untranslated. And in this case, the burden gets shifted onto the shoulders of an unprepared reader.

  5. 1 hour ago, Fred the Barber said:

    My preference is to pick one and go with it. I don't actually care which one.

    I'm totally behind that. My own approach is overkill, of course, but it makes my editing OCD happy.

    1 hour ago, Fred the Barber said:

    Especially if, in doing so, you get to reduce all the ridiculous double-bangs down to single bangs.

    So, um, we're still talking about punctuation here, right?

  6. 7 minutes ago, tymmur said:

    Like with your last entry (about quote marks), I have to point out that most VNs use the character encoding cp932. ‽ isn't included in that one, meaning while we might see it in the wild, it will not be inside VNs, at least not those using Japanese engines. It might appear in engines using utf-8 (those claiming international support). Doesn't look like solving !? or ?! with just a merge to ‽.

    Thanks! And you'll be happy to hear I wasn't suggesting using ‽ in this situation, just bringing it up as a fun bit of trivia. No one uses the actual interrobang — unless you live in Portland, of course. In which case, ‽ is probably your name.

  7. 6 minutes ago, Zakamutt said:

    Holy colors, batman. Okay, this is most likely actually readable to you since your monitor is probably using a high color temperature, but I personally use f.lux at the lowest color temperature I can get. The text is basically unreadable without highlighting it.

    Ouch! I sometimes forget that some people on Fuwa are using white-on-black color schemes. Thanks for letting me know. :)

    I've updated the text so it shouldn't be an issue anymore.

  8. 5 hours ago, tymmur said:

    I will add that "" can be problematic. [...] The way to write the line in a way the computer would understand would be "\"This is a line\"". However it could also be written "「This is a line」". However this only goes for " and this would also be accepted by the computer "“This is a line”".

    Entirely valid point. And handling annoying text transformations like these is why God invented Perl. And Perl hackers. ;)

    5 hours ago, tymmur said:

    Next problem is that most VNs use Japanese locale and as such use the shift-jis encoding. [...] Being aimed at Japanese text, they didn't include “”, but row 60, column 05 to 08 looks useful, or at least as close as one can get to what you asked for.

    Those characters would seem to be exactly what the doctor ordered, in fact.

    And since it looks like one of my teams has found my blog — hi! :D — it's probably a good time to add the standard disclaimer:

    The views and opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of Darbury Laine. They do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of any projects he may be involved in, nor of good and decent people in general. Furthermore, Antwerp is not a sexual position.

  9. 1 hour ago, Kaguya said:

    The majority of the VN-players, I'd say. 

    And that, in a nutshell, is the difference between a preference and a definition. 

    1 hour ago, Kaguya said:

    The term is there to identify a series of games. It just looks like you're trying to add more stuff to it for the sole sake of technical precision by ignoring some aspects of what makes the identity of a visual novel, which becomes moot when you start including stuff that wasn't intended to be part of the term in the first place. 

    But what exactly is this essential "identify of a visual novel" that I'm ignoring? Where can I find it?

    Are we saying VNs must use anime-inspired spritework? Would that mean this or this don't qualify? Or are we saying VNs can only contain "things otaku like"? Which would be a very curious definition indeed.

    1 hour ago, Kaguya said:

    I'm generally pretty silly, after all

    I don't doubt it for a second. :D

  10. 1 minute ago, Kaguya said:

    Is having a clear definition of the term really worth it when you're letting all sorts of unintended/unwanted things to be part of that definition with it, though?

    Who says they're unintended or unwanted? :D

    And even if they were, it doesn't change anything. I find Harmony Korine's films repellent, but I'm not going to craft my definition of cinema specifically to exclude him. A film is a film is a film.

  11. On 6/11/2016 at 0:21 AM, Kaguya said:

    I'd argue that the majority of visual novel fans come from the anime medium, and that they are visual novel fans because of that anime-ish eroge style, and that the actual presentation of the text as, well, a novel that utilizes visual elements and everything else you elaborated on the post isn't actually that relevant. 

    Because of that, while the definition is coherent, I don't see any advantages of using it since it needlessly broadens the term to include a lot of things it wasn't meant to include in the first place. 

    I call this the “Italians never intended pizza to have pineapple on it, so ham + pineapple pizza shouldn’t be considered pizza” Argument.

    Let’s be clear: putting pineapple on a pizza is an abomination. If I catch you doing this, I will give you the hairiest of eyeballs. But it doesn’t make something not a pizza. Even if pizza originally didn’t have pineapple on it. Even if most fans of pizza expect sauce + cheese with meat and/or veg on their slice, not fruit. As much as I hate it, that pie still fits under the common definition of “pizza.”

    Which is to say, non-anime visual novels are the pineapple pizza of the VN world.

  12. 2 minutes ago, Palas said:

    But then you'll always have visuals. There's no written text that isn't visual. The question is whether that's contributing in any way to the narrative or not and, in the case of your common novel, it isn't, whereas in Digital, it is.

    Even in the "common" novel, the text is a contributing visual. Set a beer down in front of me and I'll talk your ear off about typography. Depending how you typeset it, a given text can be received in surprisingly different ways. An author can also choose to be more explicit in their use of typography as visual — again, see House of Leaves. William Wharton also did this a lot in his novels, using multiple fonts for various voices and effects. Faulkner even wanted to chronologically color code all the text in As I Lay Dying. (There's a version published that actually does this, btw.)

    There is always a visual aspect to the rendered narrative. We just need to pick an arbitrary dividing line: where do visuals become so much a part of the narrative that they help us define something as a visual novel. And finding that line isn't science; it'll always be up for debate.

    26 minutes ago, Palas said:

    I'm arguing for genres, for VN to be a genre within the overarching medium "games", in which the platformer is a genre (that is, a certain set of conventions based on a core principle) and the VN is another and, because of that, hybrids are possible because in the end both are just systems that can coexist in the same environment.

    Then we're arguing the same thing, since I also believe VNs are games. (I mean, hell — there are walkthroughs for most of them!) I explicitly called out hybrids in my definition, but I think my own shorthand was my downfall there. In my brain, "games" meant "all other entertainments more commonly recognized as games" and "VN" meant "the specialized sub-genre of games known as VNs." You've made some very good arguments regarding that distinction, though, and I plan to clarify that in future drafts of the definition.

  13. 1 hour ago, Palas said:

    Because you see, I seriously want Digital: A Love Story or Emily is Away to be considered VNs, yet it's not visuals that make it up but the interface (which are visual but this is not the point).

    We're in agreement. I want them to be considered VNs, too. Their interfaces are visuals, and that is the point. Diegetic visuals are still visuals in my book. We can take this to absurd lengths, of course — "My intentional lack of visuals are my visuals!" "The choice of Times New Roman is my visual!" — but at that point, we might as well just burn it all down and live in caves because we've decided definitions are useless.

    1 hour ago, Palas said:

    And why must this someone who recognizes and organizes the narrative be you and not the player? You dumping all of Groucho Marx's letters on my desk is not a narrative, but me trying to figuring it out and understand what happened is, in itself.

    Is a box of refrigerator poetry magnets a poem or the potential for a poem? Again, I think there's a difference between a ludic text that allows for play and discovery within a structure — House of Leaves, I'm looking at you, baby — and something that has absolutely no form without play. Both are very interesting, but they're very different beasts. For the sake of useful conversation, I'd offer that it's best not to conflate them.

    1 hour ago, Palas said:

    Uh, yes. Because you see, there's no line between "VN" and "game" to me. That's where I'm actually coming from, not going to.

    You're basically arguing against genres. This is entirely defensible — and often useful in academic discussions. But for a working definition, which limits the potentially limitless so we can discuss it, it's not very practical. There is a difference between a VN and a platformer, and if I generally like one and not the other, I want a way to usefully signify that.

  14. 12 hours ago, Deep Blue said:

    Planescape: Torment is a visual novel then mmm my world is upside down now!

    ¡ǝnlq dǝǝp 'llɐɟ ʇ,uop

    Torment is one of my favorite RPGs, but it fails #6. While it's a text-heavy game, reading doesn't constitute the overriding bulk of the experience. It's just one of many other game systems in the title: combat, exploration, inventory management, adventure-gamey fetch quests, etc.

    Also fails #7. It's not framed. By virtue of its gameplay mechanics, moment-to-moment experiences on Torment are remarkably open-ended.

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