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HonorificsSurvey

(8/1 update) Results of the honorifics survey

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17 hours ago, HonorificsSurvey said:

Oh, but you just said that their preferences are unknown. What we do know, however, is how the newcomers to the VN scene who are at the same time a part of the communities feel like. These are people who are very likely also a part of an existing anime/manga community (or used to be), which is why they also decided to join a VN community upon picking up reading VNs as a hobby. They are the group which is the least opposed to honorifics.

I made no statement about the preferences of the general population.  I made a general statement about marketing.  I have not, personally, expressed an opinion in this thread.  I have commented on the technical aspects of the poll.

At this point, I have explained the limits of the poll.  The limits are the exact same as they would have been had the results been reversed.  As long as you recognize those limitations, and do not exaggerate or misrepresent the results, there's no problem.  To do otherwise is dishonest.

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All the comments about the the imperfections of polling are quite interesting, and it's nice of @Toranth to provide rational input.

On the topic of honorifics, what @HonorificsSurvey said about how newcomers tend to be least opposed to honorifics surprised me. I always had the impression that since the number of official localizations exploded a few years ago, and official localizations tend to avoid honorifics, newbies wouldn't be as used to honorifics as older fans. Looks like that's not the case.

Now that I think about it, there are potentially multiple reasons that VNs fans tend to care more about honorifics.

  • VNs focus relatively more on interpersonal relationships and school life, where honorifics are more meaningful (compared to, say, a slapstick action story).
  • VNs let you replay voiced lines if you didn't hear them properly, and click at your own pace to hear them properly, so it's easier for players to pick up on the honorifics.
  • Unlike manga which isn't voiced and anime which people are often introduced to via television dubs, VNs as a medium emphasize voiced lines, which contain honorifics for Japanese VNs.
  • Also, as was said earlier and @TheCrimsonFucker echoed, the more a person becomes acquainted with Japanese, the more it tend to feel odd when they read a non-literal translation. They pick up on the nuance attached to specific names & words that aren't particles which can be recognized audibly. And as @HonorificsSurvey said, people who play VNs often have experience with voiced anime (and manga which sometimes notes honorifics, esp. scanlations).

So yeah, I'm starting to see a lot of reasons why many VN fans' desire to welcome honorifics won't change easily, even if they're absent from many localizations and many translators swear off them.

People like @AdventSign talk about a war over honorifics, but as far as I can tell, everything has completely settled down:

  • For the above reasons and probably others, most VN fans tend to prefer honorifics. I don't think you can change their minds if they already know what honorifics are and attached importance to them. You'd essentially have to convince them that Japanese culture isn't important. Or change the demographics of fans of Japanese VNs through marketing (didn't turn out well for MoeNovel).
  • On the other hand, the localization side is firmly opposed to honorifics. There are big ego wars over perceived translation quality on Twitter, and translators know that it's frowned upon to include honorifics instead of trying to finding various ways of conveying them differently (or not at all) which is the traditional in the prideful professional translation industry. In addition, localization companies probably think that they can market their products to a broader audience when VN translations are non-idiosyncratic and remove honorifics. I don't think you can change their minds either, since they're doing what they think is right.

Although @sanahtlig pointed out already that it would've been a little interesting to survey whether people would refuse to play a VN with or without honorifics, I'm personally glad that this survey asked what people think, instead of just asking what they're willing to tolerate in their purchases. Questions along the lines of the latter are something we already get enough of from localization companies' surveys. And I think it's probably not necessary either, because like I said earlier, my impression is that most localizations these days don't have honorifics, and people just tolerate it. (Or does anyone disagree with this?) So honestly, the bottom line is that fans might be a little happier if more localizations included honorifics, but since it's not a do-or-die issue for them, many translators will continue to shy away from honorifics.

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On 8/3/2018 at 6:54 AM, HonorificsSurvey said:

In short, saying that the people who participate (or even lurk) in all the major VN communities are a small minority of the overall market and we don't even matter is a ridiculous notion. The people who would tell you that are acting in a self-deprecating way in order to fool people into thinking that their opinion does not matter. And they do it simply because the disagree with the results.

Your agenda in creating this poll comes through in your interpretation and dismissal of alternative interpretations.

As @Toranth says, the way to answer the question being asked is by randomly sampling customers (not allowing self-selection) and achieving a high response rate (e.g., with incentives that are too good to ignore).  That avoids participation bias, which confounds the current study.  Any relevant customer database would suffice, not just Steam.  Yes, that means that the question can't be answered appropriately with a casual instrument like this.  Good science is hard.

Edited by sanahtlig

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Some localization companies might include honorific toggle for both side. If I remember, Newrin demo has this. Sol Press has not yet release the full version on any platform. I wonder how they will handle the turn off button for it. Onii-chan might be Big brother, his name, etc.

Edited by Hetzer123

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8 minutes ago, Hetzer123 said:

Some localization companies might include honorific toggle for both side. If I remember, Newrin demo has this. I wonder how they will handle turn off button for it. Onii-chan might be Big brother, his name, etc.

I don't understand why this would satisfy people.  Honorific usage is one aspect of translation style.  Adding or dropping a suffix isn't sufficient to convert back and forth between two different translation styles.

Edited by sanahtlig

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The statistical aspects are actually more interesting than the results tbh

Also just curious, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't ~750 participants a small sample size, considering we have huge groups like reddit and 4chan involved? Of course, maybe that's because of the self selection...

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30 minutes ago, MaggieROBOT said:

The statistical aspects are actually more interesting than the results tbh

Also just curious, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't ~750 participants a small sample size, considering we have huge groups like reddit and 4chan involved? Of course, maybe that's because of the self selection...

There's two relevant statistical concepts here: random error and systematic error.  Systematic error occurs when your sample does not represent your population of interest (i.e., is not a random sample), or is measured in a way that systematically over or underestimates your measure of interest.  Random error occurs due to random variation in your random sample or measurement method.  Random error becomes a problem when measurement deviation is high (e.g., many possible categorical responses, each with small n) or when the sample is very small.

My concern with this study is the systematic sampling bias, not the random error.  Even if random error were a problem, this could be solved by simplifying the questions/answers or aggregating similar answers.

Edited by sanahtlig

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17 minutes ago, Tamaki Sakura said:

I'm just going to note the double standard that allows foreign honorifics from Western cultures, such as 'Monsieur' or 'Herr,' to exist in English translations, while non-Western honorifics such as '-san' are shunned.

Good point. Anybody talking about removing honorifics should try reading Hercule Poirot.

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3 hours ago, MayoeruHitori said:

All the comments about the the imperfections of polling are quite interesting, and it's nice of @Toranth to provide rational input.

On the topic of honorifics, what @HonorificsSurvey said about how newcomers tend to be least opposed to honorifics surprised me. I always had the impression that since the number of official localizations exploded a few years ago, and official localizations tend to avoid honorifics, newbies wouldn't be as used to honorifics as older fans. Looks like that's not the case.

Now that I think about it, there are potentially multiple reasons that VNs fans tend to care more about honorifics.

  • VNs focus relatively more on interpersonal relationships and school life, where honorifics are more meaningful (compared to, say, a slapstick action story).
  • VNs let you replay voiced lines if you didn't hear them properly, and click at your own pace to hear them properly, so it's easier for players to pick up on the honorifics.
  • Unlike manga which isn't voiced and anime which people are often introduced to via television dubs, VNs as a medium emphasize voiced lines, which contain honorifics for Japanese VNs.
  • Also, as was said earlier and @TheCrimsonFucker echoed, the more a person becomes acquainted with Japanese, the more it tend to feel odd when they read a non-literal translation. They pick up on the nuance attached to specific names & words that aren't particles which can be recognized audibly. And as @HonorificsSurvey said, people who play VNs often have experience with voiced anime (and manga which sometimes notes honorifics, esp. scanlations).

So yeah, I'm starting to see a lot of reasons why many VN fans' desire to welcome honorifics won't change easily, even if they're absent from many localizations and many translators swear off them.

People like @AdventSign talk about a war over honorifics, but as far as I can tell, everything has completely settled down:

  • For the above reasons and probably others, most VN fans tend to prefer honorifics. I don't think you can change their minds if they already know what honorifics are and attached importance to them. You'd essentially have to convince them that Japanese culture isn't important. Or change the demographics of fans of Japanese VNs through marketing (didn't turn out well for MoeNovel).
  • On the other hand, the localization side is firmly opposed to honorifics. There are big ego wars over perceived translation quality on Twitter, and translators know that it's frowned upon to include honorifics instead of trying to finding various ways of conveying them differently (or not at all) which is the traditional in the prideful professional translation industry. In addition, localization companies probably think that they can market their products to a broader audience when VN translations are non-idiosyncratic and remove honorifics. I don't think you can change their minds either, since they're doing what they think is right.

Although @sanahtlig pointed out already that it would've been a little interesting to survey whether people would refuse to play a VN with or without honorifics, I'm personally glad that this survey asked what people think, instead of just asking what they're willing to tolerate in their purchases. Questions along the lines of the latter are something we already get enough of from localization companies' surveys. And I think it's probably not necessary either, because like I said earlier, my impression is that most localizations these days don't have honorifics, and people just tolerate it. (Or does anyone disagree with this?) So honestly, the bottom line is that fans might be a little happier if more localizations included honorifics, but since it's not a do-or-die issue for them, many translators will continue to shy away from honorifics.

I was partially being sarcastic, though some people make a mountain out of a molehill though, whether to cause shit or to actually argue their point because they HAVE to be right and there HAS to be rules in place for everything or something...

Edited by AdventSign

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21 hours ago, Tamaki Sakura said:

Also, recent translations of Japanese literature have started including honorifics.

I couldn't find any honorifics in the Google sample, other than using Sensei as a pronoun which was explained in a footnote earlier.

Also this was pretty funny:

50481f49a3582ea9794d062f669413d0.png

Edit: Nevermind, you're right there were some honorifics. Braindead me doesn't know how to use a search function lol

Edited by 1P1A

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7 hours ago, sanahtlig said:

As @Toranth says, the way to answer the question being asked is by randomly sampling customers (not allowing self-selection) and achieving a high response rate (e.g., with incentives that are too good to ignore).  That avoids participation bias, which confounds the current study.  Any relevant customer database would suffice, not just Steam.  Yes, that means that the question can't be answered appropriately with a casual instrument like this.  Good science is hard.

A very idealistic (and unrealistic) look on things. No internet poll can be the way you picture it. The only way to randomly sample customers would be if all the localization companies (and Steam) made a poll together. Not that doing it that way wouldn't be "useless" (according to you) as well. Every poll on the internet is completely voluntary. Things don't work like in real life, where you get called out to at a subway station and agree to take part in a poll before you even know what's going on. In that scenario, it is also much harder to walk away from something you already agreed to. That is not the case on the internet. You likely know the contents of a poll before you decide to click on it, and even if you don't, closing the tab if you don't care about the subject is very easy.

 

8 hours ago, MayoeruHitori said:

and official localizations tend to avoid honorifics

That is a myth. Let's take a look at this year's releases.

P4fcNxg.jpg

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5 hours ago, Tamaki Sakura said:

It's all about Japanese being the language of the non-White "other," therefore unacceptable. Also, recent translations of Japanese literature have started including honorifics.

True, that's also why people call westerners (or people that are assumed to be westerners if they speak a western language online) the disparaging and derogatory made-up word "weeaboo" if they "dare" to enjoy non-white north-east asian entertainment, as a matter of fact the word "weeaboo" is thrown around quite a bit both on here and the visual novel subreddit.

Edited by Nier

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6 hours ago, Tamaki Sakura said:

I'm just going to note the double standard that allows foreign honorifics from Western cultures, such as 'Monsieur' or 'Herr,' to exist in English translations, while non-Western honorifics such as '-san' are shunned.

Which kind of proves that in the end honorifics should be more of an option of a translation style than anything else imo. My personal opinion about this is that, if the story takes place in Japan, and it's actually important for the story that it takes place in Japan, than honorifics should be kept. If it takes place in a distinctly non-Japanese setting (like Fata Morgana), they should definitely be removed (though it's not very important in less serious isekai stories). In the other cases, I'm slightly inclined towards "remove", but overall I really don't care.

6 hours ago, tymmur said:

Good point. Anybody talking about removing honorifics should try reading Hercule Poirot.

I'm not sure it's a good example. Books about Poirot were originally written in English, and he was a foreigner living in England.

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3 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

I'm not sure it's a good example. Books about Poirot were originally written in English, and he was a foreigner living in England.

I know. It's a classic and I have read some of it. My point is that I haven't seen any public bashing of Agatha Christie books for being improper English even though they contain something like this.

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6 hours ago, HonorificsSurvey said:

P4fcNxg.jpg

Hmm... I was almost sure that Fureraba didn't have honorifics - or they were at least partially removed. Will have to replay to check... I remember "senpai" being used here and there, but others not so much...

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Just now, adamstan said:

Hmm... I was almost sure that Fureraba didn't have honorifics - or they were at least partially removed. Will have to replay to check... I remember "senpai" being used here and there, but others not so much...

I was also convinced it didn't have honorifics, until I noticed it did. They're rare since almost nobody actually uses them.

Yuzuyu doesn't bother with them, the guys don't use them, Tomomi prefers nicknames... They're just rare all around.

Spoiler

MkgZbzg.png

 

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7 hours ago, HonorificsSurvey said:

A very idealistic (and unrealistic) look on things. No internet poll can be the way you picture it. The only way to randomly sample customers would be if all the localization companies (and Steam) made a poll together. Not that doing it that way wouldn't be "useless" (according to you) as well. Every poll on the internet is completely voluntary. Things don't work like in real life, where you get called out to at a subway station and agree to take part in a poll before you even know what's going on. In that scenario, it is also much harder to walk away from something you already agreed to. That is not the case on the internet. You likely know the contents of a poll before you decide to click on it, and even if you don't, closing the tab if you don't care about the subject is very easy.

Your repeated strawmanning of those you disagree with is irritating.  Every study (even professional ones) has limitations.  That's why multiple approaches are combined to answer important questions.  In this case, the results from this study suggest the hypothesis that VN customers prefer a translation style that includes honorifics.  One could test this (for example) by e-mailing a random sample of active MangaGamer customers with an appropriate incentive to achieve a high response rate.  Another way to assess this would be to survey users at the point of sale, either at their store or at conventions (and offer a discount for filling it out).  These approaches would tell you about MangaGamer customers... which may or may not represent other VN customers.  BUT, at least that would be actionable data for MangaGamer.

Also, I've already suggested a reasonable population to find support for your hypothesis: Kickstarter backers.  If you're bent on pushing your narrative about fans preferring honorifics, that's where you'll find small numbers of highly-motivated fans that are likely fairly similar to this poll's sample, and where a data-based campaign to influence translation style could actually change outcomes.

Edited by sanahtlig

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52 minutes ago, Mr Poltroon said:

They're rare since almost nobody actually uses them

I wouldn't say that. Their usage is certainly diminished by the fact that the heroines only very sparsely use MC's name (when they do, 2/4 heroines do use honorifics for him), but we can compare FureRaba's script (3 most common ones):

sFf9SAu.jpg

 

with something like MML. I think MML is longer, but I'm not sure. I just know the script is larger than PE's.

ZO6xkgq.jpg

 

28 minutes ago, sanahtlig said:

One could test this (for example) by e-mailing a random sample of active MangaGamer customers with an appropriate incentive to achieve a high response rate.

Which is something only MG could ever do. And they won't.

29 minutes ago, sanahtlig said:

which may or may not represent other VN customers

Which is why I said all the companies and Steam would have to do it together to get a "real" result for all the people who buy VNs. But you know, you still wouldn't get results for the people who read VNs, but never bought any. And these people might potentially buy VNs in the future depending on a number of factors. Anyway, the results are only for the core audience, as I said in the beginning.

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@HonorificsSurvey Oh, wow. Thanks for the chart.

Looks like I underestimated the amount of localizations that keep honorifics. The last localization I personally tried was Dies irae, and the last localizations I paid any attention to were Sorcery Jokers and Leyline which came out about half a year ago, plus I always seem to hear translators criticize honorifics...

Speaking of SJ, you have it listed as Kept, but I'm not sure that's correct, at least, judging from the VNDB screenshot which has "Mr. Senri" instead of Senri-san.

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16 minutes ago, Tamaki Sakura said:

I'm a professional editor. I prefer keeping honorifics for stories in a Japanese setting.

Which is like 95% of VN titles.

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49 minutes ago, MayoeruHitori said:

Speaking of SJ, you have it listed as Kept, but I'm not sure that's correct, at least, judging from the VNDB screenshot which has "Mr. Senri" instead of Senri-san.

I read most of them personally and I checked a sample on youtube for the ones I haven’t. I saw Sensei, Onii-chan and Sen-chan in the short part of SJ I found. You can’t be sure what the original line is based on a vndb screenshot.

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