It’s no news to anyone here that I’m a huge fan of good translations. Honestly, who isn’t? It’s quality translations that lead to both an increase in interest in other cultures and media produced from said culture, as well as an increase in quality from the translation community as a whole. Both
are super important aspects to a world that is increasingly opening its borders to each other. Although the cultural sharing that goes on between America and Japan is nothing new, what is new is how much VOCALOID—essentially voicebanks (with adorable personifications for each) that music composers can use to add vocals to their songs without using their own or employing anyone else’s—is starting to get into the American market.
Ranging from collaborative apps from Domino’s Pizza, western PS Vita ports of previously unavailable rhythm games, and even VOCALOID cameos showing up in popular web shows like Bee and Puppycat, the American market is in closer contact than ever with the counterculture of Miku Hatsune and the other singers that make up VOCALOID. Yes, I admit some of these songs can be rather tragic in quality, but surprisingly a majority of them are really good. Today, I want to celebrate one of the many, many translators of these VOCALOID songs, ColeenaWu.
If I’m to be completely honest, I rarely ever take note of the translators; I’m much more apt to take note of the composer the VOCALOID used, or even the artists in the video—I know, it’s a habit that I hope to break. So I’m not really surprised that I didn’t realize one of the videos I used to watch obsessively was translated by ColeenaWu.
Fast-forward to a couple days ago when my friend showed me the video for “M’AIDER Stranded Girl”, an installment of the Jigokugata Ningen Dobutsuen series. (As a note: VOCALOID has a ton of series; one of the most popular ones being the Daughter of Evil series). And wow, I fell in love all over again.
Something that VOCALOID translators have been doing lately is matching the translated text to the Japanese text present in the song, or at least the mood of the song. This means color and font play a very important role—you’ve got to fit the theme while remaining legible, which can be quite the challenge! ColeenaWu’s videos do this fantastically: the translations are easy to read while remaining aesthetically pleasing and eye catching. More importantly, though, the translations are fantastic! With a translation it’s really easy to go too literal or too far away from the original intent of the native tongue to make it sound pretty. I think Coleena’s work in particular finds a nice balance between the two. From the Japanese I can read just by scanning the video, it seems like everything fits well.
Although Coleena isn’t the only translator in the fandom (obviously), she’s one of the ones who caught my eye and continues to do so. If I keep coming back, well, she deserves some damn credit! Take a look for yourself! I think you’ll be impressed, just like I was.
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