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MDN presents 'Manglish - Manga in English' 101

Posted by Hemos
Mainichi Daily News writes "Japan's leading English news site revolutionizes manga -- Manga lovers rejoice! A never-seen-before approach to manga made its debut on the Mainichi Daily News on Monday, July 3, 2006. Manglish takes some of Japan's hottest young manga talents -- showcased in the Mainichi's MangaTown site -- and places their creations on the MDN in their original Japanese format. However, cool thing is that while it appears on the site in the original Japanese, but if you run your mouse over it you get the translation in English.
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MDN presents 'Manglish - Manga in English'

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  • What's the point? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bill Wong (583178) * <bcw@@@well...com> on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:08AM (#15649294) Homepage
    Uh... There are only two pages so far?
    Kinda pointless to release something like this with so little content...
  • Read it backwards (Score:2, Informative)

    by Stonent1 (594886)
    Start on the left and move to the right... Just an FYI.
    • Right to left... (Score:5, Informative)

      by so1omon (577498) <jedidiahfoster@nosPaM.earthlink.net> on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:29AM (#15649361) Homepage
      Um.... That's not backwards. I think you meant "Start on the right and move to the left."
      Just an FYI.
      • Seriously, are the frames of Japanese comics meant to be read right to left? Does the language work that way too? (I know Arabic and some others are like that...) For some reason, (although it should) it surprises me if that's the case.
        • Re:Right to left... (Score:3, Informative)

          by vadim_t (324782)
          Yup, and manga books are also read from the "end" of the book. The beginning is where usually the last page would be in a western comic.

          And if you see anime you'll notice people reading text vertically - their eyes move up and down instead of left and right. I think this is an older writing system where the text was arranged in columns top to bottom, right to left.
          • Re:Right to left... (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            I think this is an older writing system where the text was arranged in columns top to bottom, right to left.

            Correct, japanese is traditionally read top to bottom and right to left, however thanks to westerners writing software that was unable to comprehend this arrangement, it began to fall out of practice in favor of left-to-right top-to-bottom which was easier to produce on a computer. These days it seems that perhaps 1/10th of the books published even abandon the "backwards" page turning, and just go al
        • Seriously, are the frames of Japanese comics meant to be read right to left?

          Yes. Also often, but not always, in Chinese. You start reading at what seems to us to to be the back of the book. Translated versions sometimes mirror the images so they follow the western convention. But manga geeks sneer at such conversions.

          • Translated versions sometimes mirror the images so they follow the western convention. But manga geeks sneer at such conversions.
            And rightfully so, because it's not a straightforward conversion. A character may refer to his left hand, for instance, in what may be a major plot twist. Mangas that can be mirrored perfectly are few and far between. Besides, it's not worth the effort. With a little practice one can read up-down/right-left comics very easily.
            • The annoying thing is sometimes you read a few pages, and notice that continuity is even worse than usual, realise that it has been mirrored, and have to start again...
        • I think most east asian languages are like this. Chinese, for sure, is also like this. But it too is westernizing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:14AM (#15649316)
    Suddenly, the tentacle monsters and giant robots fighting mutant schoolgirls become so profound. Roll over Shakespeare.
    • La Blue Girl _does_ have an intersting plot.
      And Blue Seed.

      The rest of it is pretty much crap when it comes to anything involving tentacles and/or demons.
      • Check out Urotsuki Doji (translated to something containing the word Overlord), it's by the same author as La Blue Girl, and one of the few masterpieces of the 80's.

        Tentacles as thick as buses help.
  • An awesome idea, and the page has definitely been bookmarked... but I should have figured "Manglish" also translated to "Engrish"

    From the cover: "She cares about it being tall"

    I assume that we'll see many fun times happen, for long time.
  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:15AM (#15649323) Homepage
    I figure I should take this opportunity to ask any of you who have travelled to Japan recently: has manga entirely overtaken traditional literature? I'm a big fan of such figures as Kawabata and Mishima (whose Sea of Fertility [amazon.com] tetralogy is possibly the best thing I've ever read), but no Japanese young person I've ever met abroad has ever read them, even though they are seen internationally as the cream of the crop of Japanese literature. I've only seen young people read manga for pleasure. Is real literature totally dead in Japan?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      FWIW, they make most of them learn the classic "One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets" here in junior high school, from playing a card game called "Karuta". People do read "books" as you'd understand them, including novelisations of popular manga. But manga are very popular for casual reading.
    • No, no it hasn't. The typical bookstore around here (Tottori Prefecture) is about 2/3 regular books, 1/3 manga. Admittedly, Tottori is pretty countryside; I couldn't tell you about the bigger cities.

      As for young people, whenever I see them reading, it's usually manga, but I do see a fair number of kids reading stuff like Harry Potter or Earthsea.

      This is just what I'm seeing, though -- ask someone in Tokyo or Osaka, and you might get a different answer.

      Now that I think about it, one could say that Japan
    • It's likely just a youth thing, I mean when's the last time you saw the average American young person reading Hemingway or Faulkner? Nope, they're reading the text of the newest Pokemon game from the screen of their Game Boys.

      Besides, the last remaining member of the sole Japanese Literary Club left in Japan was assimilated by Haruhi Suzumiya [animenfo.com] anyway...

    • Sea of Fertility is great, though I'm only trough 2.3 of the 4 books, Thus far I like Haru no Yuki the best. In fact, I'm in the middle of the (very slow) process of re-translating the first few chapters in order to create a parallel text study version to be used in my university Japanese language program. I did meet one international student who was quite different than the rest, claiming Mishima as his favorite author. For the most part, the Japanese ryugakusei seem to prefer second-rate books by hacks.
      • For the most part, the Japanese ryugakusei seem to prefer second-rate books by hacks.

        Well, you look at the book top lists in any country and you'll find the same thing. "real" literature is not normally popular - and it has never been. That is usually a fairly small insider group writing to each other. And to at least some of the practicioners and followers, the lack of popular appeal is part of the draw; it's another way to be a member of a club, something we humans seem irresistable drawn to in whatever
    • by JanneM (7445) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:36AM (#15649389) Homepage
      The question is perhaps a bit ill posed. Manga doesn't have the negative, childish connotations here that comics do in the west. At least some of it is considered literature to the same extent as books without images.

      That said, at least here in Osaka, on a typical commuter train I normally see perhaps 1/3 manga to 2/3 "normal" books - of course there's plenty of trashy, cheap novels sold as commuter fodder out there worse in quality than good manga, so it reflects only on the choice of medium, not quality.

      I'd also say that for everyone reading something on paper you have two or three people doing email, playing games or listening to music on their mobile phones. If you want to know what seems to overtake books as casual entertainment, there's your answer.
      • Indeed, a very good point I failed to make in my own comment to the same parent.
        Further, an intelligent reader will end up reading deep themes into whatever they happen to be reading at the moment, and those manga that are good provide a rich environment for this sort of reading.
      • Manga doesn't have the negative, childish connotations here that comics do in the west.
        Comics? Those are graphic novels, you insensitive clod!!!!
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Manga doesn't have the negative, childish connotations here that comics do in the west.

        Hey! Me too! I wanna post! I'm in Tokyo, and while lots of people say something like the above about Japan, I feel that manga does often have negative, childish connotations.

        How about the advert on TV for the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (the financial newspaper), which showed a guy in a suit sitting on a bench reading one of the thick weekly comics (manga) aimed at children and teenagers, with a voiceover saying "I saw my e

    • Well it's not just manga vs. Mishima, there's a huge number of popular modern Japanese (non-manga) writers too. There's (obviously) a vast quantity of stuff which hasn't been translated into English.

      AFAIK, manga's taken a big bite of out of non-manga reading, but that seems to have been going on for a long time. It's just an offhand judgement, but in general I think Japan's (non-manga) book scene seems a lot healthier than that in the U.S -- though I guess that says more about the U.S. than Japan...
    • I've recently been in Japan and my impression from seeing people read on the subway is that there's a good amount of just-words books as well.

      However, like other posters have already said, manga isn't seen as the childish medium it's still viewed as in the west. It's more viewed as what it really is — a form of art. There's little of the sad, narrow-minded and conservative cultural elitism you see in the west. The ratio of good manga to bad manga is likely very close to the ratio of good literature t

    • Don't ask questions like that.

      How many average American High School students actually read through the following:
      Brave New World
      ANY Shakespeare
      1984
      Death of a Salesman

      etc

      it's not whether some "powerful influence" impacts them or not.
      It'll always be percentage based...
  • Nice (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by badevlad (929181)
    Nice site! I like the translation in English... But may I ask them to include Ukrainian translation as well?
    • Nice site! I like the translation in English... But may I ask them to include Ukrainian translation as well?

      Screw that, if you want to cater to /. nerds, translate it to Klingon.
  • no from the...dept? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mini-Geek (915324) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:22AM (#15649339) Homepage
    This article has no from the ... dept. thing. Why? Put one in.
  • by Robaato (958471) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:29AM (#15649362)
    Kodansha has been doing this on their English website [kodanclub.com] since 2000. There's a wide selection of various manga that Kodansha publishes that you can look at, including titles such as Akira and Love Hina. However, they haven't updated it in a couple of years, and I can't seem to get the translation thingy to work. (The MDN site works fine for me, though.)
  • A certain scanlation group has already done something similar with Vulgar Ghost Daydream and Tenjou Tengen, so it is not a not idea. Their release included html pages with javascript that allowed one to view the english translation.
  • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Monday July 03, 2006 @08:39AM (#15649394)
    Manglish is man-speak. It's the language of man. They need another term, one that's less masculine.
  • It seems to be just another genre manga TBH, nothing remotely special. What makes manga and anime so special is that it covers more or less every genre on mass. If you can't find something you like you're either not looking hard enough or you refuse to look past the styles if you don't like it.
    • To be fair, it's for a younger audience, likely less concerned with finding true innovation or great art in manga than with finding something that speaks to them. Even if that happens to have been said before in various forms.
  • Man-glish... Isn't that what Tim Allen speaks?
  • Is that supposed to stand for Mangled English ?
  • Manglish motherfarker do you speak it?!

    /Samuel L. Jackson!
  • MDN - "Message Disposition Notification" presents? In my experience, an "MDN" is the RESPONSE to a post, not the original message... ;)
  • Popjisho (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pdr77 (748376)
    Has noone heard of popjisho [popjisyo.com]?
    • Thanks, that's a great link that in fact I hadn't heard of.

      I'm impressed with how well it works for Chinese-English, but I should note that it only works as an aid for someone who reads Chinese fairly well to begin with--it doesn't consistently recognize compound words (words consisting of more than one character). For example, it does recognize moshige as "Mexico" but doesn't recognize zongtong as "president." So it's spotty. One the other hand, it eliminates a lot of basic dictionary look-up. This is a va

  • The Javascript doesn't work properly at all on Safari - looks like a teen made it. Really unprofessional.
  • wake me up when they've processed some hentai manga
  • If the Japanese text was just a little bigger, this form of reading manga would really help those learning the language. You have the side by side Japanese text with the furigana (kanji pronounciations) and English translation as well as visual context!
  • I, for one do not welcome our new Manglish overlords, and it's not because I don't like manga ( I love it ), it's because I think this excellent idea has been presented in a horrible fashion, especially considering the care that was taken by the artist in the preparation of the drawings.

    The least the site could do would be to overlay english text inside the damned speech bubbles, without a rank yellow background and in a more suitable font; I think this is the first time i've ever said it of Teh Sans, b
  • At first, I thought you might be making a reference to Spanglish [wikipedia.org], and then I thought you might be making a reference to Engrish [engrish.com]. Shows how much I know.
  • Define Manglish (Score:2, Informative)

    by dartarrow (930250)
    Manglish [wikipedia.org] has long been known to us Malaysians as the default derivative of english spoken here. It generally is a combination of all the major languages spoken here; Malay, Tamil, Chinese and of course.. English. Or sometimes it is English words with non-english grammar. Engrish is not the same because we are perfectly capable of saying "Roll the Red Rose" (as opposed to the engrish version - "LOL the Lhed Lhose")

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