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Translating manga as a means of learning

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Translating manga as a means of learning

Postby devney » Mon 01.12.2009 11:42 am

I was thinking to myslef that when i get to the stage where i will be reading japanese would reading/translating manga be a good idea?.At first in my head it seems like a good plan because your mixing study with fun,but then i thought that manga will probably be full of everyday japanese slang/puns etc that will go over my head and i might not have a clue whats actually happening.Does anyone know if thats the case or for the most part is it ok?
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Re: Translating manga as a means of learning

Postby richvh » Mon 01.12.2009 12:19 pm

There are those that advocate it and those who don't. On the upside, there are lots of visual clues as to what's being said; on the downside, it's nearly all dialog, which tends to be full of contractions and other things not covered in a textbook (including, but not limited to the slang and puns you mentioned.) I would, however, focus on understanding rather than translating. There is no need to render the text into natural English/whatever your native language is in order to understand what is being said.
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Re: Translating manga as a means of learning

Postby Sairana » Mon 01.12.2009 7:50 pm

richvh wrote:I would, however, focus on understanding rather than translating. There is no need to render the text into natural English/whatever your native language is in order to understand what is being said.


That is an awesome statement. I just had to quote it!

Also-- I think it's a great idea to do things that are fun for you. If you like Manga, then reading it (and translating it) will at least pick you up some useful vocabulary. The only thing to be concerned about, I think, is how central it is to your study. Is it going to be your primary source of vocab? Are you going to obsess and nitpick, trying to find a translation for each and every Japanese element you find? If so, it'll probably be more destructive than helpful for your studies.

I like Rich's advice. :)
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Re: Translating manga as a means of learning

Postby adriannrod » Tue 01.13.2009 4:32 pm

There are other more effective means of learning Japanese. Manga translation is not at all recommended, becasue it takes a lot loger, often enough, than traditional study, but that's only my opinion. You can jump into that pit of mud and try to muck yourself out if you really want to.
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Re: Translating manga as a means of learning

Postby devney » Tue 01.13.2009 8:26 pm

adriannrod wrote:There are other more effective means of learning Japanese. Manga translation is not at all recommended, becasue it takes a lot loger, often enough, than traditional study, but that's only my opinion. You can jump into that pit of mud and try to muck yourself out if you really want to.


My point wasn't that it would be an effective method of studying , just that it would hold my interest more than traditional methods of learning.It was only an idea not my main method of learning to read.But anyway it seems from initial feedback that this may not be the best idea :)
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Re: Translating manga as a means of learning

Postby NocturnalOcean » Tue 01.13.2009 8:34 pm

devney wrote:
adriannrod wrote:There are other more effective means of learning Japanese. Manga translation is not at all recommended, becasue it takes a lot loger, often enough, than traditional study, but that's only my opinion. You can jump into that pit of mud and try to muck yourself out if you really want to.


My point wasn't that it would be an effective method of studying , just that it would hold my interest more than traditional methods of learning.It was only an idea not my main method of learning to read.But anyway it seems from initial feedback that this may not be the best idea :)


If you want to study from a manga, I recommend you pick a manga that is fairly down to earth, where the story isn't about fighting different kind of monsters using spells and tricks with fancy names.
I really suggest reading a manga called Aria, actually the two first volumes are called Aqua, then it start on Aria.
It is an amazing manga, it is fairly simple to read, the stories are fairly down to earth. I really think it would be one of your best options if you wanna study from manga.
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Re: Translating manga as a means of learning

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 01.13.2009 8:44 pm

The problem with trying to study from manga as a complete beginner is that it's basically impossible. Without someone looking over your shoulder explaining every grammatical point and parsing every sentence for you, you'll be unlikely to make it past page 5 of a manga before giving up -- almost everyone tries something like this at some point, and if you want to give it a try I say go for it, but be prepared.
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Re: Translating manga as a means of learning

Postby Christine Tham » Wed 01.14.2009 4:59 am

I did my own translation of となりのトトロ (from the film comics). At that time, my skill level was probably around JLPT4.

From memory, the kids were fairly easy to translate, the father was okay (especially when he spoke in polite form), the nanny was near impossible.

Did I learn anything from it? Well, I'm not sure how much it improved my Japanese, but it did help me appreciate the film a lot better.

I also read the film comic version of Spirited Away recently - the beginning turned out to be quite hard (the dialogue in the car) but after that it became easy. I think it's because the film is quite action oriented.

I did those because I already know the storylines really well, so I thought it would help me understand the sentence constructions.

So bottom line, I do think it's fun. I'm not sure how effective it is in learning the language. I find the best way to improve my reading is by going thru "graded" reading material (that's tuned to my current skill level plus a bit of stretch).

One advantage of the Ghibli film comics is that the kanji comes with furigana. That helped a lot when I was trying to translate トトロ.

My advice if you do want to do it is try and pick something that depicts everyday life - you are more likely to encounter words you already know. I found Nausicaa tough going, and something like Ghost in the Shell or Neon Genesis may be too difficult.
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Re: Translating manga as a means of learning

Postby Gundaetiapo » Wed 01.14.2009 11:00 pm

When you finish a college textbook series, a manga will be quite manageable. I recommend something with furigana and which has an English translation for your first. Ranma 1/2 is an outstanding choice.
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